124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2



Courses

The best golf courses in Texas

For a state of its size and population, Texas underperforms when it comes to great courses. At present, only four courses reside in the 100 Greatest and Second 100 Greatest ranking. Sixteen other states boast more, including California (21), New York (17), Florida (12), New Jersey and North Carolina (10), and South Carolina (9).

But what it lacks in greatness, Texas makes up in depth with 40 qualifying courses earning cumulative scores of over 53.16 in Golf Digest's scoring categories. The top end is about to get stronger as well, with the East and West Fields Ranch courses at PGA Frisco opening earlier this year and The Covey at Big Easy Ranch (by Whispering Pines architect Chet Williams) opening later in 2023, plus Red Feather, by Rob Collins and Tad King, coming online later.

A handful of proposed new courses and major remodels from architects like Tom Doak and Andrew Green should also elevate the trajectory of great golf in the Lone Star State down the road.

Below you'll find our 2023-'24 ranking of the Best Golf Courses in Texas. If you're interested in the best public options, check out our collection of the best courses you can play in Texas.

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) Whispering Pines Golf Club
Private
1. (1) Whispering Pines Golf Club
Trinity, TX, United States
4.7
172 Panelists
Corby Robertson, who made a fortune in coal reserves, staked out the Whispering Pines course in the early 1990s, then brought Texas-based golf architect Chet Williams (at the time a design associate of Jack Nicklaus) to help him create strategies through bunkering and green contours. Williams refined the rough-hewn routing cut through east Texas piney woods into a dazzling romp across a gently rolling landscape, culminating in a final six-hole stretch along gator-infested Caney Creek and the headwaters of Lake Livingston. Whispering Pines continues to rise in the rankings since its debut at No. 75 in 2013 as the club continues to make renovations, which has included tweaking greens, moving tee boxes and replacing its fairways with Zoysiagrass.
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2. (2) Dallas National Golf Club
4.4
171 Panelists
It occupies some of the best golfing terrain in the Dallas Metroplex—rugged hills dotted with cedars—yet Tom Fazio still indulged in considerable shifting of earth when creating Dallas National. The par-3 17th, for instance, is countersunk into an excavated box canyon of rock, while a deep ravine in front of the 18th green was filled in to lessen the difficulty of the approach for average players. Major championship golf will return to the Dallas area in 2027 when the PGA Championship will be held at the newly-opened PGA Frisco site wiith course's built by Gil Hanse/Jim Wagner and Beau Welling, but Dallas National members feel they already have a course worthy of the task.
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3. (3) Bluejack National
Private
3. (3) Bluejack National
Montgomery, TX, United States

Many who’ve played Bluejack National have commented on its resemblance to Augusta National, particularly at the par-3 12th, which plays over water to a shallow diagonal green backed by a pair of bunkers. While some suspect this is Tiger’s homage to the 12th at Augusta National, where he has won five Masters, it could be based on the 12th at Muirfield Village, where Tiger has won eight times. Nonetheless, Bluejack is most likely an ode to Augusta. At the course opening, Tiger told reporters, “When I visited the site for the first time, I was blown away. It’s definitely not the kind of site that comes to mind when you think of Houston. The terrain features a number of elevation changes and lots of tall, mature trees, more like something you would find in Georgia.”

