Play where the (lady) pros play: The 30 best U.S. public courses to ever host an LPGA Tour event

Famous public golf courses hosting the PGA Tour love to market the slogan, "Play Where the Pros Play."

The same principle can be -- and should be -- applied to the women of the LPGA Tour. I scoured the LPGA Tour history books to dig up the 30 most famous public-access courses in America to ever host an LPGA Tour event. It's an impressive list. Here goes:

Tournaments (winners): 2007-2012 Navistar LPGA Classic (Maria Hjorth/Lorena Ochoa/Ochoa/Katherine Hall/Lexi Thompson/Stacy Lewis), 2014-2016 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic (Mi Jung Hir/Kris Tamulis/Ariya Jutanugarn).
The Senator course, the flattest course at the 54-Capitol Hill complex outside of Birmingham, lost its event this year. The 20- to 40-foot mounds were perfect for fans to watch all the action, and the 160 pot bunkers keep scoring honest.

29. Presidio Golf Course, San Francisco

Tournaments (winners): 1953 San Francisco Weathervane (Louise Suggs). 1957 United Voluntary Services Open (Wiffi Smith).
Located within a national park, the Presidio is renowned for its spectacular hilly, forested setting as well as its challenging holes. San Francisco's notoriously damp climate makes it play longer than the 6,449 yards on the scorecard. Babe Ruth, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Charles Schulz and Joe DiMaggio have played here.

28. Monarch Beach Golf Links, Dana Point, Calif.

Tournaments (winners): 2001-2002 Hyundai Team Matches (Lorie Kane/Janice Moodie both times).
Robert Trent Jones Jr. built a unique routing of three par 5s and five par 3s that plays 6,645 yards from the tips. The par-70 layout has more teeth when the breeze picks up in the afternoon. Ponds and hazards pinch eight holes, ready to pounce. The third hole swerves left through a maze of seven bunkers, finishing at a wild green overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The finishing hole at Monarch Beach Golf Links can cause a splash-down for golfers who miss right of the green.

Monarch Beach Golf Links

Tournaments (winners): 2013-present CME Group Titleholders (Shanshan Feng/Lydia Ko/Cristie Kerr/Charley Hull).
The Gold course, host of the Greg Norman Shark Shootout on the PGA Tour, rotates public play daily with the more strategic Black course. The Gold course features more waste bunkers, lined with crushed coquina shells, and more opportunity to run the ball onto the green than the Black.

Tournament (winner): 1994 Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge (PGA team of Paul Azinger, Fred Couples and Greg Norman.
This Nicklaus design has shared the tournament spotlight with the more famous TPC Stadium course at PGA West many times during the PGA Tour's CareerBuilder Challenge, the old Qualifying School and the Golf Channel Am Tour national finals.

Tournament (winner): 1951 Ponte Vedra Beach Women's Open (Babe Zaharias).
The 6,811-yard Ocean course dates to 1928 (designed by Herbert Bertram Strong), but it has been tinkered with by Robert Trent Jones Sr. (1947) and Bobby Weed (1998). It was actually scheduled to host a Ryder Cup until World War II got in the way. Plenty of sand (99 bunkers) and water keep players on guard.

24. Aviara Golf Club, Carlsbad, Calif.

Tournaments (winners): 2013-present Kia Classic (Beatriz Recari/Anna Nordqvist/Cristie Kerr/Lydia Ko).
Nestled into 180 acres winding through three valleys, Aviara is adjacent to the Batiquitos Lagoon, a wildlife paradise. Cascading waterfalls and streams seem to surround every green, especially the 149-yard third hole and the 201-yard 14th hole.

Tournaments (winners): 1958 French Lick Open (Louise Suggs), 1959-60 LPGA Championship (Betsy Rawls/Mickey Wright).
Playing the Ross course (at that time known as the Sheraton Hotel Country Club) feels like going back in time. Its rolling fairways and tricky greens are a throwback to the days when golf course architecture was more profound in its nuances.

The the severity of the greens protects par on the Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort.

Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort

Tournaments (winners): 2003-09 Michelob Light Open at Kingsmill (Grace Park/Se Ri Pak/Cristie Kerr/Karrie Webb/Suzann Pettersen/Annika Sorenstam/Kerr). 2012-present Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC (Jiyai Shin/Kerr/Lizette Salas/Minjee Lee/Ariya Jutanugarn)
The Pete Dye course has actually been softened over the years -- a renovation took out his signature railroad ties -- yet still demands plenty of shot-making to elevated greens. The finishing stretch along the James River is as scenic as it gets. The 2017 Kingsmill Championship will be held May 15-21.

21. Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Tournament (winner): 2005 Office Depot Championship (Hee-Won Han).
A typical Pete Dye design, the old Ocean Trails course, which famously washed into the ocean before being bought by Donald Trump, is as visually intimidating as it is beautiful. There's always a barranca, bunker or ball-gobbling brush ready to strike.

Tournaments (winners): 1990-92 Kemper Women's Open (Beth Daniel/Deb Richard/Dawn Coe) on the Blue course. 2003 ConAgra LPGA Skins Game (Karrie Webb) on the Gold.
Everybody loves the panoramic views, resort playability and weather at this 54-hole complex situated on the drier side of Maui. The newer and more scenic Emerald and Gold courses get the nod over the Blue as the favorite of most golfers.

19. Bulle Rock Golf Course, Havre de Grace, Md.

Tournaments (winners): 2005-2009 McDonald's LPGA Championship (Annika Sorenstam/Se Ri Pak/Suzann Pettersen/Yani Tseng/Anna Nordqvist).
The 7,375-yard Pete Dye design is a minefield of rocks, water and bunkers. It's the 16th-toughest course in the country, according to Golf Advisor reviews.

Tournaments (winners): 1987-89 Hawaii Ladies Open (Cindy Rarick/Ayako Okamoto/Sherri Turner). 2005-2009 SBS Open at Turtle Bay (Jennifer Rosales/Joo Mi Kim/Paula Creamer/Annika Sorenstam/Angela Stanford).
The beauty of Oahu's north shore is apparent on the Palmer course at Turtle Bay, even if the ocean really only comes into view at the 17th green.

Tournament (winner): 2008 Samsung World Championship (Paula Creamer).
Although I favor the shot-making of the Old course, the Ocean course by Arthur Hills doesn't have any houses to obstruct the views of the Pacific Ocean.

Tournament (winner): 1962 U.S. Women's Open (Murle Lindstrom).
Both RTJ Sr. and his son, Rees Jones, have tinkered with the brawny layout over the years. Lindstrom set a dubious record by winning the 1962 U.S. Women's Open at 13-over par, a record high score for a winner. Scenic holes 11-13, aptly nicknamed Alligator Alley, roam through the marshes near Lake Singleton.

15. Sea Island Resort, Sea Island, Ga.

Tournaments (winners): 1954-58, 1960-61 Sea Island Open (Louise Suggs/Jackie Pung/Marlene Hagge/Mickey Wright/Wright/Wright/Suggs). 1962-63 Sea Island Women's Invitational (Wright/Wright).
The resort doesn't have any records of what course hosted these events, but no matter. Both The Plantation and Seaside courses are old-school classics with views of the Saint Simons Sound. The Plantation course, designed by Walter Travis in 1928, and the Seaside course -- with a front nine by English architects Harry S. Colt and Charles Alison dating to 1929 and a back nine by Joe Lee added in the 1970s -- were rejuvenated by Rees Jones and Tom Fazio, respectively, in the late 1990s to make room for The Lodge, the second five-star hotel at the resort.

14. Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, Miss.

Tournament (winner): 1999 U.S. Women's Open (Juli Inkster).
This 7,088-yard Jerry Pate/Bob Cupp design is a classic private club available through stay and plays on property. The back nine skirts Lake Waverly. The new Mossy Oak, a Gil Hanse design across the street, will help this rural outpost blossom into a popular 36-hole getaway.

A monument honoring the U.S. military sits near the 18th green at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss.

Old Waverly Golf Club

13. Greenbrier course at The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Tournament (winner): 1994 Solheim Cup (U.S. wins 13-7).
This original Seth Raynor course, the only one to host both the Ryder Cup (1979) and Solheim Cup, was damaged by the horrendous floods of 2016. Phil Mickelson is tasked to rebuild and renovate the course, which could open in the spring of 2018.

12. East course at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Tournaments (winners): 1995/2011 U.S. Women's Open (Annika Sorenstam/So Yeon Ryu).
This famous 7,355-yard mountain course is actually a mixed mutt. Its original holes from Donald Ross in 1918 (holes 1-6, 16-18) actually fit quite well with holes 7-15 designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1952. Juicy rough delivers the ultimate defense against the thin air of the Rocky Mountains.

11. Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Southern Pines, N.C.

Tournaments (winners): 1972 Titleholders Championship (Sandra Palmer). 1996/2001/2007 U.S. Open (Annika Sorenstam/Karrie Webb/Cristie Kerr).
The 7,015-yard Donald Ross design gently rises and falls through the towering pines of the Sandhills. Big hitters can challenge doglegs but only at their peril. The greens were converted from bentgrass to ultra-dwarf Bermuda in 2016.

Tournaments (winners): 1975 Colgate Triple Crown (Kathy Whitworth). 1976 Pepsi-Cola Mixed Team Championship (Jo Ann Washam/Rodriguez).
It's a little known fact that the famed Blue Monster has also hosted the ladies twice, once for the Colgate and once for a team matchup featuring the LPGA Tour and the old guys.

