Best Golf Courses In California – Top 20 List!

California, also known as The Golden State is a wonderful place to play golf. The state is huge and packed with some amazing courses to try your skills on. A lot of professional golfers actually have some strong roots linked to California. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Johnny Miller are just to name a few. Alongside these golfers is also an extensive list of the best golf courses in California.

With a state that is sunny and warm most of the year it is almost impossible to miss out on a round of golf. The state of California is the perfect getaway to get a lot of rounds of golf in. No need to worry about snow or other harsh conditions present in states like Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire. Many PGA tournaments are hosted each year in California and the state continues to grow in popularity in the golfing community. I created this list with one thing in mind. I wanted to highlight the many beautiful courses in California and also show you why this state continues to be the center of golf.

Cypress Point Club

Cypress Point was created in 1928 by designers Alister MacKenzie & Robert Hunter. This wonderful golf course is on the Monterey peninsula and has some breathtaking views of the water. Cypress Point is definitely one of the most revered courses in the state of California. The natural beauty and overall design of this course will take your breath away. I would have to put Cypress Point in the top 3 courses of all time. Golf.com named Cypress Point the #2 golf course in the world! This course is super-exclusive and if you get the privilege of playing here make sure to savor the moment.

Pebble Beach

When you think of golf, Pebble Beach should be one of the courses that comes to mind. Pebble Beach Golf Links has hosted countless golf tournaments throughout the years. Pebble Beach is set to host the U.S. Open in 2019 and it should be a good one. I would have to say that Pebble Beach is the #1 rated public golf course in the United States. Many PGA professionals as well as celebrities have played this course in their lifetime. The amateur championship hosted here every year is definitely a fun tournament to watch. Every hole is breathtaking but the 18th hole at Pebble Beach takes the top prize. Originally designed as a par-4. The 18th hole was redesigned and now it is a stunning par-5 that goes along the California coast.

The Los Angeles Country Club (North)

This club is a wonderful little track located in Los Angeles, California. The golf course was designed by George C. Thomas Jr. The Los Angeles Country Club (LACC) is very private and follows a strict dress code rule on and off the golf course. The committee is trying to preserve the course and keep it the same as it was when it was first built. Don’t let the strict guidelines and rules scare you away. LACC is built wonderfully and has some amazing views of Los Angeles in the background. There are actually two courses on this property. There is a north course as well as a south course. Each course is just as challenging as the other but both equally beautiful.

San Francisco Golf Club

The San Francisco Golf Club was founded in 1885 and was designed by A.W. Tillinghast. The original course was mapped out in 1918. Tillinghast then came through in 1923 to redesign and add some improvements to the golf course. Some of the best golf courses in California have been redesigned by these big name engineers. Here is an interesting note about this course. Hole number 7 is called the “Duel Hole” because it actually marks the last time there was a legal duel in America. So make sure to duel it out with your buddies on this challenging par 3.

Riviera Country Club

The Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades is a fully exclusive private golf club located in the vicinity of Los Angeles. The terrain of this golf course isn’t ideal but the golf course makes up for it thanks to it’s wonderful design elements. Many opens and PGA championships have been played on these holes. The Genesis Open is always hosted at the wonderful Riviera Country Club. Designer William P. Bell helped George C. Thomas craft this stunning golf course on a not so ideal layout. The team did a wonderful job and the Riviera is definitely a golf course you need to check out in your lifetime.

California Golf Club of San Francisco

This south San Francisco golf course has been around since 1918. Alistair MacKenzie and Robert Hunter designed the course in 1928. Golf Digest named The California Golf Club of San Francisco one of the toughest courses out of a list of 200 courses. In 2007 the course underwent a major renovation and the course looks better than ever! This course also boasts a popular bar and restaurant area. If you’re just looking for the social aspect you definitely can enjoy yourself at the bar or sipping a martini on the back deck. The are countless options for you to indulge in at the California Golf Club of San Francisco.

