Best Course You've Ever Played That Nobody's Heard Of


I’m going to shout out the course i grew up on.

Pines Country Club in Valley, NE.

At first glance, it looks like your standard, everyday, semi private, small town course. Which it is.

But the greens are awesome. Width and angles come into play, due to how great the greens are. All kinds of room. And it’ll stretch you out from the back tees if you want. There are risk reward holes, challenge the OB, water, etc, and youll find better lines, and shorter approaches.


When did you play it? They did a renovation several years ago to bring back the scrub/sandy areas much like Pinehurst. Yes, they are known for getting the greens incredibly firm and fast for big tournaments. And as you know they have some severe greens/greens surrounds. I’ve never played it like that but I can only imagine, it is tough enough when the greens are normal speeds.


Here a few under the radar gems:
Royal Eastbourne GC (UK)
Royal West Norfolk GC (UK)
Essex County CC (NJ)


Diamond Springs outside of Hamilton, MI. DeVries course that not many outside of Southwest Michigan have heard of or played. Don’t think I’ve ever seen more than 10 cars in the parking lot. No idea how they stay open.


I would have played it in the fall of 2014, not sure how that correlates with the renovation, but I do remember some scrub situations on the first hole (but not many other places)


Geography is the biggest barrier to people appreciating this gem that was touched by BOTH Tilly and D. Ross, but Bedford Springs in Bedford, PA continues to be one of the best tracks I’ve ever played.

Also, internationally speaking, Malone Golf Club just north of Belfast was a real treat. But a parklands course in Northern Ireland might as well be the red-headed step-child.


Texarkana Country Club is an outright gem.


Big fan of the Bedford Springs course can’t beat Tilly and D Ross and it hardly ever gets mentioned.


I live in the Seattle area and recently got invited to play at Aldarra Golf Club. It is a high-end club on the Eastside of Seattle and it is absolutely fantastic. For years I’ve driven by it on my way to work but I had zero contacts and never expected to get an invite. One day a good buddy calls me and tells me he is going with his boss to Aldarra (boss is a member). I jokingly reply that I’m wondering if they need a fourth. About five minutes later he texts me to meet at the club at 2:00 pm and that I was in. I clear my afternoon and drive out to the club. Turns out that they are painting the club house and plugging the greens and the course is closed. Friend’s boss didn’t know because they don’t have tee times there, you just show up and play so he hadn’t called. When we got there he remembered that they had sent out a notice.

Total bummer, except my friend’s boss says lets go play elsewhere today and I’ll invite you both back when the greens are healed. We go out and play another course have a great time and true to his word, I get an invite in a couple of weeks and get to play an absolutely awesome Fazio design. Easily one of the better courses I’ve ever played. Now every time I drive by the course (nearly daily) I can fantasize about being a member and having that be my home course.

The course is tucked between a state highway and a residential neighborhood and is built on a really hilly piece of land, predominately a big side-hill. The routing is amazing and the views from some of the holes are truly awesome. The course flows nicely and there is just one great hole after another. Here’s some beauty shots from the 8th and 12th holes. Hard to beat the layout and the setting and the conditions are near perfect. The course got a lot of acclaim when it opened but I don’t suspect most would have heard of it.

Aldarra%20hole%208 Aldarra%20hole%2012


Man, I really need to make the trip up from South Dakota to play these.


Sure do, and I’d just make a long weekend of it and play 36 at each. Head to Medora on a Thursday night and play 36 there on Friday before heading up to Williston (2 hour drive). Play 36 at The Links on Saturday, which will only take 6 hours if you’re half-decent as you’ll have the place to yourself even on a Saturday. Head to Bismarck (3.5 hour drive) and get 36 in at Hawktree on Sunday before heading home!

I’d join you for one of the Hawktree rounds for sure and possibly the Bully Pulpit rounds. If you call any of the three courses and ask about the “Triple Challenge Card” it includes golf at all three for $165.


Yep, it was done then.


Eagle Ranch in Eagle, CO. Palmer design that’s very “linksy” and very affordable for the area.


I played Aldarra on a recent trip out to Seattle and was blown away. I really enjoyed the course, and can only imagine how much better the views would be without the wildfire smoke that blocked all of the mountains. I played Chambers and Sahalee on the same trip and enjoyed Aldarra the most out of the group. Definitely a course that you’d enjoy membership, could play it everyday.


I’m glad you got to play Aldarra but that smoke really sucked this summer and you did miss some awesome views. We had the air quality of Beijing for a good part of August and September. I’ve never been so happy to see some rain this fall.


Corballis in Dublin, public course literally across the road from the Island. Just made Top 100 in Ireland for the first time. I thought Tom Coyne was way harsh on it in a Course called Ireland but still kind of glad he shrunk the game on Corballis.


Loads in and around the north east of England its not for your Barry Bag Tags.

Seaton Carew, Cleveland and Goswick are three of the finest links courses you will play.

Brancepath Castle in Durham has three of the best par 3s you will play - absolute filth.


Peninsula Golf Resort in Lancaster, KY. We do a golf trip there every year, it’s a Pete Dye in the middle of nowhere. Bunkers are never in great shape, which is a shame, but the course is fantastic for the price and they have a great stay and play deal. Hope i’m not opening the floodgates…


Tot Hill Farm in Asheboro, NC. Mike Strantz design. Super cool layout and scenery. Really fun course. Would highly recommend it to anyone who is heading to the Pinehurst area and is interested in venturing outside of that area for some quality golf.


Oceanside Golf course. Played this muni every weekend when i lived in cali. nothing crazy, but lots of fun holes including a 90 yard par 3 off a cliff where you cant see the green.