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GOLF PASS AWARDS 2023 ARTICLE: Golfers' Choice 2023: Top 25 Golf Course Layouts

Superior golf course design means a superior experience, period. These courses spoke strongly to our community of reviewers in 2022.


Golf course architecture has never been a bigger talking point than today.

Social media has caused an explosion of interest in the topic. Everybody thinks they're an expert about what makes a good golf hole or a superlative layout.

Our community of reviewers have shared their opinions with their reviews. These 25 courses were consistently rated highly for the quality of their layouts during reviews in 2022. Courses had to offer some public access and at least 10 reviews to be eligible for this list.

  1. Speidel Golf Club at Oglebay Resort - Palmer Course
    Wheeling, W.V.What they're saying: "The Palmer course remains one of my favorites in the tri-state area. The course has a unique layout with five par 5s and 5 par 3s. It is a challenging but fun course to play." - u314163561325
  2. Gladstone Golf Course
    Gladstone, Mich.What they're saying: "Very scenic course. Whenever we are in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula), we try to play at Gladstone. Love the course and the staff there is great!" - Chuck9679433
  3. Pole Creek Golf Club
    Tabernash, Colo.What they're saying: "Hands down the best course I have ever played on. It offers incredible hole designs, with great conditions. The views are amazing as well. This competes with several top 50-ranked U.S. courses I have played and been on." - jwren4
  4. Westbrook Village Golf Club - Lakes Course
    Peoria, Ariz.What they're saying: "What a beautiful track! Some really challenging fairways (where) you don't know what's ahead. You'd better hop (ahead to) have a look! We really enjoyed the round and even though the overall distance is less than what we usually play, it was simply a matter of stepping back to the next tee box. We will play again." - bevcollierpgbc
  5. Chariot Run Golf Club
    Laconia, Ind.What they're saying: "Very nice course! Course was in good condition. Large friendly greens. Several holes had challenging blind shots off the tee box. The GPS system on the carts was very helpful." - RGAE11CBF401D0AD1EC1
  6. Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club
    Wickenburg, Ariz.What they're saying: "I play a lot of golf courses. From Elephant Rocks to Rancho Manana and Quintero. Big Wick is just the best experience every time. The course, the views, the amenities, and the staff are 5 star. I will be back." - cris9083352
  7. The Highlands Golf Club at Fisher Mountain
    Highlands, W.V.What they're saying: "Blown away by the value for the money at this course. Really nice playable layout with great views and super tricky undulated greens a good test for any player. It is a bit of a drive but I am looking forward to making the trip again soon." - indyclay01
  8. The Grand Bear Golf CourseAerial view of the 17th hole at Grand Bear Golf Course
    Saucier, Miss.What they're saying: "This course is remarkable in many ways. The greens were in perfect condition. The course layout is unique and challenging. Jack Nicklaus was a genius in the design of this course. If you do not set up your approach shot in the optimal position, then you will have to deal with many challenges. I played from the Golden Bear tees which is 6,700+ yards, yet the course played longer. You do not get much roll on tee shots. It's a honor and pleasure to play this course." - scottsiler
  9. Wildwood Golf Course
    Village Mills, TexasWhat they're saying: "This course is setup as a player’s course from the blue and black tee boxes. It will challenge you to work the ball. Great shape for the current drought and a diamond for east Texas. Staff is friendly and never saw any golfers after we left the first hole all the way to 18. Would highly recommend." - Jody5081570
  10. Edgewood Golf Club
    Auburn, Ill.What they're saying: "Great course, fast and smooth greens. Very enjoyable course to play." - Tom9871201
  11. Bass Lake Golf Course
    Deerbrook, Wisc.What they're saying: "The scenery is second to none and the course is always in great condition. The staff is friendly and courteous." - Jon2919604
  12. Blackthorn Golf Club
    South Bend, Ind.What they're saying: "Amazing course, layout is awesome! Practice area is awesome." - ckfritz2010
  13. Links at Perry CabinThe island green at the 17th hole on the Links at Perry Cabin is the final island green built by Pete Dye.Links at Perry Cabin
    Saint Michaels, Mary.What they're saying: "The Links at Perry Cabin is not just a round of golf, but an experience! The holes and layout are all unique and fun to play. A few holes can look challenging, but they are all very playable for all handicap levels" - Golffman
