The new “Chalk Mine” 9 hole short course is apparently opening soon near Aiken, SC. Check out this video by Bryan Bros Golf which features the new, okay maybe the first, course record by George Bryan @bryanbrosgolf

Aiken Golf Club

While the opening date/rates are yet to be determined, this continues to make a case for Aiken/Augusta as a legitimate golf destination with the Aiken Golf Club, Cedar Creek, Midland Valley, and across the Savannah River, the River Club, and Forest Hills, all with varying levels of architectural pedigree.

Forest Hills Golf Course

With the typically mild winters, reasonable lodging rates, at least when the Masters isn’t on, and plenty of restaurants across the value spectrum, Aiken/Augusta begins to look like a legitimate golf destination.

Most golf course architectural aficionados are no doubt aware and may have already made the pilgrimage to play the recently restored a 1906 Donald Ross classic in Southern Pines, NC. The course was acquired in 2020 by the owners of Pine Needles/Mid-PInes who promptly commissioned a reawakening of the golf course. It has been faithfully restored by Kyle Franz to Ross’s original intentions, a contemporary so to speak of Pinehurst No. 2 designed in 1907.

As with No.2, Southern Pines featured crowned greens most with false fronts providing a myriad of undulations, and depending on the speed can be mind boggling. The holes were widened, trees removed, the greens surrounds tightly mowed, sand bunkers restored, and the waste areas redefined. The routing moves over undulating, varying terrain providing a host of lies and and angles. It features the “lost hole” and concept that disappeared over he years from Ross’s original design. It was added by Franz as a 140 yard, par 3 bonus holes showcasing a sand green, a look back to golf before the advent of Bermuda greens.

There’s five sets of tees from 4,015 yards to 6,354 yards with the Gold, middle tees playing to 5,724 yards, 67.4/121, course/slope ratings, par of 70. The course reopened to rave reviews in 2021, but spent the year growing in and finalizing some punch list items, but should be ready for the 2022 season.

Many come to Pinehurst to enjoy the Pinehurst Resort and its 9 golf courses, featuring Nos. 2,4,& 8, the five star accommodations, and the restaurants, but there are alternatives like a week playing Tobacco Road, Mid-PInes, Pine Needles, and now Southern Pines.

One of the over 4,000 golf courses in our guide

BestPublicGolfCourses.com was built out of a frustration in finding suitable guides on the web for the better golf courses and golf resorts in the U.S. It was founded in 2008 when the golf industry began a steady decline of course closings leading to over 1,600 closures. The existing guides on the web were/are lacking in updating and removing closed courses, name changes, courses moving from public to private, and course renovations. Secondly, the 16,000 golf courses in the U.S. range from resorts to private to semi-private to public to municipal to military. Until BestPublicGolfCourses.com there was no guide to the best golf courses and resorts open to public play, irrespective of their classification.

Our unbiased guide has become a resource for traveling golfers who want to seek out more than the Top 100 golf course lists from the major golf publications. We set off in finding the best golf courses per state by using a variety of resources linkling Golf, Golf Magazine, Golfweek, Golf Club Atlas, GolfWrx, and the ASGCA among a variety of other credible sources. We then combed through actual reviews of the courses to determine the best courses open to public play in a given area. Research was conducted on each listing to provide a brief description of the golf course, its location and map, nearby courses,, contact details including the website link as well as USGA course ratings. We’re constantly assisted by our users who provide updates on courses to add or remove based upon a variety of factors and stay current with those new golf courses being added every year, albeit a very few number at this juncture.

The final guide, which evolves daily, provides the traveling golfer with the ability to seek out and find the best golf courses in a given area or to find courses along planned traveling routes. In addition to identifying the best courses open to public play in designated golf destinations like PInehurst, Scottsdale, Myrtle Beach, and Orlando it allows the user to create their own “golf trail” of sorts in any area of the country where multiple golf courses are located.

We hope you enjoy our guide and help keep it current by letting us know of courses to add or remove. The website’s sole function is to provide traveling golfers with an easy and current guide with our sole support from ads placed on the margins of the site.