The "Top" course I've played!
Top 100 Courses You Can Play
By Kickntrue on 8/6/10
Golf and Golfweek continue their battle of releasing relatively arbitrary lists of Top 100 golf courses. This week- Golf's turn. I probably shouldn't say they are arbitrary. I think in general people will agree they are great courses, and certainly some famous courses like Pebble Beach and Bethpage Black are desired by all for a chance to play, but with 25,000+ plus courses in the USA, how much difference is there really between #32 and #98? Sure, Whistling Straights (#3) makes you're local muni look like a joke, but I'm sure you could find plenty or arguments for TPC Sawgrass (#10). I'd argue that outside of a legendary course, it's always WHO you play with that will be more memorable than where you play.

Anyway- it's still fun to look. Thankfully beyond the Top 100, they've also made a state-by-state list which is probably a little easier for us individual to digest and use as a "to-do" list.

For what it's worth- I've played 3 within the top 100 (one of them just last week) and have walked the grounds of a 4th, and I feel this is totally unacceptable. I hope to double that number within a year! I'm sure some of you have knocked out a bunch more. As always, brag in the comments so I know who to hate!

Top 100 You Can Play -
State by State Rankings

photo source

[ comments ]
Panerai111 says:
Going to Wolf Creek in 2 weeks! YEAH!
Swingem says:
Git yer self to Bandon! This side of the pond, nothing else compares.
srogers13 says:
I get regular play on #88, Grand National, although I spend most of my time at Capitol Hill.
Bobcat66j says:
Just 6.....Harbor Town, Doral, Great Waters, Dubsdread, Ocean Course, Greyhawk
Kickntrue says:
@swingem- that's hard to just "get to"... kinda have to make that the point of the trip, which is cool too. they have a cool map- where you can see the top 100 by location. looks like the best place to be is around Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head, South Carolina where you could knock off a couple top 100 courses in each location.
falcon50driver says:
#17Shadow Creek,Vegas..Free on the boss's comp..#19Mauna Kea,Big Island, one of 6 that week...#20Torrey Pines,LaJolla, Never played Pebble but it can't be better than Torrey Pines...#24Homestead,Hot Springs Va., Landed on the mountain overlooking the golf course,ate at Sam Snead's place...#29PaaKo,Santa Fe.Didn't get to finish,Boss said it's too hot and we had to leave(I think it was because I was winning)#32 Dancing Rabbit,Mississippi...Gambling trip to Biloxi #40 Black Mesa, Santa Fe, HOLE IN ONE On 11... #60 Wolf Creek, Vegas, free comp. from MGM, most expensive golf I ever played for free, Lost $6000.00 for the privilege. Barton Creek Austin good ole TEXAS...Doral, Miami twice, 5 years apart.
Kickntrue says:
@m2d- oh man... Would love to hear the bad beat story on Wolf Creek trip... or was it just the dealer not cooperating in general?
Clint24 says:
I've been lucky enough to play #9 TPC Sawgrass and #88 Grand National. Both are great courses designed by great guys, Pete Dye and Robert Trent Jones. Pete Dye can sure design a golf course.
falcon50driver says:
Blackjack can be brutal. When you're hot you're hot. When you're not you're not. But hey, they felt sorry for me enough to comp the golf.
hp says:
13 of them. The goal is to double it by the 2012 list!

1) Pacific Dunes - Indeed, 18 perfect holes. Thanks PN.
5) Bandon Dunes
7) Pinehurst No. 2 - Right before the 2005 US Open. Love this course.
11) Pasatiempo
13) Chambers Bay - Stunning. Don't miss the Chambers Bay Scottish Ale on draft after the round.
15) Bandon Trails
20) Torrey Pines South
69) Karsten Creek
83) Lake of Isles North
88) Grand National Lake - Love this course. The Judge is awesome too, but didn't make the list this time around.
93) Rustic Canyon - $39 bucks on a weekday. What a value.
99) Grayhawk Talon
100) Pinehurst No. 8

Never had more fun on a golf course than at Bandon.
KVSmith59 says:
merlin, next time play pai gow....won't lose it as fast :)
jakeisbill says:
The only course on the list that I have had the opportunityto play is Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, SC. I played Harbour Town back in January. I happened to catch a weird day that happened to be 65'F. Every other day that week was in the low 50s. Beautiful day, great course, and I got to walk with a caddy. Being born and raised in the Myrtle Beach area I have had VERY few opportunities to walk. It was quite the privilege to use a push cart. Here at the beach the 100+ courses, for the most part, make you take a cart even when its CPO (cart path only) the help maintain the chance to put 250 players through the course in a single day. Anyway I digress It was an amazing course that will really test a regular player. Pete Dye really did an amazing feat combining;
1.) the smallest greens on the PGA Regular Schedule
2.) The chance that any old schmuck, like us, can score on.
3.) While still reminding you who the boss is. ie. the "Middle Finger" to anybody Pin High and right on the 17th hole.
sepfeiff says:
#19 Mauna Kea

Forty-five years ago Jack Nicklaus opened Hawaii's Mauna Kea by beating Arnold Palmer and Gary Player in the "Big Three" match. Afterward, Nicklaus called the Robert Trent Jones Sr. design "the most fun golf course I've ever played."

