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16 PGA Championship Courses You Can Play

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There are plenty of PGA Championship courses you can play on golf vacations, including North Carolina’s Tanglewood Park Championship Course, above.

This year’s PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte should bring an exciting conclusion to the major championship season.

I’m particularly looking forward to hearing the pros’ reactions to recent course renovations. Whatever the case may be, Quail Hollow still has “The Green Mile” – its demanding final stretch of holes.

That should make for quite the finish come Sunday afternoon.

One slight bummer about Quail Hollow, though, is that unlike the 2015 PGA venue – Whistling Straits – very few of us will have the opportunity to play the course, given the private nature of the club.

That said, there are a number of past and future PGA Championship venues that you and I can (and should) visit and play.

And guess what? There are more of these courses than you might think…and you probably live or will soon travel near one of them.

Check out the list here:

As you can see, the PGA Championship has been (and will continue to be) played on plenty of public courses in some of the best golf vacation destinations in America, making it easy to add a major championship to your own personal record book.

California

The combination of Pebble Beach’s beauty and history lends a mystical charm to the place. (Evan Schiller)

Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links
Location: Pebble Beach, CA
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1977
Architect: Jack Neville and Douglas Grant
Green Fee: $495

Course: TPC Harding Park
Location: San Francisco, CA
Will Host the PGA Championship in: 2020
Architect: Willie Watson and Sam Whiting
Green Fee: $177

Florida
Course: PGA National Resort & Spa (The Champion Course)
Location: Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1987
Architect: Jack Nicklaus
Green Fee: $347

Indiana
Course: French Lick Resort (Donald Ross Course)
Location: French Lick, IN
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1924
Architect: Donald Ross
Green Fee:  $120

Minnesota
Course: Keller Golf Course
Location: Maplewood, MN
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1932 and 1954
Architect: Paul Coates; renovation by Richard Mandell
Green Fee: $43

North Carolina
Course: Tanglewood Park (Championship Course)
Location: Clemmons, NC
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1974
Architect: Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
Green Fee:  $49

Course: Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (No. 2)
Location: Pinehurst, NC
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1936
Architect: Donald Ross
Green Fee: $410

New Jersey
Course: Seaview Resort (Bay and Pines Courses)
Location: Absecon, NJ
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1942
Architect: Donald Ross
Green Fee: $69-$119

New York
Course: Eisenhower Park (Red Course)
Location: East Meadow, NY
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1926
Architect: Devereux Emmet
Green Fee: $65

Course: Bethpage State Park (Black Course)
Location: Farmingdale, NY
Will Host the PGA Championship in: 2019 (and the Ryder Cup in 2024)
Architect: A.W. Tillinghast, Rees Jones
Green Fee: $65

Pennsylvania
Course: Shawnee Inn & Resort Golf Course
Location: Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1938
Architect: A.W. Tillinghast
Green Fee: $65-$90

Course: Hershey Country Club (West Course)
Location: Hershey, PA
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1940
Architect: Maurice McCarthy
Green Fee: $140

South Carolina

(Kiawah Island Resort)

Course: Kiawah Island Golf Resort (Ocean Course)
Location: Kiawah Island, SC
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 2012; will host in 2021
Architect: Pete Dye
Green Fee: $360

Texas
Course: Cedar Crest Golf Course
Location: Dallas, TX
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1927
Architect: A.W. Tillinghast
Green Fee: $43

Virginia
Course: Belmont Golf Course (formerly Hermitage GC)
Location: Richmond, VA
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 1949
Architect: A.W. Tillinghast (redesigned by Donald Ross)
Green Fee: $47

Wisconsin

(Destination Kohler/The American Club)

Course: Whistling Straits (Straits Course)
Location: Haven, WI
Hosted the PGA Championship in: 2004, 2010, 2015 (will host 2020 Ryder Cup)
Architect: Pete Dye
Green Fee: $395

Have you played any of these PGA Championship Courses? Did I leave any out? Please share your comments below.

P.S. – You may recall hearing in the past about Pecan Valley Golf Course in San Antonio, which hosted the 1968 PGA Championship, where Julius Boros became the oldest major champion (his record has not been broken). Sadly, Pecan Valley’s 18-hole course closed a couple years ago, but it has since been repurposed into a residential community with a nine-hole golf course geared toward golfers with physical disabilities called The Valor Club at Pecan Valley.

