BEST OF LIST: Top courses to host collegiate events
14 Sep 2022
by Sean Melia of

Seminole Golf Club (Credit: USGA/ Fred Vuich)
Seminole Golf Club (Credit: USGA/ Fred Vuich)

Every golfer has a bucket list of courses they’d like to play. Some are once in a lifetime, others might be just down the street, but we’re always seeking out new, exciting courses to play.

College golf offers the best and brightest amateurs opportunities to play some of the best public and private golf courses in the country. As a bonus, they get to compete alongside their teammates and create lifelong memories.

With college golf taking center stage this week with the playing of The Blessings Intercollegiate, the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational, the Windy City Classic and the Barbara Nicklaus Cup, here's our list of some of the top courses in the nation that open their doors to help grow the game of golf on the collegiate level.

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You’ll Need to Know Someone

Course: Old Town Club
Tournament: Old Town Club Collegiate
Host: Wake Forest
Dates: Sept: 26-27, 2022

Lanny Wadkins said that Old Town Club is “one of the best proving grounds in the world for serious young golfers.”

The heaving landscape befits terrain suited to oceanside golf, not Winston, North Carolina. Quinn Thompson, famed shaper for Coore and Crenshaw said, “Of all the land I've had the privilege of drumming on, Old Town may be the most interesting. If there's a Lord, he surely pegs one up here every Sunday, whether we know it or not.”

Course: Yeaman’s Hall
Tournament: Cougar Classic
Host: College of Charlestown
Dates: Sept. 12-13, 2022

Seth Raynor touched Charleston with two special designs - CC of Charleston and Yeaman’s Hall. Yeaman’s Hall is considered a “time capsule in Charleston” as it has preserved classic golf and southern charm. It’s uber private, so having an opportunity to play this top 100 classic golf course is pretty special.

Course: Meadow Club
Tournament: Juli Inkster Meadow Club Collegiate
Host: San Jose State Univ
Dates: March 6-7, 2023

Alister MacKenzie's first course in America highlights his genius; meandering creeks, subtle elevation changes, and broad vistas challenge players to hit the right shots while trying to block out the calm, beautiful scenery.

Meadow Club (Credit: DeVries Designs)

Course: Seminole Golf Club
Tournament: Stephens Cup
Dates: Oct. 10-12, 2022

Esteemed Seminole Golf Club will serve as the host for the Stephens Cup, a combined event featuring some of the top men's and women's teams in the nation. Joining host Arkansas in the men's field will be Florida State, North Carolina, defending champion Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, reigning NCAA champion Texas and Stanford, along with six individuals. The women's field is stacked with Arkansas, Duke, LSU, Stanford, South Carolina, USC, and Wake Forest. GOLF Channel will provide live three-day coverage from Seminole.

Course: Maidstone
Tournament: Hamptons Invitational
Host: Loyola of Maryland
Dates: Oct 3-4, 2022

Set out in East Hampton, NY, Maidstone is a stunning course on the Gardiner Peninsula. The small greens make the 6,400 yard course harder than one might think. Add in the wind off the Atlantic Ocean, and players in the Hamptons Invitational will have their hands full.

Course: Prairie Dunes
Tournament: Big 12 Championship
Dates: April 3-4, 2023

Prairie Dunes was a true father-son undertaking. When Perry Maxwell walked the 480-acre property in 1935 he said, “There are 118 holes here, and all I have to do is eliminate 100.” In 1937, Maxwell unveiled nine of those holes. 20 years later, Press Maxwell, Perry’s son, designed another nine. The Nebraska sand dunes are perfect for links-style golf.

• • • • •

Major Hosts and PGA Tour Stops

Course: Colonial Country Club
Tournament: Ben Hogan Invitational
Dates: October 3-4, 2022

Colonial Country is the longest continuous host course on the PGA Tour. Some of the best college teams will take on the Horrible Horseshoe, which is made up of hole Nos. 3-5, in October. The course was built by Marvin Leonard. He asked John Bredemus and Perry Maxwell for designs, and Leonard ultimately used those designs to route Colonial. The course's challenge comes from the small greens and narrow corridors, which make up for the lack of length.

