Five (Or 26) Favorite Courses You Have Played

Simple question, something most of us talk about regularly with our golf buddies, but I did not see it covered in any other threads here.

What are your five favorite courses? What do you like most about them?

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In no order:

  • Yeamans Hall Club (my one and only Raynor to this point)
  • Tobacco Road (Incredibly wild and fun. Beautiful and mean if you are a little wild)
  • Caledonia Golf & Fish Club (this and True Blue were probably the courses that opened my eyes to interesting, risk/reward architecture)
  • Dormie Club (one of the few C&C’s I’ve played. I enjoy the varied challenges and having ot hit most of the clubs in my bag during the round)
  • Mid Pines/Pine Needles (lumping these two together. 2 different challenges but both good representations of what Ross did well. I could walk Mid Pines everyday I think)

(I’m cheating already…)
Honorable Mentions:
The Wellman Club - now closed but was my home track growing up. Dad was the club pro and I still think it was a very underrated Ellis Maples course.
Bay Hill - one of the best conditioned courses I’ve every played
Grandfather G&CC - I wanted to play it for more than a decade and finally got to this year.
The Cradle Par 3 Course - I literally could play it all day…and my buddies and I certainly have tried!


That is a pretty sweet list. I’ve never played Yeamans, but always hear really great things.

Based on the handful of Ellis Maples courses I have played, I think he is very underrated. Sucks that Wellman Club is closed.

Waterville Golf Links - The setting, in the dunes of Ireland… amazing experience.
Taconic Golf Club - Fun greens, awesome old school New England vibes, in the mountains.
Ocean Course at Kiawah - Got to play it for free on a pristine spring day, twilight round. Kicked my ass, but it was fun.
Course at Yale - First experience of real GCA and it was a light bulb moment.
Essex County Club - Grew up a few miles away, so it was anticipation that didn’t disappoint. Awesome greens, great patio for lunch and beers.

  1. Mammoth Dunes - scale, playability, vibe; spoke to my soul
  2. Ocean Course - once in a lifetime; conditions are outrageous and you feel nervous over every shot; absolute test
  3. Lawsonia Links - hard to believe you can get this kind of classic architecture with absolutely stunning conditions in the middle of no where Wisconsin
  4. Sand Valley - might have been #1 if I didn’t play it in 105 degrees right after 18 at Mammoth
  5. Arcadia Bluffs - somewhat tricked out, but incredibly views and holes along the water, diabolical bunkers and greens

FAVORITE being the operative word, correct?

  1. Dahlgren G.C. Chaska MN. The definition of “family run golf course” where a talented 12 year-old can learn the finer points of gambling during Thursday nights men’s league.
  2. Valley Club of Montecito. This is where I first realized that there was a real difference in architecture.
  3. El Segundo Par 3. If I’m here, it means we are having a “work meeting” while playing golf. Tough to beat.
  4. The Old Course. It was a blast. We felt like we owned the place. Loved it. Could have quit that day and been fine with it.
  5. Rich Acres.

(already made 1 change) Do I have to stop at five? Suddenly this feels like a ranking and I’m totally against rankings.

  1. The Old Course St Andrews - no explanation need
  2. Carnoustie Championship - tough old course and was dragged around there as a kid as my dad was member there.
  3. Portstewart Strand - best front 9 holes I’ve played thru the dunes, lucky to have played dit over time thru the years as my mates dad is a member there.
  4. Tralee - fantastic course and the back 9 is immense
  5. Tain - just love going up there every year and playing it, a course i always seem to play well on ,its has some quirky holes and seems to fit my eye

Hounarable shout out to Narin & Portnoo , Dooks , Montrose Links and Crail


Favorite, yes. No need to rank and no need to stop at 5. Just a nice, easy number to start at. I like to talk about favorite, because everyone likes different things for different reasons. Let’s leave talk of “best” and any actual rankings to the many other publications and forums more focused on that…


So true, but at the same time I could give a laundry list of New England favorites that won’t be on anyone’s humblebrag list

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I love this thread’s potential, so so much. This is great.

If you don’t have a par 3 on your list, your a monster.

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Exactly. Anyone with the El Segundo Par 3 on their list understands that’s not what this is about. At least it doesn’t have to be. I’ve played tons of really good courses that aren’t necessarily my favorites. At the same time, if conquering some top 100 list is your life’s mission and therefore your favorites are straight from Golf Digest, that’s fine too!

  1. Pinehurst #2 - Are words really needed?

  2. Kiawah Ocean Course - Most fun 85 I’ve ever shot. Tough as hell and fun as hell

  3. Myers Park CC (Charlotte, NC) - Course I grew up playing

  4. Morehead City CC - Home course at the beach. Would spend the summers down there. Get dropped off at about 8am, play 18, hit balls, go to the pool, play another 9, then do the same the next day. Also the first course I joined on my own. Was just redone and is a perfect club for a summer late afternoon 9 after spending the day on the boat.

  5. Mt. Mitchell GC (Burnsville, NC) - Mountain course where we have our big guy’s weekend. Perfect course for this kind of weekend. Accommodations right on the course, cheap golf, bring your own beer, and bent grass tee to green.

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  1. Mammoth Dunes - massive, playable, most fun I’ve ever had on a course
  2. Pacific Dunes - beautiful, well routed, all around awesome
  3. Pebble Beach - amazing experience with the best stretch of holes anywhere
  4. Pinehurst #2 - pay attention to the caddy or you’ll get ejected on the greens
  5. Bandon Dunes - as pretty as Pacific and has better peaks, but not quite as great 1-18
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  1. Lahinch (Old) - Far and away the best and most enjoyable. Got a 75* and sunny July day with dad so can’t really beat it.
  2. Old Head - Not a proper links but can’t beat the site/views.
  3. Congressional CC - Always cool to play one you’ve seen on tv.
  4. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club - Just a fun place to play.
  5. Prospect Bay CC (MD) - Nothing spectacular but it’s the home course and there’s just something about that comfortable feeling.
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There’s really only one answer for me (tearing up…)

Underneath the cold and frozen runways at MSP airport lie the bones of the first golf course my parents would drop me off at- Rich Acres.
It was everything to me. Freedom, expression, artistry, social, profitable, confidence-building. Not sure where I’d be in life if this place, now long since buried, never existed.


That is actually the first course I played as well. My first round of golf was on the par 3 course there.

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This is super interesting because you’ve obviously played some top tier shit, and yet Mammoth tops your list (it tops mine as well). Everyone I have talked to that has played Mammoth has the same feelings as well…its hard to describe to those that haven’t been but there is just something about that place, right?

Go on please…