Bandon Preserve is the No. 1-ranked Short Course in America • Photo by Brian Oar / Golf Trip Experts
Golf Courses - U.S.

The SHORT List: MobileGolfer’s Top 100 ‘rankings’ of the best short courses in America


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Show me a Top 100 without controversy. Find a rankings list that everyone agrees with. Those are fools’ errands. Missions of the “impossible” variety. When I began the research for this ambitious project in September 2018 and determined I would include at least one course from every state (lots of courses no one has ever heard of or shown love for before), I knew I’d miss some and shortchange others. I can’t say I was “OK” with that, but I accepted it might be true. Now, as we’ve wrapped up the writeup portion and are sharing the final numbers, I similarly realize there’s no way on Earth (having only visited 52 of these personally) I can say with 100 percent certainty this list is accurate. But we did the best that we could and acknowledge our “SHORT List” is just like these golf courses themselves — a dynamic entity of its own that will continue to evolve over time.

I reached out to 180 industry friends to collect thoughts and opinions, studied course maps, photos, drone tours, Google Earth and read every available insight I could find to arrange my opinions into something semi-logical and mostly respectable. The Preserve at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is the greatest short course I’ve ever played, and Hickory at Hamilton Farm is the short course I want to play most. Beyond that, there is plenty of room for discussion as to which belongs where — and we’re OK with that. At Golf Trip Experts, we understand that lists are fun to make, fun to look at and the most fun to discuss. That’s all this is meant to be, a fun way to recap what was a very fun eight-month project.

Part 1: Alabama to Georgia
Part 2: Hawaii to Maryland
Part 3: Massachusetts to New Jersey
Part 4: New Mexico to South Carolina
Part 5: South Dakota to Wyoming


Also, we already know we missed more than a few short courses — Mountain at Incline Village, Polson Bay, Agate Beach and the Chief Egan at Silvies Valley Ranch will most likely find their way onto the updated list posting later this year.

And with that said, here is our invitation to submit any of your favorite short courses that didn’t make the list. What did we miss, overvalue or undervalue? Let us know. Rest assured, every submission will be given full consideration. Meanwhile, I’ll be trying to play all the ones on this list I haven’t yet played. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

Thank you to Evan Schiller, Jon Cavalier and Brian Oar for the incredible photography and to the most detail-minded of editors, Darin Bunch, for all the valuable insights and suggestions — and for ultimately making this project possible. The SHORT List was certainly a team effort, and we look forward to even more golf-minded friends joining the team as we continue to celebrate non-traditional courses across the country.

The SHORT List
Top 100 Rankings

1) Bandon Preserve
Bandon Dunes Resort
13 Holes, Par 39
Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (2012)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Bandon, Oregon

2) Hickory Course
Hamilton Farm Golf Club
18 Holes, Par 54
Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry (2001)
*Private
Gladstone, New Jersey

3) Short Course
Kukio Golf & Beach Club
10 Holes, Par 33
Tom Fazio (2003)
*Private
Kailua, Big Island, Hawaii


4) Sweetens Cove Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 36
Rob Collins and Tad King (2011)
*Public, Daily-Fee
South Pittsburg, Tennessee

5) Mulligan Course
Ballyneal Golf Club
12 Holes, Par 36
Tom Doak (2016)
*Private
Holyoke, Colorado

6) The Short Course
Pine Valley Golf Club
10 Holes, Par 31
Tom Fazio (1992)
*Very Private
Clementon, New Jersey

7) The Challenge
Monarch Dunes Resort
12 Holes, Par 36
Damien Pascuzzo and Steve Pate (2009)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Nipomo, California

8) The Dunes Club
9 Holes, Par 36
Dick Nugent (1991)
*Private
New Buffalo, Michigan

9) The Bad Little Nine
Scottsdale National Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 27
David Kahn and Tim Jackson
*Private
Scottsdale, Arizona

10) Top of the Rock
Big Cedar Lodge Resort
9 Holes, Par 27
Jack Nicklaus (1996)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Hollister, Missouri

