25 Best Golf Courses in The US You Should Play At Least Once

Last Updated on May 09, 2024 by Nikki Jain

The US is a country of outstanding natural beauty, and you know what this means? Fantastic golf courses! There is barely a place in the US that doesn't boast a tremendous place to play a few holes. So, if you're looking for beautiful golf courses in the US, you will be spoiled for choice. However, we want to focus on just the best of them. On this page, we’ll introduce you to top golf courses in the US. All golf courses on this list have been classed as some of the best in the world.

Some of them are private member clubs that most of us can only hope to play on, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the play on them is fantastic. So, what do you say? Shall we jump right in and share the best places to golf in the US?

Best Golf Courses in America

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1: Pine Valley Golf Club- Pine Valley, NJ

Pine Valley Golf Club- Pine Valley, NJ
Dreamstime/James Fitzroy

Pine Valley isn’t just one of the top golf courses in the USA but is regarded as one of the best golf courses in the world. But don't think you can just roll up and start playing a few rounds of golf here. While Pine Valley is a fantastic course, membership here is very exclusive.

There are said to be under 1,000 members at Pine Valley, and if you want in, you'll need to be invited by a select group of just a few of them. Oh, and you need a very low handicap. They don't want 'bad' players here!

Because Pine Valley is an exclusive golf course, it doesn't host many tournaments. It will host the Curtis Cup in 2034, though. Each year, Pine Valley also hosts the amateur invitational 'Crump Cup'. On one day of this tournament, visitors can visit and tour the course. Although, barely any pictures surface. No cameras or cell phones are allowed!

Address: 1 E Atlantic Ave Pine Valley, NJ 08021

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in New Jersey

2: Cypress Point Club - Pebble Beach, CA

Cypress Point Club - Pebble Beach, CA
Cypress Point Club

Ever wanted to play golf while feasting your eyes on the beautiful Pacific Ocean? Well, say hello to one of the most picturesque golf courses in the US - Cypress Point. Although, sadly, it is a very private golf course. If you want to play here (and you are not in one of their invitational tournaments), you will need to be invited by a member.

Still, if you’re lucky to play on one of the best golf courses in the USA, you'll enjoy playing across sweeping sand dunes and even a hole that has you hitting the ball across the Atlantic Ocean (hole 16).

Until 1990, Cypress Point was part of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am competition. However, it was removed due to its highly exclusive member list (they refused to accept black people into their membership, something that has now been rectified). Because of this, Cypress Point no longer hosts any major tournaments but has the odd invitational throughout the year.

Address: 3150 17 Mile Dr, Pebble Beach, CA 93953

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in California

3: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club - Southampton, NY

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club - Southampton, NY
Flickr/Newell Reinvention

Shinnecock Hills is the oldest operating golf course in the United States. Built in 1891, Shinnecock Hills is the only golf course to host the US Open in 3 different decades. Quite an achievement, right? It'll be hosting another US Open (bringing its total to 6 hosted) in 2026.

Shinnecock Hills is a links course offering dramatic views over the Atlantic Ocean. While it will not win awards for being one of the most scenic golf courses in the US, those who have played at Shinnecock Hills claim that it is an exceedingly fun course to play on.

Although, those who have played golf in the UK will probably notice that Shinnecock Hills is very similar. This is because Shinnecock Hills has been designed to replicate the British golfing experience.

Address: 200 Tuckahoe Rd, Southampton, NY 11968

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Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in New York

4: Augusta National Golf Club - Augusta, GA

Augusta National Golf Club - Augusta, GA
Dreamstime/James Fitzroy

Augusta National is a private member golf course (and one of the only private courses designed to be for-profit). It is well-known for not just being one of the top golf courses in the USA but also one of the best-maintained courses in the world.

You see, Augusta National is all about offering the 'ultimate' experience for the players. While some natural trees are on the course, no pine trees exist. However, the more eagle-eyed among you may spot pine needles about. These have been imported. Hear some beautiful bird songs coming from the forests?

