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The 10 best USPGA venues you can play

Golf Care, 2nd May 2024

uspga venues


The second Major of the year is almost upon us.

This year sees the 106th edition of the USPGA Championship as Brooks Koepka looks to defend his title. The tournament is being held at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky from May 16-19.

In this blog, we look at 10 of the best USPGA venues and how much it could cost to get a game there. Disclaimer: some of them are pretty expensive!


The best USPGA venues you can play

uspga venues


1. Oakland Hills

Years hosted (winners): 1972 (Gary Player), 1979 (David Graham), 2008 (Padraig Harrington)

What’s it like?
There are two courses at Oakland Hills, the North and South, and it’s the latter which has hosted the USPGA Championship three times. The Detroit 36-holer has also hosted six US Opens and the 2004 Ryder Cup, where Europe trounced the Americans by nine points.

The Donald Ross design is ranked among the Top 100 courses in the world and has undergone various changes over the years. After his US Open win here in 1951, Ben Hogan commented that he had ‘brought this monster to its knees’, and since then, the course has been referred to as The Monster.

These days, however, there are fewer trees, but sadly, the historic clubhouse was burned to the ground in 2022. 

How much is a green fee?
A round here will cost around $175.


2. Bethpage Black

Image: Instagram @bethpageblackgolf

Years hosted (winners): 2019 (Brooks Koepka)

What’s it like?
This two-time US Open venue, ranked in the US top 30, hosted the 2019 USPGA Championship and will also host the Ryder Cup in 2025.

There are five courses on the public property and the Black is commonly regarded as the toughest. At the Ryder Cup, we’ll see plenty of the iconic sign that reads: ‘WARNING: The Black Course Is An Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only For Highly Skilled Golfers’.

The Ryder Cup here promises to be one of the most boisterous ever, with the New York galleries set to get behind their team as the US look to regain the trophy.

Brooks Koepka secured back-to-back USPGA victories with his win here in 2019 as he held off a fast-finishing Dustin Johnson. 

How much is a green fee? 
For NY state residents, 18 midweek holes will cost a respectable $70. This balloons to $140 for out-of-towners (which, to be fair, is still reasonable).


3. Oak Hill

Years hosted (winners): 1980 (Jack Nicklaus), 2003 (Shaun Micheel), 2013 (Jason Dufner), 2023 (Brooks Koepka)

What’s it like?
Again, this is a 36-hole property in the New York suburbs, but it’s the East Course which hosts the big tournaments—and it was here that Europe prevailed against all the odds in the 1995 Ryder Cup, when a certain Bernard Gallacher was captain.

Oak Hill staged the first Major victory by a LIV golfer in 2023, as Brooks Koepka edged out Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland. The course record is a 63, set by Jason Dufner en route to his victory in the 2013 USPGA Championship.

The course is built around a creek, which comes into play on half the holes, and it has recently seen some changes to take it closer to its original Donald Ross design.

How much is a green fee?
This is a private club so you’ll need to know a member to play here—interestingly, Rory McIlroy is one. It’s reported that the joining fee is between $78-100k, and annual subs range from $10-27k.


4. Southern Hills

Years hosted (winners): 1970 (Dave Stockton), 1982 (Ray Floyd), 1994 (Nick Price), 2007 (Tiger Woods), 2022 (Justin Thomas)

What’s it like?
Oklahoma’s Southern Hills has held five USPGA Championships, including one of Tiger Woods’ 15 Major triumphs.

Gil Hanse has restored much of the original design here, and it’s a fairly flat test despite the elevated 1st and 10th tees, with plenty of doglegs.

In the final round of the 1977 US Open here, Hubert Green played on despite earlier receiving a death threat where he was informed gunmen would shoot him at the 15th hole! He made par and went on to win the tournament.

If you’re lucky (and rich) enough to be a member here, you can also enjoy 12 tennis courts, swimming pools, and a health and wellness centre as well as the golf facilities. Ben Crenshaw also added a nine-hole course here in 1992.

How much is a green fee?
You’d need to play with a member, but if you were keen to join, you can expect a long waiting list and annual fees upwards of $30k.


5. Kiawah Island

Years hosted (winners): 2012 (Rory McIlroy), 2021 (Phil Mickelson)

What’s it like?
We’ll be back here in 2031, and if the first two USPGAs here are anything to go by, then we’ll be in for another cracker.