The Olympic Club

The Olympic Club located in San Francisco, California is one of the oldest athletic facilities in the United States. The club was founded in 1860 and remains open to this day. This private track was designed by Sam Whiting, Willie Watson, and Tom Weiskopf. The club sports three different courses named the Lake Course, Ocean Course, and Cliffs Course. The club also has other sporting buildings as well as lodging in the facility grounds. The Olympic Club purchased the Lakeside Golf Club originally and transformed it into what you see today. Many great athletes have come through this facility. You should definitely consider getting a room for the weekend and playing all the courses available.

Pasatiempo Golf Course

The Pasatiempo Golf Course was stunningly crafted by famous golf course designer Alister MacKenzie. The golf course features some breathtaking views that make the game of golf so much more enjoyable. MacKenzie has said in the past, Pasatiempo is one of his favorite courses and he has designed courses like Augusta & Cypress Point. The golf course features rolling hills that have a beautiful backdrop of trees and scenery. This is a semi-private golf course that is wonderful for any golfer looking for a change of scenery. I would have to say that Pasatiempo is on the top 10 list of desired golf courses to play on. So many California destination packages include a trip to this wonderful golf course.

Valley Club of Montecito

Located in Montecito, California, the Valley Club is home to many famous celebrities and golfers. The shape of this course is almost like an hourglass. The course was designed by Alister MacKenzie and Robert Hunter. This course looks fairly easy but you need to be crafty with all of your shots. The fairways are very forgiving and approach shots require skill and some luck haha. The Valley Club is known as being in the best location for golf weather. The temperature is always the same and the sun is always shining. Golfers from all over flock to this wonderful course to indulge in its many wonders. Who wouldn’t want to play on a course that has perfect weather ALL THE TIME?

Spyglass Hill Golf Course

Spyglass Hill is owned by Pebble Beach. This amazing course stretches along the outer banks of California and starts out with a bang. You will start out playing alongside ocean and sand for 5 or 6 holes. The views are breathtaking and the course is in immaculate condition. It is no surprise that Spyglass Hill is one of the best golf courses in California. Another great feature of this course is that it is setup like a resort. Now you can bring your whole family. They can go off and do their own thing while you and the guys play a couple rounds of golf. Then everyone can meet up in the numerous restaurants to talk about your wonderful day. Spyglass Hill has been played by many professional and amateur golfers from all around the world.

Monterey Peninsula Country Club

The Monterey Peninsula Country Club (MPCC) is home to two wonderful golf courses that span a lot of acres in Pebble Beach, California. The shore course and dunes course both sport very different layouts and scenery. Each course has its pros and cons. The course began construction in 1924 by Seth Raynor. The course was later finished by Robert Hunter due to Raynor’s death. Hunter and his team of architects finished the course and made it what it is today. Both courses have had major redesigns since 1924 and the course is better than ever. The MPCC just redesigned the Dunes course in 2015 and it looks fantastic.

Bel-Air Country Club

This wonderfully designed country club features an 18 hole golf course as well as many tennis courts for recreational play. The Bel-Air Country Club feels like a major throwback to the original days of golf. Everything feels “older” and “authentic”. Those are the two best words to describe this beautiful looking track. George C. Thomas designed this course and he did a phenomenal job doing so. The Bel-Air is the home of the UCLA men’s and women’s golf teams. That is definitely a nice perk to have if you go to UCLA and are on the golf team. This facility is definitely a social club but it tries to always link back to its roots.

Mayacama Golf Club

The Mayacama Golf Club definitely has an “Italian” feel to it when you arrive. It looks like you are pulling into a quaint Italian villa with a rolling landscape. This golf club is definitely something you have never seen before. All other courses I have been to in the past have a very common look and feel. Mayacama is definitely out of the ordinary. One thing to note about this course is that it is walking only. Caddies join you on the course to help you navigate the beautiful terrain. This is a Jack Nicklaus signature course and it is woven through the mountains and countryside. You feel like you’re in a different country.