That sound is coming from speakers. In the past, they even dyed the water blue. Thankfully, that is something that has now been stopped. Most of what happens at Augusta National is private events and member play (there are only 300 members at the club), but every single year, Augusta National is host to The Masters, and the course really comes alive then. They even opened up a shopping center (a huge one) that is closed for the other 51 weeks of the year!

Address: 2604 Washington Rd, Augusta, GA 30904

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Georgia

5: National Golf Links of America - Southampton, NY

National Golf Links of America - Southampton, NY
National Golf Links of America

You thought the other golf courses on this list were elite in terms of membership? Well, the National Golf Links of America has been dubbed the 'snootiest golf course', which shows just how exclusive this club's membership is.

As with many of the best golf courses in the USA, the National Golf Links of America follows British course design and many of them are almost straight carbon copies of the British courses, just with a few adaptions to fit this area.

Oddly, despite being classed as one of the nicest golf courses in the US, the course has never played host to a major men’s tournament, although this is probably down to the exclusive nature of the club. 

One of the most unique features of the course is a windmill. You can see it between the 2nd and the 16th hole. Back when the course was first opened, somebody made a passing comment that the course could be improved by a windmill. So, the course owners decided to go out and buy a windmill…from Europe.

We bet the member regretted his throwaway comment after that! He was charged the bill for importing a windmill from Europe, which we imagine was quite expensive. The National Golf Links of America is a par 72 and covers 6,873 yards.

Address: 149 Sebonac Inlet Rd, Southampton, NY 11968

6: Sand Hills Golf Club - Mullen, NE

Sand Hills Golf Club - Mullen, NE
Sand Hills Golf Club

When Sand Hills was built in 1994, it was put in an almost perfect location for a golf course. In fact, the area was so perfect for golfing that the developers determined that there were 130 different locations for holes on the course (i.e., from a scenic perspective).

The place was so perfect that very little needed to be done to the land. This makes Sand Hills one of the cheapest modern golf courses, costing just over $1 million to develop. This is another incredibly exclusive club. It is said that Sand Hills has under 200 registered members, and it takes a lot for them to bring guests along.

Those lucky enough to play at Sand Hills (and very few are since no tournaments are held here) will enjoy a fantastic par 71 with over 7,000 yards of play. There is a reason why this regularly tops lists as one of the best golf courses in the USA.

Address: 36410 Sand Hills Rd, Mullen, Nebraska 69152

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Nebraska

7: Oakmont - Oakmont, PA

Oakmont - Oakmont, PA
Dreamstime/Wirestock

Opening its doors in 1903, Oakmont is regarded as the oldest top-ranked golf course in the United States. It is also considered one of the most difficult to play, thanks to the seriously risky bunkers that dominate the course. Oh, that and the fact that there are no trees (and no water hazards too!)

One of the coolest features at Oakmont is the church pew bunker. This rather large bunker features multiple grass ‘islands’ that look very similar to church pews. It is visually stunning and ensures that it remains one of the coolest golf courses in the USA.

In our opinion, the only major downside to Oakmont is that it doesn’t quite have the natural beauty that it once had. This isn’t quite the fault of Oakmont, but civilization. It now has the Pennsylvania Turnpike running straight through it. Oakmont has hosted more major competitions than any other course in the US, which may make it one of the most famous golf courses in the world. It has hosted the US Open a whopping 9 times!

Address: 1233 Hulton Rd, Oakmont, PA 15139

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Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Pennsylvania

8: Fishers Island Club - Fishers Island, NY

Fishers Island Club - Fishers Island, NY
Fishers Island Club

Fishers Island has regularly hit the top 10 of fantastic golf courses in the US. No surprise, really. Fishers Island is visually stunning, offering great views over Block Island Sound. However, bear in mind that the wind can get extremely heavy because this golf course is on an island. This can make it a tough course to play at, even on the calmer days.