Tournaments (winners): 1965/1975 U.S. Women's Open (Carol Mann/Sandra Palmer).
Founded in 1897, Atlantic City Country Club has hosted six United States Golf Association championships, including the 1901 U.S. Amateur won by Walter Travis. The club hosted the first Senior PGA Tour event (now called the Champions Tour) in 1980. The golf terms "birdie" and "eagle" were coined at the club. Tom Doak did a thoughtful restoration of the 6,577-yard par 70 in 1999, enhancing several holes on a back nine in the tidal marshes to provide striking views of the Atlantic City skyline.

8. Makai Golf Club at Princeville, Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii

Tournaments (winners): 1986-1989 Women's Kemper Open (Juli Inkster/Jane Geddes/Betsy King/King). 1990-91 Itoman/JBP Cup LPGA World Match Play Championship (Betsy King/Deb Richard).
Original architect RTJ Jr. returned in 2010 for a fabulous renovation that covered the new 7,223-yard course in seashore paspalum, built a fourth set of tees that added roughly 500 yards in length, reshaped greens and transported white Silica sand from Vietnam into the eye-popping bunkers. Spectacular cliff-top views of the Pacific Ocean come from five superb holes (6, 7, 12, 13 and 14).

7. Ocean North and Ocean South courses at the Resort at Pelican Hill; Newport Beach, Calif.

Tournaments (winners): 1999 Diners Club Matches (Juli Inkster and Dottie Pepper). 2000 Hyundai Team Matches (Inkster and Pepper).
Both these exhibitions featured two two-person teams from each major tour playing against the other -- LPGA vs. LPGA and so on. Juli Inkster and Dottie Pepper won both years. Since it was held on a hybrid layout of Pelican Hill's two courses (holes 1-14 on Ocean North and holes 15-18 on Ocean South), we will rank it as one course as well.

6. Copperhead course at Innisbrook, Tarpon Springs, Fla.

Tournaments: 1990-99 JCPenney Classic
The decade-long run of the LPGA Tour event ended when the PGA Tour took over the famed course in 2000, launching what is now the Valspar Championship. Players love the design by the late Larry Packard. It's tough but fair.

Another Matt Jones favorite: the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, home of the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship.

Copperhead course at Innisbrook

5. CordeValle, San Martin, Calif.

Tournament (winner): 2016 U.S. Women's Open (Brittany Lang).
This glorious RTJ Jr. playground -- only accessible with a stay and play at the luxurious Rosewood hotel -- hosted the 2010-2013 PGA Tour Open. The routing flows through a picturesque valley, featuring 150 feet of elevation change with no homes in sight.

4. River and Meadow Valleys courses at Blackwolf Run, Kohler, Wis.

Tournaments (winners): 1998/2012 U.S. Women's Open (Se Ri Pak/Na Yeon Choi).
s: The composite course used for U.S. Women's Open is actually a hybrid course using holes 1-4 and 14-18 from Blackwolf Run's River course and holes 10-18 from the Meadow Valleys course. Se Ri Pak's win in 1998 on the demanding Pete Dye design prompted a legion of girls in South Korea to take up golf, leading to Asia's dominance on the LPGA Tour. One of those young girls was 10-year-old Na Yeon Choi, who won in 2012.

Tournaments (winners): 1983 Inamori Classic (Patty Sheehan). 2009 Samsung World Championship (Na Yeon Choi).
A Rees Jones redesign in 2002 gave this coastal treasure (originally designed by William P. Bell and his son, William F. Bell, in 1957) more teeth in time for the 2008 U.S. Open won by Tiger Woods and upcoming 2021 U.S. Open. Torrey Pines has been home to a PGA Tour event since 1968.

Tournament (winner): 2014 U.S. Women's Open (Michelle Wie).
The world's most famous Donald Ross course was showcased for two straight weeks in 2014 when the men's U.S. Open and Women's U.S. Open were held back-to-back weeks. The restoration by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw has revived this masterpiece with vexing greens.

1. Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.

Tournaments (winners): 1950-51 Pebble Beach Weathervane Transcontinental Women's Open (Babe Zaharias/Patty Berg).
Three years after hosting its first Bing Crosby National Pro-Am in 1947, Pebble Beach hosted the women in 1950 in what is considered the inaugural year of the LPGA Tour. Isn't it time the women came back for a U.S. Women's Open?

The par-5 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of golf's greatest finishing holes.

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
Commented on

Well I’ve played 5 of them, that’s a start.

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Play where the (lady) pros play: The 30 best U.S. public courses to ever host an LPGA Tour event