There’s nothing like playing a course for the first time and being truly wowed. And when that course just so happens to be publicly accessible, cue the trumpets! Once you’ve found a gem like that, you blessedly don’t have to wait for an invitation or special connection to play it again — you can go back as many times as your budget and schedule will allow.

Below are the eight most impressive public courses that our staffers played for the first time in 2019, and if you start feeling a little jealous of their rounds, remember that you, too, are only a tee time away from the same experience.

Rush Creek Golf Club, Maple Grove, Minn.

I finally played Rush Creek in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis, and it was every bit as good as advertised. It’s a public course with a private feel — minus all the stuffiness. It’s beautifully manicured and makes you hit all of the shots, although some aren’t that easy to pull off. And when you’re not dealing with narrow driving windows, slopey greens with tight run-off areas or the several holes with water staring you in the face, you’re often trying to manage the tricky wind situation. But it’s an amazing experience and comes at a pretty good price (anywhere between $59-119) for golfers looking to play 18 different and enjoyable golf holes. Better yet, it also has a short course, The Mac Nine, which is still less than 10 years old. —Josh Berhow


Read the full Golf Magazine article here.