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70 Comments

  1. Sherry Levin

    August 9, 2011 at 9:07 am

    It may not be as glamorous as Whistling Straits, but here in Wisconsin, the public is always welcome to play at Brown Deer Golf Course. Brown Deer has been home to the PGA’s U.S. Bank Championship (previously Greater Milwaukee Open) and is where Tiger made his pro debut. Owned and operated by Milwaukee County, the course is very playable and a lot more affordable.

  2. Craig Better

    August 9, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Yes, Sherry. We know it well. Brown Deer is sometimes called, “the Bethpage Black of the Midwest.” And just like Bethpage, it was part of FDR’s Works Progress Administration that put thousands of people to work building golf courses during the Great Depression.

  3. Harry

    August 9, 2011 at 9:30 am

    In Tucson, Az you can still play on an older Pro course for less than $40. El Rio off Speedway…tucsoncitygolf.com/elrio.html. Run by the city since 1968.

  4. Craig Better

    August 9, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Yep. Original site of the Tucson Open.

  5. Matt

    August 9, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Just visited the site for the first time and I love all of your advice on where to play. Having a list of the 14 PGA Championship courses you can can play is awesome. What a great list to try to check off. I have decided to try my own little impossible golf quest; the Top 100 courses in America in one year. I know my chances are slim and none, but the journey itself is going to be insane! Any advice or knowledge you can give to a nobody trying to fulfill a dream will be greatly appreciated.

  6. Craig Better

    August 9, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Best of luck, Matt.

  7. Jeff J

    August 9, 2011 at 10:14 am

    And what a shame that Brown Deer Park nearly charges $100 to play for non-residents.

    Not sure what kind of shape that course is in once the GMO left.

  8. Rich

    August 9, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Matt, have a look at the London Golfer’s website. he has played most of the top 100 it seems and must have some good tips for you. If you find a way onto Augusta or Cypress let me know. I’m happy to make up a 4 ball …..

  9. Merri

    August 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Definitely an increase in interest! I love a good love triangle.

  10. Brad

    August 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Matt
    I suggest you shoot for the best 100 Publicly Available courses. These are attainable and still, absolutely spectacular golf. One of the Mags publishes this list. I’ve plotted them all on a map layer I’ve saved in Google Earth and even planned out routes for 6 or 7 driving trips that could get them all.
    Even though it would require a lot of driving, and I haven’t actually taken any of the planned drives, it was a lot of fun just doing the planning.

    Golf Magazine’s most recent list now includes an interactive map showing each of the courses.

    Brad

  11. Bk

    August 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Kiawah Ocean is one of the most beautiful and yet diabolical courses.
    Crazy long, crazy wind and crazy mosquitoes!

  12. steven polevoy

    August 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    hi guys, i live around atlantic city and have often played at the seaview resort, where the bay course is located. i just want you to know that the 1942 pga tournament was played on a combination of the seaview bay course, designed by donald ross, and the seaview pines course, which was designed by william flynn. the bay course is wide open to the bay and is about 6300 yards, while the pines course is a very tight, tree lined 6750 yards. both courses are well worth playing.

  13. Craig Better

    August 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I grew up down there too, Steven, and still get back quite often to visit my parents. You’re absolutely right about Seaview, which is now noted above.
    -Craig

  14. Bruce

    August 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Some of these courses are a great buy, however, the four major courses listed are unbelievably expensive and out of reach of 90% of all golfers.

  15. Bill

    August 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    What about the TPC course in Scottsdale?

  16. Craig Better

    August 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Nice course, but it never hosted the PGA Championship.

  17. Ron Lenneberg

    August 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Live on Long Island and play Eienhower Red often. Nice walking course, always in great shape “A pretty walk in the park”. Course closed on Mondays. Only drawback is your are looking at a typical Metro NY round of about 5 hours and slightly longer on weekends. Rates for non Nassau County residents somewhat higher. Great discount for local seniors ($22. to wlk on weekdays)

  18. Dave Hendler

    August 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    We make a trip annually to stay and play Tanglewood. An unbelievable bargain.

  19. Al

    August 5, 2012 at 6:34 am

    I live near Tanglewood and play the Championship course regularly. Best bargain in NC for a championship course.

