Golfers' Choice 2021: Top 25 Most Improved golf courses

Davenport, Florida's White Heron Golf Club received new ownership and a new name and golfers are taking notice.

We all love a comeback story, especially in a dizzying 2020. As businesses everywhere adjusted to a new normal and COVID-19 restrictions, some golf course operators were able to not just stay open but thrive. The following 25 courses earned higher ratings in 2020 than they did in 2019. By reading your course reviews, we can see clues as to what was the spark that caused the turnaround. In some cases, the improvement is thanks to new ownership or management. Other times, new greens or a clubhouse is to thank. Sometimes it's as simple as better weather helping a course thrive. Regardless, we love seeing signs of positivity.

If you play a course in your hometown that has improved significantly over the years, be sure to tell your fellow golfers they have their mojo back. Write Review

  1. Davenport, Fla.
    What they're saying: "New owner/management are doing a great job turning this course around ... Fairways were excellent. Bunkers were excellent. Golf carts were the nicest I have ever seen at a course." - ballalw
    (Formerly Ridgewood Lakes Golf Club)

  2. Clarkesville, Ga.
    What they're saying: "The course was in great shape and we were able to zip around the course at a great pace. The course is very forgiving. No water and wide fairways. We always enjoy playing here." - jaycbobo1

  3. Georgetown, Ky.
    What they're saying: "Longview golf course is in great shape and love playing there ... Staff always friendly and always tee off on time." -Jerry9158293

  4. Denham, La.
    What they're saying: "Course has gone through a transformation since being acquired by (new owners). Course seems to be better every time I play." - u314159735856

    (9 holes, Formerly named Denham Springs)

  5. Northbrook, Ill.
    What they're saying: "I think that the course was in very good condition. The greens were rolling the best all year. I have played about 20 courses this year and this course had the best greens in terms of speed." - Steve1232580

  6. Knoll Shores, N.C.
    What they're saying: "I played this course 4 or so years ago and it is completely different now than it was then. What an awesome improvement in the course and amenities." - boomer4d

  7. Carlisle, Pa.
    What they're saying: "This is by far my favorite one to play. Greens are always perfect, fairways have always been great, and the other golfers are always nice." - AustinKulp

  8. Mesa, Ariz.
    What they're saying: "This course is amazing and will be so nice very soon. It's a short executive with some fairly challenging holes given its such a small course. It was left to rot for a few years but it's getting a new life and I think it's awesome!" - pjaustin
    (Formerly Freedom Golf Course) *9 holes

  9. Welton, Ariz.
    What they're saying: "Course is in the best shape I’ve ever seen it. Short but still a challenge. Love the location and it was a beautiful day." - Yumadons

  10. Murrieta, Calif.
    What they're saying: "The course has great staff, best in Temecula valley. The course manager is a knowledgeable and hospitable golf professional." - Cdo77

  11. Rockwall, Texas
    What they're saying: " They’ve undergone some management changes, and now the course is in great shape. Fairways and rough were well maintained, greens were super fast and in great shape, sand traps all had fresh loose sand. Cart girls came around at least 6 times throughout our round." - u4516939

  12. Bark River, Mich.
    What they're saying: "Sage Run is in great shape for only being a few years old. Its conditions are nearing the level of its sister course ... This course is well on its way to maturing into a real gem." - noahjurik, Local Golf Advisor

  13. Sunnyvale, Calif.
    What they're saying: "Enjoy this course not for its layout, but for its pure greens. Fairways and tee boxes are looking fresh, too! Great job on this course. It gets a little better every time I return." - Kencedillo

  14. Hilton Head Island, S.C.
    What they're saying: " Tee to green in great shape, including bunkers. Friendly staff, great selection in the clubhouse." - thegull85

  15. Camby, Ind.
    What they're saying: "Always have enjoyed playing here when in the area, and was disappointed to have seen it fall into disrepair, but new owner has dramatically turned around the conditions in just a few short years." - aharo08

  16. Charlotte, N.C.
    What they're saying: "Course in great shape, greens full and rolling nicely. If you are in the Charlotte area you need to play here. Good challenge for even good golfers." -mrdavefla

  17. Los Angeles
    What they're saying: "Greens in very good shape, fairways and rough were green with no signs of dead/dry grass. ... I see why this is one of the hardest morning tee times to get in the LA area." - u503369846

  18. Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
    What they're saying: "Ten years ago it reached its low point but it's been slowly but surely making a comeback thanks to a concerned group of people there." - Thomas1145936

  19. Scottsdale, Ariz.
    What they're saying: "I haven't played here since it was recently renovated. What a treat it is! The course is great and in good summer conditions. I would recommend to anyone in the area!" - DesertClub

  20. Olive Hill, Ky.
    What they're saying: "Hidden Cove @ Grayson Lake is the top value golf course around. With continued course improvements, it is always a great place to spend an afternoon." - DevoJo4

  21. Charlotte, N.C.
    What they're saying: "Haven’t played this track in 4-5 years and it has made huge improvements. Fairways wide open and greens were firm and true. Great layout and decent pace of play. Definitely a hidden gem right outside of Charlotte and a great bang for your buck." - Chad8107064

  22. University Place, Wash.
    What they're saying: "The entire course over looks water. Course was in great shape and it was a great value at the afternoon greens fees." - WoodsonGoBlue

  23. Ankeny, Iowa
    What they're saying: "Very pleasantly surprised. Fun course. Generous landing zones off the tee. Greens were fast and rolled true." - tlandshut

  24. Sauk Centre, Minn.
    What they're saying: "Overall, Greystone has to be one of the better values in public golf in the United States. Sounds like hyperbole, but as a Rater for a few notable golf magazines, I can honestly say that Greystone is one of the best bangs for your buck in the entire US." -comountaingolf

  25. Mesquite, Nev.
    What they're saying: "This course is just simply amazing! There is a wide variety of Tee shots, from driver to iron. It is very creative the scenery is beautiful and the course was in great shape." - Oumar7112569

Golfer's Choice rankings are determined by our community of reviewers.
2 Comments
Commented on

Played White Herron today and it was a beast, very challenging with huge bunkers and lots of water. Great staff Mr. Lee and a great time.

Commented on

The Buck Hill Falls Golf Club in Buck Hill Falls PA, a Donald Ross designed club, was recently renovated under the supervision of Rees Jones. They did a superior job.

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