About half of the tournaments on the PGA Tour are played on courses that are accessible to the public, whether they are truly municipal or there is availability to golfers who wish to play at the venue. Although they might be expensive, TPC courses and those located at resort locations don’t require memberships and are readily available for play, especially with a bit of planning.
Of the more than 20 publicly accessible layouts, four tracks especially stand out primarily for their historical significance and iconic holes or vistas associated with the courses.
While others could undoubtedly have been included on this list, you can’t go wrong by finding a way to get a starting time on these standout courses.
Torrey Pines Golf Courses
This golf complex that is the home of the Farmers Insurance Open is owned and operated by San Diego County, with preference given to local residents, but it’s really the quintessential public golf course facility that is unique on the PGA Tour.
The North and South courses are both used for the annual Tour event, but the South has also been the site of two U.S. Open Championships, most famously for Tiger Woods’ 2008 victory in a playoff over Rocco Mediate.
The courses offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean as well as changes in elevation that provide a wonderful golfing experience. The South Course is the more difficult of the two layouts, a good thing to take into consideration when making plans to book a tee time at Torrey Pines.
Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course
Although it’s possible to get on these courses that are two of the three used for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the best way to gain access is to book a resort stay at one of the Pebble Beach resorts. Pebble Beach is one of, if not the most, recognizable course in the United States and perhaps the world, making it a bucket list location for almost every golfer with a pulse.
Holes four through ten along with the 17th and 18th holes provide outstanding vistas of Stillwater Cove and the Pacific Ocean beyond, many of which have been made famous through the television coverage of both the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the multiple U.S. Opens played at the venue.
TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course
The home of The Players Championship and the headquarters of the PGA Tour is the home of perhaps the most famous single hole in tournament golf, with the island green on the par-three 17th hole serving as the focal point of NBC’s annual coverage of the Players.
What is lost on television is also the genius of designer Pete Dye, who initially mapped out the course on a cocktail napkin in the mid-1970s with then-commissioner Deane Beman.
Harbour Town Golf Links
Another Pete Dye design is on Hilton Head Island and is dominated by his iconic railroad ties, with the red and white striped lighthouse looming over the home of the RBC Heritage, which follows the Masters Tournament on the Tour schedule.
While Harbour Town Golf Links is joined on Hilton Head by 32 other courses, it is by far the most famous on the island and another bucket list must for serious golfers.