Golfers in western New York are certainly familiar with Legends on the Niagara, Whirlpool, and Beaver Island golf courses. The first two sit on the Canadian side of the Niagara river, while the third calls the USA side home. Each of the three has river views, but none of them directly abuts the river that joins lakes Erie and Ontario, flowing over Niagara Falls in the process.
If you’re a latter-day Tom Sawyer, you long for golf that brings you to the river’s edge. So do we, and we know that the call of the current is strong in our souls. Where do we find North America’s great river courses? Here, of course. Have a look at available golf on 4 of America’s great rivers, all with plenty to do in the region.
The historic image of General Washington and troops, crossing the Delaware River, is embedded in the minds of schoolchildren across the USA. In the Pocono region, the Shawnee Resort boasts 27 holes, many of which sit on an island in that very same river. Situated directly across from New Jersey, the original course at Shawnee was designed by A.W. Tillinghast, one of the great, golden-age American architects. If you play all 27, you’ll have two opportunities (on par three holes) to carry a tributary of the great river.
Where to stay: AirBnB in East Stroudsburg
Where to eat: Inti Peruvian Cuisine
Where to de-golf: Rafting on the Delaware River
Little Tionesta, on the southwest border of the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, can rightfully boast about its Hunter’s Station golf course. The only public-access course on the Allegheny that we could find, Hunter’s Station is a story of little-to-big. After 17 years as a 9-hole course along the river bank, 9 more holes were added in the uplands above the flow. Tionesta sits half an hour north of Clarion, and about 45 minutes south of Warren. After the golf, drive about six minutes into town and check out … wait for it … an inland lighthouse!
Where to stay: AirBnB in Tionesta
Where to eat: Kiwi’s Diner
Where to de-golf: Sherman Memorial Lighthouse
Stretching 2350 miles, from Minnesota to the gulf of Mexico, it’s hard to fathom that only three golf courses sit on the banks of America’s river. The news isn’t all good for the itinerant golfer: only Little Falls golf course in Minnesota is open to the public. A few miles down the river, St. Cloud Country Club is a members-only, private course. The news gets worse when you get to Illinois: Arsenal Island, which sits on Rock Island (smack in the middle of the river) is currently closed. A spectacular location, yet the course lies fallow.
When you’ve finished with your golf in Little Falls, drive 8 minutes (or directly across the river if you can fly) to Charles A. Lindbergh state park, for a bit more communing with mother nature.
If you’re not a stickler for perfection, as we are, there is plenty of golf close by the grand rill. English Turn and Audubon Park, both in New Orleans, are two examples. In Mississippi, just across the state border from Memphis, a pair of casino courses sit within par-five distance of the water’s edge.
Where to stay: AirBnB in Little Falls
Where to eat: Sanchez Burrito
Where to de-golf: Charles A. Lindbergh State Park
While the Grand Lake and Adobe Creek golf course, in Colorado, are oh-so-close to the banks of America’s wildest river, only the Battlement Mesa golf club, in the same state, checks our box for on the river! The majority of the Colorado flows through some of the American West’s roughest ground, including that deep ditch known as The Letchworth of the West. (We kid, we kid, it’s the Grand Canyon!) Back in the days of steel-spiked golf shoes, it wasn’t uncommon to see golfers with spiked-up cowboy boots. Nowadays, not so much. Grab your hikers and explore the American outback.
Where to stay: AirBnB in Parachute, CO
Where to eat: Nallini’s Restaurant
Where to de-golf: Soft Sculptures and Beond