20 Courses and Resorts for Golfers Who Love to Walk

There were plenty of passionate reactions to the "Ultimate Cart Chart" I published a few days ago.

Some of you appreciated me clarifying which top courses in the UK and Ireland offer "buggies" or at least have one available if you have a physical need.

But a number of you wanted to know the reverse/opposite; summarized by this comment from J. Dilks:

"How about a similar list of the top destinations in the U.S. and Canada that will allow, or even better, encourage walking?"

A very good question, JD, and we can even up the ante with courses that are "walking only."

I think we all know a few, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a comprehensive list.

So here it is (or at least the beginnings of one): top public golf courses and resorts in North America where walking is mandatory (except with a medical note) or highly encouraged:

Walking-Only Golf Courses

Erin Hills Golf Course (Wisconsin)
While ownership has changed since landing the 2017 U.S. Open, the cart policy has remained exactly the same: motorized carts are not allowed -- and get this -- pull/push carts aren't, either. Your only option is to carry your bag or hire a caddie to do it for you.

Bandon Dunes Resort (Oregon)
Bandon Dunes promises, "Golf as it Was Meant to Be," and its walking-only policy is a big part of the experience. You can use a pull-cart or carry your bag, but I'd recommend using one of the highly capable caddies.

Ballyneal Golf Club (Colorado)
Technically private, this Tom Doak-designed beauty in Colorado's northeastern "chop hills" allows,"limited outside play including Stay & Play specials for certain dates," but it doesn't allow carts.

Bethpage Black Golf Course (New York)
Unlike the other courses at Bethpage State Park, the Black Course is walking only, but I wouldn't advise carrying your own bag through this torture test. Instead, hire a caddie or rent a pull-cart for $5.

Chambers Bay Golf Course (Washington)
Chambers Bay may not yet rival Bethpage Black, but the two have a lot in common: it's a muni, it's a U.S Open site (2015), and it's walking only. One area that Chambers Bay beats Bethpage? Its pull carts are included in the price.

Whistling Straits, Straits Course (Wisconsin)
This major championship site promotes walking in a major way: prior to twilight, you're required to walk with a caddie. After twilight, you can carry your own bag or rent a pull cart for $13.

Cabot Links (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Bandon Dunes owner Mike Keiser is involved in this top-shelf project, too (which has a second course in the works), so it's no surprise Cabot Links is also a pure, "walking only" facility. Caddies and pull carts are available.

Walking Encouraged or Walking Friendly Golf Courses

There's a difference between courses that "allow walking" and those that actively encourage it. The below courses fall into the latter category:

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Saguaro Course (Arizona)
This Coore/Crenshaw course was "built for walking" and makes Sun Mountain Speed Carts available for those who want to do so.

Kiawah Island Resort, Ocean Course (South Carolina)
This major championship site is delightfully walking-only before noon.

The Dormie Club (North Carolina)
Now allows carts, but leans toward its walking-only roots.

Madden's on Gull Lake (Minnesota)
I didn't see anyone walking on my last visit, but this year it established the "2013 Walking Initiative" for all of its 63 holes.

The Prairie Club (Nebraska)
Similar to Dormie Club: now allows carts but established as walking only.

Harbour Town Golf Links (South Carolina)
Encourages walking by restricting carts to paths year round.

Pebble Beach Golf Links (California)
Same here; plus Pebble is known for its highly capable caddie corps.

Willingers Golf Club (Minnesota)
One of the top values in the U.S.A is also walker-friendly.

May River Golf Club (South Carolina)
Jack Nicklaus signature course accessible to guests of the Inn at Palmetto Bluff.

Treetops Resort, Tradition Course (Michigan)
Designed as a walking course. Carts now allowed, but still no cart paths.

Common Ground Golf Course (Colorado)
Tom Doak/Jim Urbina redo where caddies are included in the walking rate.

Streamsong Resort, Blue and Red Courses (Florida)
Tom Doak (Blue) and Coore/Crenshaw (Red) layouts were designed and built to be walked.

