California's Central Valley stretches over 450 miles through the center of the state and parallels the Pacific Ocean. Also called the "Sacramento Valley," it encompasses such towns as Bakersfield to the south, past Sacramento and Fresno to Stockton at the northern end.
Shadow Lakes Golf Club sprawls across rolling hills with Mount Diablo looming in the background. Dramatic elevation changes characterize the course, providing both challenges and scenic views of the East Bay Area. The undulations of the terrain range from subtle to dramatic and helped to determine the strategic placement of the sharply sculpted bunkers, of which there are many.
Nestled at the base of Mount Diablo, Deer Ridge Golf Club wanders through rolling, oak-dappled hills. The course has several challenging holes but the hazards are balanced by more player-friendly elements like wide, forgiving fairways and generous greens. There is also plenty of room off the tees and at just over 6,300 yards it is a manageable length as well.
Perched just above the northern California fog line, Diablo Grande Golf & Country Club enjoys scenic views and sunny days throughout the year. The golf course rolls through a stunning valley filled with canyons, creeks, wildlife, and vineyards.
The Los Angeles area, which includes Hollywood and Beverly Hills, has often been called the land of make-believe and dreams, but one thing is certain: There's plenty to do and plenty of ways to do it. From the movie studios, to the beaches, to the Dodgers and Lakers, to enjoying the sunny weather on the golf courses, it does indeed seem to never rain in Southern California.
Nestled in the foothills of the Conejo Valley, Los Robles Greens Golf Course is less than 40 miles from L.A. but feels much further thanks to the beautiful mountain surroundings. It sits at 900 feet above sea level and tumbles across a variety of elevation changes.
The Valley is one of two 18-hole golf courses at Robinson Ranch. As the name would imply, the course is tucked into the Santa Clarita Valley next to the Los Angeles National Forest. California Sycamores, coastal live oaks, and stands of sage and chaparral blanket both golf courses.
