Guide to value golf in the U.S.

By Matt GinellaFebruary 27, 2013, 1:00 pm

Value is obviously relative. And a 'value golf course' is an assessment of history, design, condition, service, fun factor, charm and cost relative to other courses in the area. Having had the opportunity to play throughout the U.S., I've developed a sliding scale of comparison courses that helps me make judgment calls on what I can safely consider good value. Those courses are Old Brack in San Antonio ($55), Bethpage Black in New York ($75), The Classic in Brainerd, Minn. ($125), Forest Dunes in Roscommon, Mich. ($150) and Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz, Calif. ($250).

For my money, my own money, I'd always be OK paying peak-season prices to play those courses on a weekend. Any course over $250 would have to be one of the best, not only in the country, but in the world. And at $495, plus the caddie or cart fee and at least $700 to stay in The Lodge, even a course like Pebble is relegated once-in-a-lifetime status.

I could play any of the courses on the following list every day for a lifetime. And that's the difference.

I'll continue to add to the list below until it becomes The Ultimate Guide to Value Golf in the U.S. (I'll stop at 50 courses, and continue to tweak the list accordingly.) The order will start with Coronado, the least expensive, and no course on this list will be over $99; $100 is a fair ceiling to what most cost-conscious avid amateurs would consider 'ultimate' value.

• Coronado GC in Coronado, Calif. ($35)

A good course with some fun holes. The flat terrain makes it easily walkable and finishes with a scenic stretch of golf along the San Diego Bay. Slow play can be an issue, but that's also a tribute to its popularity, not necessarily because it's a problem. People who play Coronado are willing to spend more time on the course as opposed to spending more money to ensure a four-hour round. 


• Wachusett CC in West Boylston, Mass. ($40)

A Donald Ross original (1927), only 45 minutes from downtown Boston – Wachusett has been owned and operated by four generations of the Marrone family. The finishing hole is a 177-yard par 3.


• Peninsula Golf Resort in Lancaster, Ky. ($42)

There aren't a lot of Pete Dye designs for under $50. If you can find Peninsula Golf Resort, roughly 45 minutes from Lexington, you'll consider this course great value. With 24 neighboring four-bedroom villas, it's especially great for buddies trips who like non-pretentious seclusion for their various forms of debauchery.


• Warren Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind. ($45)

The website says it all: 'Beautiful, Playable and Affordable.' Host of Notre Dame's golf teams and the 2010 Women's Public Links Championship, the Warren Course was built by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 1999.


• The Highlands in Elgin, Ill. ($46)

A little less than an hour from Chicago, Highlands was built by Keith Foster and is considered one of the best deals in the Chicagoland area. Foster, one of the good guys in the golf industry, worked with Arthur Hills, and after breaking out on his own, has built up a well-respected resume of courses. He has also renovated some greats, such as: Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla.;Garden City on Long Island and Colonial CC in Fort Worth, Texas.


• Wild Horse G.C. in Gothenburg, Neb. ($48.50)

Not far from Sand Hills Golf Club in Mullen, Neb., Wild Horse gets almost as much acclaim. Especially for a green fee of less than $50. Dave Axeland and Dan Proctor, two of the guys who worked on Sand Hills with Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, designed Wild Horse. You'll enjoy a minimalist look on rolling dunesland for a nominal fee. 


• Pacific Grove in Pacific Grove, Calif. ($52)

The back nine offers glimpses and stretches of golf along the same coastline as Pebble Beach. Pacific Grove is widely considered the poster course for value golf, and thus, it's on this list. ‘Nuff said.  


• CommonGround in Denver, Colo. ($52)

Tom Doak waived his design fee to renovate an old military course into an 18-hole championship course and a nine-hole kid’s course. Doak did such a good job, CommonGround was used as the companion course to Cherry Hills for the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship


• Delray Beach Golf Club in Delray Beach, Fla. ($52)

The oldest muny in a state loaded with golf, Donald Ross built the first nine holes in 1923. Some complain about slow play, but no one is opposed to the green fee or the $3 charge for a bucket of balls.


• Brackenridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio, Texas ($55)

An A.W. Tillinghast original, 'Old Brack' is the oldest golf course in Texas and original host of the Texas Open (1922). With strategic doglegs, tree-lined fairways, some elevated square greens that are well protected by iconic Tilly bunkering – although it's only 6,200 yards from the tips – Old Brack has plenty of bite.

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Lauren Thompson and a giant 'gator eating a turtle

By Grill Room TeamApril 19, 2018, 4:53 pm

Really, the headline says it all.

"Morning Drive" co-host Lauren Thompson was playing the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes on Thursday in Orlando, Fla., when her threesome turned into a foursome, with the appearance of a giant alligator. Techincally, it was a fivesome, as the 'gator had a turtle in its mouth.



Hey, it's a slow news week for Grill Room.

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Sources confirm Charles Schwab to sponsor Colonial event

By Rex HoggardApril 19, 2018, 2:42 pm

Multiple sources have confirmed to GolfChannel.com that officials at Colonial are poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Charles Schwab Corporation.

Tournament officials scrambled this year after Dean & DeLuca ended its sponsorship of the event just two years into a six-year agreement, pulling together an assortment of local sponsors and renaming the event the Fort Worth Invitational.

