Public Golf Course Rankings of the Western Golf Alliance

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Emerald Portlandia
1. Chambers Bay
With the turf problems (mostly) addressed, Chambers Bay can again be recognized as one of the greatest muni courses in the country.

2. Pumpkin Ridge, Ghost Creek Course
Pumpkin Ridge is still a tier above everything else in the Portland area. This is a "top 100 public" course that really should have more national recognition.

3. Gold Mountain, Olympic Course
This course has hosted USGA and NCAA events. It's a classic northwest course with water, woods, and picturesque vistas everywhere.

4. Salish Cliffs Golf Course
Salish Cliffs is always in GREAT condition, and while it can be very challenging it remains one of the most entertaining courses in all of Washington State.

5. The Reserve Vineyards, South Course
The Reserve Vineyards has everything - the architectural pedigree, the location, and past pro tour events. The South is the better of the two courses.

6. Camus Meadows Golf Club
Just north of the Columbia River, tucked back into a great woodlands setting, this Washington course is actually a "local favorite" for Portland golfers.

7. The WSGA Home Course
Now that this location has hosted national amateur events and proven its chops, the Home Course is a high quality and entertaining test of your golf game.

8. Chehalem Glenn Golf Course
In Oregon wine country, this location winds over hills, across fields, through trees, and has a feature more places need - a family friendly putting course.

9. The Reserve Vineyards, North Course
Once again, great destinations are defined by the fact that their "second" course is great on its own, and the North is a prime example of this fact.

10. Heron Lakes, Great Blue
A course that feels like it's almost in downtown Portland, this strong layout with some surprising great holes gets busy for good reason.

11. The OGA Golf Course
Lucky Oregonian golfers - their club's official golf course is also a premier track, challenging, interesting, fair, and fun.

Southern California
1. Torrey Pines, South Course
A "true muni", a PGA tour stop, and a U.S. Open host course ... that is a great public golf course, especially if you're a local who gets to play it CHEAP.

2. Maderas Golf Club
Maderas isn't on the coast, but remains one of the most consistently great public golf venues in Southern California for both quality of course and service.

3. Pelican Hill, Ocean South Course
Pelican Hill feels like a "top rated private club" , but anyone can play it any time, albeit for a pretty penny. The best feature on the property is the beautiful south course.

4. PGA West, TPC Stadium Course
This isn';t the hardest course in the US anymore. But between layout challenges and bermuda grass, it remains the hardest test in Palm Springs/La Quinta.

5. The Grand Golf Club
This San Diego area resort is an excellent course with local access, and always provided a premium quality golf experience.

6. Rustic Canyon Golf Course
Rustic Canyon has finally become knows as the best course in the LA valley area, but remains a reasonable place for locals to play.

7. Torrey Pines, North Course
After a multi-million dollar remodel, this "true muni" course became a worthy wingman for the Sourth course, and a (finally) a quality PGA tour course.

8. Sandpiper Golf Club
A public course near Santa Barbara, Sandpiper always had the "curb appeal" with its Pacific vistas, but locals love the place now that they've improved the conditions.

9. Pelican Hill, Ocean North Course
When this is the "second best" course on your resort property, you can officially call yourself one of the best golf destinations in the U.S.

10. Desert Willow, Firecliff Course
Usually higher but took a hit due to upgrade work, Firecliff is great with a few true "wow moment" holes (par 3 #17, par 4 #6 immediately comes to mind).

11T. Barona Creek Golf Club / Aviara Golf Club
In the San Diego area, we have a casino course good enough to host mini-tour events, and a local LPGA host course worthy of playing every week.

Directors' Choice
1. Sand Hollow Resort
A unique course in southern Utah, Sand Hollow provides a challenge wrapped through red-rock canyons.

2. Mauna Kea Golf Course
The best-known course on the Big Island remains one of the best destinations in Hawaii. Some may say other courses are better, but this is the legendary place to play.

3. Fairmont Jasper Park Golf Course
Tucked out of the way in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper Park is a destination course located in one of the most beautiful national parks in North America.

4. Shadow Mountain Golf Course
For golfers near Calgary, Shadow Mountain - one of the 50 best courses in Canada - is a non-resort course that locals can rely upon as the cornerstone of a weekend getaway.

5. Kapalua Golf, Plantation Course
Taken down a few notches due to its recent renovation closure, the Plantation is one of the true "event" destinations on the PGA Tour and a bucket-list calibur course in paradise.

