Best Public Golf Courses in North Dakota

Years ago, I told my wife I wanted to take our family on a summer vacation across the upper plains states.  She gave me a quizzical look like I was kind of crazy.  She asked my why, and I responded that I thought it would be good for the kids to see a part of the country that they probably wouldn’t otherwise.  She still didn’t get it. . .

I asked her what words she thought of when I mentioned North Dakota.  She said “cold”.  Then she added “wind”.  Clearly my sales tactics weren’t working.

To make a long story short, I finally convinced the family to hop in the car and take this vacation.  And we had a most memorable time exploring historic sites, taking in small town culture and hospitality, and outdoor recreation. 

As you might imagine, I brought my golf clubs and found a few afternoons to slip away and take in some of the state’s courses. 

I was so impressed I thought the state deserved some recognition in the form of a course guide.  So, along with the help of our northern readers, I’ve compiled a list.


Hawktree Golf Club

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Bismarck is one of the largest cities in North Dakota.  It’s also home to Hawktree Golf Club.

This is an open layout with links features.  When the course was designed, environmental sustainability was a top priority.  As a result, only 80 acres of turf are irrigated here.  The rest of the property consists of rolling terrain and native grasses that define the Burnt Creek Valley. 

This is a tough golf course from the tips.  It’s long and the wind blows (my wife was right about that).  It’s more than fair though.  Multiple tee options exist, and the landing areas are generous. 

Once you get to the greens, be ready for some long putts. 

It’s hard to put into words just how unique the experience at Hawktree is.  You’ll have to come find out for yourself.

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North Dakota boasts more than one iconic links layout.  Another one near the top of the list is The Links of North Dakota.

According to Golfweek, this track is the “#1 Course in North Dakota.”  It’s tough to do any better than that. 

The windswept layout sits high up on the bluffs above Lake Sakakawea.  Here again, the land’s natural contours tell the story out here.  Instead of flying the ball through the air from point A to point B, you’re better off keeping it low and letting the ground do the work for you.

Even though there’s plenty of room, some 85 strategically placed bunkers can cause real problems if you hit it in the wrong spot. 

This is a great place to stay and play too.  Full hookup RV sites can be rented and the cabins are top-notch.

It’s not hard to see why The Links of North Dakota is so critically acclaimed.


Heart River Golf Course

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Heart River Golf Course is owned and operated by the city of Dickinson’s Parks and Recreation Department.  It’s clear to see that they’re committed to providing quality, affordable fun for residents and visitors alike. 

Set along the banks of its namesake river, this track is the tale of two nines.  On the front nine, you’ll encounter rolling hills and open fairways.  The back nine, which sits lower in elevation, is wooded and requires accurate shot making. 

The atmosphere here is a welcoming one too.  The perfect place to enjoy a casual round with family and friends.


King’s Walk Golf Course

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When I heard about King’s Walk, there was no chance I wasn’t going to play it.  It was designed by Arnold Palmer. 

Palmer didn’t design many links courses, but he did a fantastic job with this one.  Again, there’s room from tee to green here.  But the wind blows and placing your shots in the proper spots requires solid ball striking. 

The green complexes are expansive as well.  Hole locations can be tricky so take careful note on approach shots. 

After your round, you’ll probably be hungry, and a little thirsty.  I can attest that Eagle’s Crest Bar and Grill serves great food and the beer is cold.


Edgewood Public Golf Course

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After a few days on the road, the family was ready for a little suburban culture, so we headed to Fargo. 

While my wife and the kids planned activities for a couple of days, I was left to fend for myself.  Come to find out, the city manages a number of quality public courses.  I was like a kid in a candy store. 

The first track I played was Edgewood.

Unlike some of the links courses I played earlier in the trip, this is a traditional design with narrow fairways and small greens.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that playing from the trees was a recipe for disaster. 

Even though the course is old, it’s more than stood the test of time.  It demands a lot from even the best ball strikers.  You’re sure to hit every club in your bag.  

And the best part is, it doesn’t cost a fortune to play here either. 

It’s easy to see why Edgewood is a local’s favorite.


Rose Creek Public Golf Course

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Also owned and operated by the city of Fargo is Rose Creek. 

This track is downright stunning.  The only regret I had from this day was that I let my wife take the camera. 

Water comes into play on 16 of 18 holes.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t rinse a brand new ProV1 or two.  There’s also out of bounds on 14 holes.  In short, bring enough balls.

Aside from a great layout, the amenities are great here.  The practice area is expansive, the pro shop is fully stocked, and the restaurant is succulent. 

Rose Creek more than surpassed my expectations.


Mandan Municipal Golf Course

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Since 1925, Mandan Municipal has been a staple for North Dakota golfers. 

The course’s age is reflected in its design.  Even though it’s not that long, the fairways are narrow and the greens small. 

With that being said, the course is quite playable.  Ever since it opened almost a century ago, it’s been held in high regard by juniors, seniors, and beginners for that very reason. 

Even though the course is only nine holes and gets a lot of play, it’s always in great shape. 

Mandan Municipal is a hidden gem that shouldn’t be overlooked.


Prairie West Golf Course

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Also located in the community of Mandan is Prairie West Golf Course.

This is a much newer track than Mandan Municipal.  It opened in 1992. 

Locals say the experience here is like that of a private club.  You just pay public prices.  It’s tough to argue with that. 

This track is longer too.  It measures just under 7,000 yards from the back tees.  Thankfully, there are numerous other sets of tees to accommodate everyone. 

The golf season isn’t long in North Dakota, but Prairie West prides itself on being the “first course to open and the last to close.”  Sounds like a winning combination to me.


Pheasant Country Golf Course

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I didn’t mention this in the opening, but I’m also partial to North Dakota because of the world-class bird hunting.  As a kid, I made a couple of trips up here to hunt pheasants with my dad.

So, when I learned about Pheasant Country Golf Course, I had to see it for myself.

Even though this course sits in the wide-open prairie, it’s an old design with lots of trees.  As you might expect, it’s not all that long, but the fairways are narrow.  Shot placement is key.

The greens are small and undulating too.  Do your best to stay below the hole.

My round here was a memorable one.  As I finished just before sunset, I heard the distant cackle of a rooster pheasant somewhere off in the distance.  It was almost as if he was inviting me to come back for more.


Medicine Hole Golf Course

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North Dakota native Jim Engh designed Medicine Hole Golf Course.  Even though this course is on the shorter side, it’s considered one of his best works. 

You have the option to hit driver in a number of spots out here, but playing for position is the prudent choice.  Plenty of bunkers and penalty areas come into play.

The greens are touted as some of the best in the state.  Even though I didn’t have the chance to play here on my trip, our readers say that statement is absolutely true. 

The staff here are some of the friendliest folks around as well.  They greet you with a warm smile and firm shake of the hand.  It’s clear they take pride in their golf course.

Even though it’s a bit of a trek to get to Medicine Hole, it’s more than worth the trip.


You might not think of North Dakota as a premier golf destination, and that’s understandable.  But I’m here to tell you there’s no shortage of great golf to be found.

There’s no denying that you’re looking at some hours on the road to get from one place to another, but that’s part of the fun in my book.

I can’t wait to get back to North Dakota.  Believe it or not, neither can my wife and kids.

Thanks to all of you North Dakotans that made this course guide possible.  May you stay warm this winter and keep it in the short stuff come spring.

Best Public Golf Courses in North Dakota

Paul Liberatore

Paul Liberatore

Founder of Golfers Authority

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