2020 was an extraordinary year for the golf course industry as rounds played was higher than it has been in many years. We saw that enthusiasm in our reviews community, where we received over 260,000 golf course reviews, a 71% increase year-over-year.
How the Golfers' Choice Top 50 public courses were determined
Over 4,200 golf courses received 10 or more reviews in 2020 (that's nearly 1,000 more than 2019). We factored in only the public-access courses (including resort and semi-private) that received this many reviews to compile the 50 best. Scores were calculated using a combination of our Overall and six subcategory ratings: Value, Conditions, Layout, Pace of Play, Staff Friendliness and Off-Course Amenities. We also factor in a reviewer's average star rating with the rating they gave that course, so the courses that receive the highest net differential are rewarded. We also weight the reviews by our most prolific accounts, like Local Golf Advisors.
Each year, we have a lot of turnover on these lists, because we're only looking at the previous year's reviews. (The star rating that you see on a course guide page is an all-time star rating that is weighted towards more recent reviews). In 2021 there are We've included the greens fee range of each course to provide an idea of what expectation you should have of the course (is it an over-achieving value course, or a high-end resort course that delivers on the experience?).
The average peak season green fees for the 50 courses listed is $117 (weekday)-155 (weekend).
19 golf courses have a peak season green fee below $100.
25 golf courses have a weekday peak season green fee below $100.
17 courses have made the Top 50 U.S. list for the first time (since 2014).
It's never too late to join our review community where you upload course photos and video, keep an archive and map on your profile page of all your courses played. You can get started by writing your first review right here.
Top 50 U.S. Golf Courses
50. Royal Hylands Golf Club
Green fees: $32-49
What they're saying: "We are a very intense group of better than average players who appreciate course management and quality and this course consistently is among the best." - Stransam123, Kentucky Local Golf Advisor
49. Chimney Oaks Golf Club
Green fees: $49-59
What they're saying: "My dad and I loved the course. Championship Tiff Bermuda greens were perfect condition and were the perfect speed. The course layout is friendly off the tee and a lot of character to the holes." - drob1877
48. Kiva Dunes
Gulf Shores, Ala.
Green fees: $48-105
What they're saying: "Every aspect of this course is top notch. The staff, the practice area, the course maintenance, the amenities, the ranger keeping pace of play...you name it. Really enjoyed my round. Beautiful course." - jdsues
47. Quintero Golf Club
Green fees: $189-225 | Stay and play from $147/nt.
What they're saying: "Stunning views without any houses, superb course conditioning, and an interesting layout. Probably among the best collection of par 3s anywhere." -
46. Pasatiempo Golf Club
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Green fees: $325-365
What they're saying: "The green complexes are spectacular and create very challenging and fun/interesting putts and short game shots. The greens were as pure as could be. The back 9 on this course is truly special." - JustHaveFun
Green fees: $45-75
What they're saying: "Sweeping, undulating fairways combined with impeccably kept bunkers, greens, and fringes made for one of the most enjoyable rounds I have experienced in quite a while." - ecolleary
44. Gaylord Golf Club
Green fees: $55-65
What they're saying: "The clubhouse was friendly and accommodating, the course conditions were excellent, the routing itself is just challenging enough to hold your attention, the greens were quick and true, and they made safety a priority!" - Steamtide
43. Tierra Verde Golf Club
Green fees: $55-75
What they're saying: "I cant say enough great things about this course, about the staff, about the amenities!...The roadrunners and coyotes keep me entertained along with many other birds." - dwaz777
42. Southern Hills Plantation
Green fees: $99-149
What they're saying: "This course never ceases to amaze. From the rolling fairways, speedy greens, and impeccable conditions this course is a must play for any locals or visitors. This is unlike any other Florida golf experience. Expect elevation change." - PinnacleStaffer, Florida Local Golf Advisor
41. Streamsong Black
Fort Meade, Fla.
Green fees: $185-285
What they're saying: "Good use of short fours. Punch bowl green on 9 is a lot of fun. Greens were quick. Par 3s stood out, with all four offering different shot values." -
BrandonWebb, Alabama Local Golf Advisor