#GolfCrusade 50 Best Values Under $150
Updated: Sep 3
Golf.com recently (August 2021) put out their list of their ‘Best Value’ courses. The criteria they set was that the course had to be accessible to the public (full-time) and the max green fee had to be under $150. Many a previous list by a number of publications would have included their best/favorite 100 under $100 or 50 under $50. Pick your favorite price range and run with it!
As we approach our 500th course played, we decided we would rank our favorite 50 under $150. While the large majority of the list is under $100, we liked the flexibility to throw in a few courses in that might be over a C-note if you don't mind splurging while on vacation.
After all, sometimes you just have to treat yourself!
Three things to note about our list - keeping in mind before we get too far along that these are only from the courses we have played first-hand, as in ourselves. 500 courses covers a lot of ground, but if you're new here, we aren't professional golfers and don't get paid to do this. If we haven't played it, or it doesn't meet the below criteria, it doesn't make the list!
That said, here we go...
First, it is totally our opinion. Restating it again just for good measure. If you value it – you’ll find some great golf values. If not, we’re not going to ban you from the site. It’s just for fun! If you get angry about it, you should probably go play golf right now, because you need to relax!
Second, whether you have followed our site for a while or it is your first visit, you can take a look at our interactive courses played map and easily see that most of the damage we’ve done is east of the Mississippi River. Therefore, we’ve kept this list within the same regional footprint. We'll hope to cover more of the rest of the country over the next 500 courses!
Lastly, here are the guidelines we used when selecting the courses and ranking the list…
The word "value" as a noun is defined as: the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
We stuck to the same max green fee of $150 that Golf.com used. That was the primary factor in selecting our list of 50 courses.
However, you will often find a way on these courses for less (sometimes far less). We absolutely took that into consideration when it came time to create an order for the ‘ranking’.
We also feel like these lists are nearly impossible to ‘rank’ top to bottom. While we tried our best to rank them from 50 down to 1, we really saw three defined groupings if courses emerge:
(Really) Good (courses ‘ranked’ 50 down to 31)
(Even) Better (courses 30-11)
(Best of the) Best (Top 10)
Since most of these lists start with the top-ranked course and spoil all the fun, we are going to make you earn it and read all the way through to find our Best of the Best Values.
Without further ado, FORE PLEASE…
(REALLY) GOOD VALUE
50. Hickory Knob State Park | McCormick, SC | Tom Jackson | $40 Never paid more than $25 to play it. Never felt more like we were stealing. Lake brings in memorable shot values and conditions play way above the price tag. (BMAC)
49. Crispin Course at Oglebay Resort | Wheeling, WV | Robert Biery | $33 A surprise to some that may know that Oglebay possesses Arnold Palmer & RTJ designed courses, but the Crispin is the best value on the lot, usually for just $25. (Dooner)
48. Mount Mitchell | Burnsville, NC | Fred Hawtree | $65 Course sits at the foot of its namesake - the highest point east of Mississippi River. Play early enough in the year and you might capture snow on the summit in the backdrops. (Dooner)
47. College Course at Delhi | Delhi, NY | $49 Very hidden gem nestled in Catskills somewhere between Binghamton and Cooperstown. Surprisingly excellent design for such a remote area with tremendous long views. (Dooner)
46. Maggie Valley Resort | Maggie Valley, NC | William Prevost, Sr. | $89 Resort course with player friendly front nine featuring massive greens eases you in before the mountainous backside playing up the slopes. Great conditions! (Both)
