Top 25 Public Short Courses - Golfers' Choice 2024

These smaller-acreage golf courses packed a considerable punch in the eyes of reviewers in 2023.
No. 1 on the Mountain course at Incline Village is a tight driving hole.

What you think is a short course isn't necessarily what we think is a short course.

We consider any course that's less than a par 70, shorter than 6,000 yards or less than 18 holes as a "short course". That's what makes our list of the Top 25 U.S. Public Short Courses so unique.

For every executive par-3 course like the Angle Park Cloud Nine in Las Vegas, there's a cool nine-holer like New York's Skyway Golf Course at Lincoln Park West or a shorter-than-normal 18-hole layout such as the Tamaracks Golf Course in northern Michigan. Despite their different yardages and number of holes, they all have one thing in common - they're generally cheaper, faster and more fun to play than a championship track.

Each of these facilities needed at least 10 reviews in 2023 to quality for our Golfers' Choice 2024 rankings of the best short courses in America. Many of them aren't found at destination resorts like the famous "short courses" you've read about, but they're rock stars in their local communities.

  1. Oak Hills Golf Center
    Jefferson City, Missouri
    Public
    4.8444588235
    45

    Green fee: $18-$48
    What they're saying: "Hidden Gem. Decided to stop in the way back from an Ozarks golf trip …nice layout and awesome condition for 1/3 of the price at the lake." - gmecey

  2. Shamrock Hills Golf Course
    Gobles, Michigan
    Public
    4.6669470588
    105

    Green fee: $20-$37
    What they're saying: "For the money, this is definitely a great course. I’ve already made plans to play there again. It was very fun and difficult all at once. Hole 17 is epic!" - JosephA5

  3. The Tamaracks Golf Course
    Harrison, Michigan
    Public
    4.7317235294
    214

    Green fee: $33-$43
    What they're saying: "This is a hidden little gem, excellent fairway and greens. The course is challenging with smaller greens surrounded by water or bunkers. Bring plenty of extra balls!" - Kimknight

  4. Tower Tee Golf & Recreation
    Saint Louis, Missouri
    Public
    4.5455294118
    36

    Green fee: $7-$17
    What they're saying: "Pleasant surprise. Nice little course to sharpen your short game skills. Staff was very friendly and helpful." - Bailey1986

  5. Highlands Golf Course

    Green fee: $17-$30
    What they're saying: "Highlands is a lovely and well-groomed course nestled in a charming residential neighborhood. Warm and friendly pro shop, cafe, and great outdoor seating. Great for a relaxing outing." - David2889292

  6. Sugar Mountain Golf Course

    Green fee: $27-$37
    What they're saying: "I’m always amazed how well groomed that the Sugar Mountain Golf Course is maintained. Tee boxes, fairways, greens are always manicured and looking fantastic. Sugar Mountain is a golf course that never disappoints. I highly recommend it!" - technorobbie

  7. Yosemite Lakes Park Golf Course
    Coarsegold, California
    Semi-Private
    4.6498823529
    43

    Green fee: $30-$35
    What they're saying: "A difficult course for a beginner but still very fun. (It's) kind of hard to find off maps but the pro shop guided us in the right direction!" - NateC25

  8. Bradshaw Ranch
    Sacramento, California
    Private
    4.7139176471
    173

    Green fee: $13-$15
    What they're saying: "Top Course For Beginners. Outstanding ownership & staff. Good golf experience. Recommended. This is opposite of country club snobbery." - oaktownd22

  9. Winding Creek Executive Course
    Victor, New York
    Public
    4.6470588235
    22

    What they're saying: "Lots of fun! Not your typical executive course. Some challenging and fun par-3 holes over water. Couple 200+ yard holes so you can try and drive the greens. Enjoyable for beginners and more advanced players. Carts are like brand new and the staff is super friendly." - jmagistrado

  10. Pinetop Lakes Golf & Country Club
    Pinetop, Arizona
    Semi-Private
    4.8026294118
    90

    What they're saying: "Nice course. A touch on the pricey side but they keep it in really good shape. Good facility (and) good layout makes for a fun round at this executive course." - 11gobux11

  11. North Bend Golf Course
    North Bend, Nebraska
    Public
    4.7182823529
    99

    What they're saying: "I enjoyed playing here so much we just got a membership. The course is very well kept and worth the drive. Only downside is no driving range." - bfoxhoven23

  12. Eagle Crest - Challenge Course

    Green fee: $25
    What they're saying: "Great course layout. Plenty of challenge without having any par 5 holes. Peaceful area and beautiful too. We will play there again." - Eidsty

