1 of 10No. 9 at Dancing Rabbit (Azaleas) / Russell Kirk
10. Dancing Rabbit (Azaleas) [No. 32], Choctaw, Miss.; $60-$130, dancingrabbitgolf.comSituated 70 miles northeast of Jackson on remote Choctaw tribal land, this 1997 Tom Fazio/Jerry Pate collaboration zigzags through thick forest, its journey spiced with a smattering of creeks, wetlands, and memorably in springtime, azaleas. In early to mid-April, Dancing Rabbit is a riot of color. The rest of the year, it’s merely a superb bargain.
2 of 10No. 2 at Bulle Rock / Courtesy of Bulle Rock
9. Bulle Rock [No. 48], Havre de Grace, Md.; $79-$130, bullerockgolf.comFive times the venue for the LPGA Championship, this beautiful brute from Pete Dye situated 40 minutes north of Baltimore unfolds over rolling, tree-lined terrain for 7,375 yards and enjoys several grin-inducing vistas of Chesapeake Bay. Rates include cart and unlimited use of the range and short game area.
3 of 10No. 3 at Forest Dunes Golf Club / Larry Lambrecht
8. Forest Dunes Golf Club [No. 21], Roscommon, Mich.; $69-$149, forestdunesgolf.comWhile its top rates are not inexpensive, the value at Forest Dunes dominates, thanks to an inspired Tom Weiskopf design three hours northwest of Detroit that rolls through man-made sand dunes and red pine forests, aided by firm, fast, rumpled fairways and superior greens. Monday to Wednesday, you’ll pay $119 and it’s only $69 during early May and October.
4 of 10via @GCRRaft on Twitter
7. Lakota Canyon Ranch & Golf Club [No. 90], New Castle, Colo.; $99, lakotacanyonranch.comJim Engh’s 10-year-old mountainside test an hour north of Aspen features Santa Fe-style, high desert backdrops, scrub-filled canyons, a densely forested front nine and holes that cling to the sides of ridges. Also prominent is a green fee for less than a Benjamin.
5 of 10No. 8 at Circling Raven Golf Club / Rob Perry
6. Circling Raven Golf Club [No. 91], Worley, Ida.; $65-$95, cdacasino.comIt may not sport a floating island green like its neighbor up the road, but this bird has everything else in its nest, including wetlands, grasslands and Ponderosa pines, plus unparalleled solitude disturbed only by the stray elk or moose. Circling Raven also sports a modest green fee that enhances the tranquil ambience.
6 of 10No. 14 at The Quarry at Giants Ridge / Courtesy of Giants Ridge Golf & Ski Resort
5. The Quarry at Giants Ridge [No. 52], Biwabik, Minn.; $62-$89, giantsridge.comFrom the remains of a rock and sand quarry in an old iron ore mine, architect Jeff Brauer forged a Paul Bunyanesque challenge in the northeastern Minnesota wilderness. Many holes tee off atop gigantic sand piles and play up, down and around cavernous pits, giant boulders and vast sand waste areas, all at a price tag that’s been chopped to bits as if by a pickax.
7 of 10No. 5 at World Woods (Pine Barrens) / Larry Lambrecht
4. World Woods (Pine Barrens) [No. 36], Brooksville, Fla.; $40-$119, worldwoods.comNobody really wants to play Florida golf in the summer, but for $40 at a Tom Fazio masterpiece, we’d play all summer long. With its forced carries over sandy waste areas and pine-framed, risk/reward holes, Pine Barrens is intended to resemble Pine Valley. It’s an hour-plus ride north of Tampa into Nowheresville, but even at high season, mid-winter prices, World Woods is well worth the journey.
8 of 10Robert Beck
3. Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club [No. 31], Sandia Park, N.M.; $50-$117, paakoridge.comSituated between 6,500 and 7,000 breathtaking feet on the eastern side of the Sandia Mountains, 25 minutes from Albuquerque, Paa-ko dishes out a series of option-laden desert jewels that tumble through junipers, cedars and pines, forming a surprisingly green backdrop to many holes. In prime time of April to October, rates are a surprisingly green-saving $92 on weekdays and $62 after 2 pm.
9 of 10No. 17 at Bethpage State Park (Black) / Jim Krajicek
2. Bethpage State Park (Black) [No. 4], Farmingdale, N.Y.; $78-$150, nysparks.comNew York State residents pay just $65-$75 to walk this feared but respected two-time U.S. Open venue, an almost incomprehensibly paltry sum to play a course this good. Though it’s a tough tee time to snag, outsiders can walk this A.W. Tillinghast design for $130 during the week, $150 on weekends, with twilight rates starting at $78. Even at $150, that’s less than half the price of the average Top 10 course.
10 of 10No. 10 at Rustic Canyon Golf Course / Rob Brown
1. Rustic Canyon Golf Course [No. 97], Moorpark, Calif.; $36-$81, rusticcanyongolfcourse.comPerhaps the best bang for the buck in the United States, this Gil Hanse/Jim Wagner/Geoff Shackelford design 45 minutes north of L.A. engages at every turn, thanks to an easy-to-walk routing with tremendous variety that allows for run-up shots galore. Rustic can be had for the laughably low price of $36 Monday through Thursday, $39 on Friday and $59 on the weekend -- all after 11 a.m.
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