Dunaverty might take the prize as the “most hidden” on this list, as it lies outside the old whisky-distilling town of Campbeltown, right down at the bottom of Scotland’s remote Mull of Kintyre. David McLay Kidd describes it as: “My favorite little course in Scotland. It is so fun and so quirky, with small square greens, blind shots, the most amazing views, and all for pennies!” Depending on exchange rates, expect to pay around $25 for 18 holes midweek.
“Los Angeles can be a difficult golf city if you’re not a member or guest at one of the exclusive clubs,” says Alexandra O’Laughlin. “Rustic Canyon quickly became a favorite for early Saturday-morning tee times.”
Explains Roger Steele: “Bolingbrook is a links-style course in Chicago’s west suburbs. Not only is it an amazing playing experience, but it’s home to one of the best public practice facilities in Illinois, including a full wedge range for you to practice real shots from 120 yards and in.”
Southern Pines GC opened in 1906 and offers an early Donald Ross design that is open for public play. Claims Larry Olmsted: “This course may be better than Pinehurst No. 2, and is at worst the second-best course in this golf-mad region.”
An innovative nine-holer created by dynamic duo King-Collins (Tad King and Rob Collins). “Tucked away just outside of Chattanooga, Sweetens Cove could be one of my favorite places I’ve ever been,” states Geno Bonnalie. “The course offers different routings which enable you to play from pretty much any tee box to any green. You can play the course backwards, forwards and, who knows, maybe even upside down.” Roger Steele calls it “one of the most fun and unique places that I’ve experienced in golf.”
Established in 1912, The Aiken is understood to be the first golf course in the United States to add forward tees, on the recommendation of visitor May Dunn, America’s first female PGA pro. Says Brandon Johnson: “With Donald Ross roots and modern Jim McNair efforts, the soul of this golf course has been preserved.”
This family-owned nine-hole course is 130 years old, dating back to 1893, and is among the 100 oldest golf courses in the United States. Created with striking variety, including a second hole shaped like a volcano, the course is “truly special,” says Brandon Johnson.
Alexandra O’Laughlin, who captained the golf team at Lewis University in Illinois not so long ago, has particularly fond memories of Big Run GC in Lockport. “Big Run is an absolute classic, from the clubhouse to the huge oak trees on the course,” she says. “This is the best $48 you can spend in golf.”
Incline Village, along the northern shores of Lake Tahoe, is where the Sorenstam family goes for R&R. The village boasts a Championship course and a par-58 Mountain course, which is the highest altitude layout in Nevada. “They are both golf gems and so much fun,” says Annika. “There are so many beautiful holes, and I highly recommend them both.”
A hidden pocket of the Rockies, Cornerstone Club is a private resort community located about 40 miles outside of Telluride. Its Greg Norman course plays through aspen groves and pine forests at an elevation that exceeds 9,000 feet on certain holes. Though reserved primarily for members, the resort, which is now managed by Montage International, features a selection of cabins and homes for rent.
Opened in 2022, this gem is playing a major role in the rise of Nebraska as a golf destination.