Best in State

The best golf courses in Oklahoma

When thinking of Oklahoma golf, it's hard not to think of Perry Maxwell. The Oklahoma native was one of the great golf course architects of the 1920s and '30s, and was arguably the most successful designer working through the Great Depression. He designed over 30 courses in the state, including a handful with his son, Press, and five of those make this year's ranking, beginning with his landmark design at Southern Hills in Tulsa, host of numerous major championships (the 2022 PGA Championship being the latest) and occupant of the top spot in Oklahoma since we've published state rankings. His most personal course, however, is Dornick Hills, entering the list at number 13. It was Maxwell's first venture into architecture, built on family land, and the subject of numerous revisions over the years.

Below you'll find our 2023-'24 ranking of the Best Golf Courses in Oklahoma.

We urge you to click through to each individual course page for bonus photography, drone footage and reviews from our course panelists. Plus, you can now leave your own ratings on the courses you’ve played … to make your case why your favorite should be ranked higher. 

1. (1) Southern Hills Country Club
Gary Kellner/PGA of America/Getty Images
Private
1. (1) Southern Hills Country Club
Tulsa, OK, United States
4.8
182 Panelists
A product of the Great Depression and constructed by hundreds of workers who stood at the gate each morning hoping for a 25-cents-per-hour job that day, Southern Hills is architect Perry Maxwell’s great achievement. Nearly every hole bends left or right, posing critical tee shots that must risk something. The putting surfaces have the classic “Maxwell Rolls,” and most are guarded by simple yet effective bunkers. During the summer of 2018, architect Gil Hanse and crew rebuilt much of the course, in the process re-establishing Maxwell’s distinctive, gnarly edged bunkering and reconstructing the green shoulders that had been built up over the years.
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2. (2) Oak Tree National
Mike Klemme/Courtesy of Oak Tree National
Private
2. (2) Oak Tree National
Edmond, OK, United States
4.6
116 Panelists
Oak Tree National was originally the men’s-only Oak Tree Golf Club, with 18 holes patterned after previous Dye designs (the par-3 eighth, for example, was a close cousin to his 17th at Harbour Town, complete with a basket trap on the back left). It has long been considered one of Pete Dye’s sternest tests of golf, a hilly layout with numerous water hazards and deep bunkers protecting some very tiny greens, as well as gusting Oklahoma winds and gnarly Bermudagrass rough. It’s been a PGA Tour Champions fixture in recent years, hosting the 2006 Senior PGA Championship and the 2014 Senior U.S. Open. Recent touch-ups by Tripp Davis have kept Dye's architeture sharp.
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3. (3) Karsten Creek Golf Club
Gary Lawson/Courtesy of the club
Public
3. (3) Karsten Creek Golf Club
Stillwater, OK
Karsten Creek opened in 1994, but it’s Tom Fazio’s newest addition to the national rankings. A former winner of Golf Digest's Best New Public Course title in 1994, the course was developed by Oklahoma State University and thus often appears toward the top of rankings of the best collegiate courses in America. The first nine holes run out and back through a tightly wooded valley with slender fairways and modestly sized greens that demand extreme accuracy. The topography opens slightly more on the second nine as the holes gradually work their way toward the edge of a reservoir, finishing with a par 5 that plays across the water before running along the shoreline toward the green. Though known as a course designed for high caliber players, there’s also admirable restraint in the architecture with less than 50 bunkers as Fazio allowed the site’s forests and tumbling ground contour handle the defense.
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4. (4) The Patriot Golf Club
Private
4. (4) The Patriot Golf Club
Owasso, OK, United States
4.5
63 Panelists
Coming on the heels of their acclaimed Chambers Bay in Washington State, The Patriot was a major changeup for architects Robert Trent Jones II and Bruce Charlton. Rather then molding a course from sand on a rectangular gravel mine next to Puget Sound, The Patriot was cut from a massive and heavily forested property northeast of Tulsa. The ecclectic topography sliding up and down over ravines and wetlands offered an enticing opportunity to employ it in bold ways, and the design evolved into an aggressive engagement of land and turf. Creeks are used to bisect numerous fairiways, landing zones expand and contract between 30 and 80 yards, greens are buffeted by bunkers and streambeds and there are even alternate par-3 sixth holes, a tactic Jones also used at The Raven at Sandestini in Florida.
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5. (8) Oak Tree Country Club East Course
Private
5. (8) Oak Tree Country Club East Course
Edmond, OK, United States
0
24 Panelists
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6. (6) Jimmie Austin Golf Club at The University of Oklahoma
4.2
48 Panelists
Originally designed by Perry Maxwell and opened a year before is death in 1952, this home to the University of Oklahoma golf team has received several modern-day touch ups, the latest in 2017 by architect Tripp Davis, an OU grad and member of the 1989 National Championship golf team. Davis relocated tee boxes, shifted three fairways significantly, relocated five greens, lengthened the courses and redesigned all bunkers. He also added a four-hole Short Course.
