Best Public Golf Courses in Oklahoma

​Oklahoma, nicknamed the ‘Sooner State’, is a state located in the South Central region of the United States. The name is derived from the Choctaw language meaning “red people”. There are more than 25 Native American languages spoken in Oklahoma (which ranks it third behind Alaska and California).About 70% of Oklahomans live in the metropolitan areas of Tulsa and Oklahoma City (the state capital). Aside from agricultural products, their economy is fueled by oil and natural gas.Oklahoma is positioned right smack in the so-called Tornado Alley which explains why it is visited by an average of 62 tornadoes a year. It is also located in a climate transition zone between differing prevailing winds and temperatures which explains why weather patterns can suddenly turn on a dime even at short distances. The landscape consists mainly of mountain ranges, forests, mesas, and prairies. Unpredictable weather notwithstanding, Oklahoma is home to many great golf courses, with more than half of them being public courses. In this article, we will rank the best public golf courses in Oklahoma, along with some semi-private courses which allow non-member playing privileges for a daily fee.

Best Golf Courses in (Province/State)

1. Karsten Creek Golf Club

Rating: 4.86/5.0Location: Stillwater, OklahomaHoles: 18Par: 72Length: 7,449 yardsKarsten Creek Golf Club is a 7,449-yard championship golf course in Stillwater, Oklahoma that was designed by the legendary architect Tom Fazio. Conveniently situated five miles north of Oklahoma City, this premier course offers country club amenities and ambiance for its members and visiting daily fee players alike. As soon as it debuted in 1994, Karsten Creek Golf Club instantly garnered praise from players and prestigious publications, including being awarded the title of “Best New Public Course” by Golf Digest. It was also the venue for several big-ticket tournaments such as the NCAA Central Regional tournament in 2001 and the NCAA Golf Championships in 2011.Despite a slope rating of 152, this track is playable for all players regardless of skill level as it comes with four sets of tee options. Its beautiful layout is graced with the presence of serene waterfalls, luscious trees, stunning natural surroundings, and beautiful skies that make the course truly memorable. The difficulty is provided by a combination of different challenges such as strategically placed bunkers, water hazards, frequent elevation changes, narrow fairways, and dense trees outlining several holes.The 349-yard, par-4 fourth hole is as beautiful as it is challenging. Its layout includes a sinewy creek and a tranquil waterfall. With the wind at your back, you will be required to carry the creek off the tee into the narrow fairway. Once you clear this, an undersized and heavily-bunkered green awaits for you at the other end. The signature hole is the 209-yard, par-3 11th hole which features a ravine and plays downhill against the wind. You have to execute a precise shot off the tee as you navigate through the dense trees, a massive bunker, a narrow fairway, and a creek that meanders the entire length of the fairway until the side of the green. This hole also doubles as the course’s most picturesque hole.Karsten Creek’s concluding hole, the 551-yard, par-5 18th hole is a magnificent way to cap a fabulous round of golf. Teeing off opposite Lake Louise with dense trees on the right, the view from the tee should be considered a hazard in and of itself because it can really distract you from the task at hand. Long hitters or strategic players have a realistic chance of snagging a birdie here as the layout is basically open once you clear the 240-yard carry over the lake off the tee. This is a definite must-play course. Karsten Creek Golf Club is one of the best golf course in the vicinity of Oklahoma City.

2. Jimmie Austin University of Oklahoma Golf Course 

Rating: 4.81/5.0Location: Norman, OklahomaHoles: 18Par: 72Length: 7,452 yardsWidely regarded as one of the best university courses in Oklahoma, Jimmie Austin Golf Course is located just 20 miles from downtown Oklahoma City within the property of the University of Oklahoma.Mirroring the stellar reputation of the university, Jimmie Austin Golf Course is also highly regarded by local players, tourists, and the staff and students of the University of Oklahoma. This premier 18-hole course has hosted several notable golfing events such as the United States Amateur Public Link Championship in 2013 and the NCAA Regional events for both men and women in 2012 and 2013 respectively.The magnificent layout was originally carved out of the area’s natural terrain in 1951 and has been regularly renovated throughout the years, most recently by Tripp Davis in 2017. Photos do not do justice as to how exquisite and breathtaking the course actually is. Jimmie Austin Golf Course’s layout is deceptively beautiful and simple yet absolutely mind-bending and nerve-wracking at the same time. The 583-yard, par-5 8th hole (dubbed “Thread the Needle”), forces you to go through a narrow passageway through the trees in order to reach the elevated green. Seven bunkers around the green also complicate your approach. The 586-yard, par-5 closing hole, dubbed as “The Adventure”, features an elevated tee guarded by two massive bunkers and bordered by tall grass. Its nickname is an apt description of the entire round and not just of the hole itself as you certainly feel like you are winding down a great adventure as you walk towards the green. The 18th hole provides a glorious way to close the curtain as you ride off into the sunset. Despite being a university course, the Jimmie Austin Golf Course offers some outstanding amenities and facilities which are not usually found in a public course. It has well-managed practice facilities as well as two great dining options for players to catch some much-needed break or refreshments. The “Heatly House” is located right after the fourth and fourteenth hole, and the “Clubhouse Grill and Patio” also offers players delectable meals before or after their rounds.

