In the June issue of GOLF Magazine, we named America’s 30 best municipal courses (you can view the list here), but we know many more munis are worthy of recognition.
That’s where you came in.
In recent weeks, we have been polling you, our readers, for your most beloved munis — local faves that have a great course, a fun vibe or some combination of the two.
Your votes poured in, with more than 150 recommendations to date, from coast to coast. Here are 25 of the candidates, sorted by region and with testimonials written by actual golfers. If there are other munis you believe are worthy of consideration, please let us know here.
Hominy Hill Golf Course
Colts Neck, N.J.
Why you love it: “Original Donald Ross design. Extremely playable off the tee with wide fairways. This is a second-shot golf course. If they firmed the greens up it would play very difficult to some pin positions as second shots are played to uphill greens. Magnificent walk for a Monmouth County N.J. Parks muni.”
Nassau County, Long Island, N.Y.
Why you love it: “It held the PGA and a number of senior tour events. The design is diverse and you never get tired of playing it. The layout is spectacular with doglegs, long holes short holes. At 7,200 yards from the tips, it is a helluva challenge. For the average hitter, the white tees offer a fun and challenging round. A senior can walk for $28.”
The Meadow at Peabody
Why you love it: “The course is situated on 259 acres with rolling terrain and various elevation changes. It offers big greens, great fun and a challenge for golfers of all skill levels.”
Capital Hills at Albany
Why you love it: “$50 max price for non-residents. Hosts Symetra Tour event every year. Challenging par 71, plays 6,332 from the tips. Hilly layout with a mix of wide-open holes and tight positional holes. Doubles as a dog/walking park in the offseason.”
Why you love it: “A restored Donald Ross which is kept in really good shape, has character, and asks for a lot of different shots it is right up there with any other 6,400 yard course.”
East Potomac Golf Course
Why you love it: “A great course for the public to learn to play and great access from Washington, D.C. and the surrounding suburbs. The atmosphere is welcoming to anyone and relatively cheap at $36 walking 18 or $51 with cart. It’s not in pristine condition and doesn’t have everything you would possibly think of, but it does have what you need, and when the park finally opens the outdoor pool in a couple years you will have a pool next door you can go to, too.”
Eagle’s Landing Golf Course
Why you love it: “Lush greens, an abundance of wildlife, plus a spectacular view of the serene Sinepuxent Bay and unspoiled beauty of Assateague Island National Seashore. Variety of water holes, large white-sand bunkers, elevated tees, lush, rolling fairways, and contoured greens. Six of Eagle’s Landing’s 18 holes meander through the saltwater marshes of Sinepuxent Bay.”
Why you love it: “This muni has been considerably upgraded in the last three years and is in beautiful condition now. The course is very walkable with great views of Massanutten Peak as you play the course. The greens are full of subtle breaks and the pin placements can alter the difficulty of each hole drastically. The five par-3s require different clubs and different shots. The par-4s are short but full of risk and reward. The three par-5s produce lots of birdies and double bogeys. The course calls for draws and fades off the tees. Bunkers are well-placed. The holes range from wide open to closely tree-lined. This is a course that is not too hard for beginners who want to take up the game, but can be extremely challenging for a low handicapper to shoot par. People who play this course as they travel through the area are happily surprised at the quality of this muni! And anyone who played it more than three years ago would be amazed at how much more challenging and beautiful it is now.”
The Links at Galloway
Why you love it: “The course is about to be 100 years old and is located in the middle of the city. The course was in rough condition when it was shut down for 20 months and totally redesigned. Lakes, mounds, sand traps and new greens were added and since the redesign they have worked hard to maintain it. The staff in the clubhouse is very friendly, they have the best BLT in town at the snack bar, and the cost is incredible — as a senior golfer (62 and up) I pay $11 to walk 18! We also have other city courses that are in the best shape in my lifetime, but Galloway is the jewel of the system.”
San Antonio, Texas
Why you love it: “Scenic, challenging and always in excellent condition because it is not played as much as some of the other courses inside the city. Undulating raised greens and beautiful rolling fairways where Texas begins to turn into the western United States make this one of my favorite places and the price is excellent. It rivals many of the surrounding higher-priced clubs like the Hyatt and Marriott resort courses, but for half the price. Often see deer and turkey roaming around among the beautiful, twisted oak trees and limestone rock.”
Ross Rogers Golf Course
Why you love it: “Ross Rogers has two courses, Mustang and Wild Horse, which have both been redone in the last 15 years. It’s incredible. Weekend green fee without cart is $29! With cart $45. Dallas Morning News ranked it No. 3 this year of ALL public courses in Texas. We are extremely lucky to have these two courses. Always in great shape. Great pros. And a blast to play!”
Kansas City, Mo.
Why you love it: “An old A.W. Tillinghast design that has the best hole in town, No. 17. A reachable par-5 but it takes two very good shots, and the view on your second shot is unbeatable. There are also quite a few other great holes out there: 2, 4, 9, and 11-13.”
