Where do WE play? 20 of our staffers’ favorite summer golf courses

four golf courses

From top right, clockwise: Rock Spring (N.J.), Rush Creek (Minn.), Corica Park (Calif.), Bethpage Black (N.Y.).

Alan Bastable/Josh Berhow/Courtesy/Getty

Good news, everyone: Summer golf is right around the corner, and our summer trips package has you covered. Over the next week, our experts will name their favorite courses and resorts, we’ll look at the newest style trends, help you plan your next buddies’ trip, introduce you to people who can help you plan your golf getaways and more. The goal here? To educate and motivate you for your next golf trip. So read up, then grab your clubs and bags.

MORE: 8 amazing family-friendly golf resorts worth visiting this summer


At GOLF, our job is also our hobby. So where do our staffers like to tee it during those long summer days? (And yes, it’s a question they get often.) We asked a few, who live in different parts of the U.S., for their go-to summer golf courses.


Jeffersonville Golf Club, Norristown, Pa. — This is the best deal in Philadelphia golf. An old Donald Ross that the township has decided to turn into a showpiece. Yet the greens fees still max out at $75 on the weekend and $55 during the week. I used to play my high school team’s tryouts there, and now (I coach the same team) we can no longer use it because there aren’t enough tee times available. — Jack Hirsh, assistant editor

The Golf Course at Glen Mills, Glen Mills, Pa. — Philadelphia public golf typically leaves a lot to be desired. Glen Mills is the exception with a championship-level test typically in as good of shape as some of the private clubs in the area. With rates topping out at $115, it’s also cheaper than some of the nearby options in New Jersey. — Jack Hirsh, assistant editor

Penn State White Course, State College, Pa. — Right next to the state’s largest university, nothing could beat the $200-a-semester student White Course membership. While the longer (incredibly stretched out) Blue Course hosts the men’s team’s yearly tournament, the 6,300-yard White Course recently started hosting the women’s event. Originally designed by Willie Park Jr. in the 1920s, some holes either no longer exist or have been absorbed by the Blue, but the greens of holes 6 through 14 are originals. Former Penn State coach Joe Boyle used to tell his players he could put them on every green in regulation and you might not break 80. — Jack Hirsh, assistant editor

Greater New York Area

Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale, N.Y. — An oldie but a goodie, Bethpage is my absolute favorite golf experience in the United States. Fifteen minutes from my hometown, every time feels a bit like going home. You’ll, of course, need a doctorate in schmoozeology to get a foursome at any of the five courses here on any day of the week, but take my tact: look the night before your desired day for cancellations. You’ll find something, and you’ll be glad you did. — James Colgan, news and features editor

Bethpage Black
Bethpage Black, a course that can host majors and force you to shoot well into triple digits. Getty Images

Harbor Links Golf Course, Port Washington, N.Y. — I’m very tempted not to share this gem because it’s one of the few tee times near my home that I can still get, but I’ll share anyway: if you’re on Long Island, Harbor Links is worth a stop. The course itself is interesting, if not necessarily a strategic triumph. Still, it is exceptionally well-conditioned and maintained by the local government and considerably easier to stumble onto than its Long Island muni siblings (which move at a glacial pace during peak hours). At $100ish, it’s worth the buy-in each time I visit. — James Colgan, news and features editor

Pound Ridge Golf Club, Pound Ridge, N.Y. — The tee time is probably too expensive, but the golf is as interesting and different as anything you can find (publicly) in the New York Metro area. More of a golf destination than a regular spot, Pound Ridge is fun and funky and very much worth your time. — James Colgan, news and features editor

Good luck hitting this par-3 green at Pound Ridge. Courtesy Photo

Rock Spring Golf Club, West Orange, N.J. — If you’re in the tri-state area looking for inspired golf course architecture, you already know about Bethpage State Park. But you might not be aware of Rock Spring, which is just 30 minutes from the Lincoln Tunnel. One of two Seth Raynor designs open to the public in the U.S., this course is a fun challenge for golfers of all skill levels, and includes views of the New York skyline. The conditioning is far from perfect, but Rock Spring is the definition of a hidden gem. You can read more about its legendary template holes here. — Connor Federico, video editor

Timber Point Golf Course, Great River, N.Y. — This is the tee time I seek out on a hot summer day. Why? Because I want to play by the water to temper the heat, and Timber Point is my favorite county course in Suffolk County, Long Island. The breeze off the Great South Bay is a welcome reprieve during the dog days of summer and those windy conditions are also what makes Timber Point a challenge for golfers of all skillsets. With 27 holes, this helps pace of play and I pop in for just nine holes to take advantage of twilight summer rounds. The blue course is on some of the best property of any course on Long Island — and that’s saying a lot. Depending on the conditions, you could hit a 3-wood or a short iron on the signature par-3 5th hole. — Tim Reilly, VP, digital programming

Robert Moses Pitch and Putt, Babylon, N.Y. — With my Long Island nautical theme in mind, this is my ideal summer day. This short course is adjacent to one of Long Island’s best beaches. When you park your car you’ll be mere steps from the beach and the par-3 course. It weaves through the dunes and provides ocean views along paths carved out of the protected land. Deer are plentiful, too. Holes range from 50-120 yards to make this a family-friendly setting. Play in a bathing suit and jump in the ocean once you’re done. It’s the perfect Long Island South Shore summer day. — Tim Reilly, VP, digital programming


