Top 100 Value Courses in the U.S.: The best courses you can play for $150 or less

For nearly four decades, GOLF’s esteemed course rankings have guided golfers where to play, which explains their immense and enduring popularity. Yet, in the United States, access to many top-rated courses is problematic for a majority of golfers, as is cost — a concern readers have raised with us. Please know: We’ve heard you! In June, we debuted our inaugural ranking of America’s best municipal courses, and now, two months later, we’re happy to present another bargain-minded list: the Top 100 Value Courses in the U.S., all which you can play for $150 or less, in many cases much less. 

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1. Top 100 Value Courses in the U.S.

Think of this ranking as a celebration of the budget-friendly courses that you could play several times — maybe more — every year. Sure, big-ticket bucket-list courses are fun to dream about or play once or twice in your life, but courses you can visit regularly help define the quality of your golf life. It’s hard to overstate their importance.

What constitutes “budget-friendly,” of course, is in the eye — or wallet — of the beholder, which led to fierce debate among our raters and GOLF staffers about where to draw the line for this list. The Top 100 Courses You Can Play for $100 or Less has a nice ring to it, but after some teeth gnashing, we collectively decided to cast a slightly wider net and draw the line at $150 — with a caveat: For a course to make the list, $150 would be the absolute most you would pay to play it in peak season.

Some private clubs allow outside play, and we decided to include them in the mix, too (as we do with our flagship Top 100 Courses You Can Play list), assuming they meet the fee criteria. Among those courses is Belvedere Club, in Charlevoix, Mich., where Golden Age architect William Watson is just now getting his due; Belvedere’s set of greens may rank in the top 50 in the country — public or private. (On the day I played Belvedere — which has adopted the U.K. model of allowing outside play at certain times — the cost was well under $100. What a deal. As a big believer in the notion that great architecture should be shared, I tip my hat to the club.)

Many of the country’s top municipal courses that we identified earlier this year also made our list and represent tremendous value. Take Manakiki, just east of Cleveland. For a peak weekend rate of $44, you get a secluded Donald Ross course with a scintillating routing that takes full advantage of dramatic landforms. Cleveland Metroparks should be congratulated for serving as such a fine custodian to both Manakiki and Sleepy Hollow, which also makes our list.

Every course featured is worth your dollars, as they offer inspiring architecture at a reasonable rate. We’re hopeful that you’ll feel impelled to support these courses by visiting often. When the experience is more valuable than the expense, you are playing somewhere special — and that’s what this ranking is all about.

Methodology: How we rate courses

More GOLF rankings: Top 100 in the U.S. | Top 100 in the World | Top 100 You Can Play | Best Municipal Courses in the U.S. | 100 Best Short Courses

Top 100 Value Courses in the U.S.

Green fees are published 18-hole walking rates (or inclusive of cart fees when carts are mandatory). Asterisk denotes rates that are subject to change based on seasonal and/or dynamic pricing.

1. Bethpage Black

Farmingdale, N.Y.
$39-$85 (state residents)
$78-$150 (out of state) 

The Black intimidates golfers with a sign at the 1st tee that recommends the course “only for highly skilled golfers.” Among the highly skilled? Tiger Woods, who won the 2002 “People’s Open,” as that U.S. Open came to be known. Woods was the only golfer to break par for 72 holes, owing to rugged, uphill par-4s, massive bunkers and the wrist-fracturing rough found on this Rees Jones-restored A.W. Tillinghast layout. The Black is one of the great routings, highlighted by the masterful way Tillinghast placed the fairways and greens from the 2nd hole in a valley all the way through the dogleg left 9th. The par-5 4th and its iconic cross-bunkering is a world-beater.

Bethpage Black

Getty Images

Green Lake, Wisc.