11) The Links
Sand Hollow Resort
9 Holes, Par 36
John Fought and Andy Staples (2008)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Hurricane, Utah

12) The Short Course
Mountain Shadows Resort
18 holes, Par 54
Forrest Richardson (2016)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Paradise Valley, Arizona

13) El Camino
Tobacco Road Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 27
(The ghost of Mike Strantz, 2018)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Sanford, North Carolina

14) White Clouds
Sun Valley Resort
9 Holes, Par 36
Donald Knott and Gary Linn (2008)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Sun Valley, Idaho

15) Mountain Top
Big Cedar Lodge Resort
13 Holes, Par 39
Gary Player (2017)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Hollister, Missouri

16) Pine Creek Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 35
Silvester “Lefty” Krajewski (1957)
*Public, Daily-Fee
La Crescent, Minnesota

17) The Sandbox
Sand Valley Resort
17 Holes, Par 51
Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (2017)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Nekoosa, Wisconsin

18) Winter Park 9
9 Holes, Par 35
(Architect ???)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Winter Park, Florida

19) Palm Beach Par 3
18 Holes, Par 54
Dick Wilson and Raymond Floyd (2009)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Palm Beach, Florida

20) The Needler
Whispering Pines Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 27
Chet Williams (2013)
*Private
Trinity, Texas

21) Kanawha Club
9 Holes, Par 27
Lester George (2005)
*Private
Manakin-Sabot, Virginia

22) Goat Hill Park
18 Holes, Par 65
Todd Eckenrode (2015)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Oceanside, California

23) The Short Course
Silver Lakes Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 27
Robert Trent Jones, Sr. (1993)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Glencoe, Alabama

24) Highland Links Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 35
Willard Small (1892) Hal Conklin (1955)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Truro, Massachusetts

25) The Nine Hole Course
Augusta National Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 27
Bobby Jones, George Cobb (1958)
*You Wish
Augusta, Georgia

26) The Cliffs Course
The Olympic Club
9 Holes, Par 27
Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish (1994)
*Private
San Francisco, California

27) The Championship Course
Big Easy Ranch
9 Holes, Par 27
Chet Williams (2016)
*Private
Columbus, Texas

28) The Links Nine
Bay Harbor Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 36
Arthur Hills (1997)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Bay Harbor, Michigan

29) The Cloud 9
Angel Park Golf Club
12 Holes, Par 36
Bob Cupp and John Fought (1993)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Las Vegas, Nevada

30) The Links
Terranea Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 27
Todd Eckenrode (2009)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Rancho Palos Verdes, California

31) The Short Course
Magnolia Grove Golf Club
18 Holes, Par 54
Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and Roger Rulewich (1992)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Mobile, Alabama

32) The Short Course
Grand National Resort
18 Holes, Par 54
Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and Roger Rulewich (1993)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Opelika, Alabama

33) The Course at Sewanee
The University of the South
9 Holes, Par 36
Gil Hanse (2013)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Sewanee, Tennessee

34) The King’s Course
Stonewall Resort
Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay (2002)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Walkersville, West Virginia

35) The Cradle
Pinehurst Resort and Country Club
9 Holes, Par 27
Gil Hanse (2017)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Pinehurst, North Carolina

36) The Short Course
Cambrian Ridge Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 27
Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and Roger Rulewich (1993)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Greenville, Alabama

37) Hay Harbor on Fishers Island
9 Holes, Par 34
Built in 1898
*Private
Fishers Island, New York

38) Hooper Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 36
Wayne Stiles and John Van Kleek (1927)
*Private
Walpole, New Hampshire

39) Ben Brown’s Golf Course
The Ranch at Laguna Beach
9 Holes, Par 32
Gary Roger Baird (1950) Todd Eckenrode
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Laguna Beach, California

40) Skyway at Lincoln Park West
9 Holes, Par 36
Jeff Grossman and Roy Case (2015)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Jersey City, New Jersey

41) ThreeTops
TreeTops Resort
9 Holes, Par 27
Rick Smith (1992)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Gaylord, Michigan

