Want to play golf in all 50 states? Here’s a list for you to consider

My thoughts turned to my cousin’s wife the other day. Barbara Young has played golf in all 50 states. I wrote about her accomplishment a few years ago as she played in Alaska to complete her dream.

Her feat came to me as I purchased tickets to an Atlanta Braves game to keep my hobby alive. SunTrust Park will be my 56th Major League stadium. Barbara’s rounds of golf included some top-notch courses, such as Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. That, of course, led me to wonder what the best courses were in all 50 states.

Well, the internet does provide lists of almost anything, and I did find a list of the top course in each state. How the list was judged was not known, but it did come from Business Insider, so take that for what it’s worth. Many of these courses are private — some more than others — so if you are going to try to play all of these venues, a word of caution. You will have to have a lot of money and some serious contacts!

Nonetheless, here is the list of the best golf course in each U.S. state.

ALABAMA: Shoal Creek Golf Club, Shoal Creek. This course was designed by Jack Nicklaus in the 1970’s. It has hosted two PGA Championships so is obviously well-respected.

If you cannot book a tee time here, perhaps a trip down the Alabama Golf Trail is more to your liking. I have talked to someone who did that and he said the courses were beautiful.

ALASKA: Anchorage Golf Course, Anchorage. I’m guessing there are not a lot of golf courses in the 48th state, and the one I played left a lot to be desired. The Bill Newcomb design features breathtaking views of Mt. McKinley, Cook Inlet and the city of Anchorage skyline. That would get my attention.

A word of warning here … Mt. McKinley generates its own clouds and is only visible a couple of days a month. Hit it right, though, and this could be the best view of any golf course anywhere!

ARIZONA: Estancia Club, Scottsdale. Tom Fazio, an architect who will be prominently featured in this list, designed the course. However, it is members only. If you don’t know anyone who belongs, you can run over to the TPC Scottsdale course and play the raucous 16th par 3. There will not be nearly as many people present as when the Tour is there, but you can still imagine. Also, in Arizona, don’t forget the rattlesnakes. The rough is not a friendly place here for many different reasons.

ARKANSAS: The Alotian Club, Roland. Tom Fazio is the architect here, too. The course sits along Lake Maumelle and is similar to Augusta National. That is enough to get my attention.

If this doesn’t work out, maybe a side trip to Hot Springs to bathe in the mineral waters might be in order.

CALIFORNIA: Cypress Point Golf Course, Pebble Beach. The location seems right, the course, not so much. I have walked on the Pebble Beach Golf Links on two occasions, strolling up the famed 18th fairway both times. Cypress Point may be better, but certainly not as famous.

Alister Mackenzie designed Cypress Point in 1928. The back nine holes all sit next to the Pacific Ocean with the 16th and 17th holes among the most picturesque holes in the world.

Here’s a suggestion. If you are going to the Monterey Peninsula you might as well play all the courses there. That is, if you can afford it!

COLORADO: Castle Pines Golf Club, Castle Rock. Jack Nicklaus designed this course which sits some 6,630 feet above sea level and has sweeping views of the Colorado Front Range.

The scenery has to be fantastic here, but perhaps the most mesmerizing thing is how far your golf ball will travel at the high altitude. Hey, it would be great to say you drove the ball well over 300 yards — at least once in your life!

CONNECTICUT: The Course at Yale University, New Haven. Considered the best collegiate course in the nation, The Course was designed by USGA founder Charles Blair Macdonald.

One would think with all the great minds that attend Yale, a more fitting name could have been found for The Course. How about Eli’s Coming, and he wants to play golf!

DELAWARE: The South Course at Wilmington Country Club, Wilmington. Robert Trent Jones is the architect here and the course has hosted a number of amateur USGA championships.

If the yardage scares you, there is a shorter north course that may be more to your liking.

FLORIDA: Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach. A Donald J. Ross design that dates back to 1929, this course is private. If that does not deter you from trying to get on this masterpiece, maybe this will:

Jack Nicklaus was turned down for a membership at Seminole!

GOERGIA: Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta. In the early 1930s, star golfer Bobby Jones had a vision for his dream course. Along with architect Alister Mackenzie, Jones created Augusta National.

If his dream included a place that had incredible beautiful views — Amen Corner comes to mind — then he wildly exceeded his expectations.

If he wanted a place where no blade of grass seems out of place… mission accomplished.

Augusta National is always near the top of my friends list of “if you could only play one more course,” but again you need to know someone to get on the course!

Next week we will continue our list of the best golf course in each state. We will be off to Hawaii for our golfing adventure. If only I was actually going to the Aloha State.

Hey, do you suppose The A-T could arrange for me to visit all these courses so I could play them and report my findings? Well, I can dream too!

Al Stephenson is the golf columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.

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