The 7 best baseball cities for golf
There’s nothing more American than a summer road trip to visit one of baseball’s most iconic ballparks. If we had it our way, though, there’d always be golf involved. If baseball’s being played, it’s golf weather—so we have dialed up the best destinations for visiting a baseball game along with great public golf.
Our unscientific ranking sought out the best, accessible courses close to an MLB stadium. Naturally most of the sites are warm-weather locations, but you might be surprised to know places like Milwaukee would be at the top of our wish list of places we’d visit. It’s tough to beat the public golf in Wisconsin, after all. Circle that one if you get the chance.
It’s a perfect time to consider your next baseball/golf trip for next year during the heart of the MLB playoffs. By the way, you can watch the action on TBS and MAX. You can find a full schedule and more information here.
In terms of convenience, Houston is one of the best MLB cities to play golf, considering two of the best munys in Texas are minutes from downtown and Minute Maid Park. Closer to Bush airport, the Golf Club of Houston’s Tournament course is a Golf Digest Best in State layout and formerly hosted the PGA Tour’s Houston Open, now played at Memorial Park.
6. Dallas/Fort Worth
In this golf matchup of the 2023 ALCS, the Rangers and Dallas/Fort Worth take the slight nod over Houston, considering the number of quality public courses in DFW could fill any itinerary. Naturally, we recommend the Texas Rangers Golf Club, but also consider staying at the Four Seasons in Irving, which will get you access to TPC Las Colinas, host of the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson for 35 years.
From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten: Stevens Park Golf Course, a municipal operation in a revitalized area of Oak Cliff just southwest of downtown Dallas, isn’t exactly a preservation of the past, but a celebration of it. The original design was by a pair of club pros, Jack Burke, father of 1955 Masters champ Jack Burke Jr., and Syd Cooper, father of Lighthorse Harry Cooper, one of those “best players never to have won a major.” The course was built on land donated by Walter A. Stevens and his sister Annie Laurie in memory of their parents, Dr. and Mrs. John H. Stevens.
The Colony, TX
From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten: A decade after golf architect Tripp Davis created one of the finest replica courses in the country, The Tribute Golf Club on the shoreline of Lake Lewisville north of Dallas, he returned and built another 18 adjacent to it called Old American Golf Club. The two have same architect, the same owner, a shared clubhouse and a shared shoreline, but they differ in many respects. The Tribute, a compact core layout with returning nines, duplicates famous British golf holes. Old American, a residential development course laid out in loop design—nine holes out and nine holes back, to maximize holes along the lakefront—was inspired by National Golf Links and Shinnecock Hills, so it also looks linkslike, with some scattered trees. But there are no template holes on this 18. Old American is a Tripp Davis original. As befits a design by one of the more talented golfers among the golf architecture community, it features options and bunkers galore and holes that demand oodles of local knowledge. When it opened in 2010, Tripp told a reporter that Old American was, "the most strategic course I've done." Now over a decade later, I suspect he still feels that way.
5. San Diego
For the 36 holes at Torrey Pines alone, San Diego earns a spot on our ranking of the best baseball cities for golf. About 15 miles up the road from Petco Park, Torrey Pines South is perhaps the most scenic muny in America—and if you’re a San Diego resident, it’s the best value, too. There's plenty of other great courses in the area, including Maderas, a Best in State course, as well as Aviara Golf Club, which hosts an LPGA event each year.
La Jolla, CA
La Jolla, CA
If you’re looking to plan a resort golf trip around an MLB game, it’s hard to beat Tampa and Streamsong, where there are three courses designed by golf’s hottest architects: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner, and Tom Doak. There’s also a new Coore and Crenshaw-designed short course, The Chain, opening in late 2023. For something closer to Tropicana Field, head to Innisbrook Resort and the Copperhead course, the longtime host of the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship.
Bowling Green, FL
Bowling Green, FL
Bowling Green, FL
Palm Harbor, FL
3. San Francisco
Year round, San Francisco delivers golfable weather day after day. The only consideration is where you should play and how much you want to spend. On the high end, of course, are a couple destinations that are a bit of a drive but doable if you want to: Pebble Beach and Silverado. If you have the time and means, you can’t beat the golf off 17 Mile Drive, and if you have the will, there’s a way to do Napa, for sure.
If you want to stay closer to San Francisco, there are still great options. Definitely try to get on Stanford Golf Course, a rare Alister MacKenzie public course that is the home to the men’s and women’s Cardinal golf teams.
Santa Cruz, CA
San Francisco, CA
Wisconsin has quickly become the No. 1 golf destination for those seeking a trip with a depth of great courses. Whistling Straits, Sand Valley, Erin Hills, Lawsonia … you could build a 10-day trip with amazing amenities to go along with unparalleled golf. That’s even without mentioning other quality options like the Grand Geneva Resort, SentryWorld, The Club at Lac La Belle or University Ridge. See, you need at least two weeks to hit them all!
Now you can see why it’s the best golf state for public golfers. The season is just a little short, so we’re giving the edge to Arizona in this ranking!
Green Lake, WI
Aside from the extreme heat of summer months, it’s tough to make a case for any other baseball city as being No. 1 for golf. Phoenix/Scottsdale has so many high-quality public courses spread out nicely throughout the area. Whether you wish to stay in one area or travel throughout the metroplex for the very best golf, you’ll be happy either way.
Of course, if you’re traveling in the peak of the summer, you do need to make sure your tee times are very early. Be off the course by 11 a.m., and you’ll have the ideal day leading into a day at the park. (Side note: Don’t miss Pizzeria Bianco in downtown Phoenix. As a New Yorker, it really is worth going to.)
Fort McDowell, AZ
Don't miss a moment of the rest of the MLB playoffs on TBS and MAX. You can find a full schedule and more information here.
• • •
Explore Golf Digest's recently relaunched Places to Play community, where you can add star ratings and reviews for all the courses you play. We've collected tens of thousands of reviews from our course-ranking panelists to deliver a premium experience, which includes experts' opinions, bonus course photography and videos, plus much more. Check it out here!