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WHAT'S YOUR HIDDEN GEM? Submit your favorite "hidden gem" golf courses (less than $50)


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There are golf courses around the country that offer amazing scenery and intriguing layouts without burning through your wallet. These are the diamonds in the rough, the "hidden gems." They’re the hole-in-the-wall pizzerias that have way better food than the over-priced, sit-down Italian restaurant with the long wait and pretentious vibes.

 

In order to compile a helpful list of these hidden gem golf courses throughout the country, we need the help of GolfWRX Members. To qualify, the course must cost less than $50, and it must be a fully public golf course.

 

In the thread below, please post the following information to submit your favorite course(s):

  • Course Name:
  • City, State:
  • Price Range:
  • Course Website:
  • A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem (and please include a photo if you have one!):

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Corballis Links in Donabate Ireland about 20 minutes outside of Dublin City Centre is a true links that costs 20 Euro. It's one of the best values in Ireland. The course has 10 par 4's, 7 par 3's and

Course Name: World Woods City, State: Brooksville, Fl. Price Range: $30-50 now Course Website: https://www.worldwoods.com/ World Woods features two Tom Fazio designed courses: Pine Barrens and

Course Name: Sand Creek Station City, State: Newton, KS Price Range: $25-$40 Course Website: http://www.sandcreekgolfclub.com A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem (and please in

Linden Hall about an hour south of Pittsburgh. $34 weekdays, $40 weekends. Sprawling layout, nice scenery, par 73, 5 par 5's, fairly long par 3's, nice bunkers, reasonable food prices, friendly staff. I've only been golfing for a little over a year. I've played many, not all, of the highly rated courses in the area and even live a couple miles from one of them. IMHO the only thing that beats this course in the area is Nemacolin courses.

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  • Course Name: Stone Canyon Golf Club
  • City, State: Blue Springs, MO
  • Price Range: $49 Weekday Rate
  • Course Website: https://www.stonecanyongolfclub.com/
  • A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem (and please include a photo if you have one!): Stone Canyon Golf Club is the only Greg Norman Signature Design Course in the Midwest. Stone Canyon opened for play in 2009 and received immediate recognition as one of the "Best New Courses You Can Play” by Golf Magazine. In 2012, Stone Canyon was once again recognized by Golf Magazine and named one of the Top 3 Best Public Courses in Missouri.
    The layout at Stone Canyon will provide guests with a truly memorable golf challenge with Norman’s signature design traits that include closely mown green surrounds, creative bunkering and landscape accents. Guests will enjoy the rolling topography and dramatic long views towards downtown Kansas City to the west. The real star is the setting, where rock walls and stone outcroppings are integrated into the layout. Most memorable is the 381-yard, par-4 3rd hole, which concludes with a green in an amphitheater of rocks.

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  • Course Name: Aguila Golf Course
  • City, State: Phoenix, AZ
  • Price Range: $30-50
  • Course Website: https://www.phoenix....-courses/aguila
  • A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem (and please include a photo if you have one!):

Often a recommendation from Phoenix area WRXers for value/lesser known courses:

 

http://www.golfwrx.c...estions-wanted/

http://www.golfwrx.c...ttsdalephoenix/

 

Also, made #25 in the Top 25 Courses in Phoenix/Scottsdale thread pinned in the Southwest sub-forum:

 

http://www.golfwrx.c...e-info-for-you/

 

I love it because the price is always right as a City of Phoenix municipal course. The conditions are usually fairly decent. Also, the course presents a fair challenge to me as a high handicapper, and still appeals to low caps. It is easily walkable. Not surrounded by houses, not overly tight or cramped. Designed by Gary Panks. Not overly penal.

 

 

 

 

 

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Course Name: Lost Marsh Golf Cpurse

City, State: Hammond, IN

Price Range: $38 and above

Course Website: http://www.lostmarshgolf.com

A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem (and please include a photo if you have one!):

Sitting right outside of Chicago in northwest Indiana is the hidden gem known as lost marsh. This course will test all aspects of your game. See pictures below holes 1-5 have water in play. In addition to the water winds usually whip around 25-40 mph so you better know how to control your trajectory and play draws and fades. The back nine is tighter where you have to deal with many trees so accuracy is key. The course has many views Chicago to the northwest and the rugged industrial views all around. If you’re in the Chicago area I highly recommend this course.