3. Chickasaw Pointe Golf Club

Rating: 4.77/5.0Location: Kingston, OklahomaHoles: 18Par: 72Length: 7,011 yardsComfortably tucked beside one of the biggest reservoirs in the U.S., Lake Texoma, Chickasaw Pointe Golf Club is famous for its well-designed layout as well as its affordable green fees and accessible location. You can expect picturesque views of the lake to accompany you all throughout the round. Originally designed by Randy Heckenkemper, Chikasaw Pointe G.C. features undulating greens, well-manicured fairways, strategically placed sand bunkers, and jaw-dropping views of the nearby lake. It is consistently listed in many ‘Best Golf Courses in Oklahoma’ lists of various golf publications. The 545-yard, par-5 11th hole is tailor-made for long hitters as you can just let it rip without fear of falling into fairway bunkers or the rough. Just aim to keep your ball within the fairway and avoid the massive front-side bunker and you’ll be well on your way to finishing the hole with a very real birdie possibility. All of the holes in the layout are noteworthy on their own. The most appreciated and becoming the de-facto signature hole, however, is the 361-yard, par-4 15th hole which is a straight line drive from the tee all the way to the green. The only obstacle to avoid is a stream that crosses the fairway twice. Other than that, long hitters will be salivating for this hole as they aim to card a possible birdie.They have a well-trained and friendly staff and the view of stunning Lake Texoma from the clubhouse is almost worth the daily fee alone. If you like great lakeside courses, make it a point to schedule a round at the Chickasaw Pointe Golf Club if you are in the area. It is one of the best golf courses in Oklahoma.

4. Forest Ridge Golf Club

Rating: 4.72/5.0Location: Broken Arrow, OklahomaHoles: 18Par: 72Length: 7,083 yardsConsistently ranked in the Top 5 of Golf Advisor’s list of “Best Golf Courses in Oklahoma” for three consecutive years, Forest Ridge Golf Club is another masterpiece from famed course designer Randy Heckenkemper. Opened in 1989, Forest Ridge has a timeless quality and ambiance that harkens back to the more classical courses of golf’s golden age even as it blends seamlessly into the natural terrain. The layout is chockfull of deliberately-designed hazards and obstacles such as steep sand bunkers, man-made water hazards in the form of streams and ponds, as well as mature trees outlining most of the holes.With a slope rating of 147, this track is no walk in the park even for the most seasoned players. There are four sets of tees, however, to enable average golfers or high-handicappers to have a challenging yet enjoyable time on the course. The white tees have a more manageable 129 slope rating. Right from the get-go, you will be immediately tested by the 402-yard, par-4 first hole. Aggressive players will attempt to reach the green in two by carrying the pond in front of the green in hopes of carding a birdie. More conservative players will lay up in front of the pond for a more comfortable approach to the green albeit with a more subdued par finish at best.Another notable hole from the front nine is the 530-yard, par-5 5th hole. The fairway subtly curves from right to left and leaves you with a narrow window at some points to target your next landing area. This hole requires a very good game plan and precise execution to avoid the trees and the rough and hopefully finish the hole in regulation.Forest Ridge’s signature hole is the 431-yard, par-4 16th hole. Water hazards basically divide the layout into three separate sections. All players are basically obligated to carry the larger pond on their approach to the green while avoiding the front-side bunker and trying to stick the landing. Along the way, you also have to contend with thick sets of trees lining up both sides of the fairway. This is a hole which is as beautiful as it is challenging; truly worthy of its stature as the course’s signature hole.