Golden Age masters Langford & Moreau spent nearly $4 million in 2020 dollars to build this literally ground-breaking Wisconsin layout. Steam shovels shaped its most spectacular features, including some of the boldest putting complexes on the planet. Rumor has it a boxcar was buried under the 7th green to create the dramatic 20-foot drop-off. The result of all this mechanical wizardry? Possibly the most underrated course in America and its greatest golfing value. We almost feel guilty finally sharing the secret. (For more, see video above.)

Lawsonia (The Links)

Patrick Koenig

3. Sand Hollow (Championship)

Hurricane, Utah

Out amid the red rocks of southern Utah, a camera is almost as vital as your clubs. Against this National Geographic backdrop, Sand Hollow cuts a photogenic path, its holes specked with spiky desert vegetation and red-sand bunkers that complement their ruddy, stone surrounds. While the front nine is eye-catching, the back nine almost needs to be seen to be believed. Carved along the ridges of a lands-end plateau, it flows from one catch-your-breath vista to another. Aim and swing, then point and shoot.

Sand Hollow in Utah.
Sand Hollow (Championship)

Brian Oar

4. Rustic Canyon

Moorpark, Calif.

George Thomas, who worked magic in a canyon when building Riviera, is a hero to Rustic Canyon’s designers. Here, about an hour’s drive (traffic dependent!) north of Riviera, Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner, and Geoff Shackelford conjured a design that would have impressed even Thomas. The imaginative use of washes throughout and the horseshoe 13th green are but a few of the challenges. Aerial views highlight how peacefully the holes occupy the valley floor, and the course enjoys a legion of fans who prefer minimalism. Hard to find a better bang for the buck west of the Rockies.

Rustic Canyon in California.
Rustic Canyon

Patrick Koenig

5. Wild Horse

Gothenburg, Neb.

The Sand Hills of Nebraska are best known to golf buffs for a high-ranked private club of the same name. This is the Everyman’s equivalent. For less than what a caddie costs at its exclusive counterpart, Wild Horse offers a kindred golf experience, with firm, fast fairways and rough-lipped bunkers gouged out of the rolling terrain. While the big skies and open spaces are pure prairie, the bouncy conditions and wind-whipped native grasses create the look and feel of a course across the pond. Think links golf, minus the sea.

Wild Horse in Nebraska.
Wild Horse

Patrick Koenig

6. French Lick (Ross)

French Lick, Ind.

To say that both the property and the greens are rolling is an understatement! Whatever preconceived notions you might have about Donald Ross greens, they will be blown out of the water with one tour around this 1917 design, which was deemed such a good test that it quickly hosted the 1924 PGA Championship. The 8th green, with its six feet of fall from back to front, gets most of the attention, but a green like 17 that drops more than three feet from its high right plateau to a lower left tier is just as astonishing. Three of the par-3s measure 240, 250 and 250 yards and may well constitute Ross’s most bruising collection of one-shotters.

Whatever preconceived notions you have about Ross greens will be blown out of the water at French Lick.

7. George Wright

Hyde Park, Mass.
$41-$50 (state residents)
$50-$57 (out of state)

A WPA project in the late 1930s, this course thankfully came deep in Ross’ career, because it is hard to fathom that he would have had the ability to design so many outstanding holes on this rocky site if he had just arrived from Scotland where all he knew was sandy soil. Fast-forward 35-plus years, though, and Ross and his team, led by Walter Hatch, had developed the skill set to employ dynamite to render holes that make the site look as if it was always meant for golf. Standout stretches of par-4s include 5 though 7, as well as 10 through 12. With no weak links, this municipal course is better than most of the private courses in golf-rich Massachusetts.

george wright golf course hole 12
George Wright

City of Boston Golf

8. Bethpage Red

Farmingdale, N.Y.
$26-$48 (state residents)
$52-$96 (out of state) 

The Black Course casts such a long, daunting shadow, it’s amazing any grass can grow on its four sibling courses at Bethpage State Park. But it does, especially on the Red Course, which more than holds its own, albeit with much less fanfare than its fellow A.W. Tillinghast design. There’s no warning sign at the 1st tee like at the Black, the rough is friendlier and the bunkers less dramatic (except for the fistful that split the fairway on the par-4 13th). But locals know none of that makes the Red a pushover. You’ll get the message right away with the uphill approach on the opener, followed by a series of doglegs, both sharp and soft, that will force you to hit every club — and shot — in your bag.