Course: Muirfield Village Golf Club
Tournament: Barbara Nicklaus Cup
Host: Ohio State University
Dates: Oct. 3-4, 2022

The Ohio State women's team hosts the 2022 Barbara Nicklaus Cup at the famed Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Muirfield Village annually hosts The Memorial and has hosted several national championships and international team competitions, including the 1992 U.S. Amateur, 1987 Ryder Cup, the 1998 Solheim Cup, the 1986 U.S. Junior Amateur and the 2013 Presidents Cup.

Course: Olympia Fields North Course
Tournament: Fighting Illini Invitational
Host: University of Illinois
Dates: September 16-18, 2022

The 2003 U.S. Open venue was designed by Willie Park Jr. in 1923. Even with his deep resume of golf courses: Sunningdale and Maidenhead as two examples, Park Jr. said of the North Course (which was called Course 4), "I have examined thousands of places adaptable for the ideal golf course, both in Europe and America, but I have never seen a more natural setting for a championship course. I am satisfied now that your number IV course is the equal of any golf course I have ever seen and I know of none that is superior, either in beauty or natural terrain."

Course: Olympic Club - Lake Course
Tournament: Olympic Club Intercollegiate and Women's Olympic Club Intercollegiate
Host: University of San Francisco
Men's Dates: September 12-13
Women's Dates: September 11-12, 2022

Olympic’s Lake Course has hosted both the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens over the last decade. It’s hard to believe that it sits completely inside of San Francisco’s city limits given the stunning views, tree-lined fairways, and rollicking slopes.

Olympic Club (Credit: Jim Young)
Course: Pebble Beach
Tournament: Women's Carmel Cup
Dates: September 2-4, 2022

Access to Pebble Beach requires planning and some serious budgeting. However, college golfers competing in the Carmel Cup, hosted by Wake Forest on the men’s side and Mississippi State on the women’s side, have three competitive rounds to take in the sites while competing against some of the best opponents in college golf.

Course: Chambers Bay
Tournament: Seattle Univ. Invite
Host: Seattle University
Dates: April 3-4, 2023

The 2015 U.S. Open host provides dramatic views as players negotiate massive slopes and hills on the public course. Most recently, Chambers Bay was the scene of Saki Baba's dominant U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur victory in August. Among the courses on this prestigious list, Chambers Bay is one of the most accessible and affordable.

Course: TPC Harding Park
Tournament: The Goodwin
Host: Stanford
Dates: March 30-April 1, 2023

This municipal course in San Francisco was built in 1925. In 2005 it underwent a massive renovation that brought it into the international spotlight as a host of the President's Cup and PGA Championship. The course sits on Lake Merced and is lined by massive cypress trees. Golf legends Ken Venturi and Johnny Miller played a lot of their junior golf at Harding Park.

Course: Pinehurst #2
Tournament: Wake Forest Invitational
Host: Wake Forest
Dates: March 6-7, 2023

A bucket list destination for any golfer, Pinehurst #2 is home to the Wake Forest Invitational. A past and future home to USGA events, including the US Men’s and Women’s Opens. Pinehurst #2 is best known for Donald Ross’ turtleback greens, built to highlight the best chippers and putters. However, it also shines a light on the most strategic players, like Martin Kaymer who won the 2014 US Open by missing in the proper places and putting his ball beautifully both from the fringe and on the green.

Pinehurst #2 (Credit: Sean Melia)
Course: Silverado Resort (North Course)
Tournament: Silverado Showdown
Co-Host: Oregon and Colorado
Dates: April 3-4, 2023

The North Course at Silverado Resort kicks off the PGA Tour every year in September with the playing of the Fortinet Championship. In April, Oregon and Colorado invite college teams to take their shot at the resort course in the heart of Wine Country. Johnny Miller's design is an oak-lined challenge with water and elevation changes. Add in the Napa Valley scenery and it's hard to beat.

