(Note: This story appeared in the April 10, 2017 issue of Golfweek.)
What is America’s best golf state? That’s a highly subjective question with no perfect answer. But we took a stab at tackling that question by averaging the ratings of the top five public-access courses in each state.
Thanks almost entirely to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, which has four courses ranked among the top 20 on the Golfweek’s Best Modern Courses list, Oregon came out on top of our list, edging out its southern neighbor, California.
This is an interesting, if imperfect, way to compare the states. For one thing, we only compared public-access courses; for that reason, states such as New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Jersey, all of which have long lists of great private clubs, didn’t crack the top 10 here.
Also, in order to maintain an apples-to-apples comparison, we only went five deep in each state. So this exercise tended to favor states with a few superstar courses; it doesn’t measure the broader quality of each state’s course roster. In this instance, the great resort venues – Bandon Dunes, Pebble Beach and Pinehurst, among others – tended to set the order of this list.
Still, it provides a unique snapshot of where to find the nation’s elite public-access golf. It might even inspire some readers to consider a trip to less-hyped destination – say, Washington, Virginia or Nebraska – that fared well here.