Pebble Beach Golf Links
Randy Tunnell/Pebble Beach Golf Links

The U.S. Open is meant to be just that: a competition open to a wide range of golfers.­ The same isn’t always true of the venues where it’s played, but that’s about to change.

Since 1895, when the tournament began, the vast majority of Open tournaments have been held at private clubs — members-only redoubts like Merion Golf Club (www.meriongolfclub.com), outside Philadelphia, where this month’s Open will be staged. It makes for an odd contrast: an “open” competition at a venue closed to the everyday golfer. The good news: That’s about to change. Starting in summer 2014, four of the next six Opens will be held at public courses. First in the rotation is historic Pinehurst No. 2 (www.pinehurst.com) in North Carolina, followed by Chambers Bay (www.chambersbaygolf.com) in University Place, Wash., a municipal course with the look and feel of a Scottish links. In 2017, the Open will shift to Erin Hills (www.erinhills.com), on rolling terrain in rural Erin, Wis., before landing two years later at Pebble Beach Golf Links (www.pebblebeach.com) in California, the most famous public layout of them all. These world-class courses are sure to give the world’s best players a run for their money. And because anyone can play them, they’ll give golfers everywhere something to look forward to outside of watching the U.S. Open on TV.