Bethpage Red

New York State Parks

9. Giant’s Ridge (Quarry)

Biwabik, Minn.

Add a pinch of Pine Valley vibe with a splash of Irish links magic on top of a former sand, gravel and iron ore mining site and you get The Quarry at Giant’s Ridge. Tucked away in northern Minnesota (three hours north of Minneapolis), the Jeff Breuer design offers a beguiling mix of par-4s, including the 13th, where you can go for the elevated green (anywhere from 239 yards to 323 yards away) or lay back for a wedge approach. Then there’s the 9th, framed by a chute of tall dunes off the tee followed by an uphill shot to the green. Invest in a yardage book both for the numbers — and for details on former mining operations in the area.

Giant’s Ridge (Quarry)

Patrick Koenig

10. Belvedere

Charlevoix, Mich.

Thanks to how Golden Age architect William Watson incorporated meandering creeks, dramatic valley walls and gorgeous Michigan rolling landforms into his routing here, the golfer wants for nothing. Watson’s greens — both their contours and their placement — are marvels, many of which don’t require bunkers for window dressing. For instance, the surface at the 6th features a savage false front that consumes nearly one-third of the putting surface. Other bunkerless greens include the 16th and 17th, both of which Watson benched into hillsides. A faint-hearted approach to the 346-yard 16th finds the golfer a dozen-plus feet below the putting surface; same goes for a pull at the 179-yard 17th. Belvedere has attracted a legion of design fans over the years, and for good reason.


Courtesy Belvedere

11. Warren Course at Notre Dame

South Bend, Ind.

Notre Dame didn’t always have a golf course that represented the institution’s lofty ideals. It does now after William Warren paved the way for Coore & Crenshaw to build this new course in 1999. Two superlative examples of flat land architecture are found at the 9th and 13th holes. At the 185-yard 9th, a bunker 20 yards short of green fools players into coming up short. Another great bunkering scheme is on the 433-yard 13th, where the fairway breaks sharply left around a pair of bunkers 60 yards shy of the green. The finishing holes descend into more wooded, tumbling land, including the picturesque 16th where you hit over Juday Creek. The course’s many merits were on display at the 2019 U.S. Senior Open.

Notre Dame didn’t always have a golf course that represented the institution’s lofty ideals. It does now.

Opelika, Ala.

Nitpickers might point out that “links” is a misnomer, and they’d be right. It’s the wrong term for a course that features sylvan fairways and carries over marshes to soft, receptive greens. But never mind the monikers. The conditioning is pure, the vistas are sublime and the course, the strongest layout on the Robert Trent Jones Trail, is a delightful, varied test. If you time the visit right, you can follow up your round with another top-notch form of outdoor entertainment: the Auburn football stadium is nearby.

RTJ Golf Trail at Grand National (Links)

Courtesy RTJ Golf Trail

13. Pfau Course

Bloomington, Ind.

A bright spot for Midwest golfers last year came in the form of this course opening on IU’s Bloomington campus. Rave reviews quickly followed for a design that features tree-lined fairways on the more secluded front side and a wide-open feel on the back. Named for a major donor to the project, the course can extend to a meaty 7,908 yards (leave that for the college team!), but every green, save the 18th , accepts run-up shots. There are nearly 150 bunkers — the sharp dogleg-right 14th, the shortest par-4 on the course, has 10 alone on the right side of fairway — but architect Steve Smyers gives you a respite on the sand-free par-4 5th and 6th.

Pfau Course at Indiana University
Pfau Course

Andrew Brown, Indiana University Athletics

14. Stoatin Brae

Augusta, Mich.