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4. (5) Preston Trail Golf Club
Private
4. (5) Preston Trail Golf Club
Dallas, TX
4.6
25 Panelists
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4. (5) Colonial Country Club
Private
4. (5) Colonial Country Club
Fort Worth, TX, United States
We give credit to Texas golf historian Frances G. Trimble for establishing the fact that Perry Maxwell, not John Bredemus, originally designed Colonial Country Club for Fort Worth businessman Marvin Leonard. Both architects submitted routings. Maxwell’s was used, while Bredemus supervised construction. Colonial sported the first bent-grass greens in Texas when it opened in 1936. In 1939, the USGA awarded Colonial its 1941 U.S. Open, the first ever in Texas, so Leonard brought Maxwell back to toughen the course. He added 56 bunkers and created the present par-3 fourth and par-4 fifth (two of the famed Horrible Horseshoe trio of holes) and a par-3 13th (since replaced following a 1968 rechanneling of the Trinity River). Keith Foster’s 2008 restoration wasn’t to everyone’s satisfaction. In 2023, Gil Hanse and his team will perform a complete restoration of the Maxwell design, giving it a similar treatment to the one they gave Maxwell's Southern Hills in 2018.
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6. (20) Brook Hollow Golf Club
Private
6. (20) Brook Hollow Golf Club
Dallas, TX
4.5
61 Panelists
Time, and previous renovations, tend to shrink and constrict golf courses. The mission of this remodel by architect Keith Foster was to return Brook Hollow’s worn features to a better iteration of its first-generation A.W. Tillinghast design. Foster achieved magnificent results by accentuating the pedestal-like greens and bringing back their squared-off edges, installing steep-faced bunkers (as opposed to their previously flashed faces) and re-introducing several of Tillinghast's “great hazard” sand wastelands on holes like the par-5 15th.
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7. (6) Trinity Forest Golf Club
Private
7. (6) Trinity Forest Golf Club
Dallas, TX
4
110 Panelists
Once a drab, treeless, 165-acre tabletop city dump perched above the tree-lined Trinity River, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw transformed it into one of the most interesting designs in modern architercture. When Coore first saw the site, he ignored the abandoned refrigerators and scattered tires to focus on the flow of the land. It was a series of ridges and ripples formed as parts of the closed landfill settled over time. "It needed a good ironing," Coore joked. In the end his construction crew, though capping the site with a thick layer of sand in which to grow grass and create wasteland roughs, took pains to preserve every dip, trough, hump and hollow. It hosted the 2019 and 2020 AT&T Byron Nelson. Trinity Forest was night and day from any other venue on tour. As Curt Sampson wrote for Golf Digest, Trinity Forest "was night and day from any other venue on tour -- this windswept, nearly treeless expanse of dunes, waving prairie grass, and fast, undulating turf, the new place has every attribute of a links except cawing sea birds and an ocean." Not too many players embraced the cerebral, pinball-ish ground game offered to access some of these greens and navigate the interesting humps and bumps here. Of course, tour winner turned architect Geoff Ogilvy: “I love it,” Ogilvy said. “Strategically, it’s so interesting. It’s got everything that’s missing from modern architecture. There are ways to challenge golfers besides long rough and narrow fairways.” There are also architectural marvels like a double green, great short par 4s and short par 3s. It's too bad the tour won't return to Trinity Forest, but golfers lucky enough to get an invite will continue to enjoy it.
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8. (7) Spanish Oaks Golf Club
Private
8. (7) Spanish Oaks Golf Club
Bee Cave, TX
4.4
111 Panelists
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9. (8) Austin Golf Club
Private
9. (8) Austin Golf Club
Spicewood, TX, United States
4.2
36 Panelists
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11. (15) The Club at Carlton Woods Nicklaus Course
Private
11. (15) The Club at Carlton Woods Nicklaus Course
The Woodlands, TX, United States
4.3
64 Panelists
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12. (14) Austin Country Club
Private
12. (14) Austin Country Club
Austin, TX
4
56 Panelists
Founded in 1899, Austin Country Club will be forever linked with the legendary teacher, Harvey Penick. Penick’s association with the club spanned 82 years, starting when he was eight years old and working as a caddie at the club’s original Hancock location. He rose to shop assistant and assistant professional before becoming the club’s head professional in 1923, when he was just 18 years old. Over the years, Penick taught and mentored many of the game’s best players, including Kathy Whitworth, Ben Crenshaw, Mickey Wright and Tom Kite, among many others. In 1984, the club moved to its present location on the banks of the Colorado River, just north of downtown Austin. Situated against the backdrop of the Pennybacker Bridge, the Pete Dye design hosted the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play from 2016 to 2023.
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13. (10) Escondido Golf & Lake Club
Private
13. (10) Escondido Golf & Lake Club
Horseshoe Bay, TX, United States
4.1
139 Panelists
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14. (19) Maridoe Golf Club
Private
14. (19) Maridoe Golf Club
Carrollton, TX
4
64 Panelists
Architect Steve Smyers and his associate Patrick Andrews transformed the old Columbian Club in designing Maridoe Golf Club outside Dallas, which earned third-place in Golf Digest's 2018 ranking of the Best New Courses. Smyers' design can challenge the best players in the world—with the plates tipping out at 7,800 yards—with shaved-off areas around the undulating green complexes but also tempting better players into taking aggressive lines off the tee. The course hosted charitable exhibition tournaments during covid to raise money for the club's charity.
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15. (NR) Shady Oaks
Private
15. (NR) Shady Oaks
Fort Worth, TX
4
40 Panelists
Robert Trent Jones designed Shady Oaks, best known as being Ben Hogan's home club in the decades after his retirement, in the mid-1950s for founder Marvin Leonard. The design of the course was state of the art and emblematic of the new style of design: heavily engineered; long, with narrow fairways thorugh treeliined corridors that placed a premium on driving accuracy; and large, sectioned greens. That mode prevailed until 2020 when the club hired the Australiian firm of Ogilvy, Cocking and Mead to remodel the course. The architiects infused it with a bigger, more sweeping style of bunker, removed trees, and shifted and extended greens. It's once again a course that reflects the popular architecture of the moment.
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16. (NR) Driftwood Golf Club
Private
16. (NR) Driftwood Golf Club
Austin, TX
0
32 Panelists