It is absolutely the most incredible course I have ever seen, played it in 2003. The whole thing is manicured to perfection and playing against the ocean breeze is astonishing.
Bryan K says:
Glad to see that Hawktree in Bismarck, ND made this year's list. I know a few people who work out there, and I know that they have been working hard to make it the premiere golfing facility in North Dakota. If anyone gets up this way, the other two premiere courses in the state are the Bully Pulpit course in Medora, and the off-the-beaten-path course called The Links of North Dakota on Lake Sakakawea in Ray, ND.
zeg says:
I'm kind of surprised to see Rustic Canyon on the list out of the courses in the area. Lost Canyons, nearby, was a lot more impressive in my book, so I'm going to agree that there's a huge amount of randomness going on here...
ipv6freely says:
Heh, article is irrelevant for me. Being a course I CAN play doesn't mean much considering I couldn't afford to play ANY of them.
falcon50driver says:
KVSmith I've seen the Pai Gow tables but have no idea what they're doing. I was with a client last week at the casino in New Orleans. He made me play three card poker with him. I was lost as a goose about what was going on but won $2300. That's better than a poke in the eye with a frozen carrot.
mwright525 says:
If I could have gotten a T Time while the sun was still up I would have played # 6, Bethpage Black, on Sunday. I tried calling in when the phone lines opened up for Sunday and couldnt get thru, so by the time I did, best t time was after 5pm. So maybe the article should have read: Top 100 Course You Can Play if you're lucky enough to get a T Time.
SingleDigits says:
#13: Chambers Bay (twice): Fantastic course, stunning views. 2015 US Open venue.
#20: Torrey Pines, south (twice): Great views, but I thought the course was so-so for the money.
#41: Taconic: trad. layout. Small greens, tight drives, etc.
#83: Lake of Isles: great layout. #18 is tricky.
#96: Deacon's Lodge: course conditioning was superb.

Next on my list is Beth Page and the Turning Stone courses.
Swingem says:
@Kickntru - Agreed, Bandon is not easy to get to, but well worth the trip. We make the trek from the SF Bay Area (9 hr drive) every year at the end of February (last week of winter rates), leaving at 9:00pm on Thursday night, drive in shifts thru the night, check in around 6:00am, get a couple hours sleep and then play a round. 2 rounds on Sat & Sun. Last round on Mon morning, then drive home.

I agree with HP, Pacific Dunes is "18 perfect holes", but Bandon Dunes is not far behind. My favorite walk is from the approach on #4 at Bandon, when you turn a corner of gourse on the right and walk down to the green and see the ocean for the first time. The fifth hole runs along the ocean and may be my favorite hole there, and maybe in all of golf.

When I die, I want to be cremated, viking style, on the cliffs by the fifth tee-box at Bandon while bagpipes play and my friends fire a twenty driver salute into the Pacific Ocean. Probably would never clear environmental impact though.
wrhall02 says:
Agree with @IPv6freely...all are bit on the high end side. Almost every course is out of my income bracket. I would like and would use a "Top 100 list of courses in the $50 range."

*Yes, I know* Torrey Pines and Beth Page Black are "affordable" but ever try to get on them?
Swingem says:
@wrhall02 & IPv6freely - These are certainly out of $range for most people on a regular basis, but if you check package deals and plan ahead, most are doable. Our trip to Bandon cost a little north of $600 and includes 3 rounds of golf, 3 nights lodging, 2 dinners and 3 breakfasts. Also unlimited use of the range. I save for this trip all year, and surf the rest of the year for cheap tee times.
jefs2box says:
Nothing in PA? That's a shame.
treycox says:
What a great list of courses!!! I am sooo lucky that my little brother works at # 49 The Highland Golf Course at Primland Resort by Donald Steel, 2006 in the beautiful Southern VA mountains. I have received the pleasure of playing that course 3 times over the last year. The entire course is a bent grass green. It is absolutely amazing, beautiful and breath-taking. The Resort is top notch as it gives you villas, cabins and a huge hotel to stay in while you are there. There is also hunting, bike riding and ATV riding too. It is a trip that you will never forget with a terrific golf course to play.
wrhall02 says:
@Swingem, true enough. With planning, packages, coupons, gift from friends, maybe, just maybe I could afford a few on the list. Certainly none of the above $150 range. And it's always good to have a brass ring to reach for...

I have played one on this list, Torrey Pines (I like both N. and S. courses), but I paid less than $20 per round.

I would find it far more useful to have a Top 100 "affordable" courses you can play list. All of the Phoenix courses would qualify right now (summer rates, along with 115 temp).
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