  14. Hawk's Eye at Shanty Creek
    Bellaire, Mich.What they're saying: "This course is eye popping from the very first tee. Amazing layout, challenging and excellent conditions make this one of the top courses in Michigan and clearly the top course at Shanty Creek!" - u924676769
  15. La Purisima Golf Course
    Lompoc, Cali.What they're saying: "La Purisima is a beautiful challenging layout. A golfer needs to think and execute nearly every shot. Many bunkers, that are well maintained, protect the holes as well as coastal Oaks. The views of the surrounding areas are stunningly beautiful. The staff is friendly and welcoming. There is also a beautiful clubhouse and restaurant."- Sammy1953
  16. Annbriar Golf Course
    Waterloo, Ill.What they're saying: "Annbriar is unsurpassed in the St. Louis metro area as far as course design, course conditions, value of the course you are playing and being service oriented and friendly." - lcbgolf
  17. Bella Vista Golf Course
    Coldwater, Mich.What they're saying: "I just looked up golf course while driving on I-69 south in southern Michigan. I saw the track was close so I got a tee time and played. I have to say this was a great course. It was in great shape, the food was wonderful, the staff was happy to see me. Best greens I have been on all year by far. I will definitely find time to drive up and play again. Well done." - rstar00
  18. The Natural at Beaver Creek Resort
    Gaylord, Mich.What they're saying: "This was a beautiful course, very well-maintained. Very forgiving fairways with trees on both sides, but you need to hit a straight ball or you would always be in the woods. Beautiful clubhouse, with a menu of dogs and hamburgers.. Will definitely return to this course again." - u398505877
  19. Tribute Golf Course at Otsego Golf ClubThe fourth hole on the Tribute golf course at Otsego Club is a 556-yard par 5 from the tips.Mike Bailey/GolfPass
    Gaylord, Mich.What they're saying: "First time playing Tribute. Course fairways in excellent condition. Pleasantly surprised by the width of the fairways. Sand traps on some of the holes could use better sand. Loved the elevation changes!!! Loved the length of the course. Would definitely play this course again!!" - Rycos
  20. Eagle Creek Golf Course
    Findlay, Ill.What they're saying: "Eagle Creek is the most challenging track in central Illinois. Look past the occasional rough spot and you'll find all you can handle in challenge and shotmaking. Bring extra balls because a wayward shot will be eaten by any number of dangers.......and the views? Best around. Would be a $100+ course if the greens were a bit faster, but then putting would be an even more difficult experience. Awesome ...Awesome!!!" - tomgreenwood
  21. Southern Hills Golf Course
    Hastings, Neb.What they're saying: "Came out with my wife and her parents while in town visiting. My favorite course while in Nebraska visiting from Georgia. Plan to play every time we visit and would highly recommend to anyone that appreciates a beautiful and challenging course." - u6629595
  22. Forest Ridge Golf Club
    Broken Arrow, Okla.What they're saying: "The ratings of this place speak for themselves. Course in good shape for time of year. Not a driver-wedge course. I always enjoy playing here!" - u000005212023
  23. Timber Ridge Golf Club
    East Lansing, Mich.What they're saying: "Greens are large, undulating, and somewhat quick but not super fast. Nice layout with all four par 3's scenic and challenging. Fair amount of elevation changes. Fairways are forgiving even though most are cut through the woods. One of the best courses in the Lansing area. Highly recommend." - Thomasmcrae
  24. Slammer and Squire Golf Course at World Golf Village
    St. Augustine, Fla.What they're saying: "While it may not have the name cachet of its sister course, King & Bear, Slammer & Squire is the more compelling of the two courses at World Golf Village, in my estimation. Especially through recent renovation work, architect Bobby Weed massaged interesting strategy, eye-catching bunkering and fun green contours - including several that fall away from the line of play - into an otherwise fairly standard resort routing. The variety in the greens means that it would be worthwhile to play this course multiple times during an extended visit." - TimGavrichGP
  25. Bear Trace at Harrison Bay State Park
    Harrison, Tenn.What they're saying: "This was our 1st time playing this course and even though it was a little damp and some the fairways were soggy the greens were outstanding! Nothing like playing golf and seeing deer that walk within 50 feet of you. Beautiful place!" - buck3y3b0y47