We get it: Alaska isn’t really a golf state. With fewer than 30 courses and a snow-shortened season, the Land of the Midnight Sun doesn’t stack up with Scottsdale or South Florida when it comes to miles and miles of flowing, warm fairways.
That doesn’t mean the state should be discounted altogether. For adventurous traveling golfers looking for new bucket-list opportunities, there are several courses in Alaska worth checking out.
Even the U.S. Golf Association decided to soak in the state’s golf scene with a national championship. The game’s governing body has announced it will hold the 2022 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur at Anchorage Golf Course, giving the USGA a clean sweep of every state having hosted a championship.
“It’s a monumental occasion for us to bring a championship to Alaska, something that has been a long time coming,” Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA, said in a media release. “Players from all over the country dream of becoming USGA champions, so it is important we bring our events to all corners of the United States to expose golfers and golf fans to the inspiration and competitiveness of our championships.”
Anchorage Golf Course, designed by Bill Newcomb and opened in 1987, is the top-ranked track in the state on the 2020 Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list. The 6,601-yard layout offers views of the Anchorage skyline and Denali, the tallest peak in North America that was formerly known as Mount McKinley.
Golfweek ranks courses using the input of more than 750 raters to create several industry-leading lists of courses. The Best Courses You Can Play list includes courses that allow non-member tee times – generally defined as courses accessible to resort guests or regular daily-fee players.
As could be expected and including Anchorage Golf Course, four of Alaska’s top five public-access courses are scattered about the state’s largest city.
Moose Run at Fort Richardson operates two of them, the third-ranked Creek Course and the fifth-ranked Hill Course. Moose Run, the northernmost 36-hole golf operation in the U.S., is run by the military and is open to civilian play. Settler’s Bay, No. 4 on Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list for Alaska, is about an hour’s drive north of Anchorage in Wasilla.
Chena Bend in Fairbanks, another military facility that normally accepts public play, is No. 2 on the Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list, making it the top-ranked track in the state away from Anchorage.
The golf season in Alaska typically runs from May through early October.
Each year, we publish the three lists that are the foundation of our course-ratings program: Golfweek’s Best 2020: Top 200 Classic Courses, Golfweek’s Best 2020: Top 200 Modern Courses and Golfweek’s Best 2020: Best Courses You Can Play.
Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play 2020 in Alaska
Anchorage GC, Anchorage (m)
Chena Bend, Fairbanks (m)
Moose Run (Creek), Fort Richardson (m)
Settler’s Bay, Wasilla (m)
Moose Run (Hill), Fort Richardson (m)
* New or returning to the list; c: Classic, built before 1960. m: Modern, built in 1960 or after
Golfweek’s Best 2020
How we rate them
The members of our course-ratings panel continually evaluate courses and rate them based on our 10 criteria. They also file a single, overall rating on each course. Those overall ratings on each course are averaged together to produce a final rating for each course. Then each course is ranked against other courses in its state, or nationally, to produce the final rankings.