  20. Kirk

    August 5, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Craig, thanks for the great list. I can add a few of these to my bucket list. I have a question – how many of the courses that have hosted a PGA have also hosted the Ryder Cup?

  21. Tim Gavrich

    August 5, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Kirk–
    Good question. Here’s the list of Courses that have hosted both. You’ll find Ryder Cup years left of the name and PGA Years to the right (includes future sites):

    1931 – Scioto – 1950
    1947 – Portland GC – 1946
    1951 – Pinehurst No. 2 – 1936
    1975 – Laurel Valley – 1965
    1983 – PGA Nat’l – 1971, 1987
    1991 – Kiawah – 2012
    1995 – Oak Hill – 1980, 2003, 2013
    2004 – Oakland Hills – 1972, 1979, 2008
    2008 – Valhalla – 2000, 2014
    2012 – Medinah – 1999, 2006
    2016 – Hazeltine – 2002, 2009
    2020 – Whistling Straits – 2004, 2010, 2015
    2024 – Bethpage Black – 2019

    Cheers.

    –Tim

  22. Bill

    August 5, 2014 at 7:12 am

    The Oaks in Pass Christian, Ms. is probably one of the best bargains around this area…Located 40 minutes from downtown New Orleans, once hosted the Nike Tour……reasonable rates

  23. Bill

    August 5, 2014 at 7:14 am

    DiamondHead is another Mississippi gem…2 courses to choose, affordable rates

  24. Wilson

    August 5, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Played Shawnee in the Poconos, just walking around clubhouse there are pictures showing the celebrities that have played there. When I played it was an interesting tract, also not expensive. Conditions were good, greens in great shape.

  25. Peter.P

    August 5, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario (Canadian Open) is a Clublink course, but open to public play. Certain days may be a bit more difficult to get tee times, but they’ll generally find a way to get you on.

  26. Richard Green

    August 5, 2014 at 8:05 am

    In New England this should not be missed.

  27. Sandor Juhasz

    August 5, 2014 at 8:16 am

    I played at Pebble Beach at 2009, because I have got from my wife for wedding anniversary this gift. It was very hard, because I get the tee time the afternoon before of the game day, and I need to present personally for purchase. It were a good organization from Europe. Whereas the pleasure is forever. Always is good to remember for the course.

  28. AJ

    August 5, 2014 at 8:32 am

    And not a single one in the civilised world! :-(

  29. Dave Barrell

    August 5, 2014 at 8:54 am

    What about the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, Fla. Guests of the resort can play it and it’s a regular stop on the Tour.

  30. Tim Gavrich

    August 5, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Dave–

    You’re absolutely right, but today’s list is courses that have held the PGA Championship, rather than non-major PGA Tour events.

    –Tim

  31. Doug

    August 5, 2014 at 9:08 am

    What about Bethpage Black in Long Island, New York

  32. Tim Gavrich

    August 5, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Doug–
    Stay tuned! Bethpage hasn’t hosted the PGA or the Ryder Cup yet, but it will soon. The 2019 PGA and 2024 RC will be held there.
    –Tim

  33. Billy

    August 5, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Hi Tim-

    I am not sure if I am overlooking something but looking at your list, you forgot Whistling Straits that will host the Ryder Cup in 2020. Whistling Straits also hosted the PGA in 2004, 2010 and will in 2015.

    Billy

  34. Mark

    August 5, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I live in the Cleveland/Akron area. In 1973 Canterbury Country Cub held the PGA Championship. Canterbury is located just outside Cleveland in the suburb of Beachwood. The club is private so the chances of playing there are not good unless you know a member. Canterbury also held the 1940 and 1946 U.S. Opens.

  35. Tim Gavrich

    August 5, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Billy–
    You’re absolutely right! I will edit my comment to reflect that. Thanks for the catch!
    –Tim

  36. Glen Wilson

    August 5, 2014 at 9:58 am

    TPC Las Vegas – Nevada

    TPC Scottsdale – Arizona – I birdied 15 (par 5) from the pro tees. My greatest accomplishment in golf.

  37. Scott Martin

    August 5, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Tanglewood in Clemmons is a superb course. I haven’t been there in a while. My gut feeling is the course could benefit from a restoration. But even so, it’s a magnificent golf course any country club would love to call their own.

