Best public golf courses in the Midwest: GOLF’s 2020-21 ranking

The Loop at Forest Dunes.

Michigan's Forest Dunes boasts two of GOLF's top-rated courses in the Midwest.


With 23 top-rated public courses spread across 10 states, the Midwest region of the United States is one of the best areas in the country for proximity to great golf.

Michigan and Wisconsin top our latest Top 100 Courses You Can Play list with six courses each, with Wisconsin grabbing the honors for the top-rated course in the region, with Whistling Straits, which is ranked 11th overall. Indiana had a strong showing with three courses, while Nebraska has two. How many courses are near where you live? Check out our full list below.


GOLF’s 2021-22 ranking of the best public courses in the Midwest

(With overall rank, course name, city, state, architect and year opened) 

Michigan (6)

34. Forest Dunes (Loop: Red/Black)
Roscommon, MI
Tom Doak, 2016

46. Arcadia Bluffs (Bluffs)
Arcadia, MI
Warren Henderson/Rick Smith, 1999

56. Arcadia Bluffs (South)
Arcadia, MI
Dana Fry, 2018

65. Marquette (Greywalls)
Marquette, MI
Mike Devries, 2005

Greywalls in Michigan
Marquette (Greywalls)

73. Forest Dunes (Weiskopf)
Roscommon, MI
Tom Weiskopf, 2002

96. Stoatin Brae
Augusta, MI
Renaissance Golf Design, 2016

Wisconsin (6)

11. Whistling Straits (Straits)
Haven, WI
Pete Dye, 1998

23. Lawsonia (Links)
Green Lake, WI
Bill Langford/Ted Moreau, 1930

25. Sand Valley (Sand Valley)
Nekoosa, WI
Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw, 2017

29. Sand Valley (Mammoth Dunes)
Nekoosa, WI
David McLay-Kidd, 2018

31. Erin Hills
Hartford, WI
Michael Hurdzan/Dana Fry, 2006

38. Blackwolf Run (River)
Kohler, WI
Pete Dye, 1988

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Indiana (3)

57. French Lick (Ross Course)
French Lick, IN
Donald Ross, 1917

70. Warren Course at Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN
Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw, 2000

85. Pfau Course at Indiana University
Bloomington, IN
Steve Smyers, 2020

Nebraska (2)

22. Prairie Club (Dunes)
Valentine, NE
Tom Lehman/Chris Brands, 2010

49. Wild Horse
Gothenburg, NE
Dave Axland/Dan Proctor, 1999

Illinois (1)

92. Cog Hill (No. 4)
Lemont, IL
Dick Wilson/Joe Lee, 1965

Minnesota (1)

68. Giant’s Ridge (Quarry)
Biwabik, MN
Jeff Brauer, 2003

Missouri (1)

54. Ozarks National at Big Cedar Lodge
Holister, MO
Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw, 2019

ozarks national
Ozarks National

Ohio (1)

83. Firestone (South)
Akron, OH
Robert Trent Jones Sr., 1969

Oklahoma (1)

48. Karsten Creek
Stillwater, OK
Tom Fazio, 1994

West Virginia (1)

51. The Greenbrier (Old White)
White Sulphur Springs, WV
C.B. Macdonald, 1913 Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on