Public Golf Course Rankings of the Western Golf Alliance

Copyright 2002-2015, Western Golf Alliance, LLC. All rights reserved
Emerald Portlandia
1. Chambers Bay
Despite how badly the USGA screwed up, Chambers Bay is clearly one of the three best "true muni" courses in the U.S. with pricing that favors local access.

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 is still underappreciated.

3. Salish Cliffs Golf Course
Associated with a tribal casino, Salish Cliffs is a great, fun course, albeit very challenging, and easily one of the three best in Washington.

4. 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.

5. Camus Meadows Golf Club
Just across the Columbia River, tucked back into a great woodlands setting, this is actually the "local favorite" for golfers in Portland.

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

7. Langdon Farms Golf Club
A very hot-and-cold course, with those who love it and those who are ambivalent, Langdon Farms remains one of the best Portland courses just south of downtown.

8. Washington National Golf Club
The "home of the Huskies", this course can be brutally long from the tips, but offers many tee options to make if playable by all levels of players.

9. The WSGA Home Course
Though some elements of the course are still maturing, the Home Course is a high quality yet very forgiving test of your golf game.

10. 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.

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
This is one of the three courses everyone mentions when talking about "best true muni" courses, and the ocean views from the La Jolla cliffs are picture perfect.

2. Maderas Golf Club
This former private club continues to excel as a public venue, and is now firmly established as one of the best courses in all of Southern California.

3. Pelican Hill, Ocean South Course
While everything about the Pelican Hill experience says "top rated private club", the best feature on the entire property is the beautiful south course.

4. Rustic Canyon Golf Course
Within driving distance of the northern LA basin, this remains one of the best kept golf secrets on the entire west coast.

5. The Crossings at Carlsbad
With ocean views, undulating fairways, perfect conditions, and great staff, this is the course San Diego locals love when they don't want a 6 hour round at Torrey Pines.

6. 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.

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

8. PGA West, TPC Stadium Course
Is this the hardest golf course in the U.S.? Yes, probably. Do you absolutely have to play in on your Palm Springs/La Quinta golf trip? Yes, yes you do.

9. Desert Willow, Firecliff Course
A true muni course affiliated with a full service resort, Firecliff is all-around great with a few true "wow moment" holes (par 3 #17 immediately comes to mind).

10. La Quinta Resort, Mountain Course
The top course at a historic resort, the Mountain Course should be included on any day or weekend trip to the La Quinta/Palm Desert area.

11T. Barona Creek Golf Club / Indian Wells Resort (Players)
These two places are radically different - a San Diego casino resort, or a Palm Springs landmark resort - but both make for great weekend getaway golf.

Directors' Choice

1. Kapalua Golf, Plantation Course
One of the true "event" destinations on the PGA Tour, Kapalua Plantation is the best course in paradise and a must-play for any golfer visiting Maui.

2. 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.

3T. 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.

3T. Manele Golf Course
This amazing course is under appreciated due to being located on isolated Lanai. If you are seeking a Hawaii golf trip, this really needs to be on your itinerary.

5. Fairmont Banff Springs - Thompson Course
Banff is a vacation location west of Calgary, and if you ever go there take your sticks. This resort course is a special treat with amazing mountain vistas all around.

6. Mauna Kea Golf Course
The 'original' course built on the black lava flows on the Big Island, Mauna Kea is still the best, and also has easier access that other resort courses on the Kona Coast.

7. 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.

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

9. 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.

10. Big Sky Golf Club
For golfers in Vancouver BC, Big Sky - one of the 50 best courses in Canada - is a non-resort course that locals can truly enjoy any time they want.

11. 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.

Other Oregon
1. Crosswater at Sunriver
In 2013, Crosswater hosted the PGA championship for teaching professionals, and it has hosted a Champions Tour major - this is one absolutely great golf course.

2. Pronghorn Club, Nicklaus Course
Pronghorn/Nicklaus is easily one of the 25 greatest public courses in the U.S., confirming Bend/Sunriver as a world class golf destination.

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

4. Aspen Lakes Golf Course
Mostly known for its volcanic-sand-red traps, Aspen Lakes is actually the course locals in the Sisters/Bend area are most likely to play on the weekend.

5. Widgi Creek Golf Club
There are so many great resort courses central Oregon, but this is the locals take visiting friends to play - all the natural beauty, just as challenging, half the price.

6. 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.

7. Black Butte Ranch, Glaze Meadow
After an amazing redesign, Glaze Meadow is now the headliner that makes Black Butte one of the greatest golf destinations in the Pacific Northwest.

8. 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.

9. Brasada Ranch
Mostly known as a weekend getaway and conference center resort, the course at Brasada Ranch is worth dragging your clubs along if you are there for a few days.

10. Eagle Point Golf Club
North of Medford, if this course were in a better known location is would be widely known as one of the absolutely best courses in Oregon.

