When you're planning your next vacation, why not make it a golf getaway? Golfers of all ages and experience levels can enjoy playing golf on new courses. Whether you make it a guys’ weekend with your friends or a family trip, you can keep things affordable by sticking to public courses. This list of the best golf trip destinations in the U.S. can help you find them.
Best Public Golf Destinations in the Western Half of the United States
Here are some of the best golf trip destinations, broken down by region, so you can easily find the right location for your upcoming getaway.
Public Golf Courses near Los Angeles, California
With many golf courses in LA to choose from, the city is one of the best golf trip destinations for players of all skill levels.
- Los Verdes Public Golf Course: This 18-hole course was designed by architect Billy Bell and is known for its breathtaking sea views. The scenery and challenging layout have previously won it the Los Angeles County Course of the Year Award.
- City of Los Angeles Public Golf Course: The City of Los Angeles operates seven 18-hole courses and three 9-hole courses, giving you plenty of options for an extended vacation. Just 11 miles from downtown LA, you can find two of the most popular: the Wilson, with its traditional championship-style layout and the Harding, a shorter course with many challenging approach shots.
- Angeles National: This golf club is open to the public and home to a par-72, 18-hole championship course designed by the Nicklaus Design group. Four sets of tees are available to meet the needs of varying skill levels, and 54 bunkers, two lakes and a creek offer challenges for all golfers.
- Roosevelt Municipal: Enjoy 18 holes of golf and panoramic views on this municipal golf course located in Griffith Park. The hilly course is walking-only, giving you a chance to enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise during your golf getaway.
- Trump National: No matter which hole you're playing on this 18-hole course, you can turn and take in the picturesque sight of the Pacific Ocean. The course designed by Pete Dye has won numerous awards since it opened in 2006.
- Pacific Grove: Pacific Grove isn't in Los Angeles. It is actually located north in Monterey, but it deserves a spot on the list as one of the best public golf courses in California. The picturesque views of the ocean and Point Pinos Lighthouse and the low greens fees have led to the course being dubbed the "Poor Man's Pebble Beach." Amateur champion golfer H. Chandler Egan designed the course, which opened in 1932.
Public Golf Courses in Dallas, TX
With a wealth of public courses and warm weather year-round, Dallas and Houston, Texas, are other top choices of golf trip destinations.
- Stevens Park Golf Course: In 2011, Colligan Golf Design revamped this public course, known for its challenging changes in elevation and shady oak-lined fairways. Golf Advisor named it among Texas' top 10 golf courses in 2010.
- Hawk's Creek Golf Club: Known as the Carswell Golf Course until 2022, this city-owned course offers 6,900 yards of golf made challenging by bunkers, water hazards and undulating greens.
Public Golf Courses in Houston, TX
- Cypress Wood: Keith Foster designed Cypress Wood to feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Houston. The club is home to The Tradition course and the Cypress course, giving you 36 holes of championship golf to test your skills.
- Golf Club of Houston: Home to the Houston Open, the Tournament Course at the Golf Club of Houston has challenged the pros but it is still an enjoyable experience for casual and beginner golfers. Keep an eye out for local wildlife as you challenge yourself with 7,422 yards of golf with a par 72.
Public Golf Courses in Scottsdale, AZ
Like Texas, Arizona treats golfers to warm weather and courses with stunning views.
- TPC Scottsdale: Boasting two award-winning golf courses, TPC Scottsdale is a golf destination in and of itself. The Stadium Course designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish is home to the WM Phoenix Open. Redesigned in 2007, the Champions Course is uniquely designed to test golfers' strategies, particularly through its four difficult finishing holes.
- Grayhawk: At this open-to-everyone golf club, you can play 36 rounds of golf while taking in jaw-dropping desert scenery. The Raptor and Talon courses are each a par 72 and consistently ranked among the best golf courses in the area.
- Boulders: The Boulders is home to two stunning 18-hole desert courses that are sure to test your skills. If you want some help planning your shots, take advantage of the course's Caddiemaster program that pairs you with a certified caddie who will give you handy tips and tricks for strategizing at each hole. You may also want to consider the Boulders for your lodging, as the resort has been named the best hotel in Arizona by multiple publications.
- We Ko Pa: We Ko Pa is home to two courses: the Cholla and the Saguaro Course. The Scott Miller-designed, 7,225-yard Cholla was previously named one of the best golf courses in the world by Sports Illustrated. The Saguaro is uniquely designed to be a walking course and gives you the opportunity to truly surround yourself with the scenery of the Sonoran Desert.
Public Golf Courses in Phoenix, AZ
- Southern Dunes: Located at the Ak-Chin Indian Reservation, the Southern Dunes is home to 320 acres of stunning desert landscapes. The Australian Sand Belt-style course opened in 2002 and has previously hosted qualifying events for the U.S. Open.