Located in the dry Hill Country south of Austin, Driftwood is another collaboration between the team of Tom Fazio and Discovery Land Company. Though located within an communitiy of large properties and luxury homes, the design feels spacious and part of the rugged, windswept prairies of southeast Texas. The fairways and greens are large and accomodating, with holes punctuated by large specimen oaks.

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17. (17) The Club at Carlton Woods Fazio Course
Private
17. (17) The Club at Carlton Woods Fazio Course
The Woodlands, TX, United States
4
74 Panelists
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18. (13) Boot Ranch
Private
18. (13) Boot Ranch
Fredericksburg, TX
4.3
72 Panelists
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20. (16) Vaquero Club
Private
20. (16) Vaquero Club
Westlake, TX, United States
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21. (23) Champions Golf Club Jackrabbit Course
Private
21. (23) Champions Golf Club Jackrabbit Course
Houston, TX, United States
3.6
19 Panelists
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23. (22) TPC San Antonio Oaks Course
Private
23. (22) TPC San Antonio Oaks Course
San Antonio, TX
3
55 Panelists

TPC San Antonio’s Oaks course has hosted the Valero Texas Open since 2010. Playing through the dry outlands north of the city, the Greg Norman design is one of the most strategically compelling courses on tour with aggressive bunkering, some wonderful short par 4s and several uniquely demanding par 5s, including the 18th, one of the most underrated and frustrating closing holes the professionals play.

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24. (25) Omni Barton Creek Resort Fazio Canyons
Private
24. (25) Omni Barton Creek Resort Fazio Canyons
Austin, TX, United States
4.2
68 Panelists
One of Texas' best golf resorts is the Omni Barton Creek, located just 25 minutes outside of Austin. The resort features four 18-hole designs, and the highest-ranked layout is the Fazio Canyons design, a former Golf Digest America's 100 Greatest Public winner. This signature Tom Fazio design, which offers scenic views of Austin’s Hill Country, recently underwent an extensive renovation.
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25. (NR) Oak Hills Country Club
Private
25. (NR) Oak Hills Country Club
San Antonio, TX, United States
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27. (20) Shadow Hawk Golf Club
Private
27. (20) Shadow Hawk Golf Club
Richmond, TX
3.3
22 Panelists
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28. (9) Champions Golf Club Cypress Creek
3.9
52 Panelists

The 36-hole Champions Golf Club is one of the most appropriately named clubs in America. It was founded by Texans Jackie Burke, Jr. (who turned 100 in 2023) and Jimmy Demaret, and the two hold five major championships between them, including four Masters green jackets. A procession of the game's best professionals have tested their games at the vaunted Cypress Creek course (the club's second course, Jackrabbit, actually scored higher in our Best in State rankings), which has played host to the 1969 U.S. Open, a Ryder Cup, several PGA Tour tournaments including the TOUR Championship, and the 2020 U.S. Women's Open. When Cypress Creek opened in 1957, it was regarded as one of the finest new courses of the post-World War II era, ranked among the 100 Greaters courses from 1966 to 1988. It's a tight, treelined shotmaker's course with treelined fairways and big, well-protected greens--the fourth, bending around a crook of Cypress Creek, was long considered one of the toughest par 3s in the country. A 2018 renovation by Texan Chet Williams, designer of Whispering Pines, kept the features and shot demands updated and sharp without straying fromm Cypress Creek's noble heritage.