11. Black Butte Ranch, Big Meadow
Also redesigned a few 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), this is the easiest to access. 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 behind. Purists may like other courses, but some of the greatest holes in the world at here on this course.

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

5. Bandon Dunes Resort, Old MacDonald
Old Mac is probably the trickiest of the Bandon course, with wide open fairways, hidden traps, and huge greens, presenting infinite possibilities.

6. Bandon Dunes Resort, Bandon Trails
Bandon's 4th best course is always ranked as one of the 20 best public courses in the country ... now THAT'S strong "overall quality" of golf!

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. The Links at Spanish Bay
With a great reputation and a few breathtaking holes, this course suffers by comparison to Pebble and Spyglass, but don't skip it during your trip.

9. TPC Harding Park
The TPC management team has fully restored this great San Francisco muni course, making it again on of the best in all of California.

10. Poppy Hills
Technically not part of the Pebble Beach resort, Poppy Hills is still part of the PGA event rota, and the place you should play if you're in the area not 'on-resort'.

11. Pacific Grove Golf Links
Monterrey Peninsula locals know this is their hidden gem - a solid true muni on the Pacific costing literally pennies on the dollar compared to the local resort.

California Sierra
1. Rosewood CordeValle Resort
Now an established PGA tour stop and great resort, this is an amazing (though spendy) northern California golf course.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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!

5. 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.

6. The Course at Wente Vineyard
This course has been acquired and upgraded by a local winery, making for an enjoyable experience during a weekend getaway or just a quick 18 holes.

7. 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.

8. Incline Village, Championship Course
Meanwhile back in the Stateline area, the Championship Course is a great course nestled in the mountainside overlooking the lake and town.

9. Genoa Lakes, Lakes Course
When we said the Resort Course was the "better layout" at Genoa Lakes, that didn't mean the Lakes Course was bad - it too is a great Reno golf course.

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

11. Silverado Resort, North Course
Another PGA Tour stop to bookend this region's rankings, Silverado 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 United States, Wolf Creek is as close as a golf course can come to providing roller coaster excitement.

2. Shadow Creek
The most secretive and exclusive course in Vegas requires a lot of cash and an MGM/Mirage resort stay, but the experience worthy of the expense.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Wynn Golf Club
There are only two courses on "the strip", and this is the one designed to truly encapsalate the Vegas entertainment experience in a golf course.

7. Royal Links Golf Club
The best "gimmick" course in Vegas, providing all the best holes of the British Open venues, this is a place you gotta play if just to take on the "road hole".

8T. 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.

8T. Falcon Ridge Golf Course
Another of the newer Mesquite courses, Falcon Ridge is very similar to the Wolf Creek experience, but perhaps a bit more "fair" to the average golfer.

10. 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.

11. 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.

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 Saguaro course is its crown jewel. But what makes the place so 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.

3T. Quintero Golf Club
30 miles due north of Phoenix, this course isn't easy for locals to get to, and yet they regularly make the trek to this amazing desert destination course.

3T. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Arizona National Golf Club
After a few years of financial turmoil, our members in Tuscon have rediscovered their love for this track, as it has re-emerged as the local favorite.

8. TPC Scottsdale, Stadium Course
After a remodel that was the buzz of the early PGA Tour season last year, the Stadium Course is once again the place locals take their visiting friends.

9. Verrado Golf Club
Without a doubt, Verrado is the favorite course for all golfers in the west Phoenix area, and the place they are most likely to play every Saturday.

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

11. Longbow Golf Club
Longbow edged out several courses for the final slot in this region, but it was too fun of a course to leave out. It might be one of the best overall values in the area.

The Western Golf Alliance is pleased to release our 2016 "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 fifth 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 new creation in the middle of nowhere (an hour north of Chelan?) has immediately become the best course in Washington, hands down.

2. 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.

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

4. Semiahmoo Resort, Loomis Trail
As the Semiahmoo Resort recovers from past woes, the Loomis Trail course remains one of the best courses in northwest Washington.

5. Suncadia Resort, Rope Rider Course
Suncadia continues to grow into its desire to be a destination resort, and Rope Rider is the primary reasons why golfers are flocking to this mountain location.

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

7. 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 great staff and wonderful conditions.

8. Semiahmoo Resort, Semiahmoo CC
The second course at this location is a bit more house-lined than it's sister course, but it also has a couple "wow" holes (like #18) to highlight your visit.

9. Suncadia Resort, Prospector Course
Not far behind Rope Rider - if at all - Prospector is also a great golf course. If you take time to play one course here, you're making a mistake ... play both!

10. Sun Willows Golf Course
The sister course to Columbia Point, Sun Willows is the other course most locals in the Tri Cities call "home".

11. Highlander Golf Club
Highlander is a stand along course that competes with resort destinations, but it is a great course with a solid layout and inspiring Columbia River views.