Best Public Golf Courses in South Dakota

Updated February 2024 to update booking information.

Much like Wyoming, I still harbor a childlike fascination with South Dakota.  A land seemingly so vast and endless, I imagine myself a frontier explorer with endless wonder of what lies over the next hill. 

I’ve been fortunate to spend some time in the Mount Rushmore State, but it’s almost all been centered around hunting pheasants and sharptail grouse.  By the time hunting season rolls around, golf is pretty much an afterthought this far north.

That was until recently when I found myself on a road trip with my family through the upper plains states.  Much to my wife’s chagrin, I brought along my golf clubs.  After I got to the point where I’d had just about all I could take of other tourists with fanny packs and ice cream cones, I had to get away and play some golf.

The courses I played were second to none, and our readers have played a fair bit of golf in South Dakota too.  Below are our thoughts on the state’s best public tracks.

1

Southern Hills Golf Course

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Nestled in the southern region of the Black Hills, Southern Hills Golf Course offers golfers a breathtaking and tranquil experience among magnificent Ponderosa pine trees. This South Dakota gem provides more than just a challenging game. With over 380 feet of elevation change and stunning views of the surrounding landscape, every round is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Black Hills. Measuring at less than 6,000 yards from the back tees, the course’s layout ensures a scenic and enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels.

Southern Hills Golf Course is more than just a place to play golf; it’s a community. The course hosts multiple leagues to cater to players with varying interests and abilities, offering five different teeing areas and a junior tee. Additionally, the convenience of scheduling tee times online makes planning your visit a breeze, ensuring that your golfing experience is as seamless as it’s enjoyable.

Whether you’re a local or visiting Rapid City, Southern Hills Golf Course promises a picturesque and memorable round of golf in the heart of South Dakota’s stunning landscape.

2

Meadowbrook Golf Course

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If you’ve explored the golfing gems in the southern region of the Black Hills, the next must-visit destination is Meadowbrook Golf Course, located in Rapid City near Canyon Lake Park. Designed by David Gill, this course offers a picturesque and challenging experience.

Lined with cottonwood, spruce, and fir trees, and featuring Rapid Creek on many holes, the 18-hole layout spans approximately 6,900 yards from the back tees. Meadowbrook Golf Course has even hosted prestigious tournaments like the NAIA College Women’s National Golf Championships.

Voted as the Black Hills Best golf course by Rapid City Journal Readers Choice Awards, it’s clear that this course is a gem in South Dakota’s golfing landscape. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting out, Meadowbrook Golf Course provides a diverse range of challenges suitable for all skill levels.

3

Hillcrest Golf and Country Club

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Looking for a challenging yet picturesque golf experience in South Dakota? Hillcrest Golf and Country Club in Yankton offers just that. This semi-private facility has garnered recognition as one of the top four courses in South Dakota for several years.

The traditional parkland design demands accuracy and precision, making it a crucial factor in playing well at this course. The club’s breathtaking panoramas and views of the surrounding landscape provide a unique and memorable golfing experience.

Hillcrest Golf and Country Club is known for its challenging yet rewarding course, offering a tranquil and serene atmosphere amidst the natural beauty of the parkland design. If you’re seeking a golfing adventure that combines skill and stunning surroundings, this is the place for you.

With its robust private membership, Hillcrest Golf and Country Club is a must-visit for those looking to experience one of the best public golf courses in South Dakota. Be sure to secure your tee times in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on this exceptional golfing opportunity.

4

Rocky Knolls Golf Course

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Situated amidst the picturesque Black Hills, Rocky Knolls Golf Course offers golfers stunning views and challenging fairways that require precision and accuracy off the tee. This nine-hole, par 36 course in South Dakota reflects an old school charm with subtle elevation changes and narrow fairways lined with ponderosa pines, demanding accuracy from golfers.

Designed by architect Ron Farris, the course provides a unique and memorable golfing experience. The stunning views of the Black Hills near Custer add to the appeal of this course, making it a must-play for golf enthusiasts visiting the area. The course’s layout, with its humps and bumps in the fairways, offers a quick and enjoyable round for players of all skill levels.

To reserve tee times at Rocky Knolls Golf Course, simply call the golf course and prepare for a scenic and challenging golfing adventure. Whether you’re a local or visiting South Dakota, Rocky Knolls Golf Course promises a golfing experience that combines natural beauty with a test of skill and precision.

5

Boulder Canyon Country Club

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Nestled in the heart of the Black Hills, Boulder Canyon Country Club offers golf enthusiasts an unparalleled combination of breathtaking scenery and challenging play. When considering the best courses in South Dakota, Club at Red Rock and Boulder Canyon Country Club are standout options worth exploring.

Here are some key highlights of Boulder Canyon Country Club:

  • Unbeatable Scenic Views: The course measures less than 6,000 yards from the back tees and offers more than 380 feet of elevation change, providing a unique and memorable golfing experience. Nestled in the Black Hills, the club features magnificent Ponderosa pine trees and provides breathtaking panoramas and views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Accessible Membership: The club provides an unforgettable experience at an unbeatable price, with annual pass options available for frequent visitors. Golfers of all skill levels will find Boulder Canyon Country Club worth the trip for its scenic beauty and challenging play.

