There’s something about discovering and playing a heretofore unknown golf course that turns out to be very special. Maybe it’s in an out of the way, remote location, that requires a significant investment of time and cost to reach. Possibly, it’s in your back yard, but just a bit out of your usual tolerance to make a drive to play golf. Or, it might be a “locals” course in a heavy resort area that provides a great layout at a reasonable price. Whatever the reason, hidden gems are special finds, here’s a few of our hidden gem golf courses, please share yours below:
Pine Dunes is southwest of Tyler, Texas near Lake Palestine, and is an Augusta/Pine Valley golf course experience. You can make the 2 hour drive out from Dallas to play for a day, or reward yourself with a stay on site in one of the course’s villas or condos. The layout was updated and redesigned by David Frost and Jay and Carter Morrish, and plays to 7,117 yards, 131 slope from the back tees, and is routed through stands of mature pines with open fairways, similar to Augusta, or island fairways surrounded by sand, reminiscent of Pine Valley. Very secluded setting, interesting hole layout and variety, and decent rates for this quality and uniqueness of a golf course.
Talk about an investment of time and money to find, Askernish Golf Club, or the “ghost course” is out in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides on the island of South Uist, 7 km northwest of Lochboisdale. It’s about a 6 hour drive over one-lane roads and a ferry ride from Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. It’s one of the finest, most original, and least played, natural links golf courses in the world. It’s an Old Tom Morris original from the late 1800′s, that went dormant, and was recently recovered and re-opened by the local townspeople. It’s a short course over rolling links-land covered in marram grass, postage stamp greens, wide open and ranging with spectacular views of the Atlantic coastline and neighboring Isle of Barra. While it’s maintained without much in the way of maintenance or chemicals, and is a little rough and grown over, it’s a special treat to play a 120 year old golf course that hasn’t been tinkered with over the years.
Northwood Golf Club is a 9 holer designed by Alister MacKenzie in 1931 located in the Russian River area close to Bohemian Grove, 30 minutes from Santa Rosa, almost two hours from San Francisco. McKenzie designed the course between assignments to build Cypress Point and Augusta National, and it was originally a private men’s club course, but is now open to the public. It’s fairly short at 5786 yards, 114 slope from the back tees, and a 67.8 course rating, but tight and tree lined through the giant redwoods. It’s a pleasure to play in a peaceful environment, even though it’s along busy Hwy 116, and I’ll wager you can’t get around without encountering a barkie!
Lawsonia Golf Links just west of Oshkosh, Wisconsin has two 18 hole layouts, but the initial course here, the Links is the one to play. It was designed by William Langford and Theodore Moreau in the 1930′s on a former estate of the Chicago Daily News founders. It’s really a purists’ links design which mimics the British links courses with wide open and hard, mounded and contoured fairways and greens, and virtually without trees. Wind comes into play due to greens’ exposure and the open nature of the land. The routing has a number of fairway and greenside bunkers-90 in total, but the greens are open in front to allow the bump and run shot. Overall the course has five par threes, five par fives, and eight par fours.
The Hideout The Hideout is in Monticello, in the far southeastern part of Utah, an hour south of Moab, and just west of the Colorado line on Route 191. You’ll find it hard to believe a course of this quality is located in the remote part of the country, beautiful scenery, excellent golf course, well conditioned, and never crowded. The course is routed along the foothills of the Blue mountains and is at an elevation of 7000 feet. There’s stunning views of the Abajo mountains and vistas all the way to Durango, Colo. The fairways are mostly tree lined with Pinyon pine, aspen and cottonwood trees, and has plenty of elevation change.
Whitepath Golf Club is up in the Chattahoochee National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. It’s located just 90 miles north of Atlanta and 75 miles from Chattanooga, between Ellijay and Blue Ridge, GA. It’s a mountain style of layout, carved through the trees with great views and major elevation change. While the course conditions have suffered in recent years, as most courses have been experiencing less play, it’s still a treat to find and play, with greens fees very reasonable.
Let us know your favorite hidden gems in the comment section below. Don’t fear, this blog doesn’t get enough traffic to overrun your gem with golfers!