Golf courses abound throughout the United States as the greatest architects and pro golf players took their design ideas and created fairways that are challenging to golfers of all skill levels. We have blogged about the best courses in Myrtle Beach, SC, the best golf courses in Oregon and now we travel to the sunny state of California. You will find some of the best courses that combine sand, surf, and rolling greens into a memorable game experience. We picked out some of the top 10 golf courses to play in this state, although there are sure to be a few that you have played and think should be included in this list. If you plan on making a golfing trip out to California, make sure to stop by these courses and check out what they have to offer.
1: Cypress Point Club
Sometimes called the “best 17-hole course in the world” by a few of the pros, Cypress Point Club is where every golfer dreams about playing in California yet very few can enter. The course is set at the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains as it was first designed by Alister MacKenzie in 1928. Emerald green fairways, sand dunes, and cypress trees makes for a gorgeous setting as it is a thrilling course to be played by amateurs and pros alike.
2: Pebble Beach
If there was ever a course that Jack Nicklaus would play one more round before relaxing for the day, it would be at Pebble Beach. Many golfers make their way to this course every year as the beautiful ocean views create a sight to behold. Douglas Grant and Jack Neville first designed the course in 1919, yet it was remodeled by Henry Chandler Egan ten years later. Some of the best holes to play are at Pebble Beach if you can afford the price as it can put a hole into your wallet.
3: Spyglass Hill
When you are looking for a difficult course to test your elite golfing skills, then you head out to Spyglass Hill. The land is hilly as it makes its descent down to the Pacific Ocean as the winds pick up the white sand and spread it over the course. The fairways have rows of California pine trees and cypress trees as the wind can unexpectedly pick up to send your ball in a different direction. The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1966 as the 6,810 yards can challenge players that have even the strongest strokes.
4: San Francisco Golf Course
Along the rolling pines near Lake Merced with the Golden Gate Bridge nearby, the San Francisco Golf Course was one of the best courses constructed of the highest quality on the West Coast when it was designed in 1915. Architect Albert Warren Tillinghast designed the course as he stretched it over valleys and ravines to give it a dramatic layout. Over 9 years ago, the course suffered from a damaging nematode infestation as the bunkers and holes were rebuilt while still following Tillinghast’s original design. Some people consider the course an act of architectural brilliance.
5: Los Angeles Country Club
When you head out to the Los Angeles Country Club, it is a sight to behold. The course has a beautiful layout of the land as you can view downtown LA from the 11th hole. Yet the course is also a challenge as sports hills, valleys and swales. First developed by Herbert Fowler and later re-designed by George C. Thomas Jr., the course has 18 holes situated on the north and south sides, as people will refer to the course as North and South. They may play one side or the other when they only have a few hours of golf time to spare.
6: The Olympic Club
One of the oldest athletic clubs in the nation, The Olympic Club was designed in 1860 when it purchased some of the course from Lakeside Country Club. The course is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the freshwater Lake Merced as these features are the only water that you will find near the course. With the lack of water hazards, trees take up predominance on the course as there is only one fairway bunker. Yet the course is still extremely challenging because it is built on a slope. Five US Opens were hosted here.
7: Monterey Peninsula Country Club
While Pebble Beach gets the most publicity, there is also a little known place call the Monterey Peninsula Country Club. This private course was first designed in 1962 by Bob Baldock yet it was later restored by Mike Stranz until its completion in 2004. The layout is considered an act of true artistry as the rolling fairways allows the course to blend in with the land. The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am has been hosted at this course for decades as it again returned to the course after the restoration.
8: Riviera Country Club
To play on a course with legendary actors and singers such as Gregory Peck and Dean Martin can be a dream come true for some golfers. Well, you can play on the same courses that these legends once walked at the Riviera Country Club. In 1926, the golf course was first designed by George C. Thomas Jr. as over the years it has gone through numerous changes. Each hole has its own story to tell as it can keep players on their feet. The Los Angeles Open has been hosted at the Riviera Club since 1973 as it is the one course that Jack Nicklaus has never claimed a victory at.
9: Quarry at La Quinta
Along the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains and situated in Coachella Valley, the Quarry at La Quinta has natural wonders all along its perimeters including a 70-foot waterfall, an abandoned mine and an Indian trail. It is considered one of the best conditioned courses to play on as only members and their invited guests can take to the course. Quarry walls became a part of the design by Tom Fazio in 1944 as it is a course that is a wonder to play.
10: The Valley Club of Montecito
Sophistication without the pretentiousness is what players can find at the Valley Club of Montecito. Designed in 1929 by Dr. Alister MacKenzie, this golf course is simple yet subtle in its design. With the ocean sea breezes blowing over the course and a backdrop of mountains, it shows off its stylish design to all those that venture here. The course has high quality greens and camouflaged bunkers that makes it challenging. When looking for a peaceful place to play golf, the Valley Club of Montecito will not disappoint players.