5. Pryor Creek Municipal Golf Course

Rating: 4.65/5.0Location: Pryor, OklahomaHoles: 18Par: 72Length: 6,539 yardsPryor Creek Municipal Golf Course is a 72 par, 6,539-yard course with an exemplary layout that is well-loved by locals and visiting players alike. It has been ranked 2nd on Golf Advisor’s list of “Best Golf Courses in Oklahoma”. It is also popular among players as it is touted to give great value for your money in terms of being affordable without sacrificing the course quality and the facilities and amenities that they offer.This simple yet fun 18-hole course doesn’t put up a lot of man-made hurdles. It leaves most of the challenge to natural impediments such as the area’s inherently strong winds, trees coming into play or just lining the fairways and perimeter of the greens, to complement the strategically placed bunkers.One of the rare par-3s on this course is the 176-yard 8th hole. What should have been a straightforward drive to the green is compromised by a huge tree standing in the middle of the fairway. You will have to execute a perfect fade off the tee while trying to avoid the massive front-side bunker if you want to finish with at least a par on this hole.With a yardage of only 6,539 yards from the tips, there’s not a lot of par 5s that can be found on this layout. The 516-yard, par-5 2nd hole features a tee box that is being crowded by trees, effectively limiting the view and space as you aim for your target landing area on the fairway. The rest of the way is pretty much uncomplicated while the green that is flanked by two massive bunkers await you at the other end.Pryor Creek G.C.’s layout is actually relatively easy even for beginners and high handicappers. But it sure is a lot of fun and the views are absolutely breathtaking. When you add other features such as their excellent practice facilities and their very friendly staff, you definitely have a total package that warrants being included on our list of the best golf courses in Oklahoma.

6. Silverhorn Golf Club

Rating: 4.62/5.0Location: Oklahoma City, OklahomaHoles: 18Par: 71Length: 6,768 yardsSituated in Oklahoma City, Silverhorn Golf Club is conveniently located in the state’s capital city. Designed by the renowned course architect Randy Heckenkemper, Silverhorn Golf Club is sculpted out of a collection of natural terrain and greenery that ranges from beautiful oaks, well-maintained elms, luscious turfs, tall native grasses, and hackberries. There are also four different creeks that weave throughout the entire layout. One of the course’s notable holes is the 542-yard, par-5 4th hole. Starting out with a narrow angle from a cramped tee box, you have to navigate your ball away from the creek that meanders across the fairway and effectively divides it in two. Once you have successfully cleared that, you have to practically thread the needle between the trees and a narrow window to get to the green. Another intricate hole from the front nine is the 531-yard, par-5 7th hole. Long hitters will have a grand time just letting it all out on this hole. But you also need to get away from the trees lining both sides of the fairway, a creek that cuts through the layout, and the vast waste area just before reaching the green. This is a hole that requires careful planning and flawless execution but definitely a huge feather on your cap once you manage to pull it off.If you are pressed for time but would like to get a quick round in while you are in Oklahoma City, the best course to go to would be the Silverhorn Golf Club.

7. Cherokee Hills Golf Club

Rating: 4.57/5.0Location: Catoosa, OklahomaHoles: 18Par: 70Length: 6,635 yardsCherokee Hills Golf Club is a par-70, 6,635-yard premier 18-hole course that is a mere 15 minutes away from downtown Tulsa. Located near Hard Rock Hotel and Casino-Tulsa, golfers can unwind at the 4-star hotel and also manage to play an exciting round of golf within the same day.With stunning surrounding landscapes and an expertly sculpted layout, this alluring masterpiece features obstacles of all kinds from serene water hazards to sneaky bunkers to emphasized elevation changes, tall grasses, and densely wooded areas. It has 18 truly unique holes with their own distinct challenges and designs. The holes that shined the best were the 5th, 10th, and the 16th holes. The 5th was a 440-yard, par-4 hole that was effectively separated into three parts by two streams. The hole is bordered by a thick set of trees. You must carry the first stream off the tee and aim to land on the sizeable landing area while also evading the massive fairway bunkers. The 282-yard, par-4 10th hole is laid out beside a huge pond traversing the entire left side of the fairway. If you manage to pull off a great tee shot, this would be a very makeable birdie opportunity as it would only be a short pitch toward the green from your fairway landing area. Cherokee Hills’ finishing hole may also be their most beautifully designed one. The par-4 hole measures 386 yards from the tips. From the tee, you will get a wonderful view of the property and the clubhouse in the background. The only real obstacles are posed by the stream that cuts through the fairway and the massive bunkers guarding the green.Do not miss the chance to play the Cherokee Hills Golf Club if you are in the Tulsa area. It is one of the great golf courses in the state of Oklahoma.

8. Peoria Ridge

Rating: 4.53/5.0Location: Miami, OklahomaHoles: 18Par: 72Length: 6,960 yardsOpen all year round, the Peoria Ridge Golf Course is an 18-hole public course that was recognized by Golf Advisor as the “Best Golf Course in Oklahoma” in 2017 and was listed among the top 5 courses in the past two years.Designed by the man who also worked on successful golf courses like the Battle Creek Golf Club, Bland Pittman carefully crafted the layout of Peoria Ridge by gracing it with undulating Bent grass greens, huge and deep bunkers, pristine water hazards, and manicured but narrow Bermuda fairways. Like many of the other courses that usually save their best holes for last, Peoria Ridge also reserved their most beautiful and nerve-wracking hole at the very end with the 437-yard, par-4 18th hole. With two huge ponds in play, you are forced to carry your tee shot over the first pond. The 2nd shot is still no easy picking as two humongous bunkers are located in front of the green while the pond occupies the area to its left.

9. Cedar Creek Golf Course

Rating: 4.47/5.0Location: Broken Bow, OklahomaHoles: 18Par: 72Length: 6,592 yardsSituated beside Broken Bow Lake, Cedar Creek Golf Course is only nine miles away from Broken Bow, Oklahoma. This 6,592-yard public course was awarded the coveted four-star rating by Golf Digest in 2012.Seemingly carved right out of the wilderness and with the Broken Bow Lake just paces away, Cedar Creek Golf Course is one of those rare courses that provide you with a total sense of calm and relaxation as if you are communing with nature. My favorite hole is the 434-yard, par-4 16th hole as it was the most beautiful and thrilling hole of the entire track. The fairway is lined with trees that are threatening to come into play and are actually encroaching on your line of sight on some areas. The green is almost totally surrounded by water that it is already practically an island green when viewed from where you are coming from. This is one of the must-play holes in the entire state of Oklahoma that avid golfers should experience at least once. The entire layout itself is actually a standout and the course is always kept in impeccable condition. Along with excellent amenities and their great staff, Cedar Creek Golf Course definitely stakes its claim as one of the best golf courses in Oklahoma.

10. Shangri-La Country Club – Heritage/Legends Course

Rating: 4.43/5.0Location: Monkey Island, OklahomaHoles: 18Par: 72Length: 7,211 yardsFound inside the famous Shangri-La Resort Oklahoma, the Shangri-la Country Club features three 9-hole courses that can be paired in different ways. The most challenging and well-known combination is the Heritage/Legends Course. This premier 18-hole course was designed by Donald Sechrest and is widely recognized as among the best golf courses in Oklahoma. Situated at the edge of the land, this premier golf course has dozens of astonishing views overlooking the lake. It features numerous obstacles such as water hazards that are beautifully bordered with stones, white-sand bunkers, undulating greens, and narrow fairways. The most difficult hole on this track is Hole No. 9 of the Heritage leg of the course. At 601 yards, it is an intimidating par-5 on paper. But it is not actually as daunting as it sounds because it’s all downhill all the way from the tee. A strong drive off the tee will set you up to carry the pond and the bunkers on the next stage. This will, in turn, set you up for an easy pitch to approach the green. The Shangri-La Country Club offers lots of world-class amenities and facilities delivered with top-notch service from its clubhouse or the resort itself. Plan a weekend hideaway here with your friends and family for a really grand and memorable time. It will definitely be worth it. Because of all of that, the Shangri-La Country Club’s Heritage/Legends Course earns a spot on our list of the best golf courses in Oklahoma.

Wrap up

Blessed with a diverse landscape, the state of Oklahoma still manages to put up an amazing number of great golf courses despite their erratic and unpredictable weather. It is a testament to how popular the sport of golf has become in the Sooner State. What we have listed here is just a small portion of the total offering out there. It is based on collated survey results from players and golf publications as well as from our own personal experiences. It is by no means a comprehensive nor a definitive list as ranking golf courses can be a subjective undertaking. It does, however, start the conversation and we hope that it encourages you to go out there and build a top ten list of your own. We would be glad to hear your thoughts if ever, so send us a message and we’d be glad to respond to you as soon as possible.


Author: Abraham

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