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Sharp park

Pacifica CA

Sea side MacKenzie track. Unbelievable layout. Poorly managed and maintained

$38

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Course Name: Miami Whitewater Forest Golf Course

Course Location: Harrison, OH

Cost to play: $23-$25

Website: https://www.greatparks.org/golf/miami-whitewater-forest-golf-course

Course Description: This will not make many peoples grand lists but it will always be at the top on mine. This is the course at the age of 9yrs old I fell in love with the game. It's the first course I shot even par on ( back then 15 was a 320 par 4) at the age of 14, It's the first course I hit all 18 greens in regulation ( a big accomplishment since the greens are super small) and also beat many a foreign players in head to head battles ( Usually by one stroke to the roar of a magnificent crowd). The course itself is a Kentucky bluegrass/bent grass rolling course thru the Ohio River valley area. Bunkers aren't spectacular but placed in the right place. Course plays at it's absolute longest 6800+ yards but since the soil is fairly soft it effectively plays closer to 7000yards. Also through in some elevation gains to the greens on about 30% of the holes and it makes it feel longer. The range is terrible, you hit rock balls off mats and the putting green rolls at a 5 but the course with the gas powered carts, most have no roof so wear a hat. It has some really good long par 4's that are not easy. LOT's of trees and as a kid this was MY Oakmont, St. Andrews, Augusta National and Pebble Beach rolled into one. I would encourage anyone in the Cincinnati area if you have a spare day and $30 then roll over there and play it. Again, it's not a championship course but if I had one course to play one last time I'd stick my peg in the ground right here.

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Course Name - Sweetens Cove GC

Location - S. Pittsburg TN

Cost - $40

Website - sweetenscovegolfclub.com

 

While starting to get too much publicity to be considered a hidden gem it's hard to argue that Sweetens Cove isn't one of the best golf values in the country. For $40 peak season you can play 18 at the #1 ranked course you can play in TN and Golf Weeks 50th ranked modern course. What Sweetens lack in holes (its a 9 hole course) it more than makes up for with amazing variety, incredible green complexes, firm and fast turf and in my opinion the best set of artistic bunkers I've ever seen anywhere. Rob Collins the principal architect (and now the head of the management team) built the course by hand with his partner Tad King. Rob has OVER 700 days on site working on the build. That is almost unheard of in golf course architecture and construction and is the main reason why all the little details at Sweetens are so good. The main thing at Sweetens is playing golf there is about FUN which is not always the case. Definitely one to seek out regardless of budget.

 

http://www.golfwrx.com/515076/youve-never-played-anything-like-sweetens-cove/

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  • Course Name: Republic Golf Club
  • City, State: San Antonio, TX
  • Price Range: $35-50, but can get weekday twilight rates of $25 with an email price
  • Course Website: republicgolfclub.com
  • A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem (and please include a photo if you have one!)My favorite golf course to play, it is always in really good shape. These pictures are from wintertime, which the greenness is still impressive. The course has a ton of fun holes and unique designs, and only houses visible on 4 tee and between 14 green and 15 tee. The course rating is strong, with a 74.2 rating on a par 71 (7007 yards from the tips), and even from the second tee you get 1.3 strokes.

 

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  • Course Name: Sweetens Cove
  • City, State: South Pittsburg, TN
  • Price Range: $25-$55
  • Course Website: http://www.sweetenscovegolfclub.com/
  • A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem (and please include a photo if you have one!): Its a 9 hole course that is all about the golf. It doesn't have a fancy club house. It's minimalist and pure golf. It's always in excellent shape and very fun. It is a real treat to play and people come from all over to play it. I've never heard a bad word about it. Its very similar to a links style course with rolling fairways, waste bunkers, large fast undulating greens. From the website, it is ranked 50th in Modern Course and ranked #1 course in Tennessee for the last 3 years.

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Titleist TSi3 driver Tour AD XC

Titleist TS2 3 wood HZRDUS Smoke black

Titleist TS2 5 wood HZRDUS smoke black

Titleist T-100s 4-gap

Vokey sm8 54/12d and 60/12d 

Scotty Cameron special select 1.5

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I’ve mentioned this one here numerous times to people.

 

Four Winds Golf Course. Kimball, Nebraska. Sits right on I80 so it might also be the most accessible course on the list. Honestly about 3 minutes from I80 to the parking lot! $26.38, all day green fee. Carts are $13 (its hilly and at 5,000’ elevation, cart is nice to have?).

 

No website: course has uphill, downhill, great greens, long holes, short holes, doglegs right and left. A little bit of everything.


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Not sure it's a hidden gem but...

  • Course Name: Neshanic Valley Golf Course
  • City, State: Branchburg, NJ (about an hour +/- south of NYC)
  • Price Range: $30 and up includes cart ($50 and up for non-local adults)
  • Course Website: http://www.neshanicvalleygolf.com/
  • A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem (and please include a photo if you have one!):
    This is a municipal course with 27 holes set in rolling farmland. It hosted the Women's Amateur Pub Links. It has some links style but is generally more manicured and for a municipal course, it's very challenging. It has a multi hole and bunkered short game area, Callaway Golf and Performance Center, and a junior golf academy with a 9 hole short "Academy course" designed for juniors ($12 for 18yo and under every day).

