Our search for the best golf courses you can actually play moves from one end of the country (Florida) to the other.
California is home to near perfect weather and some of the most scenic golf you’ll find anywhere in the country. While some of it, the Monterrey Peninsula (home to 3 of the courses on this list) for example, can be pricey, that’s more than offset by a little muni just outside San Diego, and our #4 ranked course where greens fees start at under $50.
To build our list of the Most Wanted Golf Courses in California we used our #Datacratic process and stats from our partners at the TheGrint, a golf handicap and stat tracking service, whose extensive database contains more than 120,000 golf course reviews submitted by average golfers like you.
Here are the 10 Most Wanted Golf Courses in California.
#1 Pebble Beach Golf Links
“There are few golf thrills like teeing-up for the first time on Pebble Beach Golf Links. You sense the presence of golf’s biggest legends. You anticipate each and every storied hole while recounting some of the greatest moments in golf history.”
#2 Spyglass Hill Golf Course
“Opened in 1966, Spyglass Hill Golf Course features two distinctly different kinds of terrain that influence the way the holes look and play. The first five holes roll through sandy seaside dunes challenging you to carefully pick the safest path. The following 13 holes are cut through majestic pines with elevated greens and strategically placed bunkers and lakes to grab the errant shot. Hole names such as “Black Dog” and “Billy Bones” are hints for the unwary.”
#3 Aviara Golf Club
“The Aviara Golf Club overlooks the Batiquitos Lagoon nature preserve in beautiful Carlsbad, California. The only coastal California course designed by Arnold Palmer, Aviara Golf Club features a memorable layout: par 72 over 18 holes and 7,007 yards uniquely sculpted around rolling hillsides, native wildflowers, and plenty of bunker and water challenges.”
#4 Goose Creek Golf Course
“Nestled into the Hidden Valley Wildlife Area and meandering along the Santa Ana River, this beautifully manicured course is a golfer’s golf course. The greens are fast with a great layout and conditions that offer a challenging par 71 course along a demanding 6,556 yards. The Schmidt/Curely designed course will sufficiently challenge the experienced golfer while still allowing the novice golfer to enjoy oneself.”
#5 Oak Quarry Golf Club
“Oak Quarry is a thrilling, 18-hole, 72-par championship course, masterfully designed by Dr. Gil Morgan/Schmidt Curley Designs. The CGCOA’s 2011 Course of the Year winds through the picturesque jagged terrain of the historical Jensen Quarry. Since opening in 2000, this unparalleled course has received many awards including ‘Best Course Inland Southern California’, ‘Hole #14 rated Best Par 3 in Southern California’ and ‘Hole #4 Prettiest Par 4.'”
#6 The Links at Spanish Bay
“Links is an old Scottish word for sandy wasteland, usually near the sea, with bristly grasses and ever prevailing wind. The Links at Spanish Bay are so authentic that even the Monterey coastline mirrors the rugged, natural beauty of Scotland.”
#7 Pelican Hill Golf Club (Ocean North)
“Panoramic ocean views from every tee box are just the beginning. Open canyons and elevated plateaus dot the landscape, and at nearly 7,000 yards from the tips, your full attention is required. Several holes weave their way right down to the cliff’s edge, but great shots here require more than just a great camera. Lose your focus, and you might just lose the hole.”
#8 Torrey Pines Golf Course (South)
“Torrey Pines is a municipal course, owned and maintained by the City of San Diego. In 2001, celebrated golf course designer Rees Jones was given the task of remodeling the South Course, an endeavor that has been met with almost universal acclaim. Now an impressive 7,607 yards in length, the Torrey Pines South Course has been selected to host the 2008 United States Open Championship.”
#9 Half Moon Bay Golf Links (Ocean)
“From the firm and fast links style of the Ocean Course to the American traditional parkland style of the Old Course, with iconic cypress trees, dogleg fairways and distinguishing edges all leading to the most photographed final hole in golf – golfers are guaranteed a landscape that provides inspiration every time. Ideal playing conditions, salty breezes and enchanting coastal terrain put these two 18-hole championship Half Moon Bay golf courses on a par with Scotland’s greatest.”
#10 PGA West (TPC Stadium)
“A Pete Dye golf course, TPC Stadium delivers multiple adrenaline rushes throughout the round. Host to PGA TOUR “Q-School” Finals every other year, PGA TOUR hopefuls must navigate the island green of hole #17, known as Alcatraz, as well as the menacing water-lined 18th. Imagine needing to make par-par on two of the toughest finishing holes in golf to earn the coveted PGA TOUR card!”