Golfers' Choice 2021: Top 25 Short Courses

The best executive, par-3 and nine-hole public golf courses according to our reviews community.
Winter Park Golf Course, a historic 9-hole golf course in Orlando, at sunset.

Great experiences can come in small places. Reviewers have lauded the experience at non-traditional and smaller golf courses across the U.S.A. These courses are generally affordable, more beginner-friendly and casual. For avid players, it can be a chance to sharpen the irons or to introduce a friend to the sport (in 2020, that was a familiar theme). We've rounded up the Top 25 short courses according to the ratings and reviews from our community. We combined the overall rating with the six subcategory ratings to determine a total score.

What is a "short" golf course? The definition can be debated given the many non-traditional concepts that are coming out in recent years, but we define it as any golf course that is shorter than 18 holes, 6,000 yards or a par 70.

Short Courses have been a point of emphasis at many high-end golf resorts across North America in the 21st century. Reviews on our site tend to feature more local play at area short courses than at destination short courses. You'll find this Golfers' Choice list, based on the reviews from our community, has more local-driven courses than destination resort short courses.

Be sure to give a short course a shot, whether you're on the road or in your home town.

Top 25 short golf courses

  1. Neshanic Station, N.J.
    9 holes, par 32
    What they're saying: "I play this course often, and it never lets me down. Great course, good layout, awesome staff, and the course is in great shape. Would recommend to anyone." - Shawn1

  2. North Bend, Nebraska
    18 holes, 5,770 yards
    What they're saying: "Course is in great shape! Hit it straight or pay the price. The rough is as tough as it gets. I would play this course any day." - brobinson16

  3. Kansas, Oklahoma
    9 holes, Par 33
    What they're saying: "I traveled numerous places to play this beautiful game and take in the beautiful scenery the golf courses had to offer. With that being said this 9 hole golf course is BY FAR the best 9 hole course I've ever played." - fabianforte

  4. Lake St. Louis, Missouri
    9 holes, par 27
    What they're saying: "This is an upscale par 3 course. Everything was in excellent shape. The greens for late November were better than most golf courses in early Summer." - lcbgolf

  5. Janesville, Wis.
    9 holes, 3,188 yards
    What they're saying: "Nice Course. We have played here many times. We really enjoy the course." - simenson

  6. Tewksbury, Mass.
    9 holes, 2,688 yards
    What they're saying: "Great course. Excellent condition. Great pace and really fun 9 holes!" - djkinne51

  7. Chandler, Ariz.
    18 holes, 5,155 yards
    What they're saying: "Awesome course! Well maintained, challenging and a great length." - brianhagan

  8. Indio, Calif.
    18 holes, par 56, 3,006 yards
    What they're saying: "This is a beautiful par 3 course, somewhat challenging, well maintained and friendly staff." - cathycarroll

  9. Ocala, Fla.
    18 holes, 3,484 yards, par 61
    What they're saying: "This course is often referred to by regular players as Ocala's answer to Augusta National. It is as much a botanical garden as it is a golf course and is not to be missed." - burr000001

  10. Palm Beach, Fla.
    18 holes, par 54
    What they're saying: "It's definitely gorgeous. Being on the island, incredible views and beautiful palms around is a treat." - ZtotheT

  11. Hollister, Mo.
    13 holes, par 39
    What they're saying: "Played this course about 5-6 times and it's always fun. It's one of the more fun GOLF experiences you could have whether you are a scratch or starter golfer." - Snaphook417

  12. Winter Park, Fla.
    9 holes, par 35
    What they're saying: "Course was in excellent condition and greens were fast and challenging. Overall, a pleasant experience." - rgsell10

  13. Leeds, Mass.
    9 holes, par 35
    What they're saying: "MY FAVORITE COURSE. This is an awesome nine hole course that I would recommend to anyone. Everyone here is very friendly including the staff and other golfers." - Ryan8818166

  14. Port Charlotte, Fla.
    18 holes, par 62
    What they're saying: "Great course conditions and an all around great golf experience. Definitely will be back." - Suncoast1991

  15. Belle Fourche, S.D.
    9 holes, par 36
    What they're saying: "Friendly staff, course is in great shape. Improvements are under way. Can’t go wrong here." - dmoser1414

  16. Munster, Ind.
    9 holes, par 36
    What they're saying: "I was blown away by the terrific layout and great land movement. Greens had plenty of undulations and were in great shape." - hornedwoodchuck

  17. Akron, Ohio
    9 holes, par 35
    What they're saying: "This is for sure one of the nicer public courses in the area. It's always in great shape and the greens roll consistent from hole to hole." - TimmmmB

  18. Plymouth, Mass.
    18 holes, par 57
    What they're saying: "Have played this course several times and it continues to excite me to return. Everything is just great: the greens, tee boxes, layout and staff." - bobfundir

  19. Williamsburg, Iowa
    9 holes, par 36
    What they're saying: "Best 9-hole course in the state. Course was in immaculate shape, greens rolled smooth, fast, and true. Great layout." - obiewan

  20. Hollister, Mo.
    9 holes, par 27
    What they're saying: "Top of the Rock will wow and intimidate you at the same time. It's a demanding test of golf." - JasonDeeganGA

  21. Lenexa, Kan.
    9 holes, par 36
    What they're saying: "Friendly staff and great track for a 9 hole round. Reasonable green fees and course is well maintained." - rpike2269

  22. Yarmouth Port, Mass.
    18 holes, par 60
    What they're saying: "This is a great track that's well maintained. Multiple tees make it very accessible for juniors and seniors." - haynz

  23. Kings Beach, Calif.
    9 holes, par 36
    What they're saying: "What a hidden gem! Just played for the first time! Played from the blues and it was awesome! Greens are the best in Tahoe." - TheGolfMadman

  24. Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
    9 holes, par 27
    What they're saying: "A beautiful and challenging 9 hole course. The Pacific Ocean as a backdrop makes this even better." - baby4490

  25. Indianapolis, Ind.
    9 holes, par 36
    What they're saying: "Buffer Park is about all you can ask from a 9 hole track. Solid layout with water in play throughout, narrow fairways, sand, and other problems should you spray." - DrOldSchool, Indiana Local Golf Advisor

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