42) Great Dunes
Jekyll Island Golf Club
9 Hole, Par 36
Walter Travis (1926)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Jekyll Island, Georgia

43) The Horse Course
The Prairie Club
10 Holes, Par 30
Gil Hanse and Geoff Shackelford (2010)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Valentine, Nebraska

44) L’il Wick
Wickenburg Ranch Golf and Social Club
9 Holes, Par 27
Built in 2016
*Public, Daily-Fee
Wickenburg, Arizona

45) Southers Marsh Golf Club
18 Holes, Par 61
Nick Filla and Dahn Tibbett
*Public, Daily-Fee
Plymouth, Massachusetts

46) Gibson Island Club
9 Holes, Par 36
C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor (1922)
*Private
Gibson Island, Maryland

47) Fisher Island Club
9 Holes, Par 35
P.B. Dye (1989)
*Private
Fisher Island, Florida

48) Northport Creek Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 35
Jerry Matthews (2014)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Northport, Michigan

49) The Woodside
Cantigny Golf Center
9 Holes, Par 36
Roger Packard (1989) Rick Jacobson (2003)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Wheaton, Illinois

50) Wawashkamo Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 36
Alex Smith (1898)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Mackinac Island, Michigan

51) Stone Creek Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 36
D.A. Weibring (2000)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Williamsburg, Iowa

52) The Cypress
Arrowhead Country Club
Raymond Floyd and Tom Jackson (1995)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

53) The Woods
Wilderness Resort
9 Holes, Par 30
Art Johnson (1998)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

54) East Nine
Quail Chase Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 36
David Pfaff (1988)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Louisville, Kentucky

55) Hadley Creek Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 32
Jim Felton (2009)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Rochester, Minnesota

56) Buffer Park
9 Holes, Par 36
Built in 1999
*Public, Daily-Fee
Indianapolis, Indiana

57) The Apple Nine
Lyman Orchards
9 Holes, Par 29
Mark Mungeam (2012)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Middlefield, Connecticut

58) Midville Country Club
9 Holes, Par 35
Carmine Lombardi (1961)
*Public, Daily-Fee
West Warwick, Rhode Island

59) Dixie Red Hills
9 Holes, Par 34
Ernie Schneider (1965)
*Public, Daily-Fee
St. George, Utah

60) Sebasco Harbor Resort
9 Holes, Par 36
Built in 1926
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Sebasco Estates, Maine

61) Stewart Peninsula
9 Holes, Par 33
Tripp Davis (1998)
*Public, Daily-Fee
The Colony, Texas

62) The Ponds at Battle Creek
9 Holes, Par 35
Garrett Gill and Paul Miller (2004)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Maplewood, Minnesota

63) The Executive Course
Hog Neck Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 32
Lindsay Ervin (1976)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Easton, Maryland

64) Fenwick Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 35
Built in 1896.
*Public, Daily-Fee
Old Saybrook, Connecticut

65) Pelican Falls
Pelican Lakes Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 34
Mike Hines (2006)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Windsor, Colorado

66) Lake Estes Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 31
Henry Hughes (1972)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Estes Park, Colorado

67) Starr Hollow
9 Holes, Par 36
Joe Finger (1969)
*Private
Tolar, Texas

68) Lead Country Club
9 Holes, Par 36
Built in 1922
*Public, Daily-Fee
Lead, South Dakota

69) Pottawatomie Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 35
Robert Trent Jones, Sr. (1939)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Saint Charles, Illinois

70) Wolf Ridge Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 36
Built in 1999
*Public, Daily-Fee
Angora, Minnesota

71) McVeigh’s Gauntlet
Silvies Valley Ranch
7 Holes, Par 23
Dan Hixson (2017)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Seneca, Oregon

72) Cobblestone Creek
9 Holes, Par 36
Tripp Davis (2001)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Norman, Oklahoma

73) The Schoolhouse Nine
9 Holes, Par 27
Built in 2015
*Public, Daily-Fee
Sperryville, Virginia

74) American Classic Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 32
Built in 2013
*Public, Daily-Fee
Lewes, Delaware

