It’s tough to compete with a stunning cliff-top setting, spacious accommodations that are ideal for groups, and four of the top 15 public courses in the U.S. If you’ve got a group of decent golfers who are reasonably fit and don’t mind some taxing travel plans (which clearly you don’t), there’s no better experience than Bandon Dunes. Walking 36 holes a day in the elements with caddies, feasting on Grandma’s Meat Loaf at McKee’s Pub, closing the night with a scotch and cigar in the Bunker Bar — it doesn’t get any better. Recent buddy-friendly additions such as the 13-hole, par-3 Preserve course and the Punch Bowl putting green that comes complete with drink service have only enhanced Bandon’s appeal.
Inside the top 10: It’s no surprise to see Bandon leading the way, but the rest of the top 10 was highly unpredictable. High finishes in the “Value” and “Family” categories catapulted Boyne Highlands in Michigan into second place. (Click here for more on Boyne Highlands.) Sunriver, in Oregon, rated well for the same reasons: superb summer weather, a variety of family activities (raft float trips, fly fishing, horseback riding), and, of course, outstanding golf, spearheaded by Crosswater, one of our Top 100 Courses You Can Play.