Many who have played at Fishers Island have praised the area for its course design (much of which was based on European courses). People have stated that the holes offer just the right amount of challenge. There is a way to get around every 'problem' you'll face on the courses, which is a stark contrast from more modern places where the hazards are just to make things complex rather than having a reason behind it.

Our favorite feature of the course is the rolling greens. They look beautiful and can present a challenge to many golfers. However, having seen holes be played on this course, we love the way the ball delicately bounces around predictably, even at the bumpiest sections of the course. Again, this is a testament to the designers of Fishers Island way back in the 1930s.

Address: 20449 E Main Rd, Fishers Island, NY 06390

9: Merion Golf Club (East) - Ardmore, PA

Merion Golf Club (East) - Ardmore, PA
Merion Golf Club (East)

The Merion Golf Club boasts two different courses. The West and the East course. Both of them are fantastic courses and worthy of inclusion on this list, but it is the East course that manages to dominate most top golf course lists and the one that has been the focal point of many major tournaments. 

As with many courses on this list, the Merion Golf Club borrows heavily from European design. The East course is heavily influenced by Scottish design, with the bunkers being especially apparent. The design of the course (when originally developed) was praised for innovating how golf courses were made.

Merion Golf Club focuses heavily on providing multiple options to reach the pin despite the course taking up very little space compared to other major courses. Those who have ever watched a few holes being played at the Merion Golf Club will want to pay special attention to the pins on the East course.

Unlike other courses, there are no flags here. Instead, each pin is topped with a handmade wicker basket. This is a tribute to the sheep herders of Scotland. The East course has been the venue for 5 different US Opens (and 19 major tournaments total).

Address: 450 Ardmore Ave, Ardmore, PA 19003

10: Pebble Beach Golf Links - Pebble Beach, CA

Pebble Beach Golf Links - Pebble Beach, CA
Dreamstime/Photogolfer

Pebble Beach is the first golf course on this list open to the public, so it is one of those courses you may have the opportunity to play at. Lucky you, too, especially considering that Pebble Beach is regarded as one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. Although, $525 per round may put some people off playing here.

Pebble Beach offers fantastic views over the Pacific Ocean. Honestly, it is a wonder anybody can play a good hole here. If we were ever on this course, we couldn't help but be distracted by that beautiful blue water in the distance. Oh, and the beautifully maintained course. Pebble Beach is the host of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am each year and has been the site of 6 different US Open tournaments.

Address: 1700 17 Mile Dr, Pebble Beach, CA 93953

11: Pinehurst No. 2 - Pinehurst, NC

Pinehurst No. 2 - Pinehurst, NC
Pinehurst No. 2

Pinehurst No. 2 is one of ten courses at Pinehurst, and it is the most famous of them. Pinehurst No. 2 is renowned for its incredibly difficult greens, which, if you don't hit quite right, will result in needing to make a rather difficult chip shot to wrap up the hole.

In fact, many golf pros have said that Pinehurst No. 2 has some of the most challenging chip shots in the world. This certainly shouldn't be the first golf course you ever play at!

For much of its early life, Pinehurst No. 2 had no rough. The rough was added in 1974 and removed in 2010 during a redesign. The redesign brought Pinehurst No. 2 back to how it was initially designed in 1907, with sand and native scrub filling the void of the removed rough. This is a very popular course, with 3 US Opens held here and many more planned for the future.

Address: 1 Carolina Vista Dr, Pinehurst, NC 28374

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in North Carolina

12: Chicago Golf Course - Wheaton, IL

Chicago Golf Course - Wheaton, IL
Dreamstime/Lmphot

You will have heard of Charles B. Macdonald if you know your golf history. This man is known as the 'Father of Golf' in the United States and was responsible for bringing the game to popularity in the country. Much of his fame stems from his work at the Chicago Golf Course.

In the late 1800s, Macdonald spent a bit of time studying in Scotland. Here, he developed a love of golf. When he returned to the US, he wanted to play more golf, but there weren't many options around. He decided to find a bit of land and make some casual holes. People loved it so much that these informal holes were eventually converted into the Chicago Golf Course.

