Fall is the best time of the year for many sports fans with the NFL season in full swing and a chance to watch your favorite football team hit the gridiron. But for golf-playing football fans, it’s often a season filled with dilemma—a choice between attending the big game or squeezing in a few more rounds before the winter comes rolling in.
Fear not—you can easily have the best of both worlds in autumn, especially in markets littered with quality golf courses in close proximity to NFL cities. Tee it up in the morning and then root on your NFL team Sunday afternoon; or make a weekend out of it with a Saturday round to leave plenty of time for tailgating on Sunday.
In this piece, we focused on the cream of the crop, finding a few gems in NFL markets that have recently celebrated a Super Bowl title. Here’s a look at some of the best public golf options near the hometowns of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles—the last four teams to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Super Bowl LV Champions
Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)
TPC Tampa Bay (Lutz, Fla.)
TPC Tampa Bay has been one of the most well-known public courses in the greater Tampa area for decades, having hosted the PGA Tour Champions for 21 consecutive years up until 2012, with champions including Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. The course also plays host to the Final Qualifying Stage of the 2022 PGA Tour Champions Qualifying Tournament in December 2021.
Located less than half an hour from downtown Tampa, the Bobby Weed/Chi Chi Rodriguez design winds its way through wetlands and lagoons and is one of two courses in the area to be labeled an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Along with providing a serene setting, the course is a challenge to golfers of all skill sets. TPC Tampa Bay demands accuracy on approach shots and with water coming into play on 13 holes, a mishit can easily cost you a stroke and a Titleist. Weekend tee times in the fall run from $85–$155. tpctampabay.com
Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club (Dade City, Fla.)
About 35 miles from downtown Tampa, Lake Jovita is a 36-hole semi-private club that allows public play on both its North and South courses. Designed by Tom Lehman and Kurt Sandness, the drastic elevation changes on both courses make golfers feel like they’ve left the Sunshine State.
The South course has traditionally gotten the accolades at Lake Jovita, previously playing host to the PGA Tour’s qualifying school. The course is lined by massive oak trees, with numerous doglegs guarded by dozens of bunkers. The highlight of a round on the South comes at the 11th hole, a par five stretching out to 559 yards from the Gold tees, playing over a hill and eventually requiring an approach to a green complex with water long and right and bunkers short and left. Play on the weekend for $60–$90. lakejovita.com
Kansas City Chiefs—Superbowl LIV Champions
Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
Stone Canyon Golf Club (Blue Springs, Mo.)
The only Greg Norman signature design in the Midwest, Stone Canyon opened in 2009 just 15 minutes east of the Chiefs’ home field and has the Great White Shark’s thumbprint all over it. From gnarly bunkers to tightly cropped runoffs, Norman combined his signature style with a unique piece of land that features massive rock walls. Stone Canyon’s “wow factor” comes early on the 381-yard par-four 3rd hole—a forced carry off the tee leads to a dramatic approach shot to a green completely surrounded by rocks. Snag a tee time for under $40 before the Kansas City winter arrives. stonecanyongolfclub.com
Shoal Creek Golf Course (Kansas City, Mo)
Located just 20 minutes north of Arrowhead Stadium, Shoal Creek prides itself on being a public-access golf course with private-course amenities. Opened in 2001, the Steve Wolford-designed course is owned by Kansas City’s Parks and Recreation department. Unlike most city- owned golf courses, Shoal Creek has an upscale feel. Those who want a test can stretch out the layout to over 7,000 yards from the Golf tees and will be challenged on the home stretch. Water comes into play on five holes on the back nine, none more menacing than the par-three 17th; a 197-yard tee shot requires players to carry the Shoal Creek towards a generous green complex. The course also offers an extensive driving range and affordable green fees with rates running $31–$70. shoalcreekgolf.com
New England Patriots—Superbowl LIII Champions
Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
Pinehills Golf Club (Plymouth, Mass.)
The Patriots are a unique case on this list, entertaining fans from the entire New England region rather than just Massachusetts. As a former New England resident, I can attest it’s quite common to drive 45 minutes to play the best public courses, with many of the top courses in the area being private. Located on the South Shore in Plymouth, just 40 miles from downtown Boston, Pinehills has long been one of the region’s top public options and is the perfect 36-hole golf experience.
The Jones course, designed by Rees Jones in 2001, is the more challenging of the two layouts and demands accuracy off the tee to fairways with subtle turns, surrounded by tall pines. The Nicklaus course ramps up the fun factor, with generous landing areas off the tee and contoured green complexes that allow golfers to fly it high or run their golf ball up to the putting surface. The facility is also just a seven-mile drive from the historic Plymouth Harbor—the perfect stop for a post-round beverage. Starting mid-October, rates go down from $140 to $80 on weekends. pinehillsgolf.com
Granite Links Golf Club (Quincy, Mass.)
If you’re looking for the most spectacular views of the city of Boston, then Granite Links is simply unmatched. The 27-hole semi-private layout located in the Boston suburbs was constructed on a massive piece of land that previously consisted of quarries and landfills. The course sits high above the city and provides panoramic views of the Boston skyline, Logan airport, and Boston Harbor. Its greens can be quite challenging due to the drastic slope of the course and a few holes demand perfection off the tee with steep drop-offs only yards from the fairway. Be on the lookout for multiple rock quarries that ascend hundreds of feet to dramatic water hazards. Public tee times will go for around $150. granitelinks.com
Philadelphia Eagles—Superbowl LII Champions
Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Jeffersonville Golf Club (Jeffersonville, Pa.)
Located just 22 miles northwest of the City of Brotherly Love, Jeffersonville G.C. is rich in history. The par-70 course was designed by Donald Ross in 1931 and sits on land that was once used for steeplechase horse racing in the early 1900s; it stays true to its roots using a jockey silk as its logo. Like many old Ross designs, evolution took Jeffersonville in a direction it wasn’t intended. In 2000, the course underwent an extensive restoration project under the direction of Ron Pritchard who has become known as the “Ross whisperer,” restoring many of the legendary architect’s courses to their original state. The course offers affordable green fees in the fall running from $38–$58. jeffersonvillegolfclub.org
The Golf Course at Glen Mills (Glen Mills, Pa.)
Travel 40 minutes west of Lincoln Financial Field and you’ll find the perfect golf course for viewing fall foliage. The Golf Course at Glen Mills was designed by Bobby Weed in 1998 and sits on close to 240 acres of land next to the Glen Mills Schools; the course allows students from the school to receive training in golf-related fields, such as golf course management and agronomy. With tree-lined fairways and green complexes guarded by rock-walled water hazards and what Weed called “Scottish style” bunkering, the course presents an exceptional playing quality and a welcome challenge. Play on a fall weekend from $70–$100 including carts. glenmillsgolf.com
The Golf Course at Glen Mills is a 20-year-old Bobby Weed design playing across a rugged, rolling landscape on the grounds of the former Glen Mills School. The best public golf course suburban Philly has to offer – strikingly beautiful, endlessly challenging and supremely fun. pic.twitter.com/Zx4Swzl9BC
— LinksGems Golf Photos (@LinksGems) July 24, 2020