best golf courses in Kentucky
Valhalla golf club has one of the best golf courses in Kentucky. Credit: Valhalla Golf

With the PGA Championship hosted at the Valhalla Golf Club four times since 1964, the Bluegrass State is a bucket list destination for most golfers. If you fancy playing on the course where legends like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have won this championship in the past, a trip to Kentucky is a must! Here is a list of some of this state’s best golf courses to add to your must-play list: 

Golf CourseGreen FeeBook
Kearney Hill Golf Links, Lexington$29-$35Book
Eagle Trace Golf Course, Morehead$30-$40Book
Wasioto Winds Golf Course, Pineville$40-$45Book
Dale Hollow Lake State Park Golf Course, Burkesville$35-$55Book
Heritage Hill Golf Course, Shepherdsville$45-$65Book
Lassing Pointe Golf Course, Union$43Book
Cherry Blossom Golf Club, Georgetown$30-$55Book
Griffin Gate Golf Club, Lexington$60Book
Calvert City Golf & Country Club, Calvert City$55-$63Book
Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville$59-$99Book

1. Kearney Hill Golf Links, Lexington

Access: Open to the public
Site: lexingtonky.gov
Green fee: $29-$35
Stay-and-play package: Kearney Hill doesn’t offer any stay-and-play packages as they don’t have any onsite accommodations.

Somewhere in Northwest Fayette County, Kentucky, you’ll find this Scottish links-style course. With its deep sand and grass bunkers, and the noticeable lack of trees, you’ll quickly notice that there’s an extra player on the course; the wind! Kearney Hill is a popular public course, named in Golf Digest Magazine as one of the top 10 courses in Kentucky. The course has seen many golfing events, such as the esteemed Senior PGA Tour. 

Among the other national events that have taken place at Kearney Hill, there is the Celebrity Players Tour, the PGA Junior Tour Series, the Men’s Amateur Public Links Championships, and the Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships. The premier Pete and P.B. Dye-designed 18-hole, par 72 course is also known to host smaller local and state championships and tournaments. 

If you come with family, there’s a mini golf course in Lexington for a fun family activity.

2. Eagle Trace Golf Course, Morehead

Eagle Trace Golf Course
Credit: Eagle Trace Golf Course

Access: Open to the public
Site: eagletracegolfcourse.com
Green fee: $30-$40
Stay and play package: Eagle Trace offers golf packages in partnership with local hotels.

In the wooded Morehead, which is located in Northeastern Kentucky, you’ll find the beautiful 18-hole, par 72 public golf course, Eagle Trace. David Pfaff designed and built this course back in 1995 and it opened in 2014. To this day, it is still the only 18-hole golf course in Rowan County. 

No matter your experience or skill level, Pfaff designed the course to challenge you to the most exciting and enjoyable game. With 6,902 yards of Bentgrass tees and lush greens, this gently rolling course is fitted with a combination of water, sand, and topographical hazards. Despite the challenging nature of this course, each hole has 5 tee placements to accommodate players of different skill levels.  

3. Wasioto Winds Golf Course, Pineville

Wasioto Winds Golf Course
Credit: Kentucky State Parks

Access: Open to the public
Site: parks.ky.gov
Green fee: $40-$45
Stay-and-play package: Wasioto Winds doesn’t offer any stay-and-play packages as they don’t have any onsite accommodations.

The Wasioto Winds Golf Course at Pine Mountain in Pineville has been reaping honorable mentions and rewards since 2003 when it was rated 4th in Golf Digest’s list of the Best New Affordable Public Golf Courses. The course designer, Michael Hurdzan, accomplished his mission of creating a challenging course with five par 3 and five par 5 that is friendly to players with high handicaps. The fairways are made of Bermuda Grass, while the greens feature L-93 Bentgrass. 

There would be no better words to portray the natural scenery than those of the course’s website, which describes it as ‘It occupies an undulating valley crisscrossed by a meandering stream and guarded by majestic mountains.’ The links-style course features various areas where water comes into play, like the three lakes, which are the reason behind the six arching bridges throughout the course. There’s also a creek and several wetlands areas to contribute to the challenge. 

