Backswing RoundUp

What is the best 'bang for your buck' public golf course in the country?

What is the best 'bang for your buck' public golf course in the country?
Public golf courses can range from beautifully manicured masterpieces to your down-the-road, backyard goat track. So it's always nice to find a gem that is a pleasure to play and easy on the wallet. We asked our golf professionals what they think is the best deal going for public golf courses in the nation.

Soule Park in Ojai, CA

Your new Soulemate

Soule Park in Ojai, CA is a hidden gem. A well maintained golf course with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Twilight rate (starts at noon!) is only $37 which includes a cart. Well worth a visit.

San Gabriel Country Club

Alistair Philip

PGA Head Golf Professional

San Gabriel Country Club, San Gabriel, CA

Monarch Dunes Golf Club in Nipomo, CA

Monarch Dunes – gem of the central coast – is one of my favorite golf courses anywhere. The Pascuzzo and Pate design carves holes through stands of towering Eucalyptus trees and takes full advantage of the natural rolling terrain. The first time I played here was early in the morning the day before my college team tryouts. I walked 18 in thick fog; it was a surreal experience I’ll never forget.

They also have a 12 hole par-3 Challenge Course that’s tons of fun.

Trevor Cassidy

Assistant Golf Professional

El Caballero Country Club, Tarzana, CA

Sandpiper In Santa Barbara, CA

In my opinion, the best bang for your buck public golf course that is both fun and challenging (which I’ve had the pleasure to have played a number of times) is Sandpiper in Santa Barbara, CA. You get the bang for your buck because of the awesome beauty (as many of the holes are right on the ocean) and the golf course is (what I would call) a medium difficult layout with some really fun holes. I specifically remember one par five where you actually have to hit your tee shot over cliffs to the ocean, which is kind of fun. It’s really a beautiful track that is usually well maintained and a good test.

Brian Powers

PGA Golf Professional

Master Golf Teaching Professional®

Tee Time Practice Facility, Carpinteria, CA

Rock Hollow Golf Course in Peru, Indiana

Beautiful track in Peru, Indiana. 1 hour north of Indianapolis. Great layout in great condition! Priced right to!

Rock Hollow Golf Course

Brookshire Golf Club

Rich Waite

Head Teaching Professional

Brookshire Golf Club, Carmel, IN

Beeches Golf Club in the resort town of South Haven, Michigan

Fun Course in Southwest Michigan

The Beeches Golf Club located in the resort town of South Haven, Michigan is one of the best values around and a great golf course. This links style course has great turf and the lay out is awesome. 7200 yards from the back tees make this no pushover so pick the correct tee after you warm up on the beautiful range. A couple of hours from Chicago and numerous points in the Midwest, this is a course not to be missed. Come join us soon!!

Barry Clayton

PGA Golf Professional

Director of Instruction

Westin Mission Hills Resort, Rancho Mirage, CA

Boone Golf Club, Boone NC

Beat the heat!

Boone Golf Club, Boone NC. Air-conditioned golf course all season. Better yet, great greens and usually in top shape.

Mark Tomedolskey

PGA Golf Professional

Cherokee Plantation, Yemassee, SC

Bethpage Black!

Hands Down,  Bethpage Black! Great track that just held the 2019 PGA Championship and will be hosting a Ryder Cup in a few years! Enough said!

GlenArbor Golf Club

Rob Labritz

Director of Golf

GlenArbor Golf Club, Westchester County, New York

Indian Canyon in Spokane Washington

A great Chandler Egan design that hosted two USGA publinks championships

Indian Canyon

DragonRidge Country Club

Mike Davis

Director of Instruction

DragonRidge Country Club, Henderson, NV

Gateway National - Madison, IL (Across the river from St. Louis)

Friendly atmosphere and staff. Course always in great shape.

Gateway National

PGA Golf Professional

Robert Sedorcek

PGA Golf Professional

Rob Sedorcek Golf Instruction, Saint Louis, MO

North Palm Beach CC

North Palm Beach CC
Formerly a Seth Raynor layout in 1926
Redesigned by Jack Nicklaus 2006, 2019
On the Earman River
Nice elevation changes
Undulating greens
Very challenging

Delray Dunes Golf & Country Club

Gino Composto

Assistant Golf Professional

Delray Dunes Golf & Country Club, Boynton Beach, FL

San Juan Oaks in San Juan Batista in Northern California

You get what you pay for or do you?  San Juan Oaks in San Juan Batista in Northern California is the best course for the price…Not overly priced this golf course is a masterpiece!

Frank Panetta

PGA Golf Professional

Teaching Professional

CordeValle Golf Club, San Martin, CA

Beathpage Black Course In Farmingdale NY

The Black Course at Bethpage State Park is one of the absolute best tests of golf in the world. The Black Course has hosted two US Opens and one PGA Championship and will soon host the Ryder Cup. Although extremely difficult, it is equally fair which is why I love it. It is always in pristine condition despite being open to the public. Don’t expect to ride on a golf cart, it is for walkers only. For a true test of golf open for anyone to play, The Black Course is at the top of my list!

