Lexington Area Offers Quality Courses, Affordable Fees, Extended Season

What's the best reason to plan a golf outing in the Bluegrass?

Is it that you can play at championship-caliber courses - some designed by the sport's top course architects - for a mere pittance of what you'd pay elsewhere? Forget paying up to $100 to play a Pete Dye course. There are two in the area (one in Lexington and another within an hour's drive of Lexington) that won't cost you even half that.

Click for PDFMaybe it's the extended season. Weather permitting (and it frequently does), you can hit the links year-round. That, combined with Lexington's convenient location at the intersection of Interstates 64 and 75, make it no wonder that many players from Ohio, Michigan and other golf-loving points north come to the Bluegrass for winter golf.

Of course, any time of year, golf is an enjoyable experience in the Bluegrass area. The scenery is just as world famous on the 18th fairway as it is on a horse farm (in fact, some courses either adjoin horse farms or offer a horse farm atmosphere).

No matter what brings you to the Lexington area, once you take a look at the excellent selection of public and semi-private courses, you'll be glad you brought along your clubs. And, in enjoying golf in the Bluegrass, you'll find yourself in good historic company. In addition to the well-known golfers from Kentucky - a list that includes Russ Cochran, Kenny Perry, Doug Martin, Brad Fabel, Steve Flesch, Robert Damron, J.B. Holmes, Myra Van Hoose Blackwelder, Bobby Nichols and Gay Brewer - pro players from all over have played and touted Lexington area links.

As a former stop on the PGA Senior Tour, Lexington evokes fond memories. "Lexington was my favorite spot on the tour," said golf veteran Gary Player. "I've traveled more than any athlete that's ever lived, and I've never seen a more beautiful part of the world than right here in Lexington."

Here's a guide to Lexington-area courses available for play by the public. Greens fees vary by season, rarely topping $35.

A Dye-namic Duo    

The fact that two Pete Dye-designed courses are found in the Bluegrass should give you some idea of the area's love of the links. Even more telling is that one of Lexington's municipal courses was designed by the revered father-son team of Pete and P.B. Dye.    

The course is Kearney Hill Golf Links, and it's more than a symbol of local devotion to the sport. It's an exciting, tough and enjoyable Scottish-style links course, with large, undulating greens and an abundance of water and bunkers . Kearney Hill has been named the top public course in Kentucky and one of the Top 100 places to play in the country. And you're going to love the price.    

Kearney Hill hosted a stop on the Senior PGA Tour from 1990 to 1997. The course is located just a few minutes' drive from downtown off Georgetown Road (U.S. 25 north) and is superbly maintained and run by the Lexington Parks and Recreation Department. 3403 Kearney Road, Lexington (859) 253-1981 

18 holes, public , par 72; Non-metal spikes only 
Bent grass greens and fairways 
Yardage: 7,129; Slope 131; Rating: 73.5 
Green fees with cart: $41 weekdays; $47 weekends

Another Dye masterpiece is found a little over a half hour's drive south of Lexington near Lancaster, Kentucky. Peninsula Golf Resort, a public championship course named as one of the Top 200 in the nation by Golf Digest, features a challenging and enjoyable mix of short and long holes on 200 acres adjoining Lake Herrington. The Dye-sized greens, strategically placed bunkers and mature trees make Peninsula an intellectually demanding course requiring finesse and strategic shot making. The clubhouse is an elegant 9,500-square foot Southern-style mansion, and "Stay and Play" villas are available. To get there from Lexington, take U.S. 27 (Nicholasville Road) south to Route 1845. Turn right and continue to the end of 1845 . Turn left at the fire station and follow Peninsula Golf resort signs. About 22 miles from Lexington. 136 Clubhouse Drive, Lancaster, KY (859) 548-5055 or (877) 249-4747. 

18 holes, public, par 72; Non-metal spikes only 
Bent grass greens, bermuda fairways 
Yardage: 6,700; Slope: 124; Rating: 71.5 
Green fees with cart: $30 weekdays, $40 weekends regular season; special winter rates

Bluegrass Note:Gay Robert Brewer, Jr. (1932-2007) was a professional golfer who was raised in Lexington. He played on the PGA Tour and won the 1967 Masters Tournament. In 2007, the golf course in Lexington where he learned to play was renamed the "Gay Brewer Jr. Course at Picadome."