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7. (5) Cedar Ridge Country Club
Private
7. (5) Cedar Ridge Country Club
Broken Arrow, OK, United States
3.8
46 Panelists
Built in the late 1960s by Texas-based architect Joe Finger, Cedar Ridge was a member of America's 100 Greatest Courses from 1977 until 1985. It's a smartly routed course courses that efficiently works into and out of the property's corners, moving up and down gentle slopes. Over time, many of the bunkers had softened and taken on circular and oval shapes, not unlike those at nearby Southern Hills before that course's restoration in 2019. University of Oklahoma graduate Tripp Davis gave Cedar Ridge a similar treatment in 2016 and 2017, restyling the bunkers with mroe shapely edges, rebuildiing tees and greens and removing dozens of unnecessarily planted trees. Now in its seventh decade, the design feels fresh, purposeful and engaging.
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8. (7) Tulsa Country Club
Private
8. (7) Tulsa Country Club
Tulsa, OK, United States
Tulsa Country Club was designed in the late 1910s by famed architect A.W. Tillinghast, one of just two courses in Oklahoma with this pedigree. Now located in a neighborhood not far northwest of downtown (it was countryside when first built), the design doesn't have much Tillinghast left in it after years of remodels, including one in the 1980s by the late Jay Morrish and another in 2010 by Rees Jones. Though more modern in appearance today than its vintage might indicate and in need of continued tree removal, Tulsa is finely conditioned course full of mild doglegs and elevated greens set above inset bunkers.
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9. (NR) Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club
Private
9. (NR) Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club
Oklahoma City, OK, United States
4
44 Panelists
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10. (NR) The Golf Club of Oklahoma
Private
10. (NR) The Golf Club of Oklahoma
Broken Arrow, OK, United States
4.4
28 Panelists
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11. (NR) Hillcrest Country Club
Courtesy of the club
Private
11. (NR) Hillcrest Country Club
Bartlesville, OK
4.3
32 Panelists
According to writer and historian Chris Clouser, Perry Maxwell got the commission to design Hillcrest in northeastern Oklahoma in 1926 by underbidding A.W. Tillinghast and Walter Travis, the club's first choices. It can be considered the final course of his early period before he began working nationally and teaming with Alister MacKenzie. Like all Maxwell designs, the routing tackles the slopes of the property from every angle, presenting players his uphil, downhill and cross-slope stances. The course--considered a hidden gem by Maxwell enthusiasts--is full of other tells from the archtiect, including wild internal putting contours, constant doglegs, a calm lay-of-the-land presentation and frequent to-and-fro forays to the clubhouse.
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13. (NR) Dornick Hills Golf & Country Club
Dornick Hills was the first course Perry Maxwell built, and is the course where he tinkered and honed his architectural chops while switching careers to golf design (he was previously in banking). It was his home course as he lived on property and owned the land it's built on, and the design retains a charming, experimental rough-edged character that's been polished out of other courses like Southern Hills and Colonial, as fine as they are, through endless rounds of investment and improvement. Over the decades, Dornick Hills, in the southern part of the state near the Texas border, rarely had the resources to invest in upgrades, so it still feels (and plays) like it might have in the 1920s and 30s. Nevertheless, it remains a fine, extraordinarily distinctive collections of early Maxwell holes on a unique proprety that features one of golf's great holes, the par-5 16th with a green on top of a 40-foot high sheer cliff wall. Tom Doak and his team at Renaissance Golf renovated the course in 2021, clearing brush and trying to imitate the putting contours that Maxwell originally built, though no existing plans remain for what those might have looked like. How close they got will never be known, but their work and the overall setting make Dornick Hills a must-see museum piece for fans of Maxwell and classical era architeicture.
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14. (9) Gaillardia Country Club
Private
14. (9) Gaillardia Country Club
Oklahoma City, OK
3.9
35 Panelists
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15. (NR) Oaks Country Club
Private
15. (NR) Oaks Country Club
Tulsa, OK, United States
One of just two courses in Oklahoma to bear the imprimatur of A.W. Tillinghast (he remodeled it around 1925), Oaks Country Club was renovated again by Bill Bergin in 2015 with an eye toward preserving the Tilly character. The holes are laid out over a spacious property south of the city, and unlike Tulsa C.C., Tillinghast's other Oklahoma design, Oaks feels old and rich with character with small, sloping greens and simple bunkers that match the scale of the site.
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