There are rewards for becoming a skilled golfer. One of the best privileges of being able to compete at an amateur level is that hundreds of private courses open their doors at different times of year to the scorecard-and-pencil set. Local-, regional- and national-scale tournaments for juniors, ams, mid-ams (25 years and up) and senior-ams (50 or 55 years and up, depending on the state and event) abound, many of them at courses that would be a challenge to access otherwise.
Early every year, the USGA releases information about its slate of qualifiers in advance of the application period for its myriad championships opening. That sneak-peek recently became available for all 2022 USGA championships, and there are superb golf courses stepping up to host qualifiers at all levels, from the U.S. Junior to the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur and all events in between.
Here are the most notable courses hosting USGA championship qualifiers this year.
2022 U.S. Open Championship
The Country Club - Brookline, Mass.
May 2: Pine Tree Golf Club - Boynton Beach, Fla.
Ben Hogan called this Dick Wilson masterpiece the best flat golf course in the world. Having played it a few years ago, I see what The Haw meant.
May 3: Hollywood Golf Club - Deal, N.J.
Walter Travis had as high-quality an output as any Golden Age architect, as well as a reputation as one of the world's best amateur golfers in his day. Brian Schneider, a longtime associate of Tom Doak's Renaissance Golf Design, overaw a meticulous restoration of this Jersey Shore gem dotted with roughly 180 bunkers, which makes it one of the 10 most-heavily bunkered courses in the world. The 12th has 57 alone.
May 9: Southampton Golf Club - Southampton, N.Y.
Overshadowed by neighbors Shinnecock Hills and National Golf Links of America, Southampton still shines as Seth Raynor's last golf course. Despite playing less than 6,600 yards from the tips, this linksy par-70 should play longer and tougher in breezy, lush spring conditions.
May 16: The Pulpit Club - Caledon, Ont., Canada
This Michael Hurdzan/Dana Fry design outside Toronto has long been considered one of Canada's very best courses, back to when it was known as Devil's Pulpit.
June 6: The Olympic Club - San Francisco, Calif. (Final Qualifying)
"Golf's Longest Day" will call at several prestigious clubs, but none more than Olympic, whose Lake Course has hosted five past U.S. Opens.
2022 U.S. Senior Open
Saucon Valley Country Club (Old Course) - Bethlehem, Penn.
May 9: Waverley Country Club - Portland, Ore.
This Chandler Egan-designed course, which borders the Willamette River, was renovated by Gil Hanse in 2012 and is better than ever.
May 19: The Bear's Club - Jupiter, Fla
Jack Nicklaus lives just around the corner from this tough-as-claws layout he designed and where he regularly holds course. PGA Tour pros like to play it, too, because they know if they can score well there, they can handle the test anywhere.
2022 U.S. Girls' Junior
The Club at Olde Stone - Bowling Green. Ky.
June 15: Watchung Valley Golf Club - Watchung, N.J.
This little-known Seth Raynor design received a big glow-up in 2017 thanks to George Waters, a golf historian and former Tom Doak associate who now works for the USGA.
June 21: Radrick Farms Golf Club - Ann Arbor, Mich.
One of Pete Dye's earliest efforts, this private course tied to the University of Michigan shows Dye's capacity for restraint and subtlety.
2022 U.S. Junior Amateur
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
May 14: United States Naval Academy Golf Club - Annapolis, Mary.
Just before his stunning renovation of nearby Congressional, Andrew Green restored William Flynn's work here, giving it the far-and-away best course of the service academies.
June 20: Stanford Golf Course - Palo Alto, Calif.
What better place to try and impress college coaches than at the course where 3-time Junior Am Champion (and 3-time US Am champion...and 15-time major champion) Tiger Woods played his college golf?
2022 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur
Anchorage Golf Course - Anchorage, Alaska
July 30-August 4
June 23: Algonquin Golf Club - St. Louis, Mo.