45. Farmstead | Calabash, NC | Willard Byrd/David Johnson | $74 Linksy and architecturally pleasing! Possess two things rarely accomplished or seen on a golf course: Play in two states at once and experience a 747-yard par-6 finisher. (Dooner)
44. Mountain Glen | Newland, NC | George Cobb | $60 George Cobb charmer at 3600', usually for less than $50. If you didn't know it was Cobb, you'd swear it was Ross. Best full-length public course in golf rich Linville, NC area. (Dooner)
43. Island Pointe (FKA River Islands) | Kodak, TN | Arthur Hills | $53 Unique Arthur Hills design plays on both sides (and on the islands in between) the French Broad River. (Dooner)
42. Great Oaks | Floyd, VA | Gene Hamm | $45 Semi-private diamond in the Blue Ridge that (rumor has it) must limit the number of members from nearby Roanoke due to its popularity. (Dooner)
41. The Rock | Pickens, SC | $45 Remote but therapeutic setting in Upstate SC. Uber value here for the rate with super cool waterfall adjacent the 17th tee box! (Dooner)
40. Cleghorn | Rutherfordton, NC | George Cobb | $52 Cobb delivered another exciting routing filled with memorable shots over lakes, creeks, boulders and bridges. (Dooner)
39. Lonesome Pine | Big Stone Gap, VA | John LaFoy | $35 Set in one of the most beautiful valleys of Appalachia, this place is best enjoyed at dawn as the sun burns off the morning fog layer. Land movement lover’s dream course. (Dooner)
38. Tega Cay | Tega Cay, SC | W.B. Lewis & Clifton, Ezell & Clifton | $68 Mountain golf in metro Charlotte! Carolina Pines & Grande View 9s worth the short drive to the SC side of town. (Dooner)
37. Gatlinburg | Pigeon Forge, TN | William Langford (& Bob Cupp) | $65 William Langford designed this misnamed muni course at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. $65 gets you on the best roller coaster ride in town (Dollywood theme park is next door too!)
36. Charleston National | Mt. Pleasant, SC | Rees Jones | $78 Bring some courage and some balls (literally and figuratively) to handle the forced carries. Hit a good one and you’ll come back for more! (BMAC)
35. Old Union | Blairsville, GA | Dennis Griffiths | $45 A poor man’s Dormie Club that only charges $45. Punches way above its price tag in fun and intrigue. (Dooner)
34. Jefferson Landing | West Jefferson, NC | Larry Nelson/Kris Spence | $130 They don't advertise the public price a lot, but only because they don't want (or need) a lot of play on it. The $130 non-accompanied/non-guest rate includes the 4-hole short course, stacked sod bunkers and 5-star conditions! (Dooner)
33. Rock Harbor (Boulder Course) | Winchester, VA | $73 If 'The Predator' fantasy course from the old Tiger Woods PlayStation games was real, this would be it! Blasted out of an active granite quarry & loads of fun at this non-traditional northern VA gem. Some list the older ‘Rock’ Course as the better destination – but if you only have time for one, play this one! (Dooner)
32. Rutgers Golf Course | Piscataway, NJ | Hal Purdy | $69 Charming parkland layout at 'The Birthplace of College Football' designed by Hal Purdy. Hard to find better conditions for the price in Jersey. Play on a fall Saturday & you'll likely hear the visiting team’s fans cheering as they score on the Scarlet Knights. (Dooner)
31. Preston Country Club | Kingwood, WV | Ed Ault | $45 George Washington once owned the land along the Cheat River this course is built upon. Flat by WV standards, but full of fun & diverse hazardry. Yep, just made up a new golf word. Love it! (Dooner)
(EVEN) BETTER VALUE
30. Patriot’s Point | Mt. Pleasant, SC | Willard Byrd/Annika Sorenstam | $85 A recent tree removal program really opened up the views of EVERYTHING on this accessible and versatile Lowcountry gem. (BMAC)
29. Lake Presidential | Upper Marlboro, MD | Landmark Land Co. | $105 LP was the hardest course to rank on our list. Based on what it was when we played it, it's Top 5. Based on some pics over past few years, it's not on the list. Since Troon recently took over, we'll throw it in the middle and trust it comes back to life. (Dooner)
