best in state
The best golf courses in Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is such a central city in the development of golf course architecture in the U.S. there's a subset of history known as the "Philadelphia School of Architecture." Even though it's not an actual school and there's no unified, transferrable philosophy behind it, it does denote an impressive collection of architects who all have roots here and built courses thoughout the surrounding region: George Thomas, William Flynn, Hugh Wilson and A.W. Tillinghast, namely. Six of the state's top 10 courses are in Philadelphia's suburbs.
There's no Pittsburgh School of Architecture, but it too is an important and golf-rich metropolis. Oakmont, the state's top course and the fifth-ranked course on America's 100 Greatest Courses is there, as are Fox Chapel and Longue Vue. Laurel Valley in Ligonier is just 60 miles east, and the top public courses in the state, Mystic Rock and Shepherd's Rock, are found 60 miiles south.
Below you'll find our 2023-'24 ranking of the Best Golf Courses in Pennsylvania.
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.
(Parentheses indicate the course's previous ranking.)
Newtown Square, PA
Huntingdon Valley, PA
Clarks Summit, PA
Lafayette Hill, PA
One of my personal favorites from their portfolio is The Old Course at Bedford Springs at The Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pa., where they rescued the resort's 18 holes from an unharnessed floodplain and years of neglect.(The restored Omni Bedford Springs Hotel is worth a sidebar. Built in 1806, it was in 1855 site of the only U.S. Supreme Court session held outside Washington, D.C. The hotel also served as President Buchanan’s summer White House before the Civil War. It's every bit as impressive as the hotel at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.)The Bedford Springs resort boasts that their course was the work of three “architectural masters”: Spencer Oldham, A.W. Tillinghast and Donald Ross. Oldham was no architectural master. He was simply a Baltimore club pro who staked out the first nine in 1898. Tillinghast and Ross were definitely involved at different times, and remnants of both were still evident when I walked the site back in 1997 after the course had been closed and was overgrown. But it looked to have been a mediocre layout, despite that pedigree. It took Forse and Nagle, a decade later, to turn it into a timeless golf design.
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