Best Disc Golf Courses in the US: Unforgettable Disc Golf Destinations

The best disc golf courses in the US is a fairly broad topic. Actually, that might be a bit of an understatement; after all, everybody lives somewhere, and from an individual perspective, some disc golf courses are the absolute best in your area. 

So it takes something pretty special to elevate a disc golf course into the top ten lists. That ‘something’ includes outstanding course design and fairways that are laid out intelligently without some of the gimmicky features we’ve all run into occasionally. 

An excellent course design will force you to up your game without completely alienating beginners. No one starts out as an outstanding disc golfer, so these courses have to feature elements of give and take. Trust me, I wouldn’t list these disc golf courses based on consensus, but only because they really are that good. 

My Picks for the Best Disc Golf Courses in the US

While no disc golf course is perfect, the courses on this list come pretty close. With new disc golf courses opening at a rate of five per day, just in the United States, I may have to revisit the list again in the future. But, for now, these courses hold their place for a variety of reasons. 

  1. Maple Hill – Leicester, MA (Best Overall)
  2. DeLaveaga Park – Santa Cruz, CA (Runner-Up)
  3. Winthrop Gold – Rock Hill, SC (Best Challenge)

If you’re in a rush and just want a quick glance at the best of the best, the above three are a good place to start. However, they aren’t the only three on our list. If you’re interested in knowing more and what makes a fantastic disc golf course, the rest of this article is just for you. 

As I mentioned above, I don’t choose courses lightly. One of my biggest pet peeves is the inclusion of trees in the fairway that serve no strategic value other than the course designer couldn’t figure out a better way to design the hole. 

The best courses use the terrain, so disc golfers have to mold their throws to take advantage of the fairway’s direction and the topography of the area. If it’s not strategic, it didn’t make the cut. I place maintenance high on my list as well. Updated baskets, clean fairways, local amenities, cart-friendliness, tee pads, etc., all play a role in which course stays and which course goes. 

Versatility plays a significant role as well. There’s nothing wrong with single baskets and single tees, but a course that can’t evolve is one that grows stale pretty quickly. It helps that multi-tee pad setups generally include beginner pads, which are perfect for easing newbies into the game. 

Best Disc Golf Courses in the US

 Maple Hill – Leicester, MA. (Best Overall)

Features

  • 4,173’ to 8,594’ course length
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Multiple tee boxes
  • Black Hole Portal Baskets
  • x6 water hazards
  • 18 holes
  • Pay to play
  • Cart friendly
  • Pavers tee pads

Maple Hill is just one of those courses you hear about all the time, especially if you’re heavy into disc golfing. It’s the Death Valley Stadium of the disc golfing world, immediately recognizable. However, it’s not brand recognition that drives the best disc golf course in the US—it’s just that good. 

Although there are only 18 holes, five distinct layouts make it feel as if it’s a 90-hole course. You can play this thing any way you want to, from beginner, through intermediate, to the upper levels of professional disc golfing. You can instantly match your skill level to this course. 

Regardless of pin location, brightly colored flags keep you on track, matched to the tee pad you launch from. It includes an onsite pro shop (good for when you lose a disc in one of the 6 water hazards) and a moderate level of elevation changes and woods. 

Every level of versatility you can imagine is here. From the cunning layouts on the professional tees to the subtle distinctions between beginner holes and the next step up. Tree tactics is a game you have to play here, though it never feels unfair or thrown in as an afterthought. You can go to Maple Hills 20 times and have an unforgettable experience each play through. 

DeLaveaga Park – Santa Cruz, CA (Runner-Up)

Features

  • 29 holes
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Mach X baskets
  • 9,100’ course length
  • Extreme elevation changes
  • Single tee pads
  • Onsite pro shop
  • Par 87

DaLaveaga Park is another iconic park when it comes to disc golf. It wouldn’t be fair to create a top-ten list without throwing DaLaveaga some love. Not only is it a highly-rated disc golf course in the US and California, but it’s also among the best disc golf courses in the world conversations. 

Though there are 29 holes, it’s still easy to play this course in a number of ways, including a straight 18. In fact, some of the tourneys start out on hole 25. DaLaveaga is known for some of its more outrageous and unforgettable holes, like 27, 3, 10, 9, 8, and 7. 