Stone Eagle Golf Club

The Stone Eagle Golf Club continues to be at the top of the lists in Golf Digest & Golf Advisor. The entire golf course and facility is kept in immaculate condition. You won’t find one blade of grass out of place. Everything is kept up well and you can tell everything is clean and well maintained. When you first tee off on #1 you will be awestruck at the beautiful views in the background. You may also get the chance to see some long horn sheep roaming the mountains. This Tom Doak designed golf course really plays with your emotions and is a destination I have always wanted to try. You will feel almost like you are in a painted landscape. That’s how beautiful it is.

Rustic Canyon Golf Course

The Rustic Canyon Golf Course has a very desert like feel to it. There is definitely an endless amount of sand and cactus along the whole course. Just make sure to keep your ball out of the traps and you will be able to play this course with ease. The facilities include an 18 hole golf course, driving range, and cafe/bar for drinks after your round. Everything is breathtaking from the moment you drive through the front gate. The best way to play this course is to calculate your approach shots and don’t always feel like you have to use the driver. Keep it in the fairways and you should find yourself having an easy round.

Martis Camp Club

Designer Tom Fazio has really crafted a wonderful golf course in the forest of trees and mountains. There are multiple tree lined fairways and beautiful water holes around every corner. One very cool feature is that the men’s locker room actually has a restaurant in it! How cool is that! The Martis Camp Club has an amazing amount of real estate also in the area. Why not buy your dream home on a wonderfully constructed golf course. Waking up everyday to a beautiful backyard isn’t that terrible. The greens on this golf course are in pristine condition. Some course i’ve been to like to keep the holes visible to the public maintained and they let the other holes get run down. Not at Martis Camp Club. Every green plays just like the previous one.

Meadow Club

Half an hour drive north from the Golden Gate Bridge will land you at the beautiful Meadow Club. The creek nearby to this golf course are elegantly introduced throughout this wonderful track. The Meadow Club was one of the many designs by MacKenzie. The holes have an almost peaceful and serene feel to them. You get this sort of calming feeling when you start your round. It is a wonderful feeling to have. Even the drive up to the course is filled with beauty and winding roads. Try not to have too many drinks on the course because it can be a challenge to make it back down to civilization.

The Quarry at La Quinta

This private club opened up in 1994 and only allows guest to play. This course is not open to the public at all. The Quarry at La Quinta features a lot of rolling fairways surrounded by lush mountains. One thing I wanted to note about this course is that the employees are some of the best around. It just feels like everyone enjoys going to work and all of the employees have huge smiles on their faces. There is a spa and fitness area conveniently located in the clubhouse. After your round of golf take some time in the spa to unwind and destress. Hopefully your round wasn’t that terrible. Then after the spa check out their wonderful bar area for drinks and some food.

Preserve Golf Club

This is a Tom Fazio designed course that sits on 350 acres of land. The Preserve Golf Club really gives you a strong feeling that you’re in California. The fairways are covered in hills and valleys. The land was once used for farming and agriculture. You will feel like you’re in the rolling hills when you tee off on #1. Natural ponds and other features line the fairways and give you a little bit of a challenge. If you love the course and the grounds why not try and purchase a house. The Preserve has many houses for sale so why not make your dream a reality!

The Madison Club

Tom Fazio is known for turning desert lands into beautiful golf courses. He was the one who designed and built Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. After the Vegas project was completed. Fazio was tasked with creating another iconic and beautiful 18 holes. Tom settled on the beautiful land of La Quinta. The Madison Club is definitely considered a golfer’s playground. The course at the Madison Club is perfect for any seasoned golfer. The backdrop on this course is magnificent. The course is well maintained and they have an advanced training facility attached to the club house. Now when you’re hitting it into the rough all the time. Why not visit the training facility to get a good tune up!

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