More Great Lexington Courses 
The two Dye courses are only a part of the possibilities for exciting play in the Bluegrass. Within Lexington itself there are four other municipal courses and some noteworthy semi-private ones.

Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Golf Club. This is another Lexington course that, like Kearney Hill, previously hosted a PGA Senior Tour stop. Designed by Rees Jones, this semi-private championship course with gentle, rolling hills has been named one of the top 75 U.S. resort courses by GolGolf Lexingtonf Digest magazine. It's one of the more expensive courses in the area, but still a bargain by national standards.   Newly renovated with a bunker project led by Rees Jones you can now enjoy new fairway approaches into greens and chipping areas, plus classic bunker lines that reflect those of golf's premier courses. 

The course adjoins the Marriott resort hotel, and packages including golf and accommodations are available. The course is convenient both to downtown (take Main Street west and turn right onto Newtown Pike) and Interstates 64/75, Exit 115 (the Marriott is just south of the exit on the left). 1720 Newtown Pike, Lexington (859) 288-6193 

18 holes, public, par 72; 
Non-metal spikes only 
Bent grass greens; rye and bluegrass fairways 
Yardage: 6,784; Slope: 138; Rating: 73.1 Green fees with cart: from $36 to $72.

Gay Brewer, Jr. Course @ Picadome. Literally just minutes from downtown (you can see the taller office buildings from the course), this course was originally founded in 1927. That fact makes it the oldest public course in central Kentucky and gives it a character that can only be found on a course of this age.This tree-lined golf course is known for its fast greens, dog legs, and numerous water holes. Its convenient location next to the Crowne Plaza Lexington/The Campbell House hotel complex makes it a local favorite for a quick golf getaway. Golf packages are available through the hotel ( 859-255-4281). To get there, head south from downtown on Broadway, which becomes Harrodsburg Road and turn right onto Parkway Drive before Mason Headley. 469 Parkway Drive, Lexington (859) 288-2990 

18 holes, public, par 72; Non-metal spikes only 
Bent grass greens, Bermuda fairways 
Yardage: 6,548; Slope: 131; Rating: 70.8 
Green fees with cart: $35; $39 weekends.

Lakeside Golf Course. Another quality Lexington municipal course, Lakeside is about a 10-minute drive south of downtown Lexington. Adjacent to Jacobson Park, it's Central Kentucky's most played public course. The course includes one of the longest and most challenging par five holes in the state at 653 yards. To get there from downtown, take East Main Street, which becomes Richmond Road. 3725 Richmond Road, Lexington (859) 263-5315 

18 holes, public, par 72; Non-metal spikes only 
Bent grass greens, rye and bluegrass fairways 
Yardage: 7,078; Slope: 132; Rating: 73.2 
Green fees with cart: $33 weekdays; $37 weekends.

Tates Creek Golf Course. Another of Lexington's six municipal courses, Tates Creek is located in a residential suburb south of downtown. A private club in the 50s and 60s, it's a tight course with hilly terrain and mature trees. 1400 Gainesway Drive, Lexington (859) 272-3428 

18 holes, public, par 72; Non-metal spikes only 
Bent grass greens, bluegrass fairways 
Yardage: 6,265; Slope: 126; Rating: 69.5 
Green fees with cart: $31 weekdays; $35 weekends. Special fees for juniors, seniors.

Meadowbrook Golf Course. Another municipal course in suburban Lexington, Meadowbrook includes 17 par three holes, and one par four hole. The nature of the course makes it an excellent training ground for novice golfers. 360 Wilson Downing Road, Lexington (859) 272-3115 

18 holes, public, par 55 
Bent grass greens, rye/bermuda fairways 
Yardage: 2,235 
Green fees: $13 weekdays and weekends, special fees for Juniors ($7) and Seniors ($8). Every Monday through Friday is Ladies Day: $8.