4. Dale Hollow Lake State Park Golf Course, Burkesville

Dale Hollow Lake State Park Golf Course
Credit: Kentucky State Parks

Access: Open to the public
Site: parks.ky.gov
Green fee: $35-$55
Stay-and-play package: Kentucky Golf offers stay-and-play packages at Dale Hollow. 

Dale Hollow, the Brian Ault-designed 18-hole course, opened in Burkesville in 2003. With 61 Zoysia-framed bunkers and fairways and Bentgrass tees, the course is a natural gem with the most gorgeous scenery. The various natural details of the course include rock outcroppings, caves, gorges, ponds, springs, and a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains. 

Dale Hollow put their place on the map when the course was awarded 1st place in 2019 as Golf Advisor published their list of the Top Courses in Kentucky. Furthermore, in 2018, GA also rated the course in the 3rd position in their list of Top 25 Value Courses in the US. In the same year, GA named Dale Hollow 19th in their list of Top 25 Friendliest Courses in the US and 9th in the list of Top 25 Courses for Layout in the US. 

5. Heritage Hill Golf Course, Shepherdsville

Heritage Hill Golf
Credit: Heritage Hill Golf

Access: Open to the public
Site: hhgolfclub.com
Green fee: $45-$65
Stay-and-play package: Heritage Hill doesn’t offer any stay-and-play packages as they don’t have any onsite accommodations.

In Shepherdsville, just minutes from Louisville, you’ll find one of Kentucky’s best golf courses. Heritage Hill is an 18-hole par 72 championship course designed by Jack Nicklaus’ former associate, Doug Beach. The course features over 7,100 yards of challenging yet playable Bentgrass greens and Zoysia tees and fairways. In 2008, Heritage Hill was amongst the 10 courses named in Golf Digest’s list of Top New Courses in the US. 

Since then, the course has been reaping award after award from some of golf’s most esteemed names, including the pikes of Golf Advisor, Golfweek Magazine, and Golf Digest. The course is the natural habitat for various wildlife species, including three Bald Eagles, foxes, wild turkeys, and deer. This is because the Salt River, which is a conservation easement, forms the course’s northern boundary. On the east and west sides, there’s nothing but nature in the form of dense woods. 

6. Lassing Pointe Golf Course, Union

Lassing Pointe Golf
Credit: Lassing Pointe Golf

Access: Open to the public
Site: boonecountygolf.com
Green fee: $43
Stay-and-play package: Lassing Pointe doesn’t offer any stay-and-play packages as they don’t have any onsite accommodations.

The Lassing Pointe Golf Course in Union is the number one Public Golf Course in the state of Kentucky according to Golf Week Magazine. Michael Hurdzan designed and opened this gorgeous course back in 1994, where he incorporated both a unique design and a challenging yet playable layout. The course is rather short, spanning over a mere 6,724 yards. However, despite the length, it features 18 holes of tree-lined fairways, raised greens, and elevated tee boxes. 

7. Cherry Blossom Golf Club, Georgetown

Cherry Blossom Golf Club
Credit: Cherry Blossom Golf Club

Access: Open to the public
Site: cherryblossomgolf.com
Green fee: $30-$55
Stay-and-play package: Cherry Blossom offers stay-and-play packages at Longview. 

Cherry Blossom is located in Georgetown, where it has been stealing the hearts of players since Clyde Johnston designed and built it back in 2001. With its Bentgrass greens and fairways, the course has been voted as the number 1 public golf course in Kentucky by Golfweek Magazine for seven years in a row, starting from 2004 to 2010. The par 72 course spans over 6,866 yards if you count the farthest and longest tee. 

The greens are fairly flat with little to no elevated areas to obstruct your perfect shot. You’ll find water on 8 of the 18 holes and only 38 sculpted bunkers, which accounts for a total of 15 sand traps on the first nine holes. However, don’t get too comfortable because many of the holes will present the perfect challenge as soon as the wind picks up. 