  13. Big Cypress Golf Club - North Course

    Green fee: $42
    What they're saying: "Loved playing the executive North course. Did it in three hours. Good tune up using irons for (the) coming season." - jamiearthur

  14. Bass Creek Golf Club
    Janesville, Wisconsin
    Public
    4.7924352941
    51

    Green fee: $21-$40
    What they're saying: "Good course; nice greens. Rainy day but it was still a good time." - dbatz83

  15. Silver Lake Country Club - Rolling Hills 9

    Green fee: $18-$32
    What they're saying: "I loved taking my wife to this course. She is learning the game so it is a perfect fit for her. Mostly par 3’s with beautiful views and scenery. Loved it. Will definitely play again!" - Tlquick44

  16. Marion Golf Course

    Green fee: $21-$23
    What they're saying: "Quirky...but a lot of fun! I love this course. It is in excellent condition, much better than courses that cost three times of Little Marion. Staff is always friendly and the pace of play exactly the way it should be." - GOIRISH75

  17. Skyway Golf Course at Lincoln Park West
    Jersey City, New Jersey
    Public
    4.5512529412
    423

    Green fee: $26-$53
    What they're saying: "After seeing the course over many trips on the Pulaski Skyway, I finally visited Skyway and am glad I did. This place is a must play with unreal views of NJ and NYC. The course is a great challenge that requires accuracy as you make your way through nine. I can't wait to play it again!" - martylarkin

  18. Heritage of Hawk Ridge
    Lake St Louis, Missouri
    Semi-Private
    4.6741058824
    181

    Green fee: $17
    What they're saying: "A terrific upscale par 3 course with yardages ranging from 107 to 183 yards from the middle white tees. Not an easy course but enjoyable. I bring people out to play here and everyone loves this place. The greens were just recently aerated but they used the small aeration holes, which made it playable on the greens. The hospitality and friendliness of the staff is the best too." - lcbgolf

  19. Lake Limerick Country Club
    Shelton, Washington
    Semi-Private/Resort
    4.6374352941
    100

    Green fee: $22-$33
    What they're saying: "Nice little 9 hole course. Friendly, folksy staff. Nice little cafe. Cans and bottles only, no taps, but good food and good service. The course can be played as a full 18 with different tee box lengths and locations. Not real long but a nice 3.5-hour round." - Jeffbellinghausen

  20. Pottawatomie Golf Course
    Saint Charles, Illinois
    Public/Municipal
    4.6192588235
    120

    What they're saying: "It was a great course right by the river. Fairly open and was amendable to mistakes. Will play again." - tquse

  21. Angel Park Golf Club - Cloud Nine

    Green fee: $30
    What they're saying: "The course is based on holes at courses around the world. I had so much fun and I am more of a beginner but had fun and was challenged. They said aeration would be happening but it wasn’t that bad. Easy to get to from the Strip and very cheap. I wasn’t rushed. Ace was great. Staff was very friendly and I had a delicious Cobb salad before." - NikWillis

  22. Incline Village - Mountain Golf Course
    Incline Village, Nevada
    Resort
    4.5894941176
    102

    Green fee: $48-$66
    What they're saying: "Beautiful little course nestled in the mountains. Just about perfect." - bradlypresson

  23. Oasis Country Club
    Palm Desert, California
    Private
    4.6899823529
    658

    Green fee: $64-$84
    What they're saying: "Executive excellence. Great staff, great course to work on your short game, and is playable in around 3 hours." - gordo5488

  24. Shadow Hills North

    Green fee: $49-$74
    What they're saying: "Best par 3 I’ve ever played. Beautiful layout, great condition and quite challenging, especially on the back 9. Several holes over 200 yards. Staff were so very friendly. Special shout out to Kasen, who always takes great care of us and really goes the extra mile. Will definitely be back!" - twgreenman

  25. Gopher Hills Golf Course - Executive Nine
    Cannon Falls, Minnesota
    Public
    4.5284
    200

    Green fee: $15-$20
    What they're saying: "Fun course if you’re hitting it well but there’s plenty of trouble if not. Fun layout with lots of great sight lines when on the highest points of the course. I was actually surprised with the conditions with how dry it has been around here. Well done Gopher Hills." - Ryan9998798

0 Comments
View all the Golfers' Choice 2023 lists, including all 50 states.
Now Reading
Top 25 Public Short Courses - Golfers' Choice 2024