The best course designs according to golfers

Top 25 Course Layouts in the U.S. according to your reviews in 2017

The design of the golf course is certainly one of the most memorable elements in any golf experience, and we've looked at your "Course Layout" ratings in 2017 to determine which designs made golfers the happiest.

We received over 150,000 ratings in 2017 from 92,000 golfers of all abilities and tastes. The "Course Layout" category (which we began tracking in 2016) can mean many different things depending on the type of golfer writing the review. We aren't discriminating between scratch golfers playing off the tips and high handicappers playing from the front. To those more well versed in golf course architecture, they can be more critical of an architect's strategic principals (or lack thereof). For higher handicaps, our Layout rating can simply mean the course's overall flow and how fun it was from their tee box.

The result is a mix of courses within the Top 25 from all sorts of architects and eras. Tom Doak has two entries on it, and so does Arthur Hills. Pete Dye has three. Historic layouts in this Top 25 feature architects Alister Mackenzie, George O'Neil and Jack Neville.

If you're curious to see how certain architects' designs have fared, you can find their landing page here and browse their total portfolio and sort from highest rating to lowest.

Courses need a minimum of ten reviews in 2017. Over 3,400 U.S. courses were eligible. You can click on each course page to read more about what golfers have to say about the layout, as well as the overall experience.

Top 25 courses as rated by course layout in 2017

Lubbock, Texas
Architect: Tom Doak
What they're saying: "Really a fun course."


Bellaire, Mich.
Architect: Damian Pascuzzo
What they're saying: "Rolling hills and elevation drops are the greatest characteristics of this course!"


Mount Wolf, Pa.
Architect: Timothy Freeland
What they're saying: "Change in elevation is a welcome to play. Never any holes the same as others."


Fort Meade, Fla.
Architect: Tom Doak
What they're saying: "Take all the things you like about the Red and the Black and eliminate the shortfalls and you end up with the Blue. Scenic, visually stimulating, challenging, etc. the Blue has it all."


Las Vegas, Nev.
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying: "The best of the three courses. The rating and slope speak for itself. It is a wonderfully challenging course and really puts your game to the test."


Merry Hill, N.C.

Architect: Arnold Palmer
What they're saying: "Amazing layout and challenging greens. Bunker placement in the fairways made you actually think through a lot of holes instead of grabbing driver and hitting it."


Naples, Fla.
Architect: Arthur Hills/Hal Sutton
What they're saying: "Water on most holes with a challenge for driving accuracy. Typically water and/or scrub on both sides of the fairway."


Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Architect: Jack Nicklaus/Pete Dye
What they're saying: Great layout! The fairways are tight and the greens are typical for a Dye layout."


Waterloo, Ill.
Architect: Dr. Michael Hurdzan
What they're saying: "Two challenging nines - one with open dunes style and the other of the wooded variety."


Seaside, Calif.
Architect: Gene Bates
What they're saying: "Still really hard (after 2008 renovation), but a bit fairer off the fairway and balls rarely stay up in the trees now. Great layout, great views."


Brooksville, Fla.
Architect: Tom Fazio
What they're saying: ""Superb subtleties in contours along with intense 'swoops' make putting a mental exercise. Probably Fazio's best work."


Peoria, Az.
Architect: Rees Jones/Steve Weisser
What they're saying: "Beautiful layout. Lots of elevated tees. Pretty much every par 3 is elevated. Incredible views."


Howey in the Hills, Fla.
Architect: C.E. Clark/George O'Neil
What they're saying: "Such a fabulous layout with true greens, plenty of water, a few hills to navigate and each hole different to the next one."


Ashville, Ohio
Architect: Dr. Michael Hurdzan/Dana Fry/John Cook
What they're saying: "Cooks is a fun layout ... gives the ability to use every club in your bag."


Shepherdsville, Ky.
Architect: Douglas Beach
What they're saying: "Wide open, but has water, mucho sand and undulating greens."


San Cruz, Calif.
Architect: Dr. Alister MacKenzie
What they're saying:"Challenging golf course. It makes you think about every shot and placement of shots is key."


Borrego Springs, Calif.
Architect: Tom Fazio
What they're saying: "One of the most challenging but fun courses you could play. I wish I could play this course everyday."


Brooks, Calif.
Architect: Brad Bell
What they're saying: "This course has a very fun layout and good views."


Roscommon, Mich.
Architect: Tom Weiskopf
What they're saying: "An excellent balance of playability with risk/reward built in."


Dickinson, Tenn.
Architect: Mark McCumber
What they're saying: "The layout is challenging from any of the 5 tee boxes. It is also visually stunning."


Nashport, Ohio
Architect: Arthur Hills
What they're saying: "There is room to miss, but if you miss that, you're in for some ballooning scores."


Dinuba, Calif.
Architect: John Fought
What they're saying: "From each tee you can see what options the designer has provided to you; chew off as much or as little as you want."


Plymouth, Mass.
Architect: Jack Nicklaus
What they're saying: "It was fun, although slightly less challenging than the Jones course."


Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Architect: Pete Dye
What they're saying: "Lots of movement and the right amount of elevations and undulations. The fairways move left and right and the greens are outstanding."


Pebble Beach, Calif.
Architect: Jack Neville/Douglas Grant
What they're saying: "The course layout combined with the ocean views is just absolutely surreal. "


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Top 25 Course Layouts in the U.S. according to your reviews in 2017