Boulder Canyon Country Club in the Mount Rushmore State offers a refreshing golfing experience that combines natural beauty with a challenging course layout, making it a must-visit for those seeking an exceptional Black Hills golf experience.

6

Broadland Creek Golf Course

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With Boulder Canyon Country Club offering golfers a blend of stunning scenery and challenging play, now let’s turn our attention to the equally captivating Broadland Creek Golf Course located in Huron, South Dakota. This 18-hole course is renowned for its scenic beauty and well-maintained grounds, making it one of the best courses in South Dakota. Nestled amidst the picturesque hills of the state, Broadland Creek Golf Course provides an enjoyable and challenging experience for golfers of all levels. The landscaping here is truly remarkable, featuring lush fairways and pristine greens that add to the overall allure of the course.

In addition to its natural beauty, the course also offers various amenities such as tee times, golf clinics, and tournaments, catering to the diverse needs of players. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting out, this course provides an inviting and rewarding golfing experience.

With its stunning backdrop and excellent amenities, Broadland Creek Golf Course is a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts in South Dakota. It stands out as a gem in the state’s golfing landscape, alongside notable courses like Dakota Dunes Country Club.

7

Belle Fourche Country Club

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You’ll discover a captivating golfing experience at Belle Fourche Country Club, a public course nestled in the picturesque surroundings of Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Here’s why this course stands out:

  • Elevation: Belle Fourche Country Club offers a unique golfing experience due to its elevation changes, providing challenging yet rewarding play for golfers of all levels. The course’s elevation changes create an engaging and dynamic round of golf, adding an element of strategy to each hole.
  • Ponderosa Pine: The course is adorned with stunning Ponderosa pine trees, enhancing the natural beauty and providing a serene backdrop for your game. The presence of Ponderosa pines adds to the scenic beauty and creates a peaceful atmosphere for a round of golf.

Belle Fourche Country Club promises a golfing experience that seamlessly blends natural beauty with a challenging course layout. With its well-maintained fairways and welcoming atmosphere, this public course provides an unforgettable golfing adventure for enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner, the captivating surroundings and diverse layout of Belle Fourche Country Club make it a must-visit destination.

8

Tomahawk Lake Country Club

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Located amidst the serene beauty of South Dakota, Tomahawk Lake Country Club offers golfers an unforgettable experience with its stunning views and challenging course layout. The course showcases unique landforms and sprawling bunker complexes, providing a test for golfers of all skill levels.

Tomahawk Lake Country Club is renowned for providing a memorable and scenic golfing experience at an unbeatable price, making it a must-visit for golf enthusiasts. The club’s commitment to offering a high-quality golfing experience has earned it a reputation as one of the best courses in South Dakota.

Tomahawk Lake Country Club stands out as a gem in South Dakota’s golfing landscape, offering a picturesque setting and a course that challenges and captivates players. The club’s dedication to delivering exceptional golfing experiences has made it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

With its stunning views and challenging layout, Tomahawk Lake Country Club continues to attract golfers seeking an outstanding golfing experience. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting, Tomahawk Lake Country Club promises an unforgettable time on the green.

9

Hart Ranch Golf Course

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Nestled among the rolling hills and picturesque ponderosa pine forests of South Dakota, Hart Ranch Golf Course offers golfers a truly unforgettable experience with its breathtaking views and challenging course layout. When you play at Hart Ranch Golf Course, you can expect an exceptional golfing adventure.

Here’s why it’s considered one of the best in South Dakota:

  • Championship-Worthy: Hart Ranch Golf Course has hosted numerous South Dakota State Championship events, a testament to its quality and challenge. The course is rewarding for golfers of every skill level, providing a wonderful and fair game for all.
  • Friendly Service: The accommodating staff at Hart Ranch Golf Course adds to the overall experience, ensuring that every golfer feels welcomed and valued.

Golfers of all skill levels can revel in the beauty and challenge of Hart Ranch Golf Course. The course not only offers a memorable round of golf, but also features a bar and grill where you can relax and relive your best shots. With its stunning landscape and accommodating staff, Hart Ranch Golf Course provides an unforgettable golfing experience in South Dakota.

10

Willow Run Golf Course

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Willow Run received a prestigious “Four Star” rating from Golf Digest.  And it’s not hard to see why.

This Joel Goldstrand design isn’t just one of the most scenic you’ll find anywhere; it offers a ton of opportunities for risk and reward.  Locals say to pick your spots carefully.  One bad swing can wreck your entire round.  Sounds like fun to me!

Sioux Falls residents rave about this place and I do too.  I’ve only played it once but can’t wait to get back for another go.

Conclusion

I’ll be the first to tell you that the pheasant and sharptail grouse hunting in South Dakota is the best in the world.  I try to make at least one trip every fall or winter solely for that purpose.

What I recently came to realize though, is that the state is full of real gems in terms of golf.  You’re going to face some serious travel time to get from one place to another, but that’s part of the adventure in my book.

I couldn’t have completed this guide without the help of our every loyal South Dakotan readers.  They’re passionate about their golf and want nothing more than to share their treasures with the rest of us.  My heart goes out to you all. 

If you’ve had the privilege to play somewhere in South Dakota that we didn’t mention in this course guide, please tell us about your experience in the comments below.

 

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast both on Apple and Spotify talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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