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Top 50 Most Popular Places to Play Golf in the U.S.

Thinking about traveling to play somewhere different? The cities below have a ton of courses for you to choose from with more courses than any of the other cities in the U.S. If you see one nearby, a weekend trip may be just what is needed to liven up your game if your local courses are feeling a bit boring. For the more adventurous, consider combining a golf outing with your next family vacation.

#1  Naples, FL
#2  Houston, TX
#3  Fort Myers, FL
#4  San Antonio, TX
#5  Cincinnati, OH
#6  Las Vegas, NV
#7  Scottsdale, AZ
#8  Indianapolis, IN
#9  Tucson, AZ
#10  Palm Desert, CA
#11  Omaha, NE
#12  Orlando, FL
#13  Louisville, KY
#14  Boca Raton, FL
#15  Bradenton, FL
#16  Charlotte, NC
#17  Phoenix, AZ
#18  Austin, TX
#19  Mesa, AZ
#20  Jacksonville, FL
#21  Sarasota, FL
#22  Fort Worth, TX
#23  Myrtle Beach, SC
#24  San Diego, CA
#25  Honolulu, HI
#26  Dallas, TX
#27  Fort Wayne, IN
#28  St Louis, MO
#29  Tampa, FL
#30  Hilton Head Island, SC
#31  Ocala, FL
#32  Atlanta, GA
#33  Birmingham, AL
#34  Denver, CO
#35  Virginia Beach, VA
#36  Bonita Springs, FL
#37  Oklahoma City, OK
#38  West Palm Beach, FL
#39  Vero Beach, FL
#40  Delray Beach, FL
#41  Lakeland, FL
#42  Salt Lake City, UT
#43  Lincoln, NE
#44  Colorado Springs, CO
#45  Portland, OR
#46  Bluffton, SC
#47  Aurora, CO
#48  Baton Rouge, LA
#49  Wichita, KS
#50  Memphis, TN

Top 25 Golf Course Architects

As you can imagine, there are nearly as many golf course designers as there are golf courses. A few stand out as having designed the most courses across the country. If you are interested at playing at a course designed by a popular architect, see if one of these designers helped create a course in your area.

RankCourse Designer(s)Courses DesignedCommon Locations
#1Donald Ross325Massachusetts (48)North Carolina (44)Florida (29)
#2Robert Trent Jones Sr166New York (29)California (19)Florida (16)
#3Arthur Hills163Florida (44)Michigan (25)Ohio (20)
#4Tom Fazio145Florida (40)South Carolina (18)Georgia (11)
#5Jack Nicklaus142Florida (24)California (14)Colorado (11)
#6Arnold Palmer132Florida (31)North Carolina (12)California (9)
#7Geoffrey Cornish130Massachusetts (39)Connecticut (20)New York (19)
#8Tom Bendelow115Illinois (33)Michigan (10)Indiana (8)
#9Joe Lee114Florida (60)Georgia (21)Louisiana (4)
#10Ted Robinson105California (79)Hawaii (6)Washington (6)
#11Pete Dye98Indiana (15)Florida (15)South Carolina (11)
#12Ed Ault97Virginia (23)Maryland (22)Pennsylvania (18)
#13Ron Garl93Florida (71)South Carolina (6)Alabama (3)
#14Rees Jones82South Carolina (13)Florida (12)North Carolina (9)
#15William F Bell81California (57)Utah (6)Oregon (3)
#16A W Tillinghast79New York (28)New Jersey (13)Pennsylvania (12)
#17Robert Trent Jones Jr79California (21)Hawaii (8)Colorado (5)
#18George Cobb78North Carolina (26)South Carolina (21)Georgia (10)
#19Robert Von Hagge66Florida (31)Texas (17)Ohio (3)
#20Jack Kidwell60Ohio (52)Indiana (2)West Virginia (1)
#21Ed Seay58Florida (15)California (5)Hawaii (4)
#22Leon Howard57Texas (39)Tennessee (4)Arkansas (4)
#23Robert Muir Graves56California (37)Washington (8)Oregon (7)
#24Hal Purdy53New Jersey (25)New York (19)Connecticut (4)
#25Bob E Baldock52California (34)Nevada (4)Idaho (3)

Types of Golf Courses

The golf course directory includes 17,035 golf courses from all 50 states in the U.S. including 59,191 tees. Most of the tees (87%) on golf courses allow you to play a typical 18 hole round. However, the remaining 13% show that playing a round of only 9 holes is still quite popular.

If golf was ever considered a "man's" sport, it isn't any longer. The USGA rates nearly as many tees for women as it does for men. The only real physical advantage men have over ladies in golf is power for distance. Most courses will have a tee box closer to the hole for women which evens the playing field. So, ladies, get out there and show them how it's done!

If you are just getting started playing in a new area or just started playing golf, you should be able to try out some nearby courses without paying membership fees because 74% of courses have an open guest policy. Some courses try to be more exclusive so you might need an invitation from friend that is already a member if you want to give some courses a try. When considering membership, remember that many courses might belong to some type of country club that offers many more amenities than the golf course. Browse the golf course directory to a city near you to find all nearby courses so you can consider all of your options before becoming a member of a new golf course.

9 Holes vs 18 Holes

Tees with USGA Rating by Gender

Types of Courses

Golf Course Guest Policy

Explanation of Types

Public
Public courses allow anyone to come and play.
Private
Private courses tyically require a membership in order to play without being a guest of a member.
Semi-Private
Semi-private courses may be only open to the public on certain days or seasons. They generally provide benefits to members such as preferred tee times, locker rooms, restaurant access, full range access, etc. Membership may require a fee or a residence near the course.
Municipal
Municipal courses are city owned and vary greatly in quality.
Resort
Resort courses are typically for vacation. They are usually open to the public.

Guest Policies

With a Member
Non-members must be accompanied by a member when playing.
Open
Anyone can come to play.
Reciprocal
Allows members from other private courses to play as a guest without becoming a member.

Golf Course Ratings

The USGA rates courses according to difficulty. If you are wondering whether a course is "easy" or "hard", the course rating is the first number to look for. It should be a number close to par for the course. You can compare the course rating with the chart below to get an idea if that tee is more or less difficult than most tees in the U.S.

The second number to look for is the slope of the course. The slope of the course help's bogey golfers by showing how much more the course difficulty affects bogey golfers as oppose to scratch golfers.

To get a complete understanding, see our full explanation of golf course rating and slope. The rating and slope information is most commonly used to calculate golf handicaps. You may also find the guide to understanding golf handicaps useful.

Distribution of USGA Ratings for Men's Tees

Distribution of USGA Slope for Men's Tees

Golf Course Yardages and Par

You've probably noticed that longer holes usually have a higher par. If you want to be more precise when you say a "long par 4" the charts below should help you. While some coureses may have a par 6 or other unusual holes, we stuck with the basics to give you the most accurate data.

Par 3

Par 4

Par 5

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Golf Courses and Driving Ranges
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