Bluegrass Note: In addition to the driving ranges located at area golf courses, you can practice your swing at these Lexington driving ranges: Man O' War Golf Learning Center (includes heated and lighted full-swing practice), 1201 Man O' War Blvd, (859) 259-4653; Athens Golf Center, 4400 Athens-Boonesboro Road, (859) 263-2152; and White Haven Golf, 100 Yorkshire Blvd., (859) 263-5310.

Drives Worth the Drive 
You can head out from Lexington in any direction and find challenging and enjoyable play. In the Bluegrass communities surrounding Lexington, there are dozens of public and semi-private golf courses. Here's a sampling of regional courses where the "drive" is worth the drive: 
Jessamine County, south of Lexington, has several scenic courses that are popular with Lexington golfers (and so close that they hardly seem "out of town"):

Connemara Golf Links. Located on a former horse farm just minutes south of Lexington in Jessamine County, Connemara is known for its gorgeous scenery. This is a wide open course with some challenging holes and a great back nine. 7 miles from downtown Lexington. 2327 Lexington Road (U.S. 27), Nicholasville. (859) 885-4331 

18 holes, public, par 72; Non-metal spikes only 
Bent grass greens and fairways 
Yardage: 6,551; Slope: 125; Rating: 71.2 
Green fees with cart: $33 weekdays, $38 weekends

Thoroughbred Golf Club at High Point. More spectacular views of the rolling hills of Kentucky's famed Bluegrass region abound from practically every hole at another Jessamine County course south of Lexington. 10 miles from downtown Lexington. 1215 High Point Drive (off KY 169), Nicholasville. (859) 887-4614 

18 holes, public, par 72; Non-metal spikes only 
Bent grass greens, bermuda fairways and tees 
Yardage: 6,580; Slope: 121; Rating: 69.2
Green fees with cart: $25 weekdays, $35 weekends regular season; special winter rates

Bluegrass Note: Here's a shortcut for you: check out the site There are several packages for Lexington that include your hotel and your tee times. You can also call them at (888) 833-7707.

Golf Club of the Bluegrass (formerly Widow's Watch Golf Club). The watch tower of the 100-year old clubhouse overlooks a course of generous fairways and large subtle greens. Several natural hazards are designed to allow high levels of risk and reward. Three to four tee boxes per hole create a variety of lengths to accommodate all levels of golfer. 6000 Harrodsburg Rd., Nicholasville, KY (859) 223-4516 

18 holes, public, par 72 
Bent grass greens, bent grass fairways 
Yardage 6,961; Slope 135; Rating 74.3 
Green fees with cart: $40, $45 weekends.

Another area course just minutes from Lexington is found in Woodford County. Woodford Lakes Golf Club is a newly renovated public course nestled amid the Bluegrass region's famed Thoroughbred horse farms. It's just a few miles west of Lexington on U.S. 60.  2260 Lexington Road (U.S. 60), Versailles, KY  (859) 300-3733

18 holes, public, par 72 
Bent grass greens; rye and bluegrass fairways 
Yardage: 7,131; Slope: 131; Rating: 73.2 
Green fees with cart: $30 weekdays, $35 weekends.

Idea Guide: Golf

North of Lexington in Bourbon County is Houston Oaks Golf Course, a semi-private course that opened in 1996. The course is rolling and scenic, with a beautiful layout that includes many trees, creeks and even a few links-style holes. There's plenty of water (it comes into play on 13 of the holes). To get there take U.S. 27/68 (Paris Pike). 15 miles from downtown Lexington. 555 Houston Oaks Dr, Paris (859) 987-5600 

18 holes, public, par 72; Non-metal spikes only 
Bent grass greens; bent grass fairways 
Yardage: 6,998; Slope: 137; Rating: 73.8
Green fees with cart: $34 weekdays, $47 weekends regular season; special winter rates in February.