The Ocean Course in South Carolina is located along an incredible 10-mile stretch and is one of five courses, having been added in 1991. This Pete and Alice Dye design is another to sit in the upper echelons of America’s leading courses and was also the setting for the 2000 film The Legend of Bagger Vance with Will Smith and Matt Damon.

It first became known to most when it hosted the 1991 Ryder Cup, where Bernhard Langer missed a putt to tie the overall match.

Rory McIlroy won the USPGA by eight strokes here in 2012, and in 2021, Phil Mickelson became the oldest Major champion at 50.

How much is a green fee?
There are plenty of stay-and-play deals, but as of 2021, the green fee here was around the $450 mark. 


6. Baltusrol

Years hosted (winners): 2005 (Phil Mickelson), 2016 (Jimmy Walker)

What’s it like?
This is a private 36-hole club in New Jersey and was the first club to have hosted two US Opens on two different courses.

Both its USPGA Championships have come on the Lower Course, and we’ll be back here again in 2029. Legendary designer AW Tillinghast laid out both courses in the Roaring Twenties, and the Lower Course features rolling and contoured fairways and tricky greens. There are also plenty of bunkers, many of them particularly cruel, but Gil Hanse has overseen a rejigging of things in recent years.

An interesting backstory is that a Mr Baltus Roll once farmed this land in the 19th century, but the Dutchman was murdered by two thieves in search of his cash.  

How much is a green fee?
This is another private club where you’ll need to know a member to play—but it’s reported that the joining fee is around $150k, with annual subs close to $20k.


7. Whistling Straits

Years hosted (winners): 2004 (Vijay Singh), 2010 (Martin Kaymer), 2015 (Jason Day)

What’s it like?
The Straits Course is the better-known of the two layouts here, the other being the Irish. Herbert Kohler hired Pete and Alice Dye to be the architects and, at one point, there were said to be over a thousand bunkers on the course of various shapes and sizes. So, it was ironic that Dustin Johnson would be penalised two shots for grounding his club at the 72nd hole of the 2010 USPGA Championship, not knowing that the sandy ground was, in fact, deemed to be a bunker.

Five years later, Jordan Spieth very nearly made it three Major successes but was held off by Jason Day, who would claim his first. The Wisconsin course staged the Ryder Cup in 2021 as Steve Striker’s side smashed the Europeans by 10 points.

How much is a green fee?
The peak rate here is something in the region of $555, making it one of the pricier green fees in the States. 


8. Harding Park

Years hosted (winners): 2020 (Collin Morikawa)

What’s it like?
The San Francisco track has only held one USPGA Championship, when the Majors returned after more than a year out due to the pandemic.

Morikawa won in front of no fans here, as per the restrictions at the time. The low point, though, came in 1998 when it acted as a parking lot for the US Open at the Olympic Club, but it’s now been restored to something much better.

The course will celebrate its centenary in 2025, and recent renovations have elevated it to new levels. It is currently the only city-owned public course managed by the PGA Tour.

How much is a green fee?
Booking 18 holes online will be in the region of $190.


9. Quail Hollow

Years hosted (winners): 2017 (Justin Thomas)

What’s it like?
Quail Hollow opened in 1961, and the North Carolina course will host its second USPGA Championship in 2025. It’s been a regular stop on the PGA Tour and is perhaps best known for Rory McIlroy’s seven-stroke win here in 2015.

It also staged the Presidents Cup in 2022, where the Americans recorded another straightforward victory. Arnold Palmer made some changes to the course back in the ‘80s before Tom Fazio became the club’s architect, but despite the PGA Tour tournaments and Major duties, it still struggles to make an impact on the key course rankings.

How much is a green fee?
As it’s a private member club, you’ll need to be invited here—and then you’ll likely pay around $400.


10. Valhalla

Years hosted (winners): 1996 (Mark Brooks), 2000 (Tiger Woods), 2014 (Rory McIlroy)

What’s it like?
Jack Nicklaus designed this course in the ‘80s, and there is so much space that 40 different routings were considered.

Valhalla is instantly recognisable given its staged a US Ryder Cup success, one of Tiger’s Major wins (the one where he beat Bob May in a play-off), and then Rory McIlroy’s triumph in the dark 14 years later.

Bizarrely, that remains McIlroy’s most recent Major win. The USPGA Championship is back here in Kentucky in 2024, and all eyes (again) will be on McIlroy as he looks to end that run.

How much is a green fee?
The exact fee is unknown, although, like many USPGA venues, you’ll need to play with a member here.


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