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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Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:35 pm

There’s was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.

“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”

While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.

When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”

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Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:

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Davies takes 2-shot lead into final round of Senior LPGA

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 2:00 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.

In slightly warmer weather on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, the 55-year-old Davies played bogey-free over the last 11 holes and was at 6-under 138. Brandi Burton had a 66, the best score of the tournament, and was two shots behind.

Silvia Cavalleri (69) and Jane Crafter (71) were three shots behind at 141.

Juli Inkster, who was one shot behind Davies starting the second round, shot 80 to fall 11 shots behind.

''I had a couple of bogeys early on, but I didn't panic,'' Davies said. ''I'm playing with a bit of confidence now and that's good to have going into the final round.''

Davies already won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open this summer at Chicago Golf Club.

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Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."