Course: CordeValle Golf Golf Club
Tournament: Battle of the Bay
Host: San Jose State Univ
Dates: March 21, 2023

The luxury resort course which played host to the 2016 U.S. Women's Open hosts a showdown between two outstanding women's programs when Stanford and San Jose play the Robert Trent Jones Jr. course. The views are stunning, with stately oaks in a valley surrounded by golden foothills. CordeValle Golf Club is revered as one of the best semi-private resort courses in the country and has hosted several PGA Tours and USGA events.

Course: East Lake Golf Club
Tournament:The East Lake Cup
Host: Georgia Tech
Dates: Oct. 24-26, 2022

Located in Atlanta, Ga., East Lake Golf Club is the home course of legendary golfer Bobby Jones and is the oldest golf course in the city of Atlanta. Since 2005, East Lake has been the permanent home of the TOUR Championship, the culminating event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedEx Cup, with only the top 30 players on the points list qualifying each year. It also serves as the host site for the East Lake Cup, a combined men's and women's event modeled after the NCAA Golf Championships. The format consists of an opening round of stroke play to crown an individual male and female champion and determine seeding for the following two days of match play competition. The men's field will feature defending NCAA Champion Texas, runner-up Arizona State along with semifinalists Vanderbilt and Pepperdine. The women's field consists of national finalist Oregon and semifinalist Texas A&M along with quarterfinalists Auburn and UCLA. GOLF Channel will provide live, three-day coverage from historic East Lake.

• • • • •

Bucket List Public Gems

Course: Pasatiempo Golf Club
Men's Tournament: Western Intercollegiate
Host: San Jose State
Dates: April 10-12, 2022

Women's Tournament: UC Santa Cruz vs. CSUMB
Host: UC Santa Cruz
Dates: September 21, 2022

This semi-private gem in Santa Cruz, Calif. was designed by Alister Mackenzie. The designer of Augusta National and Cypress Point also made his home on the sixth hole at Pasatiempo, which he said was his favorite layout among the courses he designed in his illustrious career. The Western Intercollegiate has been played at Pasatiempo for the last 65 years. The course boasts challenging green sites that repel approach shots and make putting and chipping a priority. It famously finishes with a par 3.

Course: TPC Sawgrass
Tournament: SEA Best Invitational
Host: Jacksonville State
Dates: Jan 30-31, 2023

It would cost $600 to play TPC Sawgrass in January. The Players Championship host course is one of the hardest courses in the country. The Pete and Alice Dye design is known for its tough tee shots and omnipresent water, which comes into play on the closing three holes and provides all kinds of drama.

Course: Bandon Dunes
Tournament: Bandon Dunes Championship
University of Idaho
Dates: March 12-14, 2023

The newest course at one of the best golf destinations in the world, the Sheep Ranch sits on the northern end of the property and was a Big Foot in the golfing world for quite some time. It was once a nine-hole, rugged golf course that not many had laid eyes on. Designers Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw came in and renovated the course, making it 18 holes along the Pacific Ocean, comparable to the four other championship courses at Bandon.

Bandon Dunes (Credit: Bandon Dunes Golf Prins)

Honorable Mention

Inverness Club (Inverness Intercollegiate)
Trinity Forest (Trinity Forest Invitational)
Wild Horse (Nebraska Jr. College Classic)
Innisbrook - Copperhead (Copperhead Championship)
The Preserve Golf Club (Cal Poly Invitational)
Mid Pines Golf Club (Ross Collegiate Classic)
Maridoe Golf Club (Women's Texas Intercollegiate)
Fox Chapel Golf Club (Womens' Big Ten Championship)
Yale Golf Course (MacDonald Cup)

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