Through work and travelling to the US to play golf with mates, I have been fortunate to play some of America's best courses.
I have a well connected friend who lives on the Monterey Peninsula and through him I have enjoyed playing the following courses over the years: (Listed in order of preference)
Monterey Peninsula Country Club - Dunes
San Juan Oaks
Fort Ord -Bayonet
Links At Spanish Bay
Corral de Tierra
Carmel Valley Ranch
Old Del Monte
In San Francisco area:
San Francisco Golf Club
Olympic Golf Club - Lake
TPC Harding Park
I could also add a heap of courses in Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Minnesota, New York State, Maryland, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas.
With the exception of the Capital and Ellerston, I've been lucky enough to have played every major course in Australia as well.
One thing I can say for certain, and that is the company is as important as the quality of the course. I played in Ireland at Ballybunion one time with some Texas acehole who ruined the day for everyone. Wanted to plant a sand wedge in his forehead by the end of the round.