28. The Shawnee Inn | Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA | A.W. Tillinghast | $50 Site of A.W. Tillinghast's first design and host of the 1938 PGA Championship. 24 of 27 holes play on an island in middle of Delaware River just north of the Water Gap. (Dooner)
27. Lake Jovita (North Course) | Dade City, FL | Kurt Sandness | $60 A property so nice they built on it twice! North a great course if still just a notch below its older sibling (spoiler alert!). (BMAC)
26. Heritage Club | Pawley’s Island, SC | Dan Maples/Larry Young | $95 Maples may have top billing, but the guy who built the two courses next door had a pretty big hand in reshaping this classy lower Grand Strand beauty (yes, we are talking about Mike Strantz). (BMAC)
25. Links at Hiawatha Landing | Apalachin, NY | Brian Silva/Mark Mungeam | $68 Just go visit their website and view all the ‘award lists’ it’s been named to. If traversing the Southern Tier Expressway in Upstate NY (I-86), find a way to exit and hang out for a few hours. (BMAC)
24. RiverTowne | Mt. Pleasant, SC | Arnold Palmer | $99 It’s Good to be The King! Palmer thrills with this design, winding in, around and over marshes with spectacular bunkering to accent a dramatic property. (BMAC)
23. Charleston Municipal | James Island, SC | Troy Miller | $80 Step back into the Golden Age of golf architecture! Troy Miller completely reworked every inch of this old beater and now sits as the new must-play attraction in the Charleston area. If we rework this list in a few years, ‘Muni’ will be Top 10. (BMAC)
22. Sky Valley | Sky Valley, GA | Bill Bergin | $94 Highest course above sea level in Georgia tucked just below the NC state line. Short drive from Cashiers-Highlands (NC) to find a great public course under $100. (Dooner)
21. Knight’s Play Golf Center | Apex, NC | David Postlewaite | $27 A LEGIT 27-hole par 3 course w concrete cart paths and lights? When in Raleigh, get here!! (Both)
20. (Eagle Ridge at) Yatesville Lake State Park | Louisa, KY | Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest | $40 Kentucky State Park course at Yatesville Lake in eastern coal country. Hard to get to, hard to play, easy to love! And how often do you get to hit tee shots like this... (Dooner)
19. Olde Beau | Roaring Gap, NC | Billy Satterfield | $62 Some of best views on a public golf course east of the Rockies. Play it and name one better? (Dooner)
18. Tanglewood Park (Championship) | Clemmons, NC | Robert Trent Jones | $59 Freshly updated PGA Championship venue designed by RTJ, conquered by Lee Trevino, yours for under $60. Also check out the Reynolds Course (and par 3) on-site. (Dooner)
17. Pete Dye River Course at Virginia Tech | Radford, VA | Pete Dye | $59 Replace the Atlantic Ocean with the New River and you perhaps the closest relative of the Ocean Course at Kiawah Pete Dye ever designed - only though for about 1/8 the price. Great walk for only $45! (Both)
16. The Schoolhouse Nine | Sperryville, VA | Michael McCartin | $25 9 hole par 3 loop, wildly contoured greens, real architectural value you can play all day for $25 and still enjoy a beer in the pub and games in arcade between rounds? Every city over 50K people should have one of these. (Dooner)
15. Neshanic Valley | Neshanic Station, NJ | Dr. Michael Hurdzan/Dana Fry | $85 Wide open Mike Hurdzan county course voted near top of nearly all public best in state lists for NJ. (Dooner)
14. Berkshire Valley | Oak Ridge, NJ | Roger Rulewich | $77 Neshanic gets more press, but this North Jersey hill country marvel is where the real value lies. First 4-5 holes play in straight line cut into hill side high above the rest of the linksy layout, typically available for much less than the rack rate. (Dooner)