Colonial’s status on the PGA Tour schedule became even more uncertain when the PGA Championship announced it would move from August to May, beginning in 2019 as part of a major overhaul of the circuit’s schedule.

According to the Dallas News, and confirmed by multiple sources at the club, officials plan to announce the new long-term agreement with Charles Schwab on Monday that will begin in 2019.

News of a long-term sponsorship deal would also suggest the event will remain in May in 2019 and beyond. The Tour has indicated it plans to announce the ’19 schedule at next month’s Players Championship.

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PNC Extends Title Sponsorship of PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 19, 2018, 1:00 pm

ORLANDO, Fla., April 19, 2018 – IMG and NBC Sports today announced that The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. has extended its contract as title sponsor of the PNC Father/Son Challenge, the tournament that pairs the games’ legends alongside their sons, daughters and grandchildren.

PNC’s multi-year extension as title sponsor keeps the PGA Tour Challenge Event in Orlando reflecting the bank’s commitment to Central Florida. PNC has served as title sponsor of the tournament since 2012. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes will continue to play host to the PNC Father/Son Challenge. The 2018 PNC Father/Son Challenge will take place Friday-Sunday, Dec. 14-16, with television coverage on Golf Channel and NBC.

“The PNC Father/Son Challenge long ago became one of my family’s favorite golf tournaments,” said 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus. “I have had the pleasure of playing with my sons, and last year, partnering with my 15-year-old grandson GT was a thrill. I am delighted the event—a uniquely special one to us fathers and grandfathers, and perhaps to the many fans out there watching from home or outside the ropes—will continue for many years to come.”

“After our victory in 2016, I said that this win was as good as anything I have done in my career,” said former World No. 1 and major champion David Duval, who alongside his stepson Nick Karavites captured the 2016 title. “I felt blessed to have Nick inside the ropes with me and to have our family surrounding us all week. That’s what makes the PNC Father/Son Challenge so special, and I’m pleased to hear that PNC has extended its support of the event. This golf tournament means so much to all of us who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to play in this event.”

The tournament also holds three events in qualifier markets per year. This year they will be in Dallas, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

“The PNC Father/Son Challenge allows fans to see golf’s legends playing the game they love alongside those they love most,” said Alastair Johnston, vice chairman, IMG. “We are grateful for PNC’s ongoing support of this unique tournament and we look forward to returning to Orlando to celebrate golf and family for many years to come.”

Community support is a key aspect of the tournament and PNC’s sponsorship. PNC is committed to donating $150,000 annually to local non-profits over the life of its sponsorship. Across six previous years of title sponsorship, PNC has already donated $900,000 to Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation and the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children to support the “Healthy Families Orange” program. Over the years, PNC has also had the opportunity through this tournament to co-host events for local women in business, to put on clinics and provide free access to the tournament for active military, and even provide a service dog for a local veteran.

"PNC's long-standing sponsorship of the Father/Son Challenge reflects the philanthropic values we share with the PGA Tour and the golf community, as well as our focus on strong relationships,” said Bill Demchak, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The PNC Financial Services Group. “As PNC Bank continues to expand its footprint, the PNC Father/Son tournament helps us gain visibility with new audiences and to strengthen the relationships we enjoy today with more than 8 million retail, wealth, and corporate and institutional banking customers across the country.”

“NBC Sports is extremely proud of our heritage as co-founder for the Father/Son Challenge, one of golf’s most special events that closes out the calendar year on the golf schedule,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports. “Our relationship with PNC Bank elevates this event each year as a must-attend and must-see event for players and fans alike, and we look forward to our continued relationship with PNC Bank for years to come.”

Past winners of the PNC Father/Son Challenge include some of the biggest names in golf including Raymond Floyd (1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001), Jack Nicklaus (1999), Bernhard Langer (2005-06, 2014), Davis Love III (2012) and David Duval (2016).  Masters champion Angel Cabrera and his son, Angel Cabrera Jr. captured the 2017 title.

To qualify for the PNC Father/Son Challenge, participants must have won either a major championship or THE PLAYERS Championship in their career. The professional’s partner must not currently hold a Tour card, and while the majority of partners in the history of the event have been the sons of the golf legends, the family-themed tournament has seen daughters, grandsons and one father – Justin Leonard’s dad, Larry – participate over the years.

The PNC Father/Son Challenge is operated in partnership by IMG and NBC Sports.

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Fire damages National Golf Links of America clubhouse

By Will GrayApril 19, 2018, 12:55 pm

A fire broke out Wednesday at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y., causing "extensive damage" to a portion of the historic course's clubhouse.

According to a 27East.com report, an initial call was made to the Southampton police department about a fire on the roof of the clubhouse at 11:34 a.m. With the club's gates too narrow to fit a fire truck through, more than 100 firefighters from various departments helped douse the flames by transporting water up a hill to the east side of the clubhouse.

The fire was reportedly extinguished by 2:30 p.m., with no injuries requiring medical attention. According to a Golf Digest report, the club was undergoing construction on its outdoor eating area known as "the Birdcage" and that most of the club's historical documents reside on the opposite end of the clubhouse from where the fire broke out and was contained.

Opened in 1911, National Golf Links of America was designed by C.B. MacDonald and hosted the inaugural Walker Cup in 1922. The biennial matches returned in 2013 to NGLA, which is often rated among the top courses in the U.S. and sits adjacent to Shinnecock Hills, site of this summer's U.S. Open.