Fortunately for American golf, there are endless choices when it comes to golf courses in the US. Designed to meet the needs and preferences of golfers of all levels of experience, golf courses in the US have often been ranked by prestigious golf publications in the country. Golf Digest has been ranking golf courses in the US since 1966, and everything they say goes. Now, many of the golf courses are elite private clubs where golfers can play based exclusively on invitation, but you can also find public courses where everyone is welcome if they are willing to pay the green fees. Some of the most exclusive courses host major championships and golf tournaments and are not in the cards for the majority of amateur golfers but it is still nice to know of them and add them to your bucket list. The great thing about the future is that it is unpredictable, you may be the next Arnold Palmer! Meanwhile, let’s check out the five best golf courses in the US in 2021-2022:
1. Pine Valley
Every golf publication in the country agrees: Pine Valley is one of the best, if not the best golf course in the US. Pine Valley checks all the boxes a fabulous golf course should have: impeccable design, outstanding hazards, and sophisticated green complexes. Set in a forest of tall pine trees with playing surfaces separated by sand dunes and scrub, Pine Valley awaits 20 miles southeast of Philadelphia with a wonderfully scenic route. Founded and designed initially by hotelier George Crump, Pine Valley impresses with its ambiance and shows no mercy for bad shots. Punishing and intimidating, the golf course has absolute penalties for a missed shot but gloriously rewards the best ones. It is ideal for a short, mid, and long iron, with every hole isolated and sudden changes of directions along the course.
2. Cypress Point
Cypress Point Club has been delighting golfers with its iconic par-3 16th since 1928 when the golf course first opened for play. Besides its most dramatic hole of the golf course that extends into the Pacific, many more highlights await along the route. Set on the westernmost tip of the Monterey Peninsula in California, Cypress Point was the idea of champion golfer Marion Hollins who entrusted the design into the talented hands of Seth Raynor who then passed it on to Dr. Alister MacKenzie. The lucky golfers who get to admire the dramatic seaside cliffs and breathtaking coastal dunes embraced by pines and the cypress trees of Cypress Point also discover a non-conventional golf course that seemingly breaks all the rules. Cypress Point has back-to-back par-5s on the front and back-to-back par-3s on the back, as well as a drivable ½-par 9th. The layout is not like anything you’re used to, and there’s no large out and back loop nor nines that guide your steps towards the clubhouse. However, you will be pampered with an extraordinary sequence of holes, Pacific dunes, and spectacular contoured greens.
3. Augusta National
If you love what Dr. Alister MacKenzie has done with Cypress Point, then you’ll also love the world-class golf course of Augusta National Golf Club. Inaugurated in 1933, Augusta National was founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. A mesmerizing blend of rolling hills and creeks adorned with trees and flowers, the golf course became a favorite golf destination for players of inland golf. With greens angled to reward accurate driving and boasting ingenious internal undulations, golfers who choose to visit Augusta always declare themselves enchanted with the setting. The route gravitates around the golf club’s colonial clubhouse and has had some alterations over the years meant to delight the best golfers in the world who meet here one week a year for The Masters. As one would expect, the golf course impresses with elevation changes, numerous hole directions, outstanding risks, and rewards, shifting from a members’ course to one of the most revered championship courses.
4. National Golf Links of America
Boasting a marvelous design, National Golf Links of America (NGLA) is the creation of Seth Raynor and C.B. Macdonald. Inspired by the ancient Scottish game, Macdonald designed a golf course for all golfers out there. Although the route is now famous for its Alps 3rd, the Redan 4th, the Short 6th, and the Leven 17th, undoubtedly superior to their homologues back in the United Kingdom, there are many other pleasant surprises in the playing areas. Both strong and amateur golfers rejoice when they find themselves face to face with the huge putting surfaces and generously proportioned fairways and are absolutely delighted to confront the merciless bunkers and immense targets. The greens at NGLA are equipped with severe internal contours that prove to be some of the most appreciated challenges on the East Coast. Boasting a variety of short and long holes with multiple blind shots and exquisite vistas on the 17th and 18th holes, the National makes sure all levels of players experience the thrill of discovering an extraordinary variety of green sites, captivating angles, and a vast assortment of holes that guarantee diverse wind directions.
5. Pebble Beach
With views across Carmel Bay and Stillwater Cove, Pebble Beach Golf Links is a constant presence in the Golf Digest’s ranking, and no one can deny its right to always be appreciated and celebrated. Pebble Beach awaits just a short drive away from Cypress Point and is the product of Samuel F.B. Morse’s imagination. The golf course’s beauty is unparalleled, and its spectacular seaside holes that stretch from the 4th to the 10th are undoubtedly its main attractions. Initially designed by amateur golfers Jack Neville and Douglas Grant and opened in 1919, Pebble Beach has undergone several changes over the years being reshaped by H. Chandler Egan. It is now the setting of the most beloved golfing rounds along the ocean creating a sublime atmosphere for golf, especially along the stretch of holes from four to 10. The only downside is that many first-time golfers find it difficult to focus on the game when faced with the sublime encounter between the land and the ocean.
The best part of the American world-class golf courses is they all have distinct personalities and a unique charm. Whether they are set along the ocean or hidden among cypress trees, the best golf courses in the US often become the Holy Grail of golfers worldwide. However, as different as they may be, there is one detail they have in common besides their outstanding routes: golf pyramids. Often under the care of a private club, the best golf courses in the country have ditched the golf buckets a long time ago and opted for golf pyramids like the Stacker and Fore-N-One to celebrate the game’s elegance. Furthermore, providing golfers with golf pyramids allows them to have a clean and transparent game. Golf is about sophistication, and the Stacker is the detail that always makes the difference!