Heathland is a broad, open expanse of heath. Replace heath with native grasses and you have Stoatin Brae in south central Michigan. The uphill drive off the highway to the clubhouse gives nothing away about what you’re about to experience. Much of the front nine traverses a plain, and then, starting at 10, the land goes crazy — a topsy-turvy six-hole stretch that you won’t soon forget. It is one of the best stretches on this entire list, even though a lot of people don’t know about it. Other standout holes include the short par-4 8th and the one-shot 17th to a knob green. The green fee of well under $100 belies what is a first-rate design and playing experience.

Stoatin Brae in Michigan.
Stoatin Brae

LC Lambrecht

15. Memorial Park

Houston, Tex.
$21-$38 (Houston residents)
$90-$140 (out of city/state)

Another Tom Doak restoration project that nods to golf’s past while embracing its future. The original John Bredemus layout opened in 1936 and hosted the Houston Open from 1951-63. In the years since, Memorial Park has been one of the busiest munis in the country, logging more than 60,000 rounds annually. Doak’s $18.5 million renovation — with an assist from Brooks Koepka — improved irrigation and modernized the course, making it playable for the public and challenging for pros. The fairways are generous, and Doak left only 19 bunkers on the course. But his target-oriented design rewards precision, and the back nine is built for scoring swings and tournament drama. In 2020, Memorial Park became the first Doak course to play host to a PGA Tour event. But the rates remain muni-friendly, making this one of the best deals in golf.

Memorial Park
Memorial Park

Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour

16. Black Mesa

Espanola, N.M.

New Mexico has three courses in the Top 100, making it a must-visit destination for every golfer. Situated on the Santa Clara Pueblo 30 minutes north of Santa Fe, this burly design boasts numerous classic design features: blind tee shots, false fronts, central hazards, greens that run from front to back. Architect Baxter Spann incorporated them all into this heaving desert landscape. The par-5 16th through a narrow canyon is a love-it-or-hate-it hole, depending on how well you fare! 

Black Mesa golf course in New Mexico
Black Mesa

Patrick Koenig

17. Hawktree

Bismarck, N.D.

Award-winning architect Jim Engh is best-known as a maximalist, but Hawktree’s main lines of defense are all natural. This Midwestern marvel rambles through glacier-carved land near the Missouri River, forcing players to contend with high plains winds and water that’s in play on 11 holes. When you arrive at Hawktree, the first thing you notice are the sweeping prairie vistas — 14 holes are visible from the clubhouse. The next thing you notice are the trademark bunkers, filled with black coal slag instead of white sand. By the end of the round, you’ll be thinking, “I need to play more golf in North Dakota.”

Hawktree golf in N.D.

Patrick Koenig

18. Leatherstocking

Cooperstown, N.Y.

Set in the hometown of the Baseball Hall of Fame at the Otesaga Resort, this Golden Age design by Devereaux Emmet is not a course that calls for you to swing for the fences. At a whisker over 6,400 yards, it is much less of a brute than it is a throwback charmer, rich in strategy and style points. Emmet’s aesthetic presents itself throughout, in the compelling quirk of its green complexes and the bold bunkering that guards them. A stirring closing stretch, culminating with a lakeside par-5 that has been likened to the 18th at Pebble Beach, reaffirms the sense that like a fleet-footed ballplayer you’ve made off with a steal.

At a whisker over 6,400 yards, Leatherstocking is much less of a brute than it is a throwback charmer.

19. Rawls Course at Texas Tech

Lubbock, Tex.