A bit farther from Lexington, but still easily within an hour's drive is Bright Leaf Golf Resort near Harrodsburg. Here you'll find 36 holes of play, including a fairly open 18-hole links course; a tight nine-hole regulation course with water on seven holes; and a nine-hole par three course. 35 miles from downtown Lexington. 1742 Danville Road, Harrodsburg (859) 734-5481 

36 holes, public, par 72 
Bent grass greens, rye fairways 
Yardage: 6,474; Slope: 118; Rating: 69.8 Green fees with cart: $47 weekdays, $55 weekends regular season; special winter rates.

South of Lexington near Richmond is Gibson Bay Golf Course, part of the Lake Reba Recreational Complex. This championship course designed by Michael Hurdzan and featuring a hilly landscape has been rated a "Top Super Value" by Golf Digest. To get to Gibson Bay take I-75 south of Lexington to Exit 90A. Travel 4.5 miles. The course is on your left. 40 miles from downtown Lexington. 2000 Gibson Bay Drive, Richmond  (859) 623-0225 

18 holes, public, par 72 
Bent grass throughout 
Yardage: 7,113 ; Slope: 131; Rating: 73.7
Green fees with cart: $30 weekdays , $40 weekends. Early-bird specials weekdays.

Just across the Clay's Ferry bridge in Madison County is Boone's Trace National. Rated one of the top new public courses in the United States by Golf Digest, this challenging course with hilly terrain opened in May of 1999. 25 miles from downtown Lexington. 175 Glen Eagle Blvd., Richmond. (859) 623-4653 

18 holes, semi-private, par 72 
Bent grass throughout 
Yardage: 6,659; Slope 136; Rating: 71.6 
Green Fees with cart: $35 weekdays, $45 weekends; twilight and senior specials.

Head southwest to Old Bridge Golf Club near Danville. With scenic views of Herrington lake, both experienced and novice players enjoy playing this challenging course with rolling terrain and water hazards on nine holes. 45 minutes from downtown Lexington. 1 Old Bridge Rd , Danville (859) 236-1234 

18 holes, public, par 72
Bent grass greens; zoysia and rye fairways
Yardage: 6,790; Slope 116; Rating: 70
Green Fees with cart: $24 weekdays and weekends.

Northwest of Lexington is Canewood Golf Course. This course, designed by Daniel H. McQueen, opened in 1994. Parts of the course run along scenic Elkhorn Creek making for some tight holes on the back nine. 301 General John Payne Blvd., Georgetown, (502) 603-0432. 

18 holes, public, par 70 Bent grass greens, rye fairways
Yardage: 6,500; Slope: 126; Rating: 69.8 Green fees with cart: $28 weekdays; $34 weekends

Also in Georgetown is Longview Golf Club with beautiful rolling hills. Amenities include a driving range, practice green, pro shop, golf lessons and snack bar. 25 minutes from downtown Lexington. 3243 Frankfort Rd., Georgetown. (502) 863-2165 

18 holes, public, par 72, Bent grass greens, bluegrass/rye fairways 
Yardage: 6,658; slope 120; Rating: 70.7 
Green fees with cart: $27 weekdays, Seniors $23 weekdays, $34 weekends and holidays

Longview's sister facility, Cherry Blossom Golf Club, has been voted the #1 public course in Kentucky. Enhanced by the natural beauty of Lane's Run Creek, Cherry Blossom includes a full service restaurant, driving range and three practice greens to improve your game. 25 minutes from downtown Lexington. 150 Clubhouse Dr., Georgetown (502) 570-9849

18 holes, semi-private, par 72.
Bent grass greens, bent-grass fairways
Yardage: 6866; slope 135; Rating: 73.6 Green fees with cart : $39 weekdays, $48 weekends

Duckers Lake Golf Course is in Frankfort. Season passes and 10 round discount cards are valid at both facilities. Duckers Lake is a jewel of a course with five sets of tees to suit all skill levels. 25 minutes from downtown Lexington. 98 Buena Vista Dr., Frankfort (502)695-4653

18 holes, public, par 71.
Bent grass greens, zoysia fairways and tees
Yardage: 6405; slope 122; rating 69.1
Green fees with cart $28 weekdays, Seniors $25 weekdays, $33 weekends and holidays. 

For more information call VisitLEX, the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, at (800) 845-3959.

Updated April 2018

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