In our search to find 10 “bucket list” golf courses, we’ve compiled a list of tracks that every golf addict should try to play in their lifetime. While some on the list are private, you may be able to get on through a lucky drawing or if you know a member. But if not, try getting to some of the public courses on this list.
10.) Baltusrol Golf Club (Springfield, NJ – Private $$$)
The site of many PGA TOUR majors, this underrated gem may be one of the nicest courses in the world. The 36-hole complex features an Upper and Lower course on the grounds and both tracks have hosted PGA TOUR events. Chances are if you live in the tri-state area, you may have a golf buddy who belongs here (hell, you may even belong here yourself, in which case are you looking for a fourth?). Guest shell out about $150 to play this future site of the 2016 PGA Championship.
9.) Bandon Dunes (Bandon, OR – Public $$$)
The Bandon Dunes course is one of 5 courses on the grounds at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and all have magnificent views of the Pacific. A peak season golf-only guest will pay $280 for the round, and you may save $50 bucks if you’re staying at the resort. Not a bad price to knock this one off your bucket list!
8.) Whistling Straights (Straights Course) (Sheboygan, WI – Public $$$$)
The Straights Course at Whistling Straights brings to life an Ireland feel carved into the Wisconsin coast line. Watch out for the sheep that wander the mountain sides on the course as you make your way through one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. The long track is a tough one and the Straights course will cost you roughly $360 dollars for the round (and probably a whole lot of golf balls).
7.) Oakmont Country Club (Oakmont, PA – Private $$$$)
Ranked in the top 5 on Golf Digest’s top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in America, this private club is a gem in the heart of Pennsylvania. Oakmont has seen its fair share of PGA tournaments and produced winners such as Ernie Els, Jack Nicklaus, and Ben Hogan. The course has 210 bunkers and they are all oddly shaped, so bring a beach chair and sunscreen if you’re lucky enough to get on this course.
6.) Shinnecock Hills (Southampton, Long Island, NY –Private $$$$)
Shinnecock Hills claims to be the oldest formal organized golf club in the United States (1891) and also claims to have the oldest golf clubhouse. They were the first to admit women into their club, which they claim they have done from the start. The PGA TOUR held 5 U.S Opens here and a few other Amateur events. The links style course plays as a par 70 and is relatively straight…but fescue could take its toll, leaving us asking “does this weed wacker count towards our 14 clubs?”
5.) Winged Foot (West Course) (Mamaroneck, NY – Private $$$$)
Remember the 2006 US Open when Phil Mickelson shanked his tee shot off a hospitality tent on 18 to ultimately double-bogey the hole to lose the tournament to Geoff Ogilvy? Of course you do. This course is one of the many Westchester, NY gems that presents a tough challenge for even some of the game’s best.
4.) TPC Sawgrass (PLAYERS Stadium) (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL – Public. $$$$)
When we think TPC Sawgrass, we think “Island Green” and “The PLAYERS Championship”. The public can play this course for about $300 and it will certainly give you a run for your money. Make sure you pick the right wedge for the 17th and don’t jump in after you ball, that’s all we’re saying. If you’ve played here before let us know how you made out on 17. Sticking the green is a memory that will last a lifetime.
3.) Pebble Beach Golf Links (Pebble Beach, CA – Public. $$$$)
If you stay at the resort, then you can play this course for $495 and that includes your cart. But if you stay elsewhere, the cart is on you. The $500-$600 round of golf at the infamous Pebble Beach Golf Links has been every public golfer’s dream course for decades.
2.) Augusta National (Augusta, GA – Private $$$$)
Augusta National is the historic location of the PGA TOUR’s first Major of every season…The Masters. The beautifully maintained grounds at Augusta National have been seen on television screens once a year every March/April for generations. Membership is exclusive – you have to be someone important to become a member here and certainly have the piggy bank for it. In fact, you may even have to be someone important to even be invited as a guest (when the course is even open). Some notable members include: Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jack Welch, and Pete Coors. Good luck getting out to the first tee here, but if you ever have, let us know about your experience in the comments below and let the jealousy begin!
1.) Pine Valley Golf Club (Pine Valley, NJ – Private $$$$)
This highly exclusive male-only membership club currently has 930 members located throughout the world – the list is kept secret, but you can certainly imagine a few notables who might be on there. The only way you’re playing this course is if you’re invited and accompanied by a member. Members have to be invited to be granted membership by the board of directors. Women are allowed to play as guests on Sunday afternoon only.
Voted by Golf Digest as the No. 1 Course in the World in 2012, Pine Valley Golf Club has sat in the No.1 spot for a total of 23 years. If you have ever had the extreme fortune to play this highly desired historical track consider yourself lucky. If not, get out there and work on getting that highly secretive invite!
What are some courses that would make your own personal “bucket list?” Let us know by commenting below.