Baker National, Medina, Minn. — A muni west of the cities, this one has some really great holes (and a fantastic barn on the 1st), some devilish ones (the par-5 6th along the water) and fantastic greens (par-3 7th). Can’t beat the muni price, plus there’s a 9-hole evergreen course perfect for learning the game. — Josh Berhow, managing editor

baker national in minnesota
Baker National, located about 20 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. Josh Berhow

Rush Creek, Maple Grove, Minn. — Rush Creek likes to advertise itself as a public course with a private feel (it succeeds), which might be why it’s one of the more expensive peak public tee times in the state ($125 to walk), but a packed tee sheet proves it’s worth it. It’s in great condition and has a fun variety of holes (including some extremely hard ones). There’s a great trio of par-4s from Nos. 4-6 and several holes that call for precision off the tee. It’s hosted three LPGA events and the 2004 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship (Ryan Moore won). The back patio/restaurant is a great 19th-hole spot for food, drinks and a view. Rush Creek is also the closest course to my house, so it’s hard not to love that. — Josh Berhow, managing editor

Montgomery National, Montgomery, Minn. — Such a great value I drive an hour each way just to play here. Not stuffy. Good shape. Not crazy hard. Will be even better once the new clubhouse opens. (Beatles fans — yes, you read that right — will love this place too.) — Josh Berhow, managing editor

Keller, Maplewood, Minn. — Great history. Great price. Great shape. Controversial tree placements. I absolutely love it here. My only complaint is I don’t live closer. — Josh Berhow, managing editor


Corica Park, Alameda, Calif. — I’ll stick to what I know best, which is the Bay Area. Specifically, the East Bay, where the multi-phase renovation of this multi-course muni has been a game-changer for public-course golfers. First came the redo of the South Course, which turned a pancake-flat track into a firm, fast Sandbelt-inspired layout. Some architecture nerds have (rightly) pointed out that the fairway bunkering is bad in places, but the bouncy conditions are a ton of fun, and the greens — the South’s main defense — are kept as nice as any local country club’s. From a design standpoint, the South’s sibling, the North, is the more interesting course. That’s the good news. The bad news is that only the front nine has been completed. Work on the back side has been stalled by a handful of lawsuits. While at least one of those disagreements has been settled, it’s still not clear when the full course will be finished. Even so, the nine that exists is worth playing on its own. — Josh Sens, senior writer

the south course at corica park
The South Course at Corica Park. Courtesy Photo

Presidio Golf Club, San Francisco — In recent years, San Francisco has taken a lot of headline hits to its reputation. But not even the city’s harshest haters could deny the beauty of the surroundings here. This is a hilly course, and in places, the tilting terrain can leave you with lies that are borderline goofy. But there are plenty of good holes, the air is kissed with coastal mist, and the views of what remains a stunning city are amazing. Walking the grounds of what used to be a military base, you understand why officers in the Army considered the Presidio such a plum post. — Josh Sens, senior writer

Gleneagles GC, South San Francisco — A nine-holer that Lee Trevino is said to have called the toughest he ever played, Gleneagles has a scruffy charm about it, with a little hobbit hovel of a clubhouse bar on a site that overlooks the Bay. Like a lot of old-school munis, it has a hardcore local following, and if you decide to join the Saturday morning skins game, don’t be surprised if you wind up getting hustled. The entire operation is low-key and unpretentious, and the challenge is all the golf that you can eat. — Josh Sens, senior writer

Northwood Golf Course, Monte Rio, Calif. — It doesn’t get much more Northern California than Northwood, a nine-hole Alister Mackenzie design, stitched through coastal redwoods in Sonoma County. The course is short enough to play with a small quiver of clubs, but it inspires all kinds of creative shotmaking. The setting itself is inspiring, too, especially late on a summer day, with light spilling through those ancient, giant trees — not the kind of sight you get just anywhere. — Josh Sens, senior writer


Troon North, Scottsdale, Ariz. — Remember when all the Arizona courses had sky-high green fees during Super Bowl week? In the summertime, you can experience the opposite effect. When the seasonal crowds disperse, you can play top-tier courses like Troon North — a 36-hole facility with sweeping desert views (and one of the area’s public-access crown jewels) — for literally hundreds of dollars cheaper than the winter/spring high season. — Jessica Marksbury, senior editor

Troon North
Troon North offers stunning desert views. Getty Images

Scottsdale Silverado Golf Club, Scottsdale, Ariz. — Even before I moved to Arizona, I used to tee it up at Silverado when I visited. The course is always in nice shape and the pace of play is good. It’s a friendly layout — par 70, and a great mix of challenge and fun. Plus, its signature hole is a closing par-3 over water. How cool is that? My recommendation: Play in the early morning or late afternoon, and book a smokin’ deal on a nearby resort to enjoy some pool time off the course. — Jessica Marksbury, senior editor

Starfire Golf Club, Scottsdale, Ariz. — Starfire and Silverado have similar appeal for me — both are low-key and easy to walk, which people still do, even in the summer! (A spray bottle is a great accessory to have on hand. Fill it with some ice water and spritz yourself in between shots.) One of my favorite things about Starfire is that it’s one of the few area courses with a 9-hole option. The short course is a par-28 (eight par 3s and one par 4) while the full-size 18 is a par-70 Arnold Palmer design. — Jessica Marksbury, senior editor

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