ORLANDO, Fla. (July 6, 2023) – For those who believe golf is better played on two feet than four wheels, GolfPass has published its list of Top 100 Walking Courses, a first-of-its-kind ranking of the best public golf courses for walking in the United States.
“The post-pandemic golf boom has been good for the game in so many ways since 2020, but one of the most unique impacts has been that walking while playing has become more popular than ever,” said GolfPass Managing Editor Jason Scott Deegan. “In the early days of the pandemic, most golfers either couldn’t use carts or didn’t want to. Many rediscovered the joys of walking. They bought new push carts and carry bags and have kept on walking.”
The “Top 100 Walking Courses” features some of the best-known courses in the U.S., while also including some hidden gems. America’s famous golf destination, Pebble Beach Golf Links, tops the list at No. 1 and is followed in the top 25 by other famous layouts like the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina, Bethpage Black in New York, Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina, Pasatiempo Golf Club in California, the Straits Course at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, all the regulation-sized courses at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, the three Streamsong Resort courses in Florida, Sand Valley and Mammoth Dunes in Wisconsin, and Chambers Bay in Washington state.
Two courses in the top 25 that fly somewhat under the national radar include Charleston Municipal Golf Course in South Carolina and Forest Dunes (The Loop) in Michigan. Other hidden gems in the remaining 75 courses, which are not ranked in any particular order, include Lake Placid Club (New York); Wild Horse (Nebraska); Warren Course at Notre Dame (Indiana); Manakiki Golf Course (Ohio); Keney Park Golf Course (Connecticut); Fort Myers Country Club (Florida); and Soule Park Golf Course (California).
According to data from the National Golf Foundation, golf participation has reached an all-time high, with the sport adding more than 1 million golfers in the last three years and also becoming more diverse.
“The pandemic also introduced the game to a new generation of younger golfers who are very health-conscious and would rather walk than ride in a cart,” said Deegan. “It makes sense to celebrate this new movement in the game with a list of top U.S. public and resort courses that cater to this new army of walking golfers.”
To compile the list, the GolfPass editorial team analyzed the walking data from thousands of GolfPass reviews of more than 3,000 courses and reached out to staffs at hundreds more facilities to find and select the best choices. When reviewing a course on GolfPass, golfers are asked “Did you walk?” and they also have the option of checking another box that notes, “This course/club is great for walkers.” All courses have to be accessible to the public, with other criteria considered including the quality of the golf course, how conducive it is to walking and how welcoming the facility is to walkers.
“If a course lacks interesting features along the route, it becomes more of a hike than a great golf experience,” Deegan said.
- Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.
- Pacific Dunes at Bandon Dunes, Bandon, Ore.
- Straits Course at Whistling Straits, Haven, Wisc.
- Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Kiawah Island, S.C.
- Bandon Dunes at Bandon Dunes, Bandon, Ore.
- Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst, N.C.
- Pasatiempo Golf Club, Santa Cruz, Calif.
- Mammoth Dunes at Sand Valley, Nekoosa, Wisc.
- Bethpage Black, Farmingdale, N.Y.
- Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head, S.C.
- Streamsong Blue, Bowling Green, Fla.
- Sand Valley Golf Resort (Sand Valley), Nekoosa, Wisc.
- Streamsong Red, Bowling Green, Fla.
- Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash.
- Pinehurst No. 4, Pinehurst, N.C.
- Streamsong Black, Bowling Green, Fla.
- Old Macdonald at Bandon Dunes, Bandon, Ore.
- Erin Hills, Hartford, Wisc.
- Torrey Pines Golf Course (South), La Jolla, Calif.
- Sheep Ranch at Bandon Dunes, Bandon, Ore.
- TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, Calif.
- Bandon Trails at Bandon Dunes, Bandon, Ore.
- Gamble Sands, Brewster, Wash.
- Charleston Municipal Golf Course, Charleston, S.C.
- Forest Dunes (The Loop), Roscommon, Mich.
Fun Facts: Top 100 Walking Courses
- College courses include University of Georgia, Colgate University, Williams College, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame
- Municipal courses include Schaumburg Golf Club (Illinois), Papago Golf Course (Arizona), Vail Golf Club (Colorado), Heron Lakes’ Great Blue Golf Course (Oregon), Griffith Park Golf Club’s Wilson Course (California), Coronado Golf Course (California), Haymaker Golf Club (Colorado), Arrowhead Golf Club (Illinois), Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point (New York), Montauk Downs State Park (New York), Bethpage Black and Bethpage Red (New York), Torrey Pines North and Torrey Pines South (California), TPC Harding Park (California), Chambers Bay (Washington state), Hominy Hill (New Jersey), George Wright (Massachusetts), Keney Park (Connecticut), Shennecossett (Connecticut), Triggs Memorial (Rhode Island), Jeffersonville Golf Club (Pennsylvania), Keller (Minnesota), Manakiki (Ohio), Sleepy Hollow (Ohio), Washington County (Wisconsin), Park West Palm (Florida), Fort Myers Country Club (Florida), Wilmington Municipal (North Carolina), Cobblestone (Georgia), Memorial Park (Texas), Brackenridge Park (Texas), Gus Wortham (Texas), Olympic Course at Gold Mountain (Washington state), Olivas Links (California), Corica Park’s South Course (California), Wailua (Hawaii)
- Two courses where you can take junior caddies to carry your bag – CommonGround Golf Course (Colorado) and Cantigny Golf (Illinois)
- Top tournaments have been held at Pebble Beach Golf Links – California (6 U.S. Opens, PGA TOUR); Pinehurst No. 2 – North Carolina (3 U.S. Opens); Bethpage Black – New York (2 U.S. Opens, 1 PGA Championship); TPC Harding Park – California (2020 PGA Championship, 2009 Presidents Cup); Torrey Pines South (2 U.S. Opens, PGA TOUR); Chambers Bay – Washington state (2015 U.S. Open); Straits Course at Whistling Straits – Wisconsin (3 PGA Championships, 2021 Ryder Cup); Erin Hills – Wisconsin (2017 U.S. Open); Ocean Course at Kiawah Island – South Carolina (2 PGA Championships, 1991 Ryder Cup); Harbour Town Golf Links – South Carolina (PGA TOUR); Seaview’s Bay Course – New Jersey (LPGA Tour); TPC Louisiana - Louisiana (PGA TOUR); THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass – Florida (THE PLAYERS Championship); Pine Needles – North Carolina (4 U.S. Women’s Opens); Sea Island’s Seaside Course – South Carolina (PGA TOUR); Fields Ranch East - Texas (2023 Senior PGA Championship); Warren Course at Notre Dame - Indiana (2019 U.S. Senior Open); Keller Golf Course - Minnesota (two PGA Championships); Memorial Park Golf Course - Texas (Houston Open on the PGA TOUR); Firestone Country Club’s South Course - Ohio (World Golf Championships), Brackenridge Park - Texas (original host of Texas Open); Omni La Costa Resort & Spa’s Champions Course - California (Tournament of Champions, 2024 NCAA Championships)
- New courses that are less than one month old include The Lido at Sand Valley (Wisconsin), Park West Palm (Florida), and Fields Ranch East and West at the Omni PGA Frisco Resort (Texas).
Created from more than 2 million golfer reviews, GolfPass lists provide unique perspectives within the game of golf. Other popular lists found at GolfPass include The Top 100 Under $100, The World’s Top 100 Golf Destinations, and The 50 Most Beautiful Courses in the World.
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