8. Griffin Gate Golf Club, Lexington

Griffin Gate Golf
Credit: Griffin Gate Golf

Access: Private/resort
Site: griffingategolf.com
Green fee: $60 excl. tax
Stay-and-play package: Griffin Gate doesn’t offer any stay-and-play packages. Resort guests pay a separate fee to play.

Griffin Gate in Lexington is a premier course at the Marriott Griffin Gate Golf Resort & Spa. You’ll have to visit the resort or become a member to play on the 18-hole par 72 course, which was designed by the esteemed Rees Jones in 1981. The 6,784-yard course has hosted champions like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus because it used to host the PGA Champions Tour Bank One Classic. It features lush Rye Grass greens and various tee boxes for players of all skill levels. 

9. Calvert City Golf & Country Club, Calvert City

Calvert City Golf
Credit: Calvert City Golf

Access: Open to the public
Site: calvertcitycountryclub.com
Green fee: $55-$63
Stay-and-play package: Calvert City doesn’t offer any stay-and-play packages as they don’t have any onsite accommodations.

Calvert City is an 18-hole course designed and opened by Harold England in 1970. The longest tees span this course over 6,679 yards, while the shortest tees account for a mere 3,574 yards. The par 72 course is challenging, playable, and enjoyable with a gorgeous view of the surrounding wetlands and wildlife. 

The layout features MiniVerde Ultra Dwarf Bermuda Grass greens and El Toro Zoysia grass fairways, with five tee boxes at each hole. There are multiple sand bunkers and you’ll find that water comes into play at several holes, with the lakes and natural creek that run through the course. 

10. Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville

Valhalla Golf
Credit: Valhalla Golf

Access: Private, exclusive to members
Site: valhallagolfclub.com
Green fee: $59-$99
Stay-and-play package: Valhalla doesn’t offer any stay-and-play packages as they don’t have any onsite accommodations. 

Last but most certainly not least, there is the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville. The course spans over 7,458 yards and it features nine holes in a links-style design, while the remaining nine are in a tree-lined layout.

This course is so popular and challenging that the PGA Championship will be hosted there in 2024, which will be the 4th time that they host this esteemed event. Jack Nicklaus designed this par 72 course and it opened in 1986, just six years before being selected to host their first PGA event, which was the 1992 PGA Championship. Since then, the course has hosted multiple major events, like the Senior PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup. Jack Nicklaus has also been approached for renovations, upgrades, and modifications multiple times in preparation for major events.

Not all courses have a dedicated resort nearby for convenient accommodation. If you’re interested in this, check out our list of the best golf resorts in Kentucky.

FAQ

How many golf courses are there in Kentucky?

The state of Kentucky doesn’t compete with states like Florida and California when it comes to its portfolio of golf courses. The state’s list of private and public golf courses is just a little short of 300. They range from PGA championship hosts to modest courses for beginners and family outings. 

When is the best time to play golf in Kentucky?

Golf season in Kentucky starts on the 1st of March and ends on the 30th of November. Thus, it starts right when the winter ends and ends just before the next cold season. The state doesn’t face harsh temperatures during off seasons so it’s up to you whether you’d enjoy facing the cold with your clubs or rather stay home and wait for warmer days. Also, due to major championships hosted in the state, you’d have to keep an eye on the news and plan your trips accordingly. 

Can I book a stay-and-play package in Kentucky? 

Yes, you absolutely can! As you’ve learned in the list above, some of Kentucky’s best golf courses offer stay-and-play packages. However, these aren’t the only courses in this state that offer these types of deals. There are still more than 200 other golf courses to consider, so have a look at our list of the best stay-and-play golf packages in Kentucky for more options.

Can I rent golf clubs at courses in Kentucky?

Many of Kentucky’s golf courses have clubs that you can rent if you happen to forget yours at home. You can also rent clubs if you’re just starting to get into the hobby and you haven’t found your match yet. If you choose to always bring your most beloved clubs with you, remember to have a look at our article on how to travel with golf clubs for 14 of the best tips. 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply