Covering much of the West Coast, the Golden State features some of the finest golf courses the United States has to offer. We look at some of the most popular courses, from Torrey Pines, with its stunning Pacific Ocean views, to the highly challenging courses of Maderas Golf Club.
Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Pebble Beach
Located in California’s Monterey Peninsula and owned and managed by the Pebble Beach Company, this links golf course has been consistently ranked on Golf Digest’s Top 100 American Public Golf Courses for the past 14 years and has been featured in PGA Tour Tiger Woods video games.
Founded in 1966 and designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., Spyglass Hill features on both the PGA Tour and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Traversing the Del Monte Forest and offering stunning views across Monterey Bay, Spyglass Hill is notorious for being one of the most testing courses California has to offer, and therefore is better suited to the more experienced golfer.
Mission Bay Golf Course, San Diego
Mission Bay, with its stadium lighting, is the only course in San Diego where golfers can play at night. This 18-hole executive course, designed by former American Society of Golf Course Architects president Ted Robinson, is less taxing than other courses in the area, making it the ideal choice for beginners. Group and individual lessons are available, with discounts offered to junior players. Interestingly, Mission Bay is the course where Tiger Woods won his Junior World title.
PGA West, La Quinta
PGA West, with its five world-class courses, offers an unforgettable game to players of all handicaps. The Champion Course, which hosts the PGA Tour each spring, was redesigned in 2014 by Jack Nicklaus. It offers generous landing areas as well as spacious greens, and is home to the Bear Trap, a trio of holes hailed by USA Today as one of the most demanding stretches in golf.
The Estates Course, designed by Karl Litten, features a combination of challenging and easy holes, making it suitable for novices and experienced players alike. It is one of the shorter courses on this list, though golfers are still tested with water hazards and fairway bunkers.
Torrey Pines Golf Course, La Jolla
Located on coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific, Torrey Pines is home to two 18-hole courses, called North and South, both designed by William F. Bell. Redesigned in 2016 by Tom Weiskopf, the North Course greets golfers with stunning Pacific views as they come to the end of their game. The South Course, expanded in 2001 and redesigned by Rees Jones, now incorporates 7,698 yards of perfectly manicured fairway. The course has hosted the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open since the 1960s. In 2008 Tiger Woods beat Rocco Mediate at this course to win the US Open.
Tecolote Canyon Golf Course, San Diego
Tecolote Canyon, designed by Sam Snead and Robert Trent Jones Sr. lies in Tecolote Canyon, just 5 miles from Pacific Beach. This course presents taxing hazards on virtually every hole. It has been featured on the “Hot List” of executive courses in California by Southland Golf magazine. The club’s PGA professionals offer private tuition to groups and individuals of all abilities.
Maderas Golf Club, Poway
This Robert Muir Graves and Johnny Miller-designed masterpiece offers some of the most challenging holes San Diego County has to offer, along with some breathtaking views. Winding through rocky outcrops, beside the cliffs, creeks, and forest of the inland hill country, Maderas incorporates lakes and waterfalls in over 40 acres of stunning hill country. In 2018 Maderas hosted both the California State Open and the PGA Junior League.
La Quinta Resort Mountain Course, La Quinta
The Mountain Course, designed by Pete Dye, lies at the foot of the scenic Santa Rosa Mountains. This course is suited to more experienced golfers, with its challenging pot bunkers, elevated tee boxes, rock formations, and bunkered greens.
La Quinta Resort features five professional-level courses, each presenting their own unique challenges. Resort guests can book tee-times 365 days out, enjoy driving range access, and receive complimentary range balls and shuttle service.
Pacific Grove Golf Links, Pacific Grove
Located on the Monterey Peninsula adjacent to the world famous 17-Mile Drive, Pacific Grove Golf Links incorporates panoramic ocean views as well as affordable golf experiences to suit all abilities.
Pacific Grove has been the recipient of several major industry accolades, including a feature in Golf Digest as not only one of their Best Deals in Golf but also one of the Most Fun Courses in the US. Pacific Grove ranked as one of Golf magazine’s Top 50 Courses Under $50 and was featured on CNN’s “Living Golf” series.