Top U.S. Golf Courses by Region

Fundamentally, ranking golf courses is a subjective exercise. Better players often prefer more challenging layouts. Less skilled golfers might appreciate wider fairways with fewer forced carries.

That said, the validity of any individual review isn’t tied to whether that golfer has a degree in golf course architecture or a preference for certain types of grasses.

If you’re a golfer, your opinion matters.

To build our list of the best golf destinations, we turned to TheGrint and to real golfers just like you.

ABOUT THEGRINT’S RANKINGS

To generate our rankings, we leveraged data from TheGrint, a golf handicap and stat-tracking service that also allows golfers to rate the courses they play. Think of it as something similar to Yelp for golf courses.

Here are the pertinent details:

  • Ranking derived from more than 300,000 golf course reviews from golfers just like you.
  • Only reviews from the previous year (2020) are used.
  • Only considered courses with a minimum of 50 reviews.
  • Golfers considered course conditions and overall experience as ranking criteria.

Based on reader feedback, we took the data for all courses in the United States and broke it down by region. This is the last of our five regional lists in this series. If you have other categories of course reviews you’d like to see, leave us a comment.

BEST COURSES IN THE SOUTHEAST

Observations

  • South Carolina and North Carolina each had three courses ranked in the top 10.
  • As with other regions, resort locations with multiple courses ranked highly.
  • Only location with multiple courses in the top 10 is Pinehurst Resort (North Carolina).

TOP 10

10. The Walker Golf Course at Clemson University  (97.7)

Considered one of the best university courses in the United States, the Walker Course is home to the Clemson University golf teams.

9. Willow Point Golf and Country Club | Willow Point (97.9)

Originally one of the Russell Farms cattle farms, Willow Point is situated on a peninsula, surrounded by Lake Martin. As you might expect, a majority of the holes (12 of 18) are located along the shores and all 18 have a view of the lake.

8. Tobacco Road Golf Course (98.0)

Affectionately dubbed “The Road” or “Pine Valley on steroids”, Tobacco Road is one of the most challenging tracks in either of the Carolinas.

7. Streamsong Resort | Black  (98.2)

The Gil Hanse design is the most recent addition (2017) to Streamsong Resort in central Florida, between Tampa Bay and Orlando. While “remote” might be an understatement, Streamsong Resort should be on every serious golfer’s bucket list.

6. Mystic Creek Golf Club  (98.4)

South-central Arkansas isn’t generally the first place golfers list as a top-shelf golf destination. That said, Mystic Creek’s cathedral pines and domed greens might have you convinced it’s somewhere between Georgia and the South Carolina coast.

5. Pinehurst Resort | No. 2 (98.5)

Often referred to as the quintessential Donald Ross masterpiece, the No. 2 course (restored by Coore/Crenshaw) is deserving of every accolade it’s received. And at last count, it was more than the number of photos taken next to the statue of Payne Stewart that memorializes his 1999 U.S. Open victory.

4. Kiawah Island Golf Resort | The Ocean (98.8)

The good news is that Alice Dye (wife of renowned architect Pete Dye) suggested several course alterations that created additional elevation and views of the Atlantic coast.

Bad news? The views come at a cost, namely constant exposure to the unpredictable winds that make The Ocean course potentially one of the most penalizing loops in the U.S.

3. Pinehurst Resort | No. 4  (98.9)

Pinehurst Resort contains nine 18-hole courses. And while Pinehurst No. 2 receives the bulk of the attention, No. 4 continues to make a strong case that it might be a more appropriate challenge for the majority of golfers.

2. Harbour Town Golf Links  (99.2)

For the last 52 years, Harbour Town has played host to the RBC Heritage tournament on the PGA TOUR. Additionally, the 90-foot red-and-white lighthouse serves as part tourist attraction and part aiming point for the 472-yard, par-4 18th hole.

1. TPC Sawgrass | Stadium Course  (99.2)

Is there a more daunting tee shot than 17 at TPC Sawgrass?  The 132-yard island-green par-3 appears relatively benign but Bob Tway, who carded a 12 on the infamous hole in 2005, would disagree.

Looking for more courses to check out? Here’s a list of the top 50 public courses in the United States, according to TheGrint.