(Hilton Head, S.C.) —Great golf does not have to cost a small fortune, much less a three-digit green fee. According to LINKS Magazine—dedicated to publishing “The Best of Golf,” the most in-depth and reader-relevant information on golf courses, clubs, and communities in the U.S. and abroad—what traveling golfers crave is value, which translates to an enjoyable round on a pleasant, well-kept track. And there is plenty to be found. After scouring the nation for the best deals, LINKS Magazine has uncovered the 10 best courses boasting a sub-$50 green fee. Each can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with higher-priced venues.
Tucked away in the southwest corner of New Hampshire near the Vermont and Massachusetts state lines, this 36-hole facility offers plenty of charm (covered bridges), value, and challenge.
Cacapon Resort (Berkeley Springs, WV)
Perched at 2,300 feet above sea level in mountain foothills at the base of a ridge, this attractive state park facility qualifies as the Mountain State’s finest muni with three ponds, bubbling brooks, sharp elevation changes, and more than 70 well-placed bunkers provide plenty of challenge on this 6,827-yard gem.
Old Works (Anaconda, MT)
Occupying the abandoned site of a 19th-century copper smelting operation midway between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, the blighted landscape’s arsenic-laced rubble was capped with crushed limestone and topsoil before Jack shaped holes alongside stone ovens, flues, and other historic mining remnants.
Riverdale (Dunes) (Brighton, CO)
This Scottish-style links in the prairie lands of the Front Range 20 minutes from Denver displays prominent mounds, deep pot bunkers, and railroad ties, and the layout’s hillocks and swales were designed to melt with the contours of the outlying landscape.
Shepherd’s Crook (Zion, IL)
Located an hour’s drive north of Chicago, this breezy, links-style layout is marked by dramatic features (punchbowl greens, massive bunkers, sloping greens) inspired by the Golden Age of golf course architecture, an era well-represented by classic Chicago clubs from the 1920s and earlier.
The Tennessean (Paris, TN)
Situated two hours west of Nashville near Kentucky Lake, this outstanding course is set on a densely wooded 1,100-acre parcel where players are confronted by imposing knolls, meandering creeks, sheer rock ledges, and a 160-foot elevation change where towering pines, old-growth hardwoods, and cavernous bunkers frame the rollicking fairways.
Wasatch Mountain State Park (Midway, UT)
Thirty-five miles southeast of Salt Lake City is a mile-high 36-hole complex that ranks among the most breathtaking in the Rockies where the Mountain Course is walled in by skyscraper peaks and has sidehill lies and glorious views of the Heber Valley below and the Lake Course is set on gentler terrain at lower elevation, and presents a milder test than the Mountain but brings eight lakes and ponds into play.
Wasioto Winds (Pineville, KY)
Set within Pine Mountain State Resort Park near where Daniel Boone entered the Cumberland Gap in the early 1770s, this superb layout, carved from a spur of the Appalachians in a rural corner of the state, is a delightful mountain links by Michael Hurdzan “set in a little holler.”
Wild Horse (Gothenburg, NE)
Built in 1999 by two construction crew veterans who shaped nearby Sand Hills, one of the nation’s most celebrated courses, this beguiling, compact layout occupies rolling, sandy, windswept terrain in the middle of Nebraska where tall prairie grasses and fringed blowout bunkers frame broad fairways.
Willingers (Northfield, MN)
One of the Midwest’s best values can be found 45 minutes south of the Twin Cities, where the mature, tranquil course at Willingers, built on a former tree nursery, takes players around marshland on the front nine before tunneling into a thick forest on the incoming nine.
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