Military secrets: the Armed Forces own some first-rate golf coursesand you can play them for next to nothing
IT’S NO VIOLATION OF NATIONAL SECURITY TO REVEAL that the U.S. Armed Forces have some very fine golf courses–it just seems like it must be. How else to explain that most golfers have no idea these courses even exist? The military owns 200-odd tracks. Some, such as A.C. Read Golf Course in Pensacola, Fla., and Oahu’s Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course, aren’t open to all taxpayers, except as guests. Not built with tax dollars, they are supported by “nonappropriated funds,” nickels and dimes earned from commissaries, service clubs, snack bars and other R & R operations.
But as base populations have shrunk in recent years, public green fees have become an increasingly attractive supplement to some military golf operations. Not just former military courses, like Fort Ord near Monterey, Calif., and the Presidio in San Francisco, which are now open to the public. Courses at active installations are also opening to public play–places like Gordon Lakes Golf Course at Fort Gordon, Ga., where the original Robert Trent Jones 18 and a new nine by Dan Schlegal are routed through stately pine trees that bring to mind Augusta National about a half-hour to the north.
Civilian green fees at these courses are almost embarrassingly affordable. Gordon Lakes charges $22 on weekdays, $28 on weekends. Fees top out at $29 at Miramar Memorial Golf Course in San Diego. And if you’re ever in the area, Chena Bend Golf Club at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, asks a maximum of $30 for 18 holes.
20 military courses you can play
* Chena Bend G.C., Fort Wainwright, Alaska, 907-353-6223, $21-$30.
* Cheyenne Shadows G. Cse., Fort Carson, Colo., 719-5264122, $27-$32.
* EagleGlen G. Cse., Elmendorf (Alaska) Air Force Base, 907-552-3821, $40.
* Eglin G. Cse., Eglin Air Force Base, Niceville, Fla., 850-882-2949, $36.
* Eisenhower G.C., U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, 719-333-2606, $55.
* Falcon Dunes G.C., Luke Air Force Base, Phoenix, 623-535-8355, $22.
* Follow Me G. Cse., Fort Benning (Ga.) Army Base, 404-706-1940, $15.
* Fort Jackson (S.C.) G. Cse., 803-787-4437, $18-$23.
* Fort Meade (Md.) G.C., 301-677-5326, $32.
* Francis E. Warren G.C., Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Cheyenne, Wyo., 307-773-3556, $16-$20.
* Gator Lakes G.C., Hurlburt Field, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., 850-881-2251, $22.
* Gordon Lakes G. Cse., Fort Gordon, Ga., 706-791-2433, $22-$27.
* The Legends at Parris Island (S.C.), Marine Corps Recruit Depot, 843-228-2240, $23-$30.
* Leilehua G. Cse., Schofield Barracks, Oahu, Hawaii, 808-655-4653, $32.
* Marine Memorial G. Cse., U.S. Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, Calif., 760-725-4704, $23-$28.
* Miramar Memorial G. Cse., Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, 858-577-4155, $24-$29.
* Ruggles G. Cse., Aberdeen (Md.) Proving Ground, 410-278-9452, $25-$30.
* Sound of Freedom G. Cse., Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, Havelock, N.C., 252-466-3044, $17-$19.
* Suneagles G.C., Fort Monmouth Army Base, Eatontown, N.J., 732-5324307, $35-$45.
Trident Lakes G. Cse., Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay, Ga., 912-5738475, $11-$13.
For a full list of military courses open to the public, visit golfdigest.com/military.
COPYRIGHT 2004 New York Times Company Magazine Group, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group