Top 5 hidden gem golf courses in your state

Maine:

Northeast Harbor
Abenakee
Diadema
Grindstone Neck
Clinton

The last 4 are all 9 holes. Abenakee is possibly the most private golf course in the state of Maine. None of these are particularly easy to get to, making them quite literally “hidden”

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I’ll try to represent Washington. I don’t think any of these are hidden gems for people that live here, but I feel like non-locals know nothing about golf in the state. Other WA residents feel free to vehemently disagree.

In no order:

  1. Gold Mountain Olympic Course
  2. Gamble Sands
  3. Wine Valley G.C.
  4. Home Course
  5. Tumble Creek
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No doubt this would be a much larger pool to pick from.

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Kind of hard to have a hidden gem in Colorado, but the following public courses are lesser known to those outside the state:
Four Mile Ranch - great Jim Engh course in Canon City that is usually pretty empty due to the location
Highland Meadows - really good design up north in Windsor with a lot of interesting features by the guy who did the TPC Colorado course
Mariana Butte - good course up in Loveland with some nice elevation changes
Walnut Creek - Hurdzan/Fry in Westminster
Spring Valley - nice design with cheap rates way out in the middle of nowhere in Elizabeth

As far as a private hidden gem:
Hiwan - great mountain layout with some of the fastest greens around. Often has conditioning issues with coming out of winter and elk trampling though

Hmmm, how do we define hidden gem? Courses that aren’t on Golfweek’s best in state? Everyone knows of Harborside too so I’m not including that.
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For IL - Chicago area

  1. Shepherd’s Crook
  2. Cog Hill Ravines
  3. Kankakee Elks
  4. Blackstone
  5. Sunset Valley
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This is pretty much my exact list, with the possible addition of the Wilderness in Lake Jackson. I know that got a bunch of love in the Texas thread. I’ll ride hard for that course.

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Ohio
Deer Ridge
Snow Hill
Denison
Salt Fork St Park
Deer Creek St Park

I’m with you that you gotta get away from Boston a little bit for actual “hidden gems” in MA.

I think the novelty of Marion being a George Thomas with some quirky features overstates what it actually is.

I’d nominate Gannon Muni in Lynn, which has some pretty awesome holes, but could use some tree work. I gotta imagine it was even more fun to play before the trees really matured there.

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Quick list from Wisconsin, no particular order

  • Edelweiss (New Glarus, make sure to stop at the brewery after your round)
  • Glacier Wood (Iola, a great course except for the horseshoe hole 15)
  • Antigo Bass Lake (Antigo)
  • Wild Ridge (Eau Claire - MEGA elevation changes might seem gimmicky to some)
  • Brown County (Green Bay, good layout/bones, but a little overgrown in spots)

This list shows how little I’ve played in SE WI. Hoping to get to naga-waukee and Washington County this summer.

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Gannon is a great course. I like Kings Rail in Lynnfield. Short 9 hole course but makes you think your way around it and if you miss the greens it can be difficult to get up and down. For only 22 bucks walking it has some of the best greens around.

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I heard that used to be a great 18 before they built market street shopping center on top of half the course

Yeah used to be 18. Never played it when it was so I cannot compare it to how it used to be. Its easy to get to from the city and well worth a trip up, IMO. 1, 2 and 9 are meh. 3-8 are great though.

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I need to get there I agree it has to be the most hidden gem…doesn’t get nearly enough credit considering the other courses in the state!

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This is tough for AZ. I thought Los Caballeros in Wickenburg was a sure fire Hidden Gem, but since the Golfweek best public list goes 30 deep for Arizona … there it is sitting at #25. (And, hey, good on ya Golfweek.)

Longbow, Mesa, AZ. It’s a rare pleasure in Arizona to play a course free from housing (and even rarer to find one of those that’s not on tribal land).

Talking Stick (Piipash), Scottsdale, AZ. Formerly known as the South course, this is an odd counterpoint to the more well-known North course, which is the C&C masterpiece. Also a C&C design, this has a pseudo-parkland feel with fake ponds, push up greens and trees planted around some of the holes. But the core elements of C&C strategic design are still on display.

Trilogy at Vistancia, Peoria, AZ. It frankly looks like a real estate course, but this one just happens to be stacked with really good holes that ask interesting questions. I’ve played here 20+ times since the course opened and never get tired of it.

TPC Scottsdale (Champions), Scottsdale, AZ. Covered in several threads on this site, but top to bottom this is a better (and more difficult) course than the tournament host Stadium across the street. And you can play it for a third or half the rate.

Randolph North, Tucson, AZ. The resort courses in the hills around Tucson get all the press, but this solid muni is as good a test of golf as any of them. It asks for all the shots.

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Nebraska. I don’t think there are enough courses to be any true hidden gems. Word gets around pretty well.

I will say Omaha Benson might be in the zone now. Apparently in the 2010-2016 range there was some major embezzlement happening and the maintenance suffered. Now the greens are rolling as good as any Omaha public track, on some days better than Indian Creek which, in my opinion, has suffered due to maintenance and “peaking” needs for the Korn Ferry event.

It would be hard to call Norfolk and Beatrice CC hidden as Nebr Golf Assoc events get held there regularly.

Anti hidden gem: Woodland Hills. Used to be on all the lists. Was a total dog track in 2019. Lost huge portions of many greens. Wouldn’t surprise me if it was out of business in five years.

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Rhode Island - lots of gems in addition to the courses always mentioned…
Meadowbrook - good test on every hole and always in sick shape
Cranston - layouts on front and back couldn’t be different. Miss the fairway and you feel like you are in the US Open
North Kingston - nothing like being able to see Narragansett Bay and hit approach shots towards a military air base with gigantic fighter and cargo planes in the background all in the same round
Warwick CC - private and lots of up and back but few better views anywhere else on most holes / 19th hole
Newport National - not a “hidden gem,” I know. Just too good not to include - having said that, Jamestown (9 Holes) is pretty sick as well

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ever play the Barrington course? I’m a URI alum and they do an annual fundraiser there i think

Rhode Island CC?

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I would argue for both the Bandit and Landa Park but that could be recency bias as I played both for the first time this past weekend. Can’t wait to get up to Delaware Springs at some point.

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Sounds like that would be it.