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I’ve played this course for good prices over the years. It’s in the middle of nowhere in the FL Panhandle off U.S. Hwy 98 on the coast south of Tallhassee and close to St. George Island/Apalachicola, FL which is east of Panama City. Excellent and challenging layout. I’ve been out there when there are almost no one on the course at all. I often wonder how they have enough money to keep it in the shape they do.

 

https://www.stjamesbay.com

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Shennecossett Golf Course

Groton, CT

Price range: 30 - 50 (price well under 50 after noon)

www.shennygolf.com

 

Classic old Donald Ross course. he redesigned it in 1916. The only public Donald Ross course in CT. Usually in great condition. Hosts the CT senior open every July. Views of the Thames River and Long Island Sound on the back nine. Must play if you are in the Groton/New London area.

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Not sure it's a hidden gem but...

  • Course Name: Neshanic Valley Golf Course
  • City, State: Branchburg, NJ (about an hour +/- south of NYC)
  • Price Range: $30 and up includes cart ($50 and up for non-local adults)
  • Course Website: http://www.neshanicvalleygolf.com/
  • A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem (and please include a photo if you have one!):
    This is a municipal course with 27 holes set in rolling farmland. It hosted the Women's Amateur Pub Links. It has some links style but is generally more manicured and for a municipal course, it's very challenging. It has a multi hole and bunkered short game area, Callaway Golf and Performance Center, and a junior golf academy with a 9 hole short "Academy course" designed for juniors ($12 for 18yo and under every day).

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I played here a while back with Tommy John the baseball pitcher, Fun day nice course.

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  • Course Name: Canyon River Golf Course
  • City, State: Missoula, Montana
  • Price Range: $22-$49
  • Course Website: http://www.canyonrivergolfclub.com/
  • A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem (and please include a photo if you have one!): It's hard to describe how nice this place is for what they charge... maybe it's the part of town it is in? This club should be an exclusive private club honestly; there are clubs in my area that cost $60k to get into that are on about the same level.. conditions wise. Never seen it in bad condition... bentgrass wall to wall bordered with fescue. Very enjoyable golf course, very picturesque, worth the trip if you're in the area.

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Cape Arundel in Kennebunkport ME is $50 before May 18 or after October 2. I would think that after October 2, this Walter Travis course would be hidden gem. I haven't played it, but many Presidents have. That's good enough for me.

Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove.  P.G. Wodehouse
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Course Name: Shepherd's Crook

City, State: Zion, IL

Rates: Weekday $30 walking Weekend: $45 walking

Course Website: http://www.shepherdscrook.org/

Brief Description: This course is about an hour north of Chicago near the Wisconsin border and it doesn't have a driving range which could be why it doesn't get a lot of play. Fantastic Keith Foster design, extremely walkable, fantastic conditions and challenging yet fun design.

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  • Course Name: Park Hills Golf Course
  • City, State: Freeport,IL
  • Price Range: $16-$23
  • Course Website:www.parkhillsgolfcourse.com
  • A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem : Always in pristine condition. 36 hole layout that is as hard as you want to make it. Trees (big) and water are everywhere. Pace of play is usually very good. Located about 90 minutes west of Chicago's western suburbs.

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Cape Arundel in Kennebunkport ME is $50 before May 18 or after October 2. I would think that after October 2, this Walter Travis course would be hidden gem. I haven't played it, but many Presidents have. That's good enough for me.

Cape Arundel in Kennebunkport ME is $50 before May 18 or after October 2. I would think that after October 2, this Walter Travis course would be hidden gem. I haven't played it, but many Presidents have. That's good enough for me.

Cape Arundel in Kennebunkport ME is $50 before May 18 or after October 2. I would think that after October 2, this Walter Travis course would be hidden gem. I haven't played it, but many Presidents have. That's good enough for me.

I have it’s great Quirky, beautiful views and good conditions
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  • Course Name: Aguila Golf Course
  • City, State: Phoenix, AZ
  • Price Range: $30-50
  • Course Website: https://www.phoenix....-courses/aguila
  • A brief description of why you think it's a hidden gem (and please include a photo if you have one!):

Often a recommendation from Phoenix area WRXers for value/lesser known courses:

 

http://www.golfwrx.c...estions-wanted/

http://www.golfwrx.c...ttsdalephoenix/

 

Also, made #25 in the Top 25 Courses in Phoenix/Scottsdale thread pinned in the Southwest sub-forum:

 

http://www.golfwrx.c...e-info-for-you/

 

I love it because the price is always right as a City of Phoenix municipal course. The conditions are usually fairly decent. Also, the course presents a fair challenge to me as a high handicapper, and still appeals to low caps. It is easily walkable. Not surrounded by houses, not overly tight or cramped. Designed by Gary Panks. Not overly penal.