13. Mill Creek | Churchville, NY | Paul Albanese & Ray Hearn | $50 Options galore and Pete Dye DNA (Paul Albanese) abound at this frolicking links gem in sneaky good golf town of Rochester NY. Split fairways, double greens, massive bunkers & options await! (Both)
12. Rolling Oaks at World Woods Resort | Brookville, FL | Tom Fazio | $145 Much like its sibling in excellence yet far from it in design style. Same discounts apply that get you on Pine Barrens for half a Hundy in summer (spoiler alert). (BMAC)
11. Graysburg Hills | Chuckey, TN | Rees Jones & Larry Packard | $48 for 27 holes Rees Jones first signature design is also the @golfbarns capital of Appalachia! Unlimited weekend (daily) play for just $55 in peak season, only $35 in the off-season. (Dooner)
(BEST OF THE) BEST VALUE
10. Lake Jovita (South Course) | Dade City, FL | Kurt Sandness/Tom Lehman | $60 Not your typical Florida course...elevation creates beauty and trouble. Twenty minutes from Tampa and sixty from Orlando make price tag so digestible! (BMAC)
9. Olde Mill Resort | Laurel Fork, VA | Ellis Maples | $79 Budget friendly stay & play alternative to nearby Primland Resort. Blue Ridge Parkway takes you there too, bring your camera for the 10th tee - arguably most feared hole in a state for lovers. (Dooner)
8. Old Toccoa Farm | Mineral Bluff, GA | Bunker Hill Golf | $95 A course not for the faint-hearted, but those brave enough to tangle with OTF come away with a mountain of memories. (Dooner)
7. The Arnold Palmer Course at Stonewall Resort | Roanoke, WV | $125 Arnold Palmer's wild & wonderful mountain masterpiece. Each hole has a special reveal, typically unseen before you step on each tee. One of pricier courses on the list but worth every penny! (Dooner)
6. Tot Hill Farm | Asheboro, NC | Mike Strantz | $54 May not be the marvel it once was, but another Strantz thrill ride for under $55 that was once among 10 hardest courses in America according to Golf Digest. (Both)
5. The Links at Greystone | Walworth, NY | Craig Schreiner | $68 The first course that left me in awe. Big elevation change for Upstate NY and the huge stonework leaves a mark...hopefully in your mind and not on your golf ball. (BMAC)
4. Plantation Preserve | Plantation, FL | Michael Smelek | $115 It's like Sawgrass with a hint of pot bunker, at about a fifth of the price. (BMAC)
3. The Cradle at Pinehurst Resort | Pinehurst, NC | Gil Hanse | $50 The most fun you can have on a golf course, from a legal standpoint. Beautiful layout, perfect conditions, music and possibly some booze make this a must play. $50 for a 9-hole par-3 might seem steep on the surface for ‘value’, but its good for all day play and comes away as a steal afterward. (Both)
2. Pine Barrens at World Woods Resort | Tom Fazio | $145 Still my favorite course after 20+yrs. Waste areas, forced carries and sweeping Florida hills make this a special place. Right now they’re only charging $50 to play it. If you can stand the heat, get in the kitchen! (BMAC)
And the best value under $150 we feel we've ever played is...
1. Royal New Kent | Providence Forge, VA | Mike Strantz | $95 If you told us that you had $100 to spend on golf and needed a place to play, this is where we’d send you! For your Benjamin, you get 7500 yards of Mike Strantz designed Irish Links madness and still have enough left for a Guinness in Strantz Pub after your round. RNK allows you to ‘Golf Ireland in Virginia’ and might just be Strantz’s most complete championship test. List of accolades are only going to continue to grow. (Both)
Well, there you have it! There are some gems out there we desperately want to get to (Sweetens Cove comes to mind), as well as others we’ve played that have received the kind of facelift for which this list was built (Southern Pines in NC and Belmont in VA qualify here!).
If there are others out there we (or others) should hit, leave a note in the comments or drop us a note using the form on the bottom of the page.
We hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed putting it together!
Dooner & BMAC The Golf Crusade