Pinehurst Resort, Courses 1-8 (North Carolina)
"Our belief is the caddie has the greatest impact on the golf experience."

What do you think of my list? Do you know of other publicly accessible courses that are "walking only" or those that actively encourage it?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
Default User Avatar
Commented on

I am looking for a walking golf course in Southwest Florida round Naples/Ft.Myers? Can you help?

Commented on

Check out Fort Myers Country Club, it's a restored Ross course that is now a muni. Very flat and walkable.

Commented on

Sand Valley in central WI should be in your list. Best part is you can choose to carry your own bag, use a pull cart or a regular or fore caddie. No cart paths!! No houses!

Default User Avatar
Commented on

I usually try to find a course that I can walk
Here are a few Public Courses that I walk.
HSR Fairfield CT
Fairchild Wheeler Bridgeport CT
Martin County Red Stuart, Fl
Penderbrook Oakton, Va

Default User Avatar
Commented on

The OLD WHITE TPC at the Greenbrier. Easy track to walk and since caddie mandatory, do it right and call ahead requesting a walking caddie

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Love to hear people's thoughts on awful 'walking fee' added, in some cases to greens fee charges?

Default User Avatar
Commented on

The Dormie has a new caddie master...... You have to reserve your caddy at least a day in advance . They also offer single bag caddies. Pine needles is a great course to walk. The caddie fees are very affordable. Pinehurst 2 is a must walk with a caddie!

Commented on

Great courses you have chosen. I would add Memorial Park in Houston plus others like Palm Beach Golf (18 holes of beautiful ocean view 3 pars) mentioned in my building 100 Great Golf walks. www [dot] golfwalks [dot] com

Also I would separate out the five Bandon courses. My favorite is Bandon Trails (a fantastic walk in the woods, like your own private fairway) followed by Old MacDonald (replicates famous holes by super-sizing the fairways, bunkers and greens).

Commented on

I walk and carry my bag, unless it is 100 degrees or distances from greens to tees are real long...But my suggestion is that when people make tee times they specify if they are riding or walking so that the starter can pair walkers with each other and same for riders. That way they could space them better and improve the pace of play.

Commented on

The Dormie Club--not sure. I played it yesterday and brought my pull cart. Was told they did not allow pull cartsw, but I could carry if I wanted. So choices are carry on your back, take a caddy or cart.

Commented on

Dormie actually makes it rather hard to walk. They won't allow you to carry your own bag on most days and at most times. You need to either take a cart (no up charge) or pay for a caddie. It is a wonderful course to walk, but they appear to have deviated from their roots as opposed to embracing them. Great course though - highly recommended.

More from the author
3 Min Read
August 15, 2017
We recently spent a couple days at the historic Omni Bedford Springs in central Pennsylvania. Here's what we thought of this grande-dame resort.
2 Min Read
August 3, 2017
How does Ship Sticks compare to other services claiming to help you ship your golf clubs to your vacation destination? Here's the breakdown.
1 Min Read
July 25, 2017
Bandon Dunes is world-famous as one of golf's great destinations. But it's arguably the "little things" that take the experience to the highest level.
1 Min Read
July 10, 2017
We just came back from Bandon Dunes, but not without a pre-trip horror story of sorts. Share yours with us and we can commiserate.
1 Min Read
April 3, 2017
Want to know the real cost of shipping golf clubs vs. traveling with them? Check out this side-by-side comparison so you can make the right choice.
1 Min Read
February 14, 2017
Happy Valentines Day! Check out these 20 wonderful golf resorts for all you romantics out there.
16 Images
November 27, 2023
There's a lot to be thankful for this November.
4 Min Read
November 15, 2023
The streaming giant picked golf as the medium for its foray into live sports. How did it go?
3 Min Read
November 30, 2023
For six days in early spring, The Old Course at St. Andrews will open its "reverse" routing, offering a completely different experience at one of the world's great golf courses.
3 Min Read
November 12, 2023
Rounds at tough-to-access private clubs, luxury travel experiences and more are on offer, all for a good cause.
Now Reading
20 Courses and Resorts for Golfers Who Love to Walk