[tile:top 100 courses]Our friends at Money recently published their annual list of the Best Places to Live in America. Their editors weighed all kinds of criteria, such as economic health, cost of living and public school performance, among many other factors. Undervalued in their analysis, however, was one all-important category: golf. Which led us to assess the golf offerings in and around the towns on Money‘s list. Tacking on our own criteria, including quality of courses within 25 miles, favorable climate, affordability and overall golfiness, we reshuffled the deck of best places to live and identified the 10 best places for golfers to live in America.
10. GRAPEVINE, TEX.
Money ranking: 19
Barely edging out Beaverton, Ore. (No. 12 on Money‘s list), two Milwaukee suburbs, New Berlin (11) and Mequan (41) and two Seattle-area entries (Mercer Island, 89; Newcastle, 91), this city in the northwest quadrant of the Dallas metroplex boasts Cowboys Golf Club, an upscale spread which pays homage to America’s football team. Toss in the thick aura of superior golf tradition, with names such as Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Lee Trevino to modern marvels such as Jordan Spieth, and yes, David Feherty, along with easy access to the enticements of Dallas and Ft. Worth and it’s clear why Grapevine is worthy.
9. RESTON, VA.
Money ranking: 29
Reston, along with Ashburn (No. 30) taps into a rich vein of Washington D.C.’s cultural attractions and basks in relatively moderate year-round temperatures. It’s also proximate to an excellent blend of private clubs, military courses, high-end public spreads and municipal tracks of the nine- and 18-hole varieties. Private Congressional enjoys the highest profile of any area course, a past host to the 1964, ’97 and 2011 U.S. Opens.
8. LOUISVILLE, COLO.
Money ranking: 50
Halfway between Denver and Boulder is a handsome small town in the heart of the Rockies that provides dozens of nearby high-altitude experiences to golfers seeking scenery and value in equal doses. Topping the list is private Cherry Hills, where Arnold Palmer mounted his greatest charge at the 1960 U.S. Open. Indian Peaks, in nearby Boulder, a Hale Irwin design, plus affordable area muni designs from Pete Dye, Tom Doak, Ken Kavanaugh and Jim Engh are highlights.
7. BEND, ORE.
Money ranking: 44
The dry, temperate summer paradise of Bend, in central Oregon features every outdoor activity imaginable, as well as charm galore and surprising culture. It’s also home to Pronghorn, a 2004 Jack Nicklaus creation that twists through lava rock ridges and high desert scrub at 3,200 feet. It ranks 38th in our Top 100 Courses You Can Play. Close behind are Crosswater at Sunriver Resort, a Bob Cupp/John Fought collaboration and David McLay Kidd’s Tetherow.
6. POWELL, OHIO
Money ranking: 66
Together with the city of Delaware (No. 71), the suburbs of Columbus are well-represented on the Money list. The golfiness of Ohio’s capital city ranks near the top—thank you, Jack Nicklaus, Ohio State, Scioto and Muirfield Village—but other architectural treasures ancient and modern elevate it further. Its public offerings can’t quite compare, though the Arthur Hills-designed Virtues Golf Club has long held a prominent place among our Top 100 Courses You Can Play.
5. SCHAUMBURG, ILL.
Money ranking: 9
Suburban Chicago might possess the greatest collection of private and public courses of any metropolitan region in the U.S. Add myriad cultural attractions as well as endless options for sports, drinking and dining, and you have compelling reasons for golfers to live here, despite the iffy weather. Wheaton (No. 27), Villa Park (28) and Des Plaines (35) are other enviable addresses, with public courses such as Cog Hill (#4), Orchard Valley, Cantigny and Harborside International all within reach—and with a downtown Chicago Tiger Woods design potentially on the way.
4. KNIGHTDALE, N.C.
Money ranking: 76
Raleigh suburbs such as Knightdale and Morrisville (No. 90) reap the benefits from the proximate business and cultural attractions of the Research Triangle Park. A temperate climate and a nearby trio of outstanding public-access university courses at Duke, North Carolina State (Lonnie Poole) and the University of North Carolina (Finley) are added enticements. It’s also within an easy 75-minute drive to Pinehurst.
3. FISHERS, IND.
Money ranking: 1
Money clearly is enamored with Indianapolis. It ranks this northern suburb as the best place to live in America, and places neighbors Carmel, Avon and Greenwood at 16, 17 and 22, respectively. Golfers feast on a buffet of outstanding, affordable public spreads at their fingertips, with The Fort, Brickyard Crossing, Prairie View, Rock Hollow and Purgatory all ranked in the top 10 in our 2016 Indiana edition of Best Courses Near You. Pete Dye started in Indianapolis, with Crooked Stick (John Daly, 1991 PGA Championship) his most notable local effort.
2. PARADISE VALLEY, ARIZ.
Money ranking: 80
The Phoenix-area’s toniest suburb is this low-key, golf-rich town that’s ringed with mountains and which offers easy access to both the airport and to the cultural attractions of downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale. Home to the region’s most prestigious private enclave, Paradise Valley Country Club, as well as its newest resort, Mountain Shadows, PV is also close to dozens of superb public-access courses, highlighted by primo north Scottsdale desert tracks Troon North, Grayhawk and TPC Scottsdale.
1. ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA.
Money ranking: 62
Florida’s northeast coast is one of the nation’s most underrated golf destinations. A visit to St. Augustine will show you why. The nation’s oldest city boasts the World Golf Village with its two modern championship courses, Slammer & Squire and the King & Bear, plus the World Golf Hall of Fame, which welcomes five new members this coming week. Add the island green at the TPC Sawgrass, and much more, just a short drive north on I-95 and you have a golf life that’s second to none.