Best of 2018: Top 25 golf course layouts in the U.S.

The course designs most appreciated last year according to our community of reviewers.
The par-4 6th hole on the Players Stadium Course, at TPC Sawgrass

The beauty of golf course architecture is in the eye of the golfer. At Golf Advisor, our vast community of golfers spans all ages, handicaps, locations and tastes. When they review a golf course, their assessment of the "Course Layout" category could be very nuanced or as simple as whether the course was walkable or had a set of tees suitable to them.

The following list was determined based on golf course reviews of publicly accessible courses in 2018 from our community. Courses hail from the southeast to Midwest and desert. There are well-known names like Tom Fazio, Pete Dye and Tom Doak, as well as lesser-known names and very affordable rounds.

You can browse an architect's full design portfolio and see ratings and reviews of each by clicking on their name below.

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Golf Advisor's Top 25 course layouts for 2018

Top 25 golf course layouts based on 2018 reviews

  1. The Fort Golf Resort

    Indianapolis | Read reviews

    Architect: Pete Dye, Tim Liddy
    What they're saying: "The Fort is my favorite layout in Indianapolis. I love the rustic feel and the state park being all around you." - HoosierHacker89

  2. Black Course at Bethpage State Park

    Farmingdale, N.Y. | Read reviews
    Architect: A.W. Tillinghast, Rees Jones
    What they're saying: "I’ve never been so happy and miserable at the same time on a golf course. It’s long, so long, and unforgiving — the rough is brutal and even the first cut isn’t gentle." - MJS64

  3. Stonewall Orchard Golf Club

    Grayslake, Ill. | Read reviews
    Architect: Arthur Hills
    What they're saying: "I've read that Arthur Hills combines working with the natural beauty of the land, taking advantage of the natural contours, minimizing earth moving, all while keeping the strategy of the golf game always in mind. This is evident at Stonewall Orchard." - EricTee

  4. PLAYERS Stadium at TPC Sawgrass

    Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. | Read reviews
    Architect: Pete Dye
    What they're saying: "I can’t overstate how much water comes into play on this course. More than any course I’ve played and seemingly on every hole. I recorded a water hazard penalty on 7 different holes during my round and I lucked out of a couple others." - Back9Ben, Golf Advisor Top 25 Contributor

  5. Scotch Hall Preserve

    Merry Hill, N.C. | Read reviews
    Architect: Arnold Palmer
    What they're saying: "Most holes are exposed to the elements, so club selection is a premium as well as the ability to flight the ball. It's not overly long for a par 72, although the wind on the back nine - especially in the afternoon - can lengthen many holes substantially." - hauserj85

  6. Stonelick Hills Golf Course

    Batavia, Ohio | Read reviews
    Architect: Jeff Osterfeld
    What they're saying: "The layout of the course is really nice, a great variety of holes and challenging from the gold tees." - Tony8873709

  7. Prairie Links Golf Club

    Waverly, Iowa | Read reviews
    What they're saying: "This course is a gem. Great layout, fun holes with interesting challenges. I’m a single handicapper and with fairly low difficulty, this course gives you plenty of birdie chances." - dwoods1688

  8. Chariot Run

    Laconia, Ind. | Read reviews
    Architect: Bill Bergin
    What they're saying: "How beautiful. Course layout and hole designs are first rate." - James8936871

  9. Dale Hollow Lake Golf Course

    Burkesville, Ky. | Read reviews
    Architect: Brian Ault
    What they're saying: "The best state park that I have ever played! The course is playable for all levels from the three times a year golfer to the three times a week golfer." - Ajwhite60

  10. Grand Bear Golf Course

    Saucier, Miss. | Read reviews
    Architect: Jack Nicklaus
    What they're saying: "It never fails to challenge you and the different pin placements are all pretty tough. If you are looking for a challenge and really nice course this is it. Just a little tip for this course - Stay on the Fairway because the rough is thick and will hurt you." - bobbyfoskey

  11. Oak Shadows Golf Club

    New Philadelphia, Ohio | Read reviews
    Architect: John Robinson
    What they're saying: "Nice layout with elevation change. Enough water to keep it interesting but not too challenging." - cbaddorf

  12. Ravines Golf Club

    Saugatuck, Mich. | Read reviews
    Architect: Arnold Palmer
    What they're saying: "Arnie carved an A1 course into some beautiful Michigan terrain. Generous fairways get narrow and serious real quick." - Larry6421008