Tom Doak’s general preference is to follow nature’s lead, but when given a flat site like the one here, Plan B was required. Instead, the job became a massive dirt-moving exercise in two regards: First, mounds were constructed around the perimeter so that the golfer’s attention is turned inward, opening up long, handsome views across the course. Second, Doak made sure that the holes themselves were blessed with many random, micro-contours. Pair the firm playing conditions that are fostered in this part of Texas with the area’s ubiquitous wind and the course plays — shockingly — like a links. Downwind, golfers might well need to pick a spot about 45 yards short of the reachable par-5 2nd green to land their second shots and then watch in delight as their balls bound on to the opening of the putting surface. No golf trail is near Lubbock so the Rawls Course is a bit of an outpost, but make sure it stays on your radar.

rawls course
Rawls Course at Texas Tech

Courtesy Rawls Course

20. Buffalo Dunes

Garden City, Kans.

For nearly five decades, this heartland links has owned the crown of Kansas’ best muni. But it hasn’t rested on its laurels. Thanks to a team of budget-minded restoration pros, including Buffalo Dunes’ own superintendent, the course is returning to its roots. The overhaul is still underway, but trees have been removed, greens and bunkers rebuilt, and parts of the sandy property regrassed to help reduce water bills. Sound costly? It would be, save for some smart and creative thinking from the project managers that has saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Buffalo Dunes
Buffalo Dunes

Kevin Meier, The Middle Pin

21. Kebo Valley

Bar Harbor, Maine

22. Common Ground

Aurora, Colo.
$38-$48 (CGA member; membership open to all)
$43-$66 (daily fee)

23. Pinon Hills

Farmington, N.M.
$45-$50 (San Juan County residents)
$50-$54 (Four Corners residents; within 100 miles)
$60-$65 (out of state)

24. Southern Pines

Southern Pines, N.C.

Southern Pines
Southern Pines

Courtesy Southern Pines

25. Crumpin-Fox

Bernardston, Mass.

26. The Wilderness at Fortune Bay

Tower, Minn.

27. The Bull at Pinehurst Farms

Sheboygan Falls, Wisc.
$65-$109 (state residents)
$75-$135 (out of state)

28. Butterfield Trail

El Paso, Tex.

29. American Dunes

Grand Haven, Mich.

american dunes
American Dunes

Nile Young

30. Fowler’s Mill

Chesterland, Ohio

31. Circling Raven

Worley, Idaho

32. San Vicente

Ramona, Calif.

33. The Links at Union Vale

LaGrangeville, N.Y.

34. Gold Mountain

Bremerton, Wash.

35. Corica Park (South)

Alameda, Calif.
$42-$52 (Alameda residents)
$54-$74 (Bay Area residents)
$64-$84 (out of county/state)

corica park 6th hole
Corica Park

Courtesy Corica Park

36. Sunday River

Newry, Maine

37. University of New Mexico (Championship)

Albuquerque, N.M.
$35-$52 (state residents)
$40-$67 (out of state)

38. Old Works

Anaconda, Mont.

39. Diamond Springs

Hamilton, Mich.

40. Legends Resort (Heathland)

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

41. Bully Pulpit

Medora, N.D.

bully pulpit golf course
Bully Pulpit

Courtesy Bully Pulpit

42. Tanglewood (Championship)

Clemmons, N.C.

43. Redlands Mesa Grand Junction

Grand Junction, Colo.

44. Jimmie Austin (University of Oklahoma)

Norman, Okla.

45. Pilgrim’s Run

Pierson, Mich.

pilgrim's run golf
Pilgrim’s Run

Courtesy Pilgrim’s Run

46. Aiken

Aiken, S.C.

47. Twisted Dune

Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

48. Seven Oaks

Hamilton, N.Y.

49. Rutland

Rutland, Vt.
$50 (guest, playing with a member)
$75 (public)

50. TPC Deere Run

Silvis, Ill.

TPC Deere Run
TPC Deere Run

Getty Images

51. Duke University Golf Course

Durham, N.C.

52. Kiva Dunes

Gulf Shores, Ala.

53. Links of North Dakota

Ray, N.D.

54. Sleepy Hollow

Cleveland, Ohio

55. Cypresswood (Tradition)

Spring, Tex.