The Chicago Golf Course isn't mainly known for its beauty (although it has some stunning views over the sea). Instead, it is known for the challenge of the course. It is also known for being at the center of golfing history in the country. You can certainly feel like it is an old golf course when you play. It doesn't have the pizzazz of more modern locations. It is just pure golf. The way it was done back in the 1800s.

Address: 25W253 Warrenville Rd, Wheaton, IL 60189

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Illinois

13: Riviera Country Club - Pacific Palisades, CA

Riviera Country Club - Pacific Palisades, CA
The Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, CA

The Riviera Country Club was opened in 1926, although back then, it was known as the Los Angeles Athletic Club. It has been part of the PGA Tour (mostly the Genesis Cup) since 1973. So, this may already be a course that you are familiar with. The Riviera Country Club starts off deceptively simple, throwing in one of the simplest Par 5s at any golf course in the US.

However, as you progress through, you'll begin to notice that the Riviera Country Club has some tremendously difficult holes. It is often praised for having some of the most fun-to-play but exceedingly challenging Par 3s. This course relies heavily on bunkers protecting the putting green, with accuracy being a top priority for many of the holes at the Riviera Country Club. If you aren’t accurate, you’ll find yourself with sand on your shoes…a lot!

Address: 1250 Capri Dr, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

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14: Prairie Dunes Country Club - Hutchinson, KS

Prairie Dunes Country Club - Hutchinson, KS
Prairie Dunes Country Club

Despite being one of the best golf courses in America, very few people pay attention to the Prairie Dunes course. We suppose it is because it is slightly out of the way. Well, that and becoming a member can be a rather challenging affair.

Although, many of those who have played on this course praise it for its beauty, and it brings the best of the British golf courses to Kansas. The Prairie Dunes course is famed for its incredibly bumpy fairways and the relatively firm ground. There's often a decent wind blowing through the area, too, making things quite challenging.

While Prairie Dunes doesn’t quite boast the raw beauty of some of the other courses on this list of the most prominent golf courses in the US, it doesn't need to. It is a fun course to play (if you can get on the green) and works for both experienced players and those with little experience under their belt.

Address: 4812 E 30th Ave, Hutchinson, KS 67502

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Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Kansas

15: Crystal Downs Country Club - Frankfort, MI

Crystal Downs Country Club - Frankfort, MI
Crystal Downs Country Club

The Crystal Downs golf course is a golf course that should be way more popular than it is. You can barely find a list of the top golf courses in the USA where it isn't featured in the top 20. Alas, it has never hosted a major tournament and is unlikely to do so. The Crystal Downs course is in such a remote location that it doesn't have anywhere near the facilities to support that sort of thing. Still, at least it is enjoyable for amateurs.

The Crystal Downs course is renowned for its incredibly tough putting greens. They're so steep that you're giving yourself a tough challenge if you don't get the ball below the hole when driving. Even seasoned pros have struggled here. We love the elevation changes at Crystal Downs. Not only do the elevation changes help to add character to the course, but they help to offer stunning views over both Lake Michigan and Crystal Lake.

Address: 249 Crystal Downs Dr, Frankfort, MI 49635

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Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Michigan

16: The Country Club - Brookline, MA

The Country Club - Brookline, MA
The Country Club

The Country Club holds the title of the oldest golf-focused country club in the United States. It is also one of the more unique. This is because while most golf courses have a single architect planning the bulk of things, The Country Club has had multiple architects work on the holes during the formative years, meaning each hole provides a slightly different experience.

The Country Club actually has a few courses here, with the Main course being the one played by members nowadays (but the rest is a public course) and an executive one offering some nice Par 3s for newbies. For those who want to experience one of the best golf courses in the US, you'll be pleased to know that the green fees are incredibly cheap, although finding a tee-off time can present a bit of a challenge.

