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pebblebeachBy: Brian Neufeld, Contributor

In Friday’s post, we compiled all of the major golf rankings to find the best nine public golf courses in the Eastern United States to form the front nine of our giant country-sized golf course. Today, we are going to examine the best nine public courses in the Western United States. As alluded to last week, Bandon, Oregon makes four appearances on this list, and all but two courses sit on the Pacific Coast. Let’s get on to the back nine.

Back Nine – West Region

#1. Pebble Beach Del Monte Forest, CA No shock here, Pebble Beach is the ultimate golfing destination for every golfer on the planet. The clear No. 1 in the rankings, every amateur should play this course at least once.

#2. Bandon Dunes (Pacific Dunes) Bandon, OR – The first of four courses from Bandon, Pacific Dunes is far and away the best course on the property and easily ranked higher than Pinehurst in the East.

#3. Bandon Dunes (Bandon Dunes) Bandon, OR – The namesake course of the property, Bandon Dunes has incredible views of the Pacific. This is traditional links golf so you might want to work on your sand game before the trip.

#4. Old Macdonald Bandon, OR – Starting to get redundant isn’t it? I promise the next hole will not be from Bandon. Tom Doak used this course as a tribute to golf course architect Charles Blair Macdonald, not the famous farmer.

#5. Shadow Creek Las Vegas, NV – One of two courses not on the Pacific, Shadow Creek should be a must-hit for any trip to Sin City. Absolutely immaculate course conditions and a masterful design by Fazio keep Shadow Creek near the top of all course rankings.

#6. Bandon Dunes (Bandon Trails) Bandon, OR – The final Bandon course still ranks higher than bigger names later on this list. Ben Crenshaw had a hand in designing Trails and it’s one of the most varied courses at Bandon

#7. Pasatiempo Santa Cruz, CA – Located across Monterey Bay from Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, Pasatiempo was designed by the legendary Alister Mackenzie. Massive bunkers and deceptive greens make this course a challenge for all skill levels.

#8. Spyglass Hill Del Monte Forest, CA – Pebble’s highly popular neighbor, Spyglass Hill is a must-play if heading to Pebble Beach. Consistently rated the toughest course in Northern California you may want to bring an extra sleeve or two.

#9. Gamble Sands Brewster, WA – Located about 3.5 hours east of Seattle, this is our other course not located on the coast. One of the most spectacular designs in the country, it’s worth the journey to this golfing outpost.

America is loaded with incredible golf courses, most of which never appear on any rankings lists anywhere. Obviously we’d all play Augusta given the chance, but there are a number of courses with spectacular designs or PGA conditioning open for public play. While none of us can afford to play these courses on a daily basis taking a trip once every year or two to a highly-ranked course is always a memorable experience, and can help you appreciate the game in ways you can’t at your home course day in and day out. And if you can find a way to play all 18 on this list, you’re living life right.

About the Author: Brian Neufeld

Brian Neufeld’s background includes more than 15 years of experience in golf course management, specializing in agronomy. Brian uses his knowledge of the game and best practices in turf sustention to create informative pieces for’s readers.

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