56. RTJ Golf Trail at Grand National (Lake)

Opelika, Ala.   

grand national (lake)
RTJ Golf Trail at Grand National (Lake)

Michael Clemmer

57. Keney Park

Hartford, Conn.
$20-$34.50 (Windsor or Hartford residents)
$20-$44 (out of county/state)

58. Cochiti

Cochiti Lake, N.M.

59. Brackenridge Park

San Antonio, Tex.

60. Montauk Downs

Montauk, N.Y.
$26-$48 (state residents)
$52-$96 (out of state residents)
+$5 reservation fee for all

montauk downs
Montauk Downs

Jon Cavalier

61. Bandon Crossings

Bandon, Ore.

62. Charleston Municipal

Charleston, S.C.
$20-$25 (Charleston residents)
$35-$40 (tri-county residents)
$60 (out of county/state)

63. Knoll (West)

Boonton, NJ

64. North Palm Beach

North Palm Beach, Fla. 

65. Manakiki

Willoughby, Ohio

66. Architects

Lopatcong, N.J.

architects golf club

Courtesy Architects GC

67. Wilmington Municipal

Wilmington, N.C.
$27-$30 (New Hanover, Brunswick & Pender County residents)
$37-$40 (out of county/state)

68. La Purisima

Lompoc, Calif.

69. Triggs

Providence, R.I.
$37-$43 (Providence residents)
$42-$48 (out of city/state)

70. Newport National

Middletown, R.I. 

71. Eagle Eye

Bath, Mich.

72. Green Mt. National

Killington, Vt.
$36-$54 (Killington residents)
$36-$64 (state residents)
$36-$79 (out of state)

73. Indian Wells (Players)

Wells, Calif.

indian wells
Indian Wells (Players)

Channing Benjamin

74. Riverdale (Dunes)

Brighton, Colo.

75. Avalon Field Club at Newcastle

New Castle, Pa.
No charge-$46.20 (memberships)
$121.20 (public)

76. Wintonbury Hills

Bloomfield, Conn.
$18-$40 (Bloomfield residents)
$35-$65 (non-residents)

77. Oyster Bay

Sunset Beach, N.C.

78. Wailua

Kailua, Hawaii
$15-$20 (state residents)
$48-$60 (out of state)

79. Jeffersonville Golf Club

Norristown, Pa.

80. Palouse Ridge

Pullman, Wash.
$49-$63 (local residents; 40-mile radius)
$49-$115 (non-residents)

81. Puakea

Lihue, Hawaii


Courtesy Puakea

82. Mirimichi

Millington, Tenn. 

83. University Ridge

Madison, Wisc.

84. Lederach

Harleysville, Pa.

85. Salish Cliffs

Shelton, Wash.

86. Denison

Granville, Ohio

87. Normandy Shores

Miami Beach, Fla.

88. The Home Course

DuPont, Wash.
$24-$56 (WGA association rate/state residents)
$29-$66 (non-associate/out of state)

89. Harborside International (Port)

Chicago, Ill.

90. Palatka

Palatka, Fla.


Courtesy Palatka

91. Mount Prospect

Mount Prospect, Ill.

92. Omni Mt. Washington Resort

Bretton Woods, N.H.
$59-$112 (resort guest)
$69-$125 (public)

93. Red Tail

Devens, Mass.

94. Lakewood Shores (The Gailes)

Oscoda, Mich.
$42-$47 (Oscoda residents)
$42-$78 (out of county/state)

95. Highland Park

Birmingham, Ala.

highland park
Highland Park

Courtesy Highland Park

96. Spring Valley

Salem, Wisc.

97. Bear Trace at Harrison Bay State Park

Nashville, Tenn.

Gearhart, Ore.
$50-$90 (guests)*
$60-$100 (public)*

99. Presidio

San Francisco, Calif.
$35-$65 (San Francisco residents)
$35-$90 (out of city/state)

100. Shennecossett

Groton, Conn.

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