Address: 191 Clyde St, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Massachusetts

17: Somerset Hills Country Club - Bernardsville, NJ

Somerset Hills Country Club - Bernardsville, NJ
Somerset Hills Country Club

In the early 1900s, A.W. Tillinghast was regarded as one of the world's best course designers, leaving his mark on many places in the US. Unfortunately, many of those courses eventually saw their design changed. The Somerset Hills course is the only one that remains a Tillinghast original, barely changed since 1918.

One of the real highlights of this course is the fact that so much of it just seems ‘undisturbed’. It is like somebody placed a golf course here without really moving any of the land. The course is dotted with beautiful rocky outcroppings, small water hazards, and challenging, rolling greens.

Many people have praised the course for its unique style of play. It is a course for the experts, where you'll often need to dip into your entire golf club arsenal to find something that works for the play that you are trying to make. Even the pros have struggled here at times.

Address: 180 Mine Mt Rd, Bernardsville, NJ 07924

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Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in New Jersey

18: Camargo Club - Cincinnati, OH

Camargo Club - Cincinnati, OH
Camargo Club

In the 1920s, renowned course designer Seth Raynor was at the top of his game. Camargo was the final course he designed before his death, and many would argue that it is his best…especially if you are a fan of challenging par 3s.

As one of the best golf courses in the USA, many people praise Camango for its beautiful geometric style of play.

The course is characterized by tight angles, raised greens, and surprisingly few bunkers (Raynor never went crazy with them in his course designs).

Camargo heavily uses template holes (again, Raynor used that a lot in his design), and many people have praised this. It makes Camargo seem familiar while providing a unique challenge in its surroundings.

Address: 8605 Shawnee Run Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45243

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Ohio

19: Pacific Dunes Golf Club - Bandon, OR

Pacific Dunes Golf Club - Bandon, OR
Dreamstime/Christopher Babcock

Pacific Dunes is one of the newest courses on this list. It opened in 2001, but for many, it is one of the top golf courses in the USA.

As the name suggests, Pacific Dunes offers sweeping views over the Pacific Ocean. You'll find rolling greens, small hills, and beautiful natural trees on the course. It is a true work of art.

We love how the course designer spent a lot of time trying to fit his course ideas around the natural scenery rather than removing natural scenery to accommodate his ideas.

As a result, you'll find most of the greens navigating around epic dunes (some stretching up to 50 feet).

As it is a newer course, it isn't exactly popular on the tournament front. It is unlikely to be so since it has never been designed for championship play.

Instead, Pacific Dunes is perfect for those amateur players willing to push themselves into a challenge…and know how to get out of a bunker.

Address: 57744 Round Lake Drive Bandon OR 97411

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Oregon

20: Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Kiawah Island, SC

Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Kiawah Island, SC
Dreamstime/Scott Hippensteel

Kiawah Island Golf Resort offers several different courses. The most famous of these is The Ocean Course, which, as the name suggests, is meant to highlight the stunning ocean views in this part of South Carolina.

This particular course was designed from the outset to be challenging. Each hole has been carefully placed to ensure that as much wind as possible hits the balls, making driving incredibly difficult.

On top of this, there is thick Bermuda grass, heavy bunkers, and many slops. It is regarded as one of the most challenging courses in the US for a reason.

Par is 72 on this course, but it will be quite a challenge to get remotely close to that. Even the pros have struggled.

Address: 1 Sanctuary Beach Dr, Kiawah Island, SC 29455

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Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in South Carolina

21: TPC Sawgrass - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

TPC Sawgrass - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Dreamstime/Photogolfer

TPC Sawgrass is not only one of the best golf courses in the USA but one of the most important. PGA's home base is here, so you always have pros coming and going from this course.

TPC Sawgrass has multiple courses, the most notable being the Stadium course. If you have paid attention to golf, you may know about this course.

It boasts a particularly tricky 17th hole. It is just 137 yards, but you need perfect aim. This is because the hole is sitting on a small island. Many pros have lost their balls here!

There's no denying that TPC Sawgrass is an incredibly challenging place to play golf and will have you hating water hazards for the rest of your life. However, everybody who plays here comes out with a smile on their face.