Rockville Links Club

Philip Cardwell

Teaching Professional

Rockville Links Club,

Riverdale Dunes in Brighton, CO

I believe that Riverdale Dunes Golf Course in Brighton, CO is an incredible value. This Pete Dye designed course is always in amazing shape and is a great value. They host many Colorado tournaments and they are always on local “Best of” lists. I believe they even made a Golf Digest list at one point. Any time you can play a “best of” course in Colorado for under $60 with a cart, I think its a great value.

Director of Instruction GOLFTEC Westminster

Nathan Morris

Director of Instruction

Center Manager

GOLFTEC Westminster, Westminster, CO

Rock Hollow Golf Course

Beautiful track in Peru, Indiana. 1 hour north of Indianapolis. Great layout in great condition! Priced right too!

Rock Hollow Golf Course

Brookshire Golf Club

Rich Waite

Head Teaching Professional

Brookshire Golf Club, Carmel, IN

Coronado Golf Course

Coronado Golf Course is the place to go . The price is great $42 during the week walking . Close to downtown San Diego with great views of the bay , the bridge and the Hotel Del Coronado . A must if you travel to San Diego

Coronado Golf Course

Brian Smock

Head Golf Professional

Coronado Golf Course, Coronado, CA

Nashville National: Tennessee's Secret Gem

Are you looking for a public course, with the best bang for your buck? Look no further than 15 minutes outside the “Music City”. If you visit this golf course, be prepared for a beautiful course that sits right at the foot of the smokey mountains, bringing in beautiful views you can only get from the “Volunteer State”. With an owner that incorporates family style service, you’ll surely have a warm welcome, enjoy a great course, and finish off the round with a fond farewell that will keep you coming back. When you visit this facility, you’ll understand the meaning of southern hospitality as you wind through 6,200 yards of rivers, bluffs, and cliffs that test every shot you have in the bag.

Do yourself a favor and visit Nashville National. With one of the best golf course owners in golf, you’ll never see a home on the golf course, and every time you visit, there’s sure to be something new and improved.

AJ Nelson is the Founder of the Swing Essentials golf app

AJ Nelson

PGA Golf Professional

Swing Essentials Golf App, Centreville, VA

Emerald Hills GC in Sterling IL.

This year on Fathers Day my Dad and I played Emerald Hills GC in Sterling IL. It is $25 with cart everyday/all the time. The conditions were very good, nice practice facility, and course that every level can play. Thanks and congratulations to city of Sterling IL for your support, dedication and contribution to golf community!!

Arsenal Island Golf Course

Todd Fowler

PGA Member

2015 Iowa PGA Professional of the Year. 2004 Iowa Golf Association Professional of the Year

Golf Galaxy, Davenport, Iowa

Plenty of Golf in Phoenix that is value

For the greater Phoenix Metro area, the city of Phoenix has some pretty good municipal courses. The two that come to mind and are at the top of the list would be Papago Park and Encanto Park Golf Course. Papago also houses the Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams for ASU so you know conditions are at a level you would expect. With the renovation of the Clubhouse, you could not ask for a better place to have some food and a beer after your round. I always find the course in excellent condition and truly plenty challenging.

Encanto Park is also a nice layout. Lower green fee than Papago but still a very good and well maintained course. Held my attention for sure but pay attention to other players errant shots as it is a parkland style with parallel fairways.

East side of town is Apache Creek Golf Course. Good value, good practice facilities, and descent enough layout.

Joey Pickavance

Director of Golf

Rum Pointe

Rum Pointe is a great golf course in Berlin Maryland, but it is really affiliated with Ocean City Maryland.
I have played there multiple times and the conditions have always been excellent.
It is a Links style course with almost all the holes giving you water/Bay views.
If you can tie it into an Ocean City golf trip you can get some great savings on price.
I highly recommend Rum Pointe Golf Course.

Flagler Golf Academy

Rick Flagler

PGA Certified Professional

Five Ponds Golf Club | Flagler Golf Academy, Warminster, PA

Near Seattle, Play Snohomish

Snohomish Golf Course, about 30 minutes northeast of Seattle, is one of the most impressive layouts for the dollar I’ve ever seen. Their market has always been at the value end of the spectrum, but that doesn’t mean its not a first rate design. The irrigation system is not sophisticated, so when summers are a little grayer, its in its best condition. Late spring and early summer, same. A little wet in winter, but that’s Puget Sound. And its friendly. The food is perfect golf fare. It can be busy on weekends and a little slow, but be patient. Call ahead, you’ll enjoy it. I always do.

Moses Lake Golf Club

Owen McClain

PGA Golf Professional

Teaching Professional

The Lesson Lounge, Moses Lake, WA

Top 5

1. Virtues Golf Club: Nashport, OH
Best views in Ohio, Top 100 ranked in America, Arthur Hills GC

2. Springfield Reid Park North Golf Course: Springfield, OH
Held multiple USGA qualifiers, NCAA DII National Championships, and Ohio Open

3. Shaker Run Golf Club: Lebanon, OH
Held 1998 Ohio Am Championship and 2005 Pub Links Championship, Arthur Hills GC

4. Beavercreek Golf Club: Beavercreek, OH
Pure golfing challenge that requires the use of every club in the bag

5. Denison Golf Club: Grandville, OH
Wonderful course with artfully placed bunkers, rolling greens, and wooded terrain, Donald Ross GC

Matt Stotler Golf

Matt Stotler

PGA Golf Professional


Matt Stotler Golf Enterprises, Franklin, OH