75) L’il Rock
Rockwind Community Links
9 Holes, Par 27
Andy Staples (2015)
Hobbs, New Mexico

76) The Little Course
Black Lake Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 3
Rees Jones (2000)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Onaway, Michigan

77) The Loma Club
9 Holes, Par 27
Cary Bickler (1920)
*Public, Daily-Fee
San Diego, California

78) Bellows Falls Country Club
9 Holes, Par 35
Built in 1923
*Public, Daily-Fee
Bellows Falls, Vermont

79) Wyoming Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 36
Tom Bendelow (1913)
*Private
Cincinnati, Ohio

80) Pelican Beach
9 Holes, Par 36
Built in 2000
*Public, Daily-Fee
Hyannis, Nebraska

81) Heritage Creek
9 Holes, Par 34
Kelly Blake Moran (2012)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Jamison, Pennsylvania

82) Marion Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 34
George C. Thomas, Jr. (1904)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Marion, Massachusetts

83) Audubon Park
18 Holes, Par 62
Denis Griffiths (2002)
*Public, Daily-Fee
New Orleans, Louisiana

84) Little Bear
Old Works Golf Club
3 Holes, Par 11
Jack Nicklaus (1997)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Anaconda, Montana

85) Jordan Spieth’s Lower 40
University of Texas Golf Club
6 Holes
Built in 2019
*Private
Austin, Texas

86) The Playgrounds
Bluejack National Golf Club
10 Holes, Par 30
Tiger Woods and Beau Welling (2016)
*Private
Montgomery, Texas

87) Brough Creek National
7 Holes, Par 21
Built in 2019 by Some Guy’s Backyard
*Public, 6-Pack of American Beer
Kansas City, Kansas

88) Orcas Island
9 Holes, Par 36
Built in 1960
*Public, Daily-Fee
Eastsound, Washington

89) Saratoga Golf and Polo Club
9 Holes, Par 35
Built in 1896
*Private
Saratoga Springs, New York

90) Catamount Country Club
9 Holes, Par 35
Marty Keene (2002)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Williston, Vermont

91) Bay Springs Country Club
9 Holes, Par 36
Built in 1965
*Public, Daily-Fee
Louin, Mississippi

92) Lakeside Country Golf Club
9 Holes, Par 35
Shook Wilson (1963)
*Public, Daily-Fee
Hot Springs, Arkansas

93) Cavendish Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 36
Built in 1947
*Public, Free
Lanai City, Lanai, Hawaii

94) Square Butte Creek
9 Holes, Par 36
Built in 1982
*Public, Daily-Fee
Center, North Dakota

95) Paola Country Club
9 Holes, Par 36
Built in 1923
*Private
Paola, Kansas

96) Ironwood Hills
9 Holes, Par 34
Built in 1928
*Public, Daily-Fee
Kaulapuu, Molokai, Hawaii

97) Black Diamond Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 34
Built in 1995
*Public, Daily-Fee
Healy, Alaska

98) Sinclair Golf Course
9 Holes, Par 36
Built in 1940
*Public, Daily-Fee
Sinclair, Wyoming

99) Otter Valley Country Club
9 Holes, Par 36
Mark Johnson (1973)
*Public, Daily-Fee
George, Iowa

100) Mt. Pleasant Golf Course
Omni Mount Washington
9 Holes, Par 35
Alex Findlay (1895) Mark Mungeam, Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva (1989)
*Resort, Daily-Fee
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

About the author

Eric N. Hart

Eric N. Hart

Eric Hart (aka MobileGolfer) is GolfTripX.com’s Associate Editor for Golf & Travel and owner of Stays + Plays Travel Agency in the Midwest. Eric has stayed at 250-plus resorts and hotels around the world and played 500-plus golf courses. He has worked with 16 tourism agencies and written more than 1,100 articles for 14 regional, national and international golf, family and travel publications since he began in 2007. With a passion for promoting both golf and family travel, Eric routinely hits the road with his son and/or the full family (wife and four kids).

Reach Eric by email at info[at]staysandplays.com

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