#MattsTop50: The Top 10 public golf courses in the U.S.

And so, without further ado, the best of The Best.

My top 10 public courses in the U.S. are the courses that I'd be content playing for the rest of my life. Heck, give me three of these and I'd be good. It just so happens that three of my Top 10 are at Bandon Dunes, which should come as no shock for anyone who has been following my journeys to over 500 courses all over the world.

But it also explains the how and why Mike Keiser's dream destination on the southwest coast of Oregon could become the best pure golf getaway in America in less than 15 years. What is second best? Pinehurst, which is why it's no surprise that seven courses, all within 30 minutes of the Pinehurst Resort, are in my top 50.

The previous 40: 20-11 | 30-21 | 40-31 | 50-41

Here are a few other trends within the list:

6 Pete Dye designs, all within the top 30.

5 within the TPC network, but none in my top 20.

4 municipal courses, all of which have hosted major championships, or major events, such as a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup.

7 in the Sandhills of North Carolina, all within 30 minutes of Pinehurst Resort.

5 have been built by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, who only have 30 courses in their portfolio in their 30-year partnership.

18 courses are $200 or less on peak-season weekends.

$237 is the average peak green fee of the 50 courses.

$11,881 is total price to pay full fare for all 50.

We've received a lot of responses on Twitter about the steep green fees of many of these bucket-list experiences. But there are exceptions. Here are the five lowest green fees in my Top 50:

1. The Quarry at Giants Ridge (No. 49/$89)
2. TPC Deere Run (No. 41/$99)
3. The Classic at Madden's Resort (No. 34/$119)
4. Forest Dunes (No. 10/$149)
5. Bethpage Black (No. 4/$150)

Matt Ginella's Top 10 public courses in the U.S.

Roscommon, Mich.
Designer: Tom Weiskopf
Price: $119-149


Bandon, Ore.
Designer: David McLay Kidd
Price: $265-310


Bandon, Ore.
Designer: Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw
Price: $265-310


Pebble Beach, Calif.
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Sr.
Price: $395


Santa Cruz, Calif.
Designer: Alister MacKenzie
Price: $260

Video: Ginella on courses 10-thru-6 in his Top 50



Sheboygan, Wis.
Designer: Pete Dye
Price: $395


Farmingdale, N.Y.
Designer: A.W. Tillinghast
Price: $43-150


Pinehurst, N.C.
Designer: Donald Ross, Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw
Price: $410


Bandon, Ore.
Designer: Tom Doak
Price: $265-310


Pebble Beach, Calif.
Designer: Jack Neville
Price: $495

Video: Ginella on his Top 5 public courses in America

What am I missing? What did I get wrong? You can join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #MattsTop50.

Green fees are based on latest peak season rates and are subject to change. In the case of resort courses, stay-and-play packages and specials often greatly reduce the price of the green fee.

Matt Ginella is Golf Advisor's Editor-at-Large and host of Golf Advisor Round Trip travel series on Golf Channel. Matt serves as resident buddy trip expert and captains a collection of VIP trips called Golf Advisor Getaways.
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I agree that an affordable list would be more helpful.  Not many of us have $5,000 to play his top 10.

Commented on

Go to Bandon Dunes in the winter and you'll get 3 of the top 10 for around $1k total, including lodging, food, beers and maybe even flight.

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Why don't you make a list of the "affordable" top ten courses.  Despite your survey listed above the average Joe cannot afford to pay $100 to$500 dollars for a round of golf!

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Hey Matt, would love to know where Pelican Hill fits in your rankings. Ignoring the cost (obviously very high), one of the only other knocks I have is they're not walkable. Otherwise, my favorite Fazios (at worst, tied with Shadow Creek) with outstanding playability and variety tee to green, and wickedly fast and interesting greens- not to mention amazing Pacific views.

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#MattsTop50: The Top 10 public golf courses in the U.S.