6. Wailea Resort, Gold Course
The Gold course provides a great second course at the Wailea Resort. Again, it is a reasonable course with several tees to choose from for a casual round in paradise.

7. Coeur d'Alene Resort
Without a lot of locals, this is a destination resort course that is famous for its floating island green, but is significantly more than just that one hole.

8. Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club
The best course in the Vancouver area is another Fairmont resort course, and again rolling through some of the greatest mountain scenery in North America.

9. Wailea Resort, Emerald Course
If you are on vacation in Maui and want to play one solid round, check out Wailea Emerald. This is the south Maui choice that is a good all-around course for all skills.

10. Princeville Makai Golf Club
When The Prince course went semi-private, Princeville put money into Makai to turn it into the best public course on Kauai. It is worth a day of vacation to play here.

11. Coeur d’Alene Casino, Circling Raven Golf Course
A top 100 course that used to be a stand alone public course, combining Circling Raven with the Coeur d'Alene Casino created a great golf destination.

Other Oregon
1. Crosswater at Sunriver
Crosswater hosted NCAA tournaments, PGA championship events, USGA tournaments, and a Champions Tour major. This is one absolutely great golf course.

2. Pronghorn Club, Nicklaus Course
Bend/Sunriver is a premier golf destintion, and Pronghorn-Nicklaus is easily the cornerstone course that establishes the credentials for this small town.

3T. Widgi Creek Golf Club
Speaking of Bend, Widgi Creek is the course the locals hope you stay away from so they can keep all the beauty, just as challenging as the big names, at half the price.

3T. Tetherow Golf Club
Another Bend area course and a David McLay Kidd design, Tetherow is a brutally tough quasi-links track with a unique high-desert layout.

5. Running Y Ranch
An out of the way place that many people can't even find, this Arnold Palmer designed course is the centerpiece of a picture-perfect Oregon resort.

6. Aspen Lakes Golf Course
Mostly known for its red-volcanic-sand traps, Aspen Lakes is a unique course in the Sisters/Bend area with amazing mountain vistas.

7. Brasada Canyons Golf Course
After some changes, if you're lucky enough to have a business trip to this remote ranch-style resort, bring your clubs as this course is technically "resort only".

8. Black Butte Ranch, Glaze Meadow
Both courses at Black Butte Ranch were remodeled this decade, but Glaze Meadow is the headliner that makes Black Butte a fine golf destination.

9. Lost Tracks Golf Club
This place is just different enough from other Bend area courses to stand out, especially their island green with a bridge made from an old railroad car.

10. Salishan Resort Golf Links
One of our original WGA Open courses continues to shine after its redesign a few years ago; it is still the best course in the northern Oregon Coast area.

11. Black Butte Ranch, Big Meadow
Also redesigned several years ago, Big Meadow is a solid course that provides Black Butte Ranch with the 1-2 punch of more famous top-end golf resorts.

Sequoia Dunes
1. Pebble Beach Golf Links
Of the three true "bucket list" golf courses in the world (Augusta National, The Old Course, Pebble), all you need to play here is money. Everyone must play it once.

2. Bandon Dunes Resort, Pacific Dunes
"Pebble vs. Bandon" again comes down to a discussion of the single best course or overall quality. Pac Dunes remains the best course at the Bandon Resort.

3. Bandon Dunes Resort, Bandon Dunes
... And the original course at the resort remains just barely behind. Purists may like other courses, but some of the greatest holes in the world are on this course.

4. Bandon Dunes Resort, Old MacDonald
... AND then there's Old Mac, the trickiest of the Bandon course, with wide open fairways, hidden traps, and roller coaster greens.

5T. Bandon Dunes Resort, Bandon Trails
... OK, the point is Bandon is the best golf destination in the US. There are some who will fight to the death that Trails is actually the best course on the property.

5T. Spyglass Hill Golf Course
One of the best courses in the U.S., yet considered a "second-fiddle" to Pebble, some like it better as a pure, hard, but fair test of their golf game.

7. Pasatiempo Golf Club
Since you probably can't play Cypress Point or Augusta National, this is the best Alister MacKenzie course you are likely ever going to play.

8. Bandon Dunes Resort, The Sheep Ranch
Yes, with the opening of the fifth full-length course at Bandon Dunes, there is no doubt everyone needs to make a trip to Bandon NOW.

