Golfweek’s state-by-state public course rankings

Finally getting around to looking at Golfweek’s new state-by-state public course rankings after the publication recently landed in my mailbox.

Let’s start with the Minnesota rankings:

1. Giants Ridge (Quarry)*

2. Wilderness at Fortune Bay*

3. Jewel Golf Club*

4. Meadows at Mystic Lake

5. StoneRidge*

6. Deacon’s Lodge*

7. Dacotah Ridge*

8. The Classic at Madden’s*

9. Rush Creek*

10. Legends Club*

*= a course I have played.

This is the point where I have to add the disclaimer that I am a Golfweek course rater and have, with my ballots, played a role in some of these rankings. I generally find the GW rankings to be very solid. Prior to my days as a rater, I fould the GW public rankings to be key in making good course choices when I was on the road.

My thoughts:

Apparently there’s a course I need to check out: I have heard mixed reviews of the Meadows at Mystic Lake to be honest. Nobody has said that it is terrible, but some people I know have described it as average. Others have indicated that some of the money on extras could have been spent on the golf course. But I’ve also heard good things. A friend who I believe is a clear thinker said it is really good and that I would like it. These GW rankings also raise my interest. It doesn’t immediately move to the top of the to-do list, but I’ll make an effort to get there before the end of 2011.

The top two are correct: I think a case can be made for both The Quarry and The Wilderness to be named as the best public course in the state. But I think they are the only true contenders. The two courses — which are only about 30 minutes apart — are both very, very good. The greater Biwabik metro area is clearly the best destination for public golf in the state.

How big of a Jewel is it?  I have played The Jewel in Lake City, but it has been several years. I also played there shortly after the place opened. And when I say shortly, I mean only days after opening. It is probably time for a return visit five or so years later.

Some non-Minnesota notes:

– Troy Burne is ranked No. 7 in Wisconsin, ahead of Blackwolf Run (Meadows Valley), University Ridge and SentryWorld.

– Was pleased to see The Harvester remain as the top-ranked public course in Iowa. I think it is a wonderful Keith Foster course (with the exception of perhaps one tee shot).

And in case anybody cares, here are the courses on the lists that I have played:

Alabama: 4. Capstone Club; 6. Grand National (Lake); 9. Grand National (Links)

Arizona: 1. We-Ko-Pa (Saguaro); 2. Troon North (Monument); 5. TPC Scottsdale (Stadium); 13. Grayhawk (Raptor); 18. Golf Club of Estrella; 20. Wigwam (Gold).

Florida: 5. Sugarloaf Mountain

Hawaii: 1. Kapaula (Plantation); 8. Wailea (Gold)

Illinois: 1. Cog Hill No. 4; 2. The Glen Club; 8. Pine Meadow; 14. Shepherd’s Crook

Indiana: 3. The Fort; 4. Harrison Hills; 7. Brickyard Crossing; 8. Purgatory; 10. The Trophy Club

Iowa: 1. The Harvester; 5. Tournament Club of Iowa.

Kentucky: 4. Lassing Pointe

Maine: 2. Sugarloaf Mountain; 5. Belgrade Lakes

Michigan: 13. Eagle Eye at Hawk Hollow

Mississippi: 7. The Bridges at Hollywood Casino

New Mexico: 1. Paa-Ko Ridge

North Carolina: 1. Pinehurst No. 2; 2. Pine Needles; 4. Tobacco Road; 5. Mid Pines

Ohio: 5. Shaker Run

Oregon: 7. Pumpkin Ridge (Ghost Creek)

Tennessee: 4. Hermitage

Texas: 12. Texas Star

Wisconsin: 3. Lawsonia (Links); 6. The Bull at Pinehurst Farms; 7. Troy Burne

6 thoughts on “Golfweek’s state-by-state public course rankings

  1. Ryan

    Meadows is pretty good….definitely worth the $49 twilight rate. Surprised to see The Classic at 8. I’d put that in my top 3.

    Have not played the Jewel but may have to change that soon.

    1. Jeff

      I don’t know enough about The Meadows to have an opinion. I just would not have bet any money that it would end up as GW’s highest ranked Twin Cities course. And maybe we should take a run to Lake City.

  2. Wow, you have played a lot more nationally than I have… 🙂

    I am obviously biased about the northern courses, but overall I think the MN list is pretty solid too. There are two I haven’t played (Jewel and Deacon’s Lodge) and there are a few past regulars missing (The Legend at Giants Ridge, The WIlds, The Preserve). As for Meadows, I’ve played it a lot and really enjoy the whole experience. Disclaimer: I’ve known both Paul Miller and Garrett Gill for a long time and love all of their big designs (Willingers, Legends Club, etc.).

    We were disappointed to swap places with the Quarry this year (which I’ve only played once), but I have a feeling the Giants Ridge courses may drop as money to maintain them becomes harder and harder to get. Same thing happened at Superior National too, IMO. At least we have the slot machines to subsidize the golf course…

    Cheers, DK

    1. Jeff


      I used to travel tons for my job, so that is part of it. For example, I played Texas Star, a good Keith Foster in suburban Dallas, went back to my hotel to clean up and then went to the Ballpark at Arlington to cover Twins-Rangers.

      Of the three you mentioned that dropped out, I don’t love any of them. They are all fine, but none of them are all that special.

  3. Pat Craig

    Interesting stuff…there are a few courses missing from the list that I think were probably hurt by a lack of rater visits, meaning they weren’t able to be ranked.

    Well, at least these ranking aren’t nearly as bizzare as GD’s state-by-state lists just posted…

  4. Dan Kelly

    Played the Meadows once. Wasn’t tempted to return. Might have to, now, to see who’s clueless: GolfWeek, or me! That’s at best (from my point of view) an even-money proposition ….

    If I play it again, and think that the Meadows belongs above The Classic or StoneRidge, I’ll eat a heapin’ helpin’ of crow.

    Then again, I’m not a big fan of Willingers, The Legends, Inver Wood — though each of those courses has holes I liked a lot.

    I like The Jewel. I don’t know where it should rank, because I don’t believe in ranking golf courses, but it deserves praise, I think.

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