Can't get onto a private course to sample a famous designer's work? Don't fret — soaking in the master's greatness may be easier than you think. Here are five classic courses, along with the next-best alternative.
1.) C.B. Macdonald crafted the exclusive National Golf Links of America on Long Island as an all-star collection of Britain's top holes. If the NGLA doesn't come calling, however, go play Macdonald's Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda, a seaside beauty that accepts outside play on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
2.) Of notoriously private Cypress Point Club, Alister MacKenzie's Pebble Beach layout, Bob Hope once said, "One year Cypress had a big membership drive. They drove out 40 members." For pure MacKenzie strategy, head 45 minutes north to semiprivate Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz, skillfully restored by Tom Doak.
3.) Few private clubs have hosted as many USGA events as Winged Foot Golf Club's West course, an A.W. Tillinghast design in Mamaroneck, N.Y. For a similar smackdown, do Tilly's Bethpage (Black) on Long Island, where you'll find an equally demanding collection of approach shots.
4.) William Flynn's Shinnecock Hills on Long Island has hosted four U.S. Opens, with a fifth on the way in 2018. While the gates there remain locked to you and me, the Cascades course at the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va., offers a healthy dose of Flynn's genius.
5.) Pinehurst [No.2] is technically part of a private club and is only open to outside play for guests at the Platinum Medal–winning Pinehurst Resort. If you can't swing that, drive 10 minutes to the town of Southern Pines and play Mid Pines, a 1921 Donald Ross creation that features restored native rough areas that are just like the ones at his fabled No. 2.