Tom Bendelow blessed this old-line club with its current golf course in 1909, and architect Brian Silva made some updates in the 1990s.
2022 U.S. Women's Amateur
Chambers Bay - University Place, Wash.
June 22: Crestmont Country Club - West Orange, N.J.
Hiding in plain sight amongst several high-profile northern New Jersey club, this Donald Ross gem has some of the most treacherous greens in the region.
July 18: Waialae Country Club - Honolulu, Hawaii
Kudos to the annual host of the PGA Tour's SONY Open for welcoming women's amateur hopefuls to its Seth Raynor-designed layout this summer.
2022 U.S. Amateur
Ridgewood Country Club - Paramus, N.J.
June 28: Camargo Club - Cincinnati, Ohio
This tiny-membership, super-private Seth Raynor design with a world-class set of par 3s peeks its head above the radar just long enough to welcome U.S. Amateur hopefuls each summer. This qualifier tends to fill up within minutes of applications being available.
July 11: Moraine Country Club - Dayton, Ohio
The Buckeye State has an embarrassment of riches on the private golf side, and this Alex "Nipper" Campbell masterpiece that rambles over its namesake rumpled terrain regularly wins plaudits as one of the state's best.
July 11: Trinity Forest Golf Club - Dallas, Texas
It will be hot and extremely competitive, but participants in this qualifier will have the treat of tackling this recent Coore & Crenshaw delight that hosted the PGA Tour until the pros decided its unique challenges didn't fit their Jello-mold of skills.
July 13: Rolling Green Golf Club - Springfield, Penn.
Philadelphia is one of America's great golf cities, and Rolling Green is one of its best golf courses, originally laid out by William Flynn and with Gil Hanse's team overseeing its restoration.
July 25: Davenport Country Club - Pleasant Valley, Iowa
One of relatively few American courses laid out by Charles H. Alison, Davenport is one of the best-preserved examples of his work, with creeks winding throughout the exciting property.
2022 U.S. Senior Women's Open
NCR Country Club (South Course) - Kettering, Ohio
July 12: White Bear Yacht Club - White Bear Lake, Minn.
This Donald Ross design on a lake half an hour northeast of Minneapolis has some of the most dramatic fairway undulations in inland American golf.
2022 U.S. Senior Amateur
The Kittansett Club - Marion, Mass
August 27-September 1
July 25: Alpine Country Club - Demarest, N.J.
The A.W. Tillinghast design at this club flies under the radar in the New York metro area but as its name suggests, it will serve up a stern test to U.S. Senior Am hopefuls with its exciting terrain.
August 8: Foundry Golf Club - Powhatan, Va.
Developed by a group of Richmond businessmen who wanted a quiet, out-of-the-way golf retreat, this course built by founder J.K. Timmons and designed by noted Virginia architect R.F. "Buddy" Loving is regarded as one of the state's best.
2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur
Erin Hills - Erin, Wisc.
August 8: Dornick Hills Golf & Country Club - Ardmore, Okla.
This Perry Maxwell course midway between Oklahoma City and Dallas may not have as much name-recognition as the likes of Southern Hills, but thanks to a Tom Doak restoration effort, it seems destined to take its place among the great golf courses of the Great Plains.
August 9: Essex County Country Club - West Orange, N.J.
Essex County is a Golden Age melting pot, with A.W. Tillinghast, Seth Raynor and Charles Banks all contributing to its unique design.
August 15: Valley Club of Montecito - Santa Barbara, Calif.
In California, Alister MacKenzie is known mostly for his work at Cypress Point and Pasatiempo, but this SoCal stunner two hours up the coast from Los Angeles is every bit an expression of the Doctor's genius, too.
2022 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur
Fiddlesticks Country Club (Long Mean) - Fort Myers, Fla.
August 18: Stonewall Links - Elverson, Penn.
This club's two Tom Doak-designed courses hosted the 2016 U.S. Mid-Am and were just awarded the 2023 Women's Mid-Amateur championship, so this will be an excellent preview.