9. Poppy Hills
Technically not part of the Pebble Beach resort, Poppy Hills is the proper home of the NCGA and the place you should play if you're in the area not 'on-resort'.

10. Pacific Grove Golf Links
Put this course in some other region, and it would be on any list of "best true munis". On Monterrey Peninsula locals know this is their hidden (and cheap) gem.

11. The Links at Spanish Bay
With a great reputation but suffering by comparison to others, Spanish Bay has a few breathtaking holes, but some ho-hummers as well.

California Sierra
1. DarkHorse Golf Club
DarkHorse remains our traditional favorite course in the Sacramento area. This course is fun to play, while requiring you to hit every club in your bag well.

2. Rosewood CordeValle Resort
Now an established tour stop and great resort, this a great destination for any group planning a northern California golf weekend.

3. Yocha Dehe Golf Club
This newer casino destination course is rapidly becoming known as one of the best courses in Northern California.

4. Grizzly Ranch Golf Club
A bit northwest of Reno, yet this is still the non-resort public course people in this area rave about as their little local secret.

5. Nakoma Resort, Dragon Course
Former amazing local course, turned private country club, now turned resort, the Dragon has again emerged as a fantastic, accessible course.

6. The Course at Wente Vineyard
After this course was acquired and upgraded by a local winery, it is now an enjoyable experience during a weekend getaway or just a quick 18 holes.

7. Whitehawk Ranch Golf Club
One of the lesser known resort destinations in California, you may not go here for the golf ... but you better have brought you clubs anyway!

8. Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course
The most famous course in this casino destination, the lakeside holes on this course are the exclamation point on an overall great golf experience.

9. Tahoe Mountain Club, Old Greenwood
The best of the Tahoe Mountain Resort courses, this Jack Nicklaus design takes advantage of all the natural beauty in this region.

10. Coyote Moon Golf Course
Another great course in north Lake Tahoe, Coyote Moon might just be the most tree-lined golf course you will ever see in your life.

11. Silverado Resort, North Course
Another PGA Tour stop to bookend this region's rankings, Silverado survived recent fires and is the favorite destination for golf in the Napa Valley.

Greater Las Vegas
1. Wolf Creek Golf Club
Perhaps the most amazing layout in the U.S., Wolf Creek has been recreated for video games despite most golfers not even knowing where it is.

2. Conestoga Golf Club
Another Mesquite NV location, this relatively unknown course provides a canyon/ dunes layout option as opposed to the rocky cliffsides of other area courses.

3. Paiute Resort, Wolf Course
Probably the best truly public course in the immediate Las Vegas area, "The Wolf" is the best course at this outstanding 54 hole facility.

4. Falcon Ridge Golf Course
Now that it has matured, Falcon Ridge is very similar to the Wolf Creek experience, but perhaps a bit more "fair" to the average golfer.

5. Royal Links Golf Club
Classified as a "gimmick" course because it recreates famous British holes, this is actually a fine course and a lot of fun to play.

6. Shadow Creek
Bottom line: If you can play here, you pay the money and do it, just so you can whisper about the experience to other golfers for years and years to come.

7. Paiute Resort, Snow Mountain Course
The second of the three courses at Paiute, Snow Mountain is the one locals like the best due to its playability.

8. Cascata
Affiliated with Caesar's Palace, Cascata was built to compete with other 'high-roler' perks, and is certainly worth doing the little extra effort to play a round there.

9. Oasis Golf Club, Palmer Course
When going to play all the great courses in Mesquite, this is the one true resort to stay and play at, and the Palmer Course is the route to test you.

10. Bear's Best Las Vegas
Another "gimmick" courses in Vegas, this track delivers on the promise of combining a collection of the "best Nicklaus designed holes" into a great course.

11. Coyote Springs Golf Club
While far out of the way of most other golf destinations, Coyote Springs is worth the drive to find not just a great course, but a great golf experience.

Arizona Unlimited
1. We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Cholla
We-Ko-Pa is the absolute best golf destination in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, and the Cholla course is our members' favorite. But what makes the place great is ...

2. We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Saguaro
... the 1-2 punch of both courses. Saquaro is second only to its older brother Cholla  when it comes to quality golf in this region.

