- Ngalangkung 36.9 juta Americans played golf in 2020 alone.
- It’s little wonder that this country is home to so many golfing legends.
- Based on research carried out by flight comparison website Find A Cheap Flight, we have compiled a list of the most popular golf courses and resorts in the US.
This guide will give you an insight into some of the most exclusive golf clubs in the world. From limousine escorts to $250,000 membership fees, there’s so much more to these clubs than just the game of golf.
Most popular golf courses and resorts in the US
Many of the most popular golf courses and resorts in the US were formed over 50 years ago. Hollywood elite and powerful politicians have rubbed shoulders both on and off the courses, although who knows what they talk about during the game!
Some of the most popular golf courses in the US include the Riviera Country Club in California, Shadow Creek in Nevada and Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey.
Continue reading to find out which golf courses and resorts have made the ‘most popular’ list in the US.
Whistling Straits is one of two courses associated with The American Club. It runs along two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline in a 36-hole link style. The course itself is 6,757m and was designed by married duo, Pete and Alice Dye.
This course is a masterpiece to play. It is set to host the 43rd Ryder cup in 2021 and test champions to their limits. It has previously hosted multiple PGA Championships and the US Senior Open.
You can treat yourself to a golf package to fully experience the course. A popular package is the To Dye For, which includes a three-night stay, four 18-hole games and a 30-minute golf lesson.
Despite being based in Wisconsin, the course is reminiscent of a rustic Irish farmhouse setting. There are several restaurants that you can dine at after a busy day of golfing. The British-influenced menus feature signature dishes such as sticky toffee pudding and rack of lamb.
Klub Golf Nasional Augusta
Based in Augusta, Georgia, this club was opened in the 1930s. This is one of the most exclusive clubs in the United States as it is only open to members and invite-only guests.
Most people will be familiar with the Augusta club after watching it on their television screens each April. The Master’s Tournament has been hosted on the course since it was created by Bobby Jones in 1934.
The course is 18-hole, par 72. It was designed by amateur champion, Bobby Jones and architect, Alister Mackenzie. This duo proved to be a powerful pairing and the result is a perfect example of the clean and open expanses of an American golf course.
The total course length is 7,475 yards. Each of the holes are named after plants because the site was formerly a plant nursery. The 1st hole is called Tea Olive, with other names including Flowering Crab Apple (4th) and Carolina Cherry (9th).
Pulo Golf Kiawah Island
The Kiawah Island Golf Resort was ranked in the Top 100 Courses in the World (The Ocean Course) in 2020. It also hosted the PGA Championship in 2021, which is the only one of the four major championships that is exclusively held for professional golfers.
There’s five courses at Kiawah Island: The Ocean Course, Osprey Point, Oak Point, Turtle Point and Cougar Point. Each course is 18-hole, 72 par. With ten holes near the Atlantic and another eight directly opposite, the Ocean Course has the most seaside holes in the Northern Hemisphere. This makes for a particularly windy course that adds to the challenge of the course.
The South Carolinian golf resort boasts 14 restaurants, bars and cafes, including the Ocean Room and Jasmine Porch. You can spend downtime at the five-star spa and salon and stay at the Sanctuary Hotel, resort villas or in a private cottage.
Riviera Country Club
Located in Pacific Palisades, California, the Riviera Country Club has been open for nearly a century. The course regularly hosts the Los Angeles Open and is preparing to host the golfing events at the 2028 Olympics.
Similar to many other clubs on this list, the Riviera Country Club is for members only. Previous members include Walt Disney and Dean Martin. It’s little wonder that the elite are the only ones with access to this exclusive club – membership is rumoured to cost around $250,000!
The 18-hole course has special features such as Kukuya grass, which is an important grass from Africa. The club also includes a tennis club if you fancy having a go at another sport. You can stay in one of 24 appointed guest suites if you are lucky enough to be invited to play at the club by a member.
Pine Valley Golf Club
The Pine Valley Golf Club was opened in 1919 in Southern New Jersey. It has since become known as one of the most difficult courses in the world, as well as one of the most exclusive.
Unless you’re invited to visit the course by a member, it’s unlikely you’ll get to play this course as a member. There are rumoured to be around 930 members worldwide, although the list is a closely guarded secret. Unlike other clubs that offer a member application process, the board of directors at the Pine Valley Golf Club approach potential new members.
2021 has seen a major change to the club – women can now join as members and enjoy unrestricted play. In previous years, women were only allowed to play as guests on a Sunday afternoon. September also sees Pine Valley host the annual Crump Cup, so named after the club’s founder. The day of Crump Cup is the only time members of the public are allowed onto the club’s grounds.
Where else is it mandatory to arrive at the golf course via limousine? Shadow Creek likes to do things differently and this quirk is just part of its charm. Guests have to stay at an MGM hotel in Las Vegas to be able to play on the golf course some 20 to 30 minutes away.
Shadow Creek started out as a private club in 1989, but it became public around 20 years ago. Tom Fazio designed the 18-hole course in an oasis amongst the desert surroundings, with a view of mountains.
The course hosted PGA Tour’s CJ Cup in 2020 and also hosted The Match: Tiger vs. Phil (Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson) in 2018.
Oakmont Country Club
You can expect class and beautiful views at one of the oldest golf courses in the country. Oakmont Country Club was founded in 1903 and has kept its reputation of being one of the toughest courses around.
Fast greens and 175 deep bunkers (including the notorious Church Pews) make this Pennsylvanian course a challenge for even the most experienced golfer. You’ll only be able to have a go if you are personally invited to attend the club as a guest or indeed become a member yourself.
The club also hosts numerous weddings and corporate events in their many function rooms. Host your event in the sophisticated Ballroom, or choose The Library for a quieter and more intimate event.
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
There are six different courses at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. You can enjoy playing on a links course whilst overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Bandon Preserve is a 13-hole course that is so much more than a good game. All proceeds from the course go to the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, which supports conservation, community and the local economy.
You won’t go hungry as there are seven restaurants and bars to choose from. Try local Pacific Northwest cuisine at the Pacific Grill, or traditional Scottish-style food at McKee’s Pub.
Enjoy the golf course in the comfort of your own room by choosing a room at The Inn. Here, you will be able to see an uninterrupted view of the course out of your window. Alternatively, you can choose to stay at the Lily Pond, where you can have your own private deck overlooking the forest. There’s so much choice with six accommodations to choose from.
Muirfield Village Golf Club
The Muirfield Village had a big reputation to follow as its namesake is the home of the world’s oldest golf course. Jack Nicklaus wanted to honour the famous course when he designed his own in 1974.
Dublin, Ohio is a long way from Scotland, but the course stays true to its heritage. Situated across 220 acres, members and their guests can play on a course with multiple water hazards, bunkers and narrow fairways.
Nicklaus regularly oversees upgrades to the course so that the club keeps up with changing technology and architectural advances. 2020 saw a major reconstruction on the course and many holes were upgraded.
There are four places to dine at the club, including the family-friendly Golden Bear Room, which features a double-sided fireplace.
Established in 2009, The Country Club at Muirfield Village Foundation also helps children with special needs in Ohio. Since it was formed, the foundation has awarded over $250,000 in grants to various charities.