Bunker Links Golf Course
Why you love it: “This 18-hole, par-71 muni has a clubhouse, driving range and practice putting green. Following the completion of Galesburg’s 18-hole golf course in 1929, the Galesburg City Council named the course in honor of its architect, Dwight Carpenter Bunker. Bunker Links has several daily groups, two of which go by the name of Dew-dusters and Green-busters. Count on these groups playing every day of the week, lining up and picking teams ‘captain style.’ You can also count on the course being in great playing condition day in and day out. One other thing to count on is PGA Professional and General Manager, Bryan Luedtke, providing a first-class experience. A well-stocked clubhouse, terrific signage from the parking lot to the golf course, clean golf carts and many innovative features make Bunker Links Golf Course stand apart. Recently an Eagle Eye camera has been installed high above the 18th green to enjoy watching your finishing shots on the new veranda following your round of golf. Without a doubt Bunker Links will provide an excellent test of golf and pleasurable experience at a rate well below $40 every day of the week.”
Elbel Park Golf Club
South Bend, Ind.
Why you love it: “A challenging course on the outskirts of town. Course wraps around Mudd Lake, making it an ideal nature center and walk. Deer, herons, geese, turtle, and more to enjoy along with your golf. Well-maintained with tough, rolling hills. Great place to bring a friend for a game of golf.”
Blue Ash, Ohio
Why you love it: “In better shape than ever. Great small town and great course near Cincinnati. Very affordable!”
Baker National Golf Course
Why you love it: “Amazing public course. It’s located in the heart of a nature preserve and is one of the only golf courses I’ve ever played where you can’t see a house from anywhere on the course. The Championship course is an awesome test with tons of variety. There is also a fun executive course called the Evergreen, which is a perfect track for beginners. There is a massive practice facility that doubles as a sweet sledding hill in the winter! The snack bar has good burgers/brats and a surprisingly good beer selection. The course is also part of the First Tee program and home to several junior tournaments and high school matches. Truly an amazing public golf course in every way.”
Brown County Golf Course
Why you love it: “Just outside of Green Bay, this Lawrence Packard design is playable for all levels. Not a single house or street near this parkland layout along Duck Creek. It was also the first public course chosen to host the Wisconsin State Amateur in 2005.”
Why you love it: “Short but hilly, narrow and tree-lined, with small undulating greens. Always in good shape, has hosted a bunch of NW events. Long hitters think they can overpower it but come away shooting the moon. You have to pick your lines, and know when to attack and when to lay back. Almost everyone’s favorite in Spokane.”
Mill Valley Golf Course
Mill Valley, Calif.
Why you love it: “The 9-hole course was first opened in 1919 and the original first tee box was at the base of the clubhouse, which was separated from the course by the road that leads to houses up the canyon. While the box still exists today it is unfortunately no longer in use. The course is a Par 33 with six par-4s and three par-3s. Four of the par-4s are drivable, though risk/reward must be accounted for. While city run, there is a group of volunteers who get together monthly to help with course beautification: divot repair, tree-trimming, weed-whacking and even rebuilding bunkers. On any given day, you will find golfers of all skill levels and ages enjoying themselves playing golf in this idyllic setting. In my opinion, the charm of this place is undeniable and the setting is so peaceful there is no possible way to spoil a two-hour walk around this little gem.”
Los Angeles, Calif.
Why you love it: “One of the most played courses in the United States. Has some history as home to the L.A. Open with a dedication to Arnold Palmer on the 18th tee. Challenging par-3s, with mature trees throughout. Finishes with a par-3 followed by two barely reachable par-5s that provide the opportunity to go home happy.”
Pacific Grove Golf Links
Pacific Grove, Calif.
Why you love it: “One of the most beautiful courses I have ever played, and that list includes Pebble Beach, Spanish Bay, Poppy Hills, Bayonet/Blackhorse and other beautiful coastal layouts. They don’t call Pacific Grove ‘Poor Man’s Pebble” for nothing. The front nine plays through the coastal trees. Back nine plays around a beautiful lighthouse with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. Just an absolute pleasure and a course I have recommended to hundreds of fellow golfers.”
Why you love it: “Situated at the foot of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, the layout is spectacular as well as scenic. Elevation changes, monumental rock outcrops, fossils, wildlife, as well as a piece of old excavator equipment are just some of the great features of this course. Our annual golf trip to Denver always ends with this being our last round every year for the last 10 years. Course conditions are always fantastic with a great staff to assist you.”
Why you love it: “An exceptional course that does not get any attention due to being situated close to Durango. The course is as challenging as any, extremely well-groomed, clean and the pro is top notch.”
Why you love it: “Recently remodeled to a par of 71. Some pretty water views and some elevated views over parts of the course and city. The biggest plus is the mix of peeps that play here, a progressive mix of young, old, male, female.”
Why you love it: “Traditional, tree-lined and narrow, you can enjoy eagle sightings, a rhododendron garden and a lovely old neighborhood. Best, most demanding muni I’ve ever played.”
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