Address: 110 Championship Way, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

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Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Florida

22: Whistling Straits Golf Course - Sheboygan, WI

Whistling Straits Golf Course - Sheboygan, WI
Whistling Straits Golf Course

Remember we said that many of the best golf courses in the USA are built to replicate classic British courses? Well, the Whistling Straits Golf Course takes this to a whole new level.

There are two courses here, with the Straits Course being the most popular. It is meant to replicate British seaside courses and closely hugs Lake Michigan.

In fact, most of the holes play right next to the lake. You'll even find some sheep wandering around, with the original stock imported from Scotland.

Heavy winds are known for hitting this course, and if you're unlucky, you may find your ball being swept into one of the hefty dunes that line the area.

Address: N8501 Lakeshore Rd, Sheboygan, WI 53083

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Wisconsin

23: Chambers Bay Golf Course - University Place, WA

Chambers Bay Golf Course - University Place, WA
Dreamstime/Meseberg

Chambers Bay was opened in 2007 and, located on Puget Sound, is meant to offer a coastal golfing experience. It also seems to accomplish this incredibly well, with many likening it to Scottish coastal courses.

When Chambers Bay first opened, it was a highly controversial course. Many claimed that the inconsistent and fast play was difficult and simply not ‘fun’, although opinions now seem to have changed for the better.

While it is unlikely to play host to too many significant tournaments (although it has hosted a US Open), it does offer a challenging experience for the better amateurs.

Address: 6320 Grandview Dr W, University Place, WA 98467

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Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Washington

24: Ohoopee Match Club - Cobbtown, GA

Ohoopee Match Club - Cobbtown, GA
Dreamstime/Astra490

Oh, how fun it would be to be rich. The Ohoopee Match Club is owned by Michael Walrath, who mainly uses it as his own private golf course, albeit one that others can play on too.

This stunning course was built to blend in with the natural scenery as much as possible, complemented by plenty of sand, forests, and water features.

Many beginners have enjoyed playing at the Ohoopee Match Club, mostly due to the generously wide greens and the fact that you can take many approaches to the hole. Although, this 22-hole golf course still features a challenge or two.

Address: 275 Beaver Creek Farm, Cobbtown, GA 30420

25: Rock Creek Cattle Company - Deer Lodge, MT

Rock Creek Cattle Company - Deer Lodge, MT
Rock Creek Cattle Company

We know that the name of this golf course is a little bit odd and doesn't exactly scream 'golf'. However, we promise you that the Rock Creek Cattle Company offers one of the most fun golfing experiences in the United States.

Opening in 2008, the Rock Creek Cattle Company course favors minimalism. When you are playing here, you'll be playing under the Flint Creek Mountain Range, which offers all the scenery you need.

Wide fairways, rocky landscapes, and the odd water feature complete the look here. The course is known to be decent for both beginners and intermediate players. Although, you’ll really need to work on your putting game if you want success here.

Address: 105 Pauly Dr, Deer Lodge, MT 59722

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Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Montana

FAQs

What is the top golf course in The US?

Pine Valley, a very exclusive course, is often regarded as the top golf course in the United States.

What is the best golf resort in the United States?

Kiawah Island Golf Resort is one of the best golf resorts in the US, offering several courses covering all skill levels.

What is the best public golf course in The US?

Pebble Beach is one of the best public golf courses in the US, even if the green fees are incredibly high. 

What is the most prestigious golf course in the US?

Augusta National is one of the most prestigious golf courses in the US. This private club is all about creating the ‘ultimate’ golfing experience with everything from the trees to the sounds carefully curated for the player.

Wrapping Up

As we said at the start, the USA is known for having some fantastic golf courses. There are so many great places to play that putting together this list of the best golf courses in the USA was exceedingly difficult. However, we hope we have highlighted a few courses that you'll fall in love with…even if playing at some of them is out of reach for many of us (limited memberships, sadly).

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