Hole 27 is a 500 + foot toss from the top of the world, where you’ll get a breathtaking view of Santa Cruz from above the tree canopy. The other holes I mentioned are perfect examples of heavily-wooded “tunnel” shots that amateur disc golf designers should study to understand. 

There’s a difference between using trees to carve a tactical shot and using them for exploitative, unfair, and lazy design strategies. There’s an onsite shop if you’re in the game for a new disc, as well as some of the most unique holes and fairway designs you’ll ever lay eyes on. 

Winthrop Gold – Rock Hill, SC (Best Challenge)

Features

  • 18 holes
  • Concrete tee pads
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • Single Pins
  • Single tee pads
  • 9,851’ to 9,896’ course length
  • Cart friendly
  • Par 67
  • Restrooms on site

Winthrop Gold rises and falls in “best in the world” conversations but is clearly one of the best and most challenging disc golf courses in the US. The first few holes serve as a kind of fake-out, tricking you into thinking this South Carolina course will be a breeze. The reality is Winthrop Gold is luring you in for the smackdown. 

Prepare for a grueling back nine, as the final few holes on the front nine quickly allude to. The layouts are incredibly fun—though frustratingly challenging if the drive doesn’t go your way. Many of the holes at Winthrop Gold are illusions of simplicity. They look like the kind of holes that offer an easy run at the basket for a potential birdie. 

When you end up with a bogey, don’t say I didn’t warn you. This is also a course that rewards big arms that are also precision accurate. You need to drive hard and drive well to be successful in this course, especially if you want to do better than par. 

Many disc golfers refer to the “ropes up or down” at this course. If you hear this or see it for yourself, all it means is whether the OB (Out of Bounds) is utilized or not. If the ropes are up, prepare yourself for a devastating challenge. If they’re down, the course is a lot more forgiving. 

Jones East – Emporia, KS

Features

  • x water holes
  • 18 holes
  • 6,665’ to 8,044’ course length
  • Multiple pin and tee locations
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Dynamic Veteran baskets
  • Long fairways
  • Cart friendly
  • Restrooms on site

This is a fairly water-heavy course, though there are only four holes where you’ll have to deal with water carries (4, 10, 11, and 12). Hole #14 is also technically a water hazard since the water sits directly behind the basket. Go at it too hard with your approach or drive, and you’re going fishing. 

Another thing the Jones East course is known for is its alternate layouts. It’s not like a typical course with multiple tees and/or basket locations on each shot. Instead, holes 3, 4, 7-9 feature alternate tee pads, with alternate baskets on holes 1, 3-6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, and 18.

It’s not as confusing as it sounds, with everything laid out so you can clearly identify your target and choice on each hole. There are also a number of brilliantly designed elevation holes. Be sure to pack your ultra-high-speed drivers for the long fairways (holes 2 and 16 are over 600’ long), and some fairway drivers with high glide numbers. 

While it’s certainly not a heavily wooded course, trees do play a significant role in how you mold your throws. There’s nothing better than a course that uses the trees to make disc golfers think strategically, and Jones East does that very well. 

Nantucket Disc Golf Course – Nantucket, MA

Features

  • 18 holes
  • Par 68
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • Rubber tee pads
  • Cart friendly
  • 6,404’ to 8,773’ course length
  • It’s a John Houch-designed course
  • The Sunken Ship Disc golf shop nearby
  • Multiple tee pad locations

You know Massachusetts is doing pretty well for its state disc golf players when two courses make it into the best disc golf courses in the US list. There is no doubt that Nantucket DGC deserves a spot. While it’s not as versatile as some of the other courses on this list, there are beginner and veteran tee pads throughout the entire course. 

John Houck designed this course, and he is, bar none, one of my favorite course designers. Houck always manages to put together a strategic layout, regardless of the local topography. One stand-out feature of this course design is the huge disparity between fairway lengths. 

The shortest hole on the course is 178’, while the longest is 868’. However, the disparity is well mixed in, with nothing feeling wildly out of place. The course is also unforgiving if you get off the fairway; however, a frequent circumstance considering the prevalence of heavy winds in Nantucket. 

Fairways are carved out of the natural environment with precision and an eye toward strategy. While there are some long holes on this course, it’s rarely recommended to grip it and rip it, as your approach shot is probably the most important shot out of all. That’s also a recurring theme throughout the course. 

