GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play list yields so many great highlights, it’s tough narrowing it down to just the Top 10. Nevertheless, duty calls. Here are Travelin' Joe Passov's Top 10 bucket list experiences that are drawn from the Top 100 Courses You Can Play.
Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.
Magical moments come in bunches at Pebble Beach. Say what you will about the price tag - somewhere north of five Franklins these days - but as once-in-a-lifetime experiences go, the cost is irrelevant. It's all worth it for one unforgettable round at this seaside gem.
2 of 10Wood Sabold
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort -- Bandon, Ore.
If you build it, they will come - provided they can get a tee time. From Day 1 in the spring of 1999, passionate course connoisseurs have flocked to Bandon Dunes Resort, the greatest "must-play" public course mecca ever built in the United States.
3 of 10Evan Schiller
Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge -- Orlando, Fla.
After he waxed Jack Nicklaus in an exhibition at Bay Hill in 1965, Arnold Palmer liked the place so much he bought it. Mr. Palmer has held court here since 1976 and there's nowhere else on earth that you're more likely to run into him.
4 of 10Fred Vuich/SI
Coeur d'Alene Resort -- Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
For two decades, island greens were all the rage in architecture. Coeur d'Alene's version, however, remains unique. Golfers hit to a true floating island, one that's capable of moving up or back on any given day, thanks to a system of cables attached to the bottom of gorgeous Lake Coeur d'Alene.
5 of 10Courtesy of TPC Sawgrass
TPC Sawgrass (PLAYERS Stadium) -- Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
From the moment you make your tee time, you're thinking about one golf shot - and you know which one I'm talking about. Pete Dye's fiendishly exciting 17th is golf's ultimate gut-check. No par 3 anywhere demands such perfection with club selection and ball flight.
6 of 10Courtesy of Pinehurst Resort
Pinehurst Resort (No. 2) -- Pinehurst, N.C.
One of the rare public-access courses in the U.S. to play host to multiple major championships, Donald Ross' masterpiece is drenched in golf history. As with the Old Course at St. Andrews, the virtues of Pinehurst No. 2 don't jump out at you at first glance, but with the subtlety comes a wallop.
7 of 10Courtesy of Sea Pines Resort
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
As iconic golf landmarks go, few can compare with the candy cane-striped lighthouse that backdrops the 18th green at Harbour Town. With the Calibogue Sound lurking to the left and OB looming right, Harbour Town's closing hole is one of the sport's most unforgettable.
8 of 10Courtesy of Whistling Straits
Whistling Straits -- Haven, Wisc.
Pair a hotel called the American Club that's unsurpassed in the Midwest for dining, service and spa, with four of the nation's greatest public-access courses and you've got a bucket list trip for sure.
9 of 10Courtesy of Kiawah Island Resort
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort, Kiawah Island, S.C.
No one who follows golf will ever forget the 1991 Ryder Cup Match here, an event dubbed "the War by the Shore." Though Bernard Langer cost Europe the win by agonizingly missing his 6-foot-putt at the last, many contend the real winner was the battlefield itself.
10 of 10Kohjiro Kinno/SI
Kapalua Resort (Plantation), Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
Win a tournament on the PGA Tour and one huge perk vests immediately - You're going to Kapalua. While Super Bowl winners inevitably mouth "I'm going to Disney World," into the camera, Tour champions get golf's version of an amusement park, Kapalua Resort's Plantation course.
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