Best of 2018: Top 50 golf courses in the U.S.

Based on our community's 144,000-plus ratings throughout 2018

Golf Advisor received more than 144,000 golf course ratings and reviews from our golfer community in 2018, and we've compiled the very best courses in the U.S. you can play based on these results.

Anyone, regardless of handicap, age or taste can review a golf course on Golf Advisor and the ratings of the courses reflect the wide range of players who play and review their course. Reviews are typically more of a reflection of how a course met or exceeded a paying golfer's expectations as opposed to a course's "bucket list" or architectural significance.

How the Top 50 was determined

To determine the 50 courses with the best ratings in 2018, we took a combination of their overall and six subcategory (value, conditions, layout, pace of play, friendliness and off-course amenities) star-rating averages. Ratings submitted by active and more trustworthy reviewers, like our Local Golf Advisors, as well as merit-badge and staff ratings, received more weight than members with less activity. Also factored into the score was the net difference how a course review performed compared to that reviewer's average review. For example, the courses in our Top 5 all had net differences of .75 or higher.

In order for a course to be eligible for these lists, they must offer regular public access and have received at least 10 reviews since December, 2017. 2,800 U.S. courses received enough reviews to be considered for this list. While our golf course pages display a star rating that is more reflective of a course's all-time reviews, these scores only factor reviews from the past year, so turnover on this list is typically high.

Florida leads the way with seven courses in the Top 50, while California, Indiana and New Jersey earned four each. You can view the full list below, as well as what golfers have to say about the experience at each course.

Top 50 golf courses of 2018 based on your ratings

50. University of Georgia

Athens, Ga. | Read reviews
Architect: Robert Trent Jones Sr.
Green fees: $42-65
Wht they're saying: "Haven’t played the UGA club since last year and they have made great strides improving their greens for 2018. They were rolling around at least a 10 or 11 and were so smooth." - zbuechner4, Georgia Local Golf Advisor

49. TPC Myrtle Beach

Murrells Inlet, S.C. | Read reviews
Architect: Tom Fazio
Green fees: $100-150
What they're saying: "We’ve had TPC as a regular course in our week-long trip for 3 or 4 years now, and each year it is EASILY the best conditioned and most liked of the courses we play." - kfish64, Ontario Local Golf Advisor

48. Red Tiger at Trump National Doral Miami

Miami | Read reviews
Architect: Gil Hanse
Green fees: $140-220
What they're saying: "My favorite aspect of this course was that each hole never repeated the previous par (i.e. you’d never see two par 3, 4, or 5’s in a row). Loved the layout and the conditions were great." - KevinCoombs

47. English Turn Golf & Country Club

New Orleans | Read reviews
Architect: Jack Nicklaus
Green fees: $89-119
What they're saying: "Greens were excellent, putted true and not nearly as curvy as a typical Jack Nicklaus design. Good mix of long and short holes. The island green 15 was fun. Lots of bunkers add to the challenge." - RobKempinski

46. Grand Cypress North-South-East

Orlando, Fla. | Read reviews
Architect: Jack Nicklaus
Green fees: $99-$150
What they're saying: "My personal favorite of all the courses around the attractions and resorts. Immaculately kept, greens were some of the best I’ve seen all year." - cmeitz727

45. North Conway Country Club

North Conway, N.H. | Read reviews
Architect: Alex Finlay, Phil Wogan
Green fees: $40-50
What they're saying: "Course has lots of character. Challenging, but very playable if you pick the right tees. A+ practice facility. Staff very nice and helpful." - MONH1, New Hampshire Local Golf Advisor

44. Pole Creek Golf Club

Tabernash, Colo. | Read reviews
Architect: Dennis Griffiths
Green fees: $95-109
What they're saying: "Love the surroundings, very picturesque with Devils Thumb visible from almost every hole. Great layout and the course is in good shape." - bobparnold

43. Palmer Course at La Cantera Resort

San Antonio | Read reviews
Architect: Arnold Palmer
Green fees: $100-150
What they're saying: "Every time I am in San Antonio I make it a point to play here. Out of all the Arnold Palmer designed courses I have played this one is my favorite!" - TheOBchef, Texas Local Golf Advisor

42. Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course at Lake Richard B. Russell

Elberton, Ga. | Read reviews
Architect: Robert Walker
Green fees: $39-45
What they're saying: "The course layout is great with some of the best lake views anywhere. The greens and fairways are in perfect condition." - TRGA

41. Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Club

Lewiston, N.Y. | Read reviews
Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Green fees: $49-79
What they're saying: "I played it last year and couldn’t wait to make the trek back to Niagara to play it again. I’ve played many 5 star courses across North America and this is the one that really sticks with me." - Roland7144496

40. Quintero Golf Club

Peoria, Ariz. | Read reviews
Architect: Rees Jones
Green fees: $186-$234
What they're saying: "Elevated tees, beautiful scenery, original hole designs, lots of tee options for all players, in-cart GPS and club/ball-washers." - GolfLeo

