Top 25 Public Courses for Pace of Play - Golfers' Choice 2024

Golfers hate waiting around for groups ahead to get out of the way. These golf courses served up a brisk pace of play in 2023.
A leisurely walk in the park - that's golf at Lac La Belle.

There are few things golfers hate more than waiting.

Playing a round of golf without having to linger on a tee box or in a fairway while the group ahead clears the landing area or green is an increasingly rare treat, especially as the popularity of the game continues to surge.

But even with more golfers than ever taking to the course, there are still plenty of facilities whose operators continue to value a comfortable but swift pace of play. More often than not, they accomplish this with a combination of well-spaced tee times (i.e. at least 10 minutes apart) and a well-trained ranger corps who are doing more than just tooling around the course in exchange for free golf.

Over the past year, these 25 courses earned particularly high marks from thousands of golfers like you for fostering a good pace of play. They each received at least 10 reviews in 2023 to qualify. If pace of play is something you value in your golf life, keep these two-dozen-and-one public golf courses in mind as you make your way around the country in 2024:

  1. UNC Finley Golf Course
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    Green fee: $120
    What they're saying: "The course has gotten a huge facelift and it's showing its fangs. Gorgeous but imposing and traps. Well groomed fairways with rough that seems to eat poorly hit shots. UNC Finley is a must-play course now!" - CraigInChapelHill

  2. Hills of Lenawee Golf Club & Banquet Center

    Green fee: $65
    What they're saying: "Arrived at [the] course and was greeted with a smile and asked if we wanted to bring forward our tee time. [We] accepted and were able to play the course in less than 4 hours .....2 ppl on a Saturday morning!!" - babacandy

  3. Metamora Golf & Country Club
    Metamora, Michigan

    Green fee: $45
    What they're saying: "Played this course while on vacation in Michigan. Will always put this on my vacation calendar." - Fresch

  4. Waterford Golf Club

    Green fee: $80
    What they're saying: "Very friendly and accommodating staff. Course was in good shape and pace of play was good. What else could you ask for." - nolan2509462

  5. Glade Springs Village - Woodhaven Course
    Daniels, West Virginia

    Green fee: $125
    What they're saying: "I have golfed since 1969 and this is by far the best course I have ever played. Not only that it was the cheapest I have ever paid for a quality course and the best part was my wife and I had the whole course to ourselves. Not a soul on it but us." - Lennac

  6. Thunder Bayou Golf Links
    Blytheville, Arkansas

    Green fee: $36
    What they're saying: "These guys are doing a great job with fairways and the greens are amazing! I play a lot (3-4 times per week) in this region and this is by far one of the best courses in the area." - mawoodfield

  7. Discovery Bay Golf Club
    Port Townsend, Washington

    Green fee: $45
    What they're saying: "I was late to my tee time because of traffic but the young man in the clubhouse understood and let me out as soon as I got there." - RandallP1

  8. Puakea Golf Course
    Lihue, Hawaii

    Green fee: $179
    What they're saying: "Excellent course. Not crowded at all." - Jim1788424

  9. Fountain Springs Golf Course
    Peterstown, West Virginia

    Green fee: $40
    What they're saying: "Rolling through West Virginia and found this place. (I) gotta be honest on the way there I wasn’t expecting much. I got there and this place was beautiful and the people were so nice and for the price I paid it’s ridiculously cheap" - Stuart2172769

  10. Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort
    Death Valley, California

    Green fee: $79
    What they're saying: "My goal was to keep playing golf when it was cold in Vegas for a few days and why not see Death Valley at the same time. I was really surprised with this gem of a course and loved it." - JimmyMartin2020

  11. Woodland Hills Golf Club
    Sandusky, Michigan

    Green fee: $34
    What they're saying: "I've been here about 2 times now. Both times were great! Greens were nice, tee boxes were nice. The layout was perfect and the weather was beautiful. What more could you ask for? I went in the morning on weekdays so pace of play isn't an issue" - GolfPass reviewer

  12. The Sea Ranch Golf Links
    Sea Ranch, California

    Green fee: $80
    What they're saying: "I play this course every opportunity I get to visit Sea Ranch...The new management is making great progress in making it even better." - GolfPass reviewer

  13. Sugarbush Golf & Country Club
    Davison, Michigan

    Green fee: $50
    What they're saying: "It has been a few years since I have played at Sugarbush and I was pleasantly surprised with all of the updates to the course and clubhouse. I would give them 10 stars if possible." - Michael5531396

  14. GlenLakes Country Club
    Weeki Wachee, Florida

    Green fee: $80
    What they're saying: "Decent course and conditions, had the place to ourselves, an hour plus drive was the only downside." - GolfPass reviewer

  15. The Club at Lac La Belle
    Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

    Green fee: $175
    What they're saying: "Don’t miss this GEM! Perhaps everyone in Wisconsin knows about it. But as an out-of-state guest I’m glad I found it." - Shane5861704

  16. Atkins Golf Club at the University of Illinois

    Green fee: $89
    What they're saying: "I was able to play at my own pace as a single on a beautiful Sunday morning. The course was perfect. Staff were all friendly. Really nothing bad to say." - alexwright920

  17. The Greenbrier Resort - Old White
    White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

    Green fee: $560
    What they're saying: "Course best condition I’ve seen it. Our caddie Cuz is the man. If (you) book a time here in summer months definitely ask for him" - GolfPass reviewer

  18. The Highlands Golf Club at Fisher Mountain
    Franklin, West Virginia

    Green fee: $45
    What they're saying: "Great layout. Not too long and in very good condition. If you don't know about this place you should. Check it out." - nathanshafer151

  19. Founders Club of Pawleys Island
    Pawleys Island, South Carolina

    Green fee: $85
    What they're saying: "There weren’t a lot of people playing so we flew through the course at the pace we like. Would definitely play again." - GolfPass reviewer

  20. Pronghorn - Nicklaus Course

    Green fee: $215
    What they're saying: "The starter fit me into a tee time about an hour early to help me with pace of play. It sure did, and I had a fun day enjoying the surroundings of the course and great playing conditions of the course." - GolfPass reviewer

  21. Viroqua Hills Golf Course
    Viroqua, Wisconsin

    Green fee: $60
    What they're saying: "The staff and community seem to take great pride in this small town 18 hole course. I play it a few times a year and it never disappoints." - GolfPass reviewer

  22. Skytop Lodge Golf Course
    Skytop, Pennsylvania

    Green fee: $66
    What they're saying: "Very nice layout, good conditions, friendly staff, and overall enjoyable experience." - tchrist6464

  23. Superior National Golf Club at Lutsen
    Lutsen, Minnesota

    Green fee: $109
    What they're saying: "Beautiful course and layout with great pace of play. Greens were nice and little bit of brown grass due to lack of rain in area in May, but overall top notch experience." - GolfPass reviewer

  24. Oshkosh Country Club
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin

    Green fee: $78
    What they're saying: "I always have a great round here. The staff is helpful, pace of play is fast, the layout is pretty standard, but it is always in excellent condition which helps with the simple blueprint." - CoreyCouturier

  25. Eagle Trace Golf Course
    Morehead, Kentucky

    Green fee: $40
    What they're saying: "Course can play long if you want it to. Greens are smooth but not super fast" - April7752174

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,100 courses and written about golf destinations in 25 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.
View all the Golfers' Choice 2023 lists, including all 50 states.
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Top 25 Public Courses for Pace of Play - Golfers' Choice 2024