There were plenty of passionate reactions to the “Ultimate Cart Chart” I published a few days ago.
Some of you appreciated me clarifying which top courses in the UK and Ireland offer “buggies” or at least have one available if you have a physical need.
But a number of you wanted to know the reverse/opposite; summarized by this comment from J. Dilks:
“How about a similar list of the top destinations in the U.S. and Canada that will allow, or even better, encourage walking?”
A very good question, JD, and we can even up the ante with courses that are “walking only.”
I think we all know a few, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a comprehensive list.
So here it is (or at least the beginnings of one): top public golf courses and resorts in North America where walking is mandatory (except with a medical note) or highly encouraged:
Walking-Only Golf Courses
Erin Hills Golf Course (Wisconsin)
While ownership has changed since landing the 2017 U.S. Open, the cart policy has remained exactly the same: motorized carts are not allowed — and get this — pull/push carts aren’t, either. Your only option is to carry your bag or hire a caddie to do it for you.
Bandon Dunes Resort (Oregon)
Bandon Dunes promises, “Golf as it Was Meant to Be,” and its walking-only policy is a big part of the experience. You can use a pull-cart or carry your bag, but I’d recommend using one of the highly capable caddies.
Ballyneal Golf Club (Colorado)
Technically private, this Tom Doak-designed beauty in Colorado’s northeastern “chop hills” allows,”limited outside play including Stay & Play specials for certain dates,” but it doesn’t allow carts.
Bethpage Black Golf Course (New York)
Unlike the other courses at Bethpage State Park, the Black Course is walking only, but I wouldn’t advise carrying your own bag through this torture test. Instead, hire a caddie or rent a pull-cart for $5.
Chambers Bay Golf Course (Washington)
Chambers Bay may not yet rival Bethpage Black, but the two have a lot in common: it’s a muni, it’s a U.S Open site (2015), and it’s walking only. One area that Chambers Bay beats Bethpage? Its pull carts are included in the price.
Whistling Straits, Straits Course (Wisconsin)
This major championship site promotes walking in a major way: prior to twilight, you’re required to walk with a caddie. After twilight, you can carry your own bag or rent a pull cart for $13.
Cabot Links (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Bandon Dunes owner Mike Keiser is involved in this top-shelf project, too (which has a second course in the works), so it’s no surprise Cabot Links is also a pure, “walking only” facility. Caddies and pull carts are available.
Walking Encouraged or Walking Friendly Golf Courses
There’s a difference between courses that “allow walking” and those that actively encourage it. The below courses fall into the latter category:
We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Saguaro Course (Arizona)
This Coore/Crenshaw course was “built for walking” and makes Sun Mountain Speed Carts available for those who want to do so.
Kiawah Island Resort, Ocean Course (South Carolina)
This major championship site is delightfully walking-only before noon.
The Dormie Club (North Carolina)
Now allows carts, but leans toward its walking-only roots.
Madden’s on Gull Lake (Minnesota)
I didn’t see anyone walking on my last visit, but this year it established the “2013 Walking Initiative” for all of its 63 holes.
The Prairie Club (Nebraska)
Similar to Dormie Club: now allows carts but established as walking only.
Harbour Town Golf Links (South Carolina)
Encourages walking by restricting carts to paths year round.
Pebble Beach Golf Links (California)
Same here; plus Pebble is known for its highly capable caddie corps.
Willingers Golf Club (Minnesota)
One of the top values in the U.S.A is also walker-friendly.
May River Golf Club (South Carolina)
Jack Nicklaus signature course accessible to guests of the Inn at Palmetto Bluff.
Treetops Resort, Tradition Course (Michigan)
Designed as a walking course. Carts now allowed, but still no cart paths.
Common Ground Golf Course (Colorado)
Tom Doak/Jim Urbina redo where caddies are included in the walking rate.
Streamsong Resort, Blue and Red Courses (Florida)
Tom Doak (Blue) and Coore/Crenshaw (Red) layouts were designed and built to be walked.
Pinehurst Resort, Courses 1-8 (North Carolina)
“Our belief is the caddie has the greatest impact on the golf experience.”
What do you think of my list? Do you know of other publicly accessible courses that are “walking only” or those that actively encourage it?
Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.