  13. Wintonbury Hills Golf Course

    Bloomfield, Conn. | Read reviews
    Architect: Pete Dye, Tim Liddy
    What they're saying: "Pete Dye and Tim Liddy did a great job serving up a course that high handicappers can navigate and lower handicappers will still enjoy - an ideal muni situation. The long par-4 14th along the reservoir remains one of the coolest holes in New England, and the bouncy turf makes every full shot interesting." - TimGavrichGA, Golf Advisor Senior Writer

  14. Yocha Dehe at Cache Creek Casino Resort

    Brooks, Calif. | Read reviews
    Architect: Brad Bell
    What they're saying: "If Yocha Dehe isn't the best daily fee golf course in Northern California for +/- $100 I don't know what is." - rmkhyn

  15. Pilgrim's Run

    Pierson, Mich. | Read reviews
    Architect: Mike DeVries
    What they're saying: "Just enough length and width of the FWs to provide some challenge, but ample room to shape shots and bomb the driver also. You definitely get the feeling of being remote while only miles away from Grand Rapids. Must play in my opinion." - jireland

  16. Pine Barrens at World Woods Golf Club

    Brooksville, Fla. | Read reviews
    Architect: Tom Fazio
    What they're saying: "This is such a visually stunning course that you can't help but just stand on the tee and wonder where to hit your drive." - Bruce6234623

  17. Diamond Springs Golf Course

    Hamilton, Mich. | Read reviews
    Architect: Mike DeVries
    What they're saying: "Diamond Springs is one of the nicest courses I've ever played for the money. The scenery is great, it is well kept up in all areas, and it's challenging. It definitely rewards accurate shots. The rough is deep here." - gotcha311

  18. Rams Hill Golf Club

    Borrego Springs, Calif. | Read reviews
    Architect: Tom Fazio
    What they're saying: "I had the opportunity to play Rams Hill and the course was very challenging. The wind made it very challenging and we had lots of fun trying hit shots low and use the slopes throughout the course!!" - golfoly1

  19. Snow Mountain at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort

    Las Vegas, Nev. | Read reviews
    Architect: Pete Dye
    What they're saying: "My GF and I played together here. It was beautiful and challenging enough to make me happy and she was able to also enjoy the course without feeling crushed by it." - jonaslittman

  20. Apache Stronghold Golf Course

    Globe, Ariz. | Read reviews
    Architect: Tom Doak
    What they're saying: "It possessed as fine a mixture of par threes in the state. Doak also included a drivable zero-horizon par four. The par fives were brilliant. There was nothing about this course that was second rate." - caknox1

  21. Barnsley Resort

    Adairsville, Ga. | Read reviews
    Architect: Jim Fazio
    What they're saying: "Layout is very fair with few blind shots, but exceptional conditions. Can be as challenging as you want from 3 different tee boxes plus 3 other tee combinations." - edcoachc

  22. Olympic at Gold Mountain Golf Club

    Bremerton, Wash. | Read reviews
    Architect: John Harbottle III
    What they're saying: "Best bang for your buck in the state of Washington. Hands down." - GR8Dane206

  23. Harbor Links at Sagamore Resort

    Liberty, Ind. | Read reviews
    Architect: P.B. Dye
    What they're saying: "Yes, there are some blind shots into a few of the greens, but the course was not tricked up or impossible as noted on some of the other reviews - it does require accuracy and distance control on your approach shots." - ParMachineGolfer

  24. Heritage Hill

    Shepherdsville, Ky. | Read reviews
    Architect: Douglas Beach
    What they're saying: "The course is laid so that it takes advantage of the natural terrain features; features which include streams, ponds, granite outcroppings and ample hills. It’s not a walking course unfortunately but the sacrifice is worth it when you see the way the course highlights the land." - armystrength

  25. Ghost Creek at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club

    North Plains, Ore. | Read reviews
    Architect: Bob Cupp
    What they're saying: "Design and flow seem to mold flawlessly into this green oasis. The course layout is more challenging than first glance suggests and requires proper ball placement if you want to thrive." - Kamph

View all the Golfers' Choice 2023 lists, including all 50 states.
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Best of 2018: Top 25 golf course layouts in the U.S.