Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, Calif.
U.S. Open: 1972, 1982, 1992, 2000, 2010
Affordability: At $495 it’s the filet mignon of public golf. The problem is that most people can’t afford this piece of meat. 1.
R.P.Y.: Obviously the price isn’t scaring anyone away. At 60,000 rounds per year it’s one of the busiest courses in America (the average course gets about 27,000). 2.
Awesomeness: Jack Nicklaus said it best: “If I only had one more round to play, I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach. I loved this course from the first time I saw it. It’s possibly the best in the world.” A quote like that from the game’s ultimate champion warrants a 10 from the Awesomeness judges.
Total score: 13
U.S. Open: 1999, 2005, 2014
Affordability: At $450, it’s more affordable than Pebble, but not by much. 2.
R.P.Y.: 35,000 rounds per year is better than some, but during peak season it’s not exactly wide open. 6.
Awesomeness: Tough to beat golf in the heart of America’s golfing mecca. 8.5.
Total score: 16.5
Chambers Bay Golf Course
University Place, Wash.
U.S. Open: 2015
Affordability: $170, which is about as high as a new public course in the Pacific Northwest can charge. 4.
R.P.Y.: N/A. Of all the U.S. Open venues, Chambers Bay is the most accessible. Just call 90 days in advance and you should be good. Large groups can be booked even further in advance. 8.
Awesomeness: Tough to put it ahead of any other courses in our Top-5 because it’s still a young pup. By the time 2015 rolls around, it will be on most avid golfers’ Must-Play list. 5.
Total score: 17
Torrey Pines Golf Course
La Jolla, Calif.
U.S. Open: 2008
Affordability: $165. 6.
R.P.Y.: 92,000. Holy smokes, it’s busy! Very fair policy, though. Just call in advance and you should get the time you’re looking for. Be advised, however, it’s located in one of the most concentrated golfing areas in the U.S. 4.
Awesomeness: It’s definitely the best municipal course on the west coast, and second only to Bethpage in the U.S. 9.
Total score: 19
Bethpage State Park, Black Course
U.S. Open: 2002, 2009
Affordability: $49-$100 on the weekend is probably close to what you paid at your local course last weekend, and it’s certainly less expensive than the private club you might belong to. Pretty amazing! 9.
R.P.Y.: 40,000. Sure, it might be necessary to sleep in your car in the parking lot to get first dibs on a tee time but hey, that only adds to the experience! 7.
Awesomeness: Bethpage definitely doesn’t have more scenery or history than its contemporaries, but it’s no slouch. And come on! What’s better than a U.S. Open venue that’s owned and operated by the State Parks Association and has a blaring sign next to the first tee that reads: “The Black Course is an extremely difficult course which we recommend only for highly skilled golfers.” 9.5.
Total score: 24.5
Editor’s note: Dating back to the first U.S. Open Championship in 1895, there have been 53 different host sites… In 1972, Pebble Beach became the first public course to host the U.S. Open.
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