  38. Gus

    August 5, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I’ve played Shawnee. It’s worth playing just for the history of it, but besides that nothing special. Plan on hitting Eisenhower and maybe Seaview this year.

    Btw Craig, our daughters go to school together. I met your wife at my daughters bday and told her that I read this.

  39. Alex Looney

    August 5, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I have played 6 of the 14. I will probably not play the two Midwestern courses because of their locations, nor Kiowa – (who wants to pay $300 to be miserable?)

  40. james ulm

    August 5, 2014 at 11:42 am

    valhalla in louisville

  41. Tom

    August 5, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I played Pecan Valley back in the 1980s while in San Antonio on business. I remember it well, big trees, not so great neighborhood (at the time). Walked and played with a couple of local guys who told me about the course’s history. I’m sad to hear we lost it – afraid out here in California there will be some courses lost over the next decade too as the number of rounds played declines and the value of the land increases for housing or commercial uses. Just looked it up and Julius Boros finished plus 1 to beat Arnie in the 1968 PGA at Pecan Valley – the closest Arnie came to winning the PGA.

  42. Bob Marshall

    August 5, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Peter P.,

    Glen Abbey in Oakville, ON has been sold for development, but will host the Canadian Open for the last time in 2015. It will likely close for good at the end of the 2015 season. The good news is that the “valley holes” (the best part of the course) are in a flood plain and cannot be developed. Rumour has it that it will become a nine-hole course.

  43. Geo

    August 5, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    The French Lick Donald Ross course is a treat. Multiple tees and a surprising amount of undulation, with green complexes that can be treacherous, thnkn you Donald Ross. The resort has a lot for kids and with a casino and spa, fun for the adults. It is truly a hidden gem. You will take a step back in time when you see the resort and it’s sibling the West Baden. They now have soccer golf on the family nine hole course. For the big spender the Pete Dye all day fee is awesome, the course the view the history. You will not be sorry. It has hosted PGA of America tournaments and LPGA events and next year the Senior Encompass event.

  44. Sean Sheppard

    August 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Craig – You can add Harding Park GC in San Francisco to the list now that its been announced as the future site of the 2020 PGA Championship.

    P.S. Love your stuff!

  45. jeff

    August 5, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Don’t forget the senior pga championships have been played at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor MI. and I played there before this years tournament in April for only $60!

  46. Michael

    August 5, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    I’ve played Pebble Beach, Kiawah Island and Bethpage(will host in the next 5 years). All great courses, with beautiful views. My personal fave of the PGA Tour that’s close by is TPC Scottsdale. Usually play that once or twice a year.

  47. Steve P.

    August 6, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I too played Pecan Valley in San Antonio and am sorry to here that it is gone. The one round that I played was with my father as a “guest” (non-golfer) riding in the cart. I played very well that day and the highlight was a 50+ putt for birdie on 18 that he was able to witness.

    He died a couple of years later…this memory will last for my lifetime.

  48. Ed

    August 12, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Cedar Crest in Dallas is a joy! A.W. Tillinghast design with five par 5s and six par 3s. Renovation by D.A. Weibring in 2004. I last played a few years ago (senior rate was $25 w/cart – now $28!). Impeccable conditions at an amazingly low rate. My brother and I played in 2-1/2 hours and had a blast.

    I played Colonial in Ft. Worth the next day. Colonial was a dog track compared to Cedar Crest regarding conditioning. (It was August, Colonial’s worst month – but still Cedar Crest was head and shoulders better).

    Don’t miss Cedar Crest if you get the chance!

  49. Ty McGill

    August 12, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Cedar Crest is still one of the premier public courses to play in the Metroplex. It is well managed and always in excellent shape. It is where my Dad taught me how to play this great game. I will always remember the best round I ever played was on this PGA course. One of the best kept secrets in Dallas. Dad is gone now, but every time I play here I have wonderful memories of him.

  50. Bob Pegram

    August 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Some of these courses have also hosted other major championships, the most recent being Pinehurst No. 2 for this year’s U.S. Open.

  51. Bill Winser

    August 24, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Wouldn’t it be great if the PGA played only courses that were available to the public. Watching play on courses you have played is a lot more interesting to my mind

  52. Tom

    March 23, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Tanglewood is a really great course for $35. Super. The Ocean Course is a fantastic gem with unmatched ocean views and challenge especially when the ever present ocean breeze decides to make this challenge even more so. Still waiting to play Pinehurst #2. I’m sure I will as I only live a short hours drive. Cheers !!