Harmony Bends DGC – Columbia, MO

Features

  • 6,126’ to 9,245’ course length
  • x6 water holes
  • 18 holes
  • Multiple tee pads
  • Multiple pin locations
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • Concrete tee pads
  • It’s a John Houck-designed course
  • Cart friendly

It’s not a coincidence that many of the best disc golf courses in the US were designed by John Houck, and Harmony Bends is another DGC that joins that esteemed list. This is a competition-level course that’s highly popular in the Columbia area and throughout Missouri. 

There are so many things to list about the course in the Features section that I simply can’t cram it all in without losing uniformity across the article. Suffice it to say that elevation changes are a huge factor in this course. John Houck definitely used that to his advantage while designing the course. 

Like many Houck-designed courses, the fairway lengths differ to a massive degree. Throw in extreme elevation changes, and you have a recipe for breaking out every disc in your bag. There are pro and amateur tees here, with the pro tees represented by gold markers. 

Make sure you pack some discs with high glide numbers to maintain a line at a certain elevation for as long as possible. The wind isn’t much of a factor here, so you’ll get the most out of your disc design features. To top things off, this is a downright gorgeous course. It’s difficult to imagine a course with more eye candy, which is always a welcome addition. 

Flip City Disc Golf Park – Shelby, Michigan

Features

  • Extreme elevation changes
  • Chainstar Pro baskets
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Single pin and tee pad locations
  • 7,963’ course length
  • Cart friendly
  • Pay to play
  • Restrooms on site
  • League play on Wednesdays

Flip City DGC is one of the most well-known disc golf courses throughout the United States. What started as a one-man project turned into one of the best disc golf courses in the world and certainly one of the best in the US. 

Extreme elevation changes are the name of the game in Flip City, so bring discs with good glide and ones that lay over fast. Many of the baskets sit on steep slopes, and a deflection off the basket can easily turn into a 150’+ roll away from the basket. 

Fortunately, these elevation changes are well integrated into the overall theme and strategy of the course, and nothing ever feels unfair. There are also several holes that call for shots out and over miniature valleys. One small slip-up can be devastating. 

Overall, the course presents disc golfers (new and veteran alike) with excellent flow. You never feel like you’re leaping from one type of fairway to a drastically different type on the very next hole. It feels well-laid-out though the course will offer you one of the biggest challenges you’re likely to face. 

Rollin Ridge – Reedsville, WI

Features

  • 4,598’ to 8,851’ course length
  • 18 holes 
  • x3 water hazards
  • Mach X baskets
  • Concrete tee pads
  • Multiple pin and tee pad locations
  • Heavily wooded course
  • Pay for play
  • Private course

This course is essentially 36 holes when you consider the fact that each hole has three tee pads and three permanent baskets. One is for beginners, one for intermediate players, and one for either expert players or those who want a big challenge. 

There are a number of practice baskets on site, which is always a warm welcome for older players (like myself) who need to get the blood flowing before the first toss. Despite the three baskets and tees, nothing is confusing, and everything is color-coded, so you know where you’re at and where you’re throwing. 

There are three holes that take you over water, and there are rakes onsite for disc retrieval attempts. Though most of the course is heavily wooded, the fairways are well-thought-out and excellently maintained. There are also some elevation changes to contend with. 

It is nothing as serious as Flip City, but it is enough to make you consider those glide and fade numbers. Despite the heavily wooded nature of the course, the overall impression is one of varied play, mostly because of the multiple tee options per hole. Overall, it’s a fantastic and beautiful course that’s well taken care of.

Best Disc Golf Courses By State

Final Putt: Best Disc Golf Courses in the US

There will always be some who are disappointed that certain courses didn’t make the list. I feel the same way all the time. However, I wouldn’t put these courses out there if they weren’t every bit deserving of the accolade. 

John Houck isn’t the only disc golf designer out there with a fantastic portfolio. Regardless of the designer, it’s clear that they poured their hearts and souls into the strategic layout of these courses—maximizing the challenge and the fun factor.

These are fantastic courses, much of which is owed to the level of versatility and professional design standards that went into each course’s design. Keep this list of the best disc golf courses in the US handy, and if you are ever in one of these states, you’re doing yourself a major disservice if you miss out!

For world travelers, don’t miss our list of the top disc golf courses in the World!

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