From the time you first pick up a golf club, you dream of sinking a putt on the 18th at Augusta National and putting on your first green jacket. As you work your way up the ladder, playing in junior golf tournaments and at the collegiate level, you will have the opportunity to tee off on some of the most prestigious and beautiful courses in the country. While it can be difficult and subjective to put together a definitive ranking of the top courses in America, here is a list of 10 famous courses that every golf player should have on his or her bucket list:
10. Bethpage Black – Black at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York, is consistently rated as one of the top courses in the United States. Bethpage Black has a reputation for throwing tests at golfers on every shot and, at the end of the day, you may be exhausted, but you’ll definitely feel accomplished. This course will host the 2019 PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup in 2024.
9. The Country Club (Clyde/Squirrel) – The Country Club, located in Brookline, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest country clubs in America. It was founded in 1882 and hosted the famous U.S. Open in 1913. Since 1902 it has also been the host to a Ryder Cup, two other U.S. Opens, and a handful of Women’s and Men’s U.S. Amateur tournaments. The course has a rating of 74.5, a slope rating of 140, and par is 71.
8. Shinnecock Hills – Shinnecock Hills Golf Club can be found in Southampton, New York, and was founded in 1891. It is the oldest incorporated golf club in the country, according to Business Insider. The club first hosted the U.S. Open in 1896 and will do so again in 2018. Women have been full members since the club’s founding, which was groundbreaking.
7. Pacific Dunes – Pacific Dunes is a course at Bandon Dunes, in Bandon, Oregon, and is another that is highly regarded by golfers. Situated with holes along the ocean, you’ll be able to play some of the best par 4s anywhere. Pacific Dunes opened in 2001, and the public course hosted the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links championships.
6. Pinehurst No. 2 – Pinehurst No.2, in Pinehurst, North Carolina, is a sophisticated course built in the style of the Old Course in St. Andrews. The course is open to the public and is a difficult test, but one that will make you appreciate the architecture and challenges you’ve faced.
5. Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort – What would a golf bucket list be without a trip to Hawai’i? Plantation is one of the top courses on the islands and is located in Maui. You’ll get unparalleled views of the ocean and scenery, but you’ll also need to be careful to maintain your perspective on lies and distance.
4. Harbour Town – Harbour Town at Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, was designed by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus. It was built in 1969 to host a PGA Tour event, which was won by Arnold Palmer with a one-under par. This course launched Hilton Head as one of the premier golfing destinations in the country.
3. TPC Sawgrass – The Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, opened in 1980 and was the first TPC to be built. PGA Tour headquarters are at Sawgrass, and the club hosts The Players Championship each year.
2. Pebble Beach – Located in Pebble Beach, California, this course ranks near the top of every “official” list of public courses. A picturesque setting will leave you in awe as you make your way through the course. There is no question about it; you must play this course.
1. Augusta National – Augusta National isn’t home to The Masters without reason. The club in Georgia has hosted the tournament since 1934, and is one of the best and most challenging courses in the world. If you get the opportunity to play Augusta, do not pass it up.
Are you interested in working on your game so that you can follow your golf dreams? Learn more about joining the International Junior Golf Academy as a full-time student by contacting a representative of IJGA at (843) 686-1500.