  53. Charlie King

    July 3, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Ditto about Tanglewood Championship course (where my SO Mary O’Connor got her first eagle last year)but also its sister 18-hole course (where 5 years ago she got her first birdie) outstanding courses, outstanding value

  54. Paul

    August 16, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    I live near Lima Ohio and by far the 2 best public courses to play around here are Colonial and Hawthorne Hills. If you get around here please give them a try.

  55. Slammin Steve

    April 11, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Interesting about the Brown Deer. There’s also a course in the Florida Panhandle called Marianna Caves – also a depression era WPA project. Supposed to be one of the first courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. All told, it’s a fun 9-holer.

    Is there any place to get a list of WPA built courses?

  56. Jim williams

    May 7, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Unfortunately, Tanglewood is in very poor condition, with the bunkers as bad as any in the area.

  57. Rick Knowles

    July 29, 2016 at 7:11 am

    The Donald Ross course at the Frenchlick Resort in Indiana is excellent. The Resort also offers a Pete Dye course the Senior PGA was held recently.

  58. Bill McCleery

    July 29, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I live in Illinois and I believe Kemper Lakes, near Chicago, host to the 1989 PGA Championship is public course.

  59. Dave

    July 29, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Played Hershey CC (west) over 30 years ago and it was awesome…challenging, but fair, in a great setting. One of my all-time favorites in PA.

  60. Dave W

    July 30, 2016 at 11:36 am

    When I worked at the Dallas VA hospital, one of the courses our employee golf league played was Cedar Crest. I was told that in ’27 it was “out in the country,” but now is surrounded by homes and well inside the city limits. On the back of the scorecard there was a blurb about CC hosting the 1927 PGA. I looked it up; it was “The Haig,” Walter Hagen, who won the 1927 PGA at CC. I agree with the other comments about it here; it was always surprisingly well kept.

  61. don

    August 2, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Kemper Lakes in suburban Chicago did host the PGA championship in 1989 (won by Payne Stewart). However, it went private a few years ago.

  62. John O

    August 2, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    The Belmont Course in Richmond Va. site of the 1949 PGA has been shortened since 1949. That tournament was won by Sam Snead. He was quoted many years later as remembering all of the holes.

  63. Don Cwiklowski

    August 8, 2017 at 9:36 am

    The French Lick Ross course is awesome. The old master course architects are still the best.
    It’s a shame that more of the PGA Championship courses aren’t available to the public. #growthegame

  64. Ken R

    August 8, 2017 at 10:45 am

    How ’bout Kemper Lakes in Hawthorne Woods, IL. north of Chicago ? I thought it was public?

  65. Bob D

    August 8, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Have played the Red Course at Eisenhower a number of times, and really enjoy the layout. 5 hours to play is on the liw side – 6 hour rounds not unusual. You can wait almost an hour on the second tee.
    Grew up playin the Black at Bethpage well before they made it world class venue for the 2002 US Open. Played it a dozen times since then, and it is a beautiful and extremely difficult course – long, hilly, narrow fairways and deep, thick rough. Walkers only, but they do have caddies. if you have the chance, play it!

  66. Ron

    August 8, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    The last time I played pebble beach the green fee was $525, not $495.

  67. Chuck

    August 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Matt,you stole my bucket list. At least it was my bucket list until I figured out it would take over a year and cost over 100K. I may have downgrade to top 50.

  68. Rick

    August 8, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Fiestone in Akron may be a public course? Expect to pay around $300.00

  69. JOEL GOODMAN

    August 9, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    I’VE PLAYED SEVERAL INCLUDING PEBBLE, PINEHURST, BETHPAGE ETC BUT THE COST TO PLAY MOST ISS OUT OF EVERYONE’S POCKET EXCEPT THE REALLY WELL OFF OR GUYS LIKE ME THAT TOOK CUSTOMERS FOR “BUSINESS MEETINGS”

  70. JOEL GOODMAN

    August 11, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    matt, to play the top 100 in one year you need about a million bucks, lots of well connected pals, a Net Jets account and a fabulous physical endurance.

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