Best golf courses in Oklahoma, according to GOLF Magazine’s expert course raters

southern hills

Southern Hills is the top course in Oklahoma.

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For every great course that made GOLF’s 2020-21 ranking of the Top 100 Courses in the U.S., dozens of more must-plays were left on the outside looking in — including at least a handful in your home state. Some of these designs just missed out on a Top 100 nomination, others finished deeper down the ranking, but all are worthy of your time. To shed light on the best courses in every state, we broke out the full results of our Top 100 Courses polling into state-by-state lists. Here’s a closer look at Oklahoma.

Oklahoma golf by the numbers:

Number of courses and U.S. rank: 192 (29)*
Number of golfers per capita rank: 26*
Average public-course greens fees: $ out of $$$*
Average daily temp and rank: 59.6 (11)
Annual precipitation and rank: 36.5 in. (30)

*Source: National Golf Foundation

Best Oklahoma golf courses (2020/2021)

1. Southern Hills (Tulsa) [1, 2]

Site of three U.S. Opens and a quartet of PGA Championships, this Depression-era Perry Maxwell design features holes that gracefully flow across a plot of undulating ground perfectly suited for golf. For decades, the land was smothered underneath a canopy of trees but Keith Foster and then Gil Hanse have opened up the property for all to admire. Gone too are the clean-edged bunkers that never looked at home on a Maxwell design. Raves all around for how this course now looks and plays.

Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla.

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2. Oak Tree (Edmond)

3. Karsten Creek (Stillwater)

4. Oklahoma City G&CC (Nichols Hills)

5. Patriot GC (Owasso)

SYMBOL GUIDE

1 = GOLF Top 100 Course in the U.S.
2 = GOLF Top 100 Course in the World
3 = GOLF Top 100 Resort
P = Resort/public golf course

Ed. note: Some courses were omitted from our rankings because they did not receive enough votes.

Course spotlight: Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club (Nichols Hills), ranked 4th in Oklahoma. I’ll say it – one of the most important restoration/renovation efforts completed in 2020 was from golf architect Tripp Davis at Oklahoma Golf & Country Club.  Long ago, midwest associate Perry Maxwell had Alister Mackenzie onsite at the property which meanders up and over its rippling topography.  Maxwell’s sensibilities in design are preserved well, particularly on the sweeping dogleg left par four 4th hole.  Dedicated students of Maxwell strategy could easily cause a slow play delay examining that green and approach. — GOLF Top 100 Course Rater

Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.

Courtesy Photo

How we rank America’s best golf courses

For the newly released 2020-21 U.S. list, each panelist was provided a list of 489 courses. Beside that list of courses were 11 “buckets,” or groupings. If our panelists considered a course to be among the top three in the country, they ticked that box. If they believed the course to be among Nos. 4-10 in the U.S., they checked that box, followed by 11-25, 26-50, and so on.

Panelists were also free to write in courses that they felt should have been included on the ballot (we had fewer than a handful of such additions in the U.S. vote).

Points were assigned to each bucket; to arrive at an average score for each course, we divide its aggregate score by the number of votes. From those point tallies, the courses are then ranked accordingly. It is an intentionally simple and straightforward process. Why? Because it invariably produces results that are widely lauded. Like the game itself, there’s no need to unnecessarily overcomplicate things.

For much more on how we rate courses, click or tap here.

Meet our course raters

We empower and hold accountable a group of 97 well-traveled — and well-connected — golfers/aficionados, each capable of expressing their own sense of design excellence at the highest level. The group is seasoned and experienced — we look for raters who know what’s out there, what’s changing and what’s coming down the pike. And from judging posts across four continents, our panelists are positioned to place courses from different regions around the globe into proper context, one of the main reasons GOLF’s Top 100 Courses rankings are the most esteemed in the game.

Other ranking outlets employ thousands of raters. Our less-is-more approach creates a more meaningful and thoughtful list. Think about it: When you plan a golf trip, do you call every golfer you know for their take? No. You contact a handful of people whose opinions you value most.

Meet our full crew of panelists here.

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