 

 

+1 for Aguila. Couldn't believe it was a muni the first time I played it. Had the fastest greens of any AZ city course I've played by far! Really need to play there soon since they just finished a complete bunker renovation. They also have a free replay rate IIRC?

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The absolute best value I've ever played:

  • Nevel Meade
  • Prospect, KY (Louisville with money)
  • $30-$50
  • https://nevelmeade.com/
  • This Steve Smyers design plays across gently-rolling terrain and features the nicest sub-$50 conditioning you will ever see (bentgrass tees, fairways, and greens with bluegrass rough). Shot values start high and stay there throughout the round, and the rhythm of the holes balances legit scoring opportunities with tough pars. Such a great track!

My favorite value in Texas:

  • The Wilderness at Lake Jackson
  • Lake Jackson, TX
  • $32-$55 (but I've only ever played it for ~$40)
  • https://www.thewildernessgc.com/
  • This Jeff Brauer design is a RIDICULOUS sleeper with perhaps the most memorable green sites I've ever played. The par 5 7th plays to a kidney-shaped green that's nearly 70 yards long and features a few different plateaus. The long par 3 16th—one of my favorite holes anywhere—is a classic Biarritz with a 5-foot-deep swale cutting right through the middle. Honorable mention goes to the short par 4 11th which properly balances risk with reward and goads players to bite off as much as they can (a personal pet peeve is the overly-penal short 4 that makes it stupid to do anything but lay up).

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A few of my favorites for "hidden gems" / "good value" courses:

 

Course: Apple Mountain Golf Club

City / State: Clarkesville, GA

Price Range: $35-45

Website: http://www.applemoun...a.com/index.htm

Description: Just an overall nice course for a quick "daytrip" away from Atlanta. Nice elevation changes, usually good weather in the area, and course was typically in the good to solid condition rating. For the mid-$30's it's a solid value for a round of golf.

 

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Course: Bear Slide Golf Club

City / State: Cicero, IN

Price Range: $39-72

Website: https://bearslide.com/

Description: Played this quite a bit when I lived in Indianapolis. Was always in really solid shape and the course provides a good mix of short-to-long holes. Pace of play used to be very enjoyable and you never felt "rushed" during the round.

 

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Course: Glen Erin Golf Club

City / State: Janesville, WI

Price Range: $25-50

Website: https://www.gleneringolf.com/

Description: For anyone going up to Erin Hills, Sand Valley, or Kohler this is one hell of a gem in SW Wisconsin. The course is usually in solid shape and feels like an "Erin Hills - light" test. Don't get me wrong, at the end of the day you'll know you're at Erin Hills vs Glen Erin, but the fact you can play Glen Erin 12-15x before you arrive at the cost of one round at the former is pretty special. The course is usually in very good shape with a comfortable pace of play.

 

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Course Name: Shepherd's Crook

City, State: Zion, IL

Rates: Weekday $30 walking Weekend: $45 walking

Course Website: http://www.shepherdscrook.org/

Brief Description: This course is about an hour north of Chicago near the Wisconsin border and it doesn't have a driving range which could be why it doesn't get a lot of play. Fantastic Keith Foster design, extremely walkable, fantastic conditions and challenging yet fun design.

 

Amazing course. Played it in August when i was back up north. It is 45 at twilight walking. It is 65 prime time. Sucks it is getting more expensive. It used to be 25 to walk when i was in high school and college lol

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Shennecossett Golf Course

Groton, CT

Price range: 30 - 50 (price well under 50 after noon)

www.shennygolf.com

 

Classic old Donald Ross course. he redesigned it in 1916. The only public Donald Ross course in CT. Usually in great condition. Hosts the CT senior open every July. Views of the Thames River and Long Island Sound on the back nine. Must play if you are in the Groton/New London area.

 

After June the fescue gets high so be prepared to lose 5 balls a round if you spray your driver.

 

Ohh, and the turtle shell green on the par 3 4th is ranked as the hardest par 3 in the state, and probably top 10 in New England.

 

... And it can kiss my Word not allowed.

AB TP 10.5*/ DI6X
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XTD 19*/ Fubuki Ax
DWS 24*/ VS Proto
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