3. Troon North Golf Club, Pinnacle
Now that our members are comfortable with the rerouting, the Troon North Pinnacle course proves why it is the alpha dog of the Troon golf empire.

4. Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club
One of the most fun courses to play in the southwest, the fact the Ak-Chin Casino is part of the mix at this resort always makes it a great destination for our members.

5. TPC Scottsdale, Stadium Course
After a remodel that was the buzz of the early PGA Tour four years ago, the Stadium Course is a destination course locals proudly take their visiting friends.

6. Grayhawk Golf Club, Talon Course
A former PGA tour course, the Grayhawk Talon is a classic desert golf test with some of the best finishing holes you will ever encounter.

7T. Legacy Golf Club
Potentially the best course with a "Phoenix" address, our members love this as one of the best independent public courses in the area.

7T. Gold Canyon Golf Resort
In the eastern edge of the valley, Gold Canyon is worth a drive into this remote destination (though really only ~20 minutes outside the city).

9. Troon North Golf Club, Monument
The "second" course at the home of the Troon North family, the Monument Course is great in its own right - you must play both when heading to this destination.

10. Apache Stronghold Golf Club
Well into the San Carlos Reservation, Apache Stronghold is a unique course in a remote and scenic desert landscape.

11. Golf Club of Estrella
Another of the excellent Troon managed properties in the western U.S., Estrella is a great experience both on and off the course.

The Western Golf Alliance is pleased to release our 2020 "Where You Can Rip It" golf course rankings!

In 2007, our organization began these rankings as a way of returning value to the great game of golf. We wanted to advance golf in a way that explicitly benefited the "average golfer" - the weekend golfer, playing at the local muni, striving to knock two more strokes off his or her handicap, only for the personal pride that would come with it. The idea is simple: Identify, publish, and publicize the 100 best PUBLIC ACCESS golf courses in the West. Again this year, our members followed an extensive process to evaluate courses subjectively, and engaged in open discussion about the inclusion and ranking of courses in each of our nine regions.

This is the sixth time we have published these biennial rankings. Tens of thousands of golfers now view these rankings annually. Our rankings have been discussed and debated by golf magazines, and our members have been solicited for comment about courses by those same publications. Specific course rankings have been used to promote golf events, referenced in local articles about high school and college tournaments, and cited in documents used to establish real estate values. However, we don't do this for the publicity - we do it to serve the great game of golf, and to recognize superior golf courses. We strive to acknowledge greatness, and to ensure that the typical golfer can find and experience the best public golf around. As a regional golf organization, we take these rankings seriously. So next time you're looking for a great public golf experience, consider the advice of the Western Golf Alliance ... and Keep It Long and Straight!!

Evergreen State
1. Gamble Sands
This creation in the middle of nowhere (an hour northeast of ... Chelan?) has immediately become a must-play destination course in Washington.

2. Wine Valley Golf Club
When you take a long weekend to the heart of Washington wine country, give your spouse a 'tasting passport' while you play this awesome course.

3. Palouse Ridge Golf Club
If more people had any idea where Pullman, Washington was, this course on the WSU campus might become known as the best college course in the U.S.

4. Desert Canyon Golf Resort
Any golfer looking for a second round during their Gamble Sands road trip would do well to stay and play here. #yourewelcome

5. Suncadia Resort, Prospector Course
Maybe ... maybe ... just a little better than the Rope Rider, Prospector is a great golf course at this secluded resort just an hour east of Seattle.

6. Semiahmoo Resort, Semiahmoo CC
The namesake course at this location is a bit more house-lined than you might like, but it also has a couple "wow" holes (like #18) to highlight your visit.

7. White Horse Golf Course
If this course were a bit closer to civilization, it would be high on most best-in-state lists, with great tree-lined beauty and challenge.

8. Suncadia Resort, Rope Rider Course
Suncadia continues to grow into its desire to be a destination resort, and Rope Rider is one reasons why golfers need a weekend getaway here.

9. Loomis Trail Golf Club
Having been sold this year to a local tribe, the long-term future of this past best-in-state / US Open qualifying course is uncertain. So play it now!

10. Columbia Point Golf Course
Still - and always - our local favorite in the Tri Cities area, Columbia Point is just an all-around solid golf course with a good staff and consistent conditions.

11. Eaglemont Golf Course
From the tips, Eaglemont is the third hardest course in the state. From any other set of tees, it's a fun track requiring driver accuracy and a hot putter.