39. Harbor Links at Sagamore Resort

Liberty, Ind. | Read reviews
Architect: P.B. Dye
Green fees: $42-54
What they're saying: "I can’t believe I took this long to play here!! This course is fantastic. Conditions, layout everything awesome. The views unreal. My new favorite course." - Scottm7258

38. Lanier Islands Legacy Golf Course

Buford, Ga. | Read reviews
Architect: Joe Lee, Billy Fuller
Green fees: $54-67
What they're saying: "Nearly 3/4 of the 18 holes had excellent lake views ... All in all, Legacy on Lanier is an excellent resort course to visit." - Emoweeh

37. Maderas Golf Club

Poway, Calif. | Read reviews
Architect: Robert Muir Graves, Johnny Miller
Green fees: $155-220
What they're saying: "This is easily the best desert course I have played (which includes TPC Scottsdale and all the top PGA West Courses)." - TXGolferTX

36. Devil's Claw at Whirlwind Golf Club

Chandler, Ariz. | Read reviews
Architect: Gary Panks
Green fees: $109-184
What they're saying: "The course is in amazing condition. The pace of play was perfect. Some very beautiful holes. Devil's Claw is forgiving to the four times a year player. What a great value for the price." - zachbahl

35. White Horse Golf Club

Kingston, Wash. | Read reviews
Architect: Cynthia Dye McGarey, John Harbottle III
Green fees: $45-62
What they're saying: "We love Whitehorse! The staff, the Pro, the course, the hamburgers, etc." - Betty5771717

34. The Links at Union Vale

Lagrangeville, N.Y. | Read reviews
Architect: Doug Smith, Stephen Kay
Green fees: $41-97
What they're saying: "I play this course every time I’m in the area, the conditions were outstanding this year. The views are awesome." - nbouck

33. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club

Pawleys Island. S.C. | Read reviews
Architect: Mike Strantz
Green fees: $99-219
What they're saying: "The ambiance of this place is incredible. Southern oaks with the Spanish moss, the flowers, landscaping, etc. It's like playing golf at a botanical garden." - lcbgolf

32. Heron Glen Golf Course

Ringoes, N.J. | Read reviews
Architect: Dan Schlegel
Green fees: $65-81
What they're saying: Can’t say it’s a hidden gem any more but this place is great ... New upgrades make this place hard to book, so book early." - jaeyoo01

31. Royal Hylands Golf Club

Knightstown, Ind. | Read reviews
Architect: Gary Kern
Green fees: $38-53
What they're saying: "I have been playing this course off and on for the past 15 years, and I always feel like it is a treat to play it ... I would dare anyone to find a course under $50 that is better anywhere." - HoosierHacker89, Indiana Local Golf Advisor

15 Comments
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Commented on

Strictly based on customer reviews and have to have had a minimum number of reviews to qualify. Customers generally consider the price paid in relation to the experience. A $45 course can rate higher than a $200 course if the customer feels they got a better bang for their buck. A much better review method versus the others, especially when there are some back room favors paid to help boost the ranking.

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Commented on

Why even bother with this list?

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Commented on

Surprised to not see any @Streamsong courses on this list 😳

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Commented on

Sky valley golf and country club, sky valley, ga... Check it out

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Are there any outside of the US or is the US the world?

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Commented on

Played many golf courses on this list and only TPC Sawgrass is worthy of top 50 recognition. Atlantic City Country Club, La Cantera Palmer and Las Vegas Paiute are great tracks but should at best be top 100 for entire USA. Seaview, Heron Glen and Ballamour shouldn't even crack top 500. So many amazing courses completely ignored. Torrey Pines? Bandon Dunes? Chambers Bay? Whistling Straights? Oakmont? There were many overlooked venues.

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Not one single course from the Bandon Dunes Resort made the list? That's insane...

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Bandon courses didn’t qualify. They only have 2 reviews in the past 12 months. That’s not GA’s fault.

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Commented on

Wow. This list is trash.

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Commented on

These courses are mostly garbage. All this list proves is that the "Golf Advisor Community" doesn't play very good course.

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Commented on

On what basis? I played 12 of the courses listed in 2018 and all of them deserve to be here. It’s not a perfect system but remember this is based on actual golfers reviews, not some guy who got a free round to create a top 50 list. If you don’t like it, then write more reviews on the courses you think are more deserving.

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Commented on

Beats the Top-50 list of country club courses no one ever has a chance of playing.

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Commented on

Not sure how Arcadia Bluffs and its new sister course, Arcadia South up on Michigan's west coast.missed the list. Highly recommend travelling to play both.

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Played it for the first time last year, would not go back. Layout is ok. Views are the biggest selling perk. Greens were trash though. If you were to place a ball dead center on the green, you'd only have a handfull of putts that would be makeable, all the rest you'd have to purposefully putt away from the hole just to give yourself a CHANCE at a two-putt. I'd put Pilgram's Run over Arcadia.

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