The magazine’s first ranking of America’s best college golf courses was published in 1982 in the book, 100 Greatest Golf Courses—And Then Some, by Golf Digest founder and editor-in-chief Bill Davis. The ranking was just five courses deep, the results based on a poll given to collegiate golf coaches. This ranking is based on Best-in-State data and a survey of our course-ranking panel. Four of the five courses listed remain among the country’s best, including the top course in this year’s ranking, Yale, the Alister MacKenzie-designed Ohio State University Scarlet Course (then No. 1), Stanford and Colgate University’s Seven Oaks course, designed by Robert Trent Jones.
Emphasizing variety, the 2023 ranking favors no architectural style or era. Many of the profession’s greatest architects are represented, from early practitioners like MacKenzie (twice), Donald Ross and William Flynn to Tom Doak, Jack Nicklaus, Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner, and Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
Pete Dye has four courses on the list, spanning 1965 to 2016, including Tech’s home facility. Seven courses, including the top four, were built before the end of World War II. Four others—Jimmie Austin Golf Club at the University of Oklahoma, Duke University Golf Club, Colgate’s Seven Oaks, the University of Michigan’s Radrick Farms Golf Course—opened between 1950 and 1970. Four were constructed in the 1990s, and 10 were built after 2000.
The Yale Golf Course, located in New Haven, Conn., was this year’s top ranked campus course, followed by Taconic Golf Club at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and University of Michigan Golf Course in Ann Arbor, Mich.
A total of six Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) courses made the list: Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech led the way at No. 6; the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame was ranked 11th; the University of Virginia’s Birdwood Golf Course was ranked 12th; Duke University Golf Club was ranked 17th; University of Louisville Golf Club checked in at No. 21; Florida State’s Seminole Legacy Golf Club completed the ACC rankings at 22nd.
The Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech has become a prime destination for golfers seeking challenging play in the serene setting of the western Virginia mountains. The course was used for the 2011 NCAA Regional Golf…