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30. (28) Ram Rock at Horseshoe Bay Resort
Private
30. (28) Ram Rock at Horseshoe Bay Resort
Horseshoe Bay, TX
4
42 Panelists
Host of the Texas State Open on multiple occasions, this Hill Country course is a demanding test—so much so it used to be called “Challenger.” Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the par 72 is built in a counter-clockwise circle, causing several of the doglegs to favor a right-to-left-shape. Rugged rock outcroppings throughout the course, as well as an island green on the par-3 fourth, make Ram Rock a memorable place to play at Horseshoe Bay Resort, which features four 18-hole courses.
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31. (NR) Omni Barton Creek Resort Fazio Foothills
Private
31. (NR) Omni Barton Creek Resort Fazio Foothills
Austin, TX, United States
4.1
50 Panelists
Fazio Foothills is another former member of America's 100 Greatest Public, and the favorite among many at the Omni Barton Creek, though the Canyons course ranks slightly higher in our scoring criteria. The Foothills course, which used to host a PGA Tour Champions event and hosted the 2003 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur, underwent an update in 2017 to the layout, which tumbles and undulates down the rolling hills and around and over creeks.
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32. (21) Briggs Ranch
Private
32. (21) Briggs Ranch
San Antonio, TX
4.2
69 Panelists
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32. (NR) Lochinvar Golf Club
Private
32. (NR) Lochinvar Golf Club
Houston, TX, United States
3.7
22 Panelists
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34. (29) Golf Club of Houston: Tournament Course
2.9
44 Panelists
Formerly known as Redstone Golf Club, the Golf Club of Houston hosted the PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open from 2002 through 2018 until the tournament moved to the municipal Memorial Park. The 7,425-yard layout, just minutes away from downtown, was designed by Rees Jones and David Toms and features multi-tiered green complexes and a number of water hazards.
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36. (30) Royal Oaks Country Club
Private
36. (30) Royal Oaks Country Club
Houston, TX
3.1
28 Panelists
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37. (NR) TPC Craig Ranch
Private
37. (NR) TPC Craig Ranch
McKinney, TX
3.3
31 Panelists
TPC Craig Ranch, located in the Dallas suburb of McKinney, is a Tom Weiskopf design that plays among gently rolling hills and on the limestone banks of Rowlett Creek, which crosses the course 14 times. In 2020, the course signed a five-year agreement to host the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson. South Korean K.H. Lee captured the first two titles at TPC Craig Ranch, which surrendered low scoring in each of the three years it's held the event, 2021, 2022 and 2023.
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38. (NR) Royal Oaks
Private
38. (NR) Royal Oaks
Dallas, TX
3.8
26 Panelists
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39. (NR) Traditions Club at Texas A&M
3.6
39 Panelists
Booking overnight accommodations at Traditions Club allows the public access to this 7,146-yard Jack Nicklaus design with views of Texas A&M's Kyle Field and the university in the distance. Emphasis here is on accuracy instead of distance with water on 11 holes, forced carries on 16 of them and plentiful native vegetation throughout.
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40. (NR) The Tribute Golf Links
3.9
25 Panelists

From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten: A story about the late country music superstar Waylon Jennings comes to mind—when he was asked once to watch a tribute artist’s performance. The young singer looked like Waylon, sang like Waylon, had Waylon's mannerisms and stage presence. After the show, the kid asked the legend what he thought. You’re good, Waylon told him, but you’ll always be one hit behind.
 

So it is with The Tribute Golf Links, a Tripp Davis design on the eastern shore of Lake Lewisville, north of Dallas. It’s one of the best replica courses in the country, replicating 18 of Great Britain’s most iconic golf holes, as good a links experience as one could expect on Bermuda turf.
 

Some holes are more homage than duplicates. The par-3 fifth is Royal Troon’s Postage Stamp, and while architect Davis nailed the topography, the green is far bigger than the original, a grudging concession, I suppose, to the demands of public golf. Conspicuously absent from The Tribute is North Berwick’s par-3 Redan hole.
 

Read Whitten's complete review here.

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