Best Public Golf Courses in Western PA

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Best Public Golf Courses in Western PA

Paul LiberatorePaul Liberatore


Paul Liberatore

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My time in Western Pennsylvania is somewhat limited.  I’ve spent some time in Pittsburgh on business, but I’ve played only minimal golf.  Even at that, I never thought of the western part of the state as a hotbed for golf. 

Was I ever wrong?  Folks in this part of the world love their golf.  Whether they live in the city, or in the country, they can’t seem to be enough of this crazy game.  So much so, that they asked our staff to showcase their region’s public golf options.  We obliged.

1

Quicksilver Golf Club

Quicksilver Golf Club 3Quicksilver Golf Club 3

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Quicksilver Golf Club is nestled away in the rolling hills outside the city.  The facility has played host to events on both the PGA Tour Champions and Korn Ferry Tour.  It’s a premier track to say the least. 

Quicksilver is generous off the tee and the greens are receptive.  Bombs away.  Don’t stray too far offline though.  Water hazards and penal bunkers come into play on most holes. 

The Bar and Grill is the perfect spot to gather after your round as well.  The menu is stacked with all kinds of tasty treats, the beer is cold, and there are plenty of televisions to tune into the game.

 

2

Conley Resort and Golf Club

Conley Resort and Golf Club 3Conley Resort and Golf Club 3

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If you’re looking for a spot to bring the whole family for vacation, it’s hard to beat Conley Resort and Golf Club. 

Outdoor activities abound, and the amenities are first-class.  If you’re reading this however, I assume you’re most interested in the golf.

Surrounded by rolling hills, this parkland setting features tree lined fairways and serene lakes that present plenty of challenge. 

Even though the course is on the shorter side, you have to execute the right shots to score well.

When you come to Conley Resort, your experience is sure to be exceptional.

3

Meadowink Golf Course

Meadowink Golf Course 2Meadowink Golf Course 2

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The Allegheny Mountains in Westmoreland County are home to Meadowink Golf Course. 

A traditional layout, this course is bordered by a beautiful deciduous forest.  If you get the chance to play here in the fall when the leaves are changing, you’re in for a treat. 

Crystalline lakes come into play on several holes and make for the perfect contrast against velvet green fairways. 

A unique mix of both short and long holes will both provide chances for birdie, and demand your very best to make par.

A most interesting round of golf can be found at Meadowink.

4

Harmony Ridge Golf Club

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Since 1923, Harmony Ridge has stood watch over the Ohio River Valley from the ridges high above.  Over the years, it’s earned the moniker “Oakmont’s Little Brother”.  That’s pretty high praise. 

The course’s location is ideal as well.  It’s just 16 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, and 15 minutes from Cranberry, Wexford, Moon, and Sewickley. 

The course is old school.  Though not long, the fairways are narrow and the greens small and tricky to read.  Precision trumps length all day long.

One of the area’s best kept secrets, don’t miss a chance to play Harmony Ridge.

5

Fort Cherry Golf Club

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One of the premier properties in Washington County is Fort Cherry Golf Club.

A multi-faceted facility, you’ll find not only great golf, but a hotel, restaurant, and top-notch practice facilities here.

The course is yet another old school design that isn’t long.  Instead, its narrow, undulating fairways and sloped greens give the course its teeth. 

In the summer, the greens get especially quick, so stay below the hole.

Local knowledge is key around here too.  If you have the chance, play more than one round.

An affordable round that won’t leave you disappointed, Fort Cherry comes highly recommended.

6

Olde Stonewall Golf Club

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When Olde Stonewall opened its doors in 1999, Golf Magazine called it a “Top 10 New Public Course”.  It’s not hard to see why.  This is a round of golf unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else.

The layout is a blend of Scottish links and American target golf.  Forced carries can be found off the tee and into some of the greens.  At the same time, golfers have the option to play many shots along the ground. 

Elevation change is prominent throughout so solid ball striking is a must.  Forest, hazards, and deep bunkers dot most every hole. 

The greens are undulating and expansive.  Pay close attention to hole locations if you want a reasonable chance for birdie.

The clubhouse has to be seen to be believed too.  Designed to resemble a castle from the British Isles, you’ll find everything you need in what has to be one of the largest clubhouses in the country.

A complete experience and fabulous round of golf make Olde Stonewall a must play.

7

Birdsfoot Golf Club 2Birdsfoot Golf Club 2

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No detail is overlooked at Birdsfoot, and that’s evidenced by how loyal golfers that play here are. 

One of the best kept secrets in the Freeport area, the staff at Birdsfoot know virtually everyone that comes through the doors by name.  If they don’t, they want to hear your story and will do everything they can to make your experience the best it can be.

A links-style layout, the ground is your friend here.  On windy days, keeping shots low and using the contours is the best way to score.

The most challenging holes and the par threes.  Locals say they comprise the toughest collection of short holes in the state.

With everything you could ever need, there’s no reason not to put Birdsfoot on your list.

8

Cranberry Highlands Golf Course

Cranberry Highlands Golf Course 3Cranberry Highlands Golf Course 3

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Cranberry Highlands opened for play in 2002, making it one of Western Pennsylvania’s newer courses. 

Voted “Pennsylvania’s Best Municipal Course” in 2009, the course occupies 170 acres of pristine countryside. 

Playing to a par of 70, Cranberry Highlands offers a balanced mix of holes that are both short and long.  Elevation change and water can be found throughout.  The key to scoring well is solid ball striking and sound course management. 

More than worth the drive to get here, Cranberry Highlands is a treat to play.

9

Cedarbrook Golf Course

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Native Pennsylvanians call Cedarbrook one of their favorite courses in the western part of the state.  And the best part is there are 36 holes to choose from!

Having received a rating of 4.5 stars from Golf Digest, the staff at Cedarbrook pride themselves on providing a private club experience at a public price.  This course is an exceptional value. 

Both the Red and Gold Courses are traditional American designs.  The fairways are tree lined and the greens small and sloped. 

Like a lot of courses in this part of the country, elevation change comes into play on a number of holes.

Always in superb condition, make sure you have time for two rounds when you come to Cedarbrook.

10

The Golf Course at Glen Mills

The Golf Course at Glen Mills 2The Golf Course at Glen Mills 2

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The historic community of Thornbury Township is home to the Golf Course at Glen Mills.

This award-winning track has hosted a multitude of important tournaments including U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open, and U.S. Public Links Qualifiers.

Though it’s a stern test for the game’s best players, it’s playable for everyone thanks to a variety of different tee boxes and course yardages. 

The course meanders through densely wooded forests that creep to the fairways’ edge.  Straight is the name of the game off the tee and into the green.

For an enjoyable round that will test every facet of your game, there’s no better choice than The Golf Course at Glen Mills.

Conclusion

Until I wrote this course guide, I had no idea just how much quality public golf there was to be found in Western Pennsylvania.  Our readers were quick to point that out.

Whether you’re looking for a windswept links, or a tree lined course high up in the mountains, it can be found here.

To all of our readers that made this course guide possible, thank you.  You know who you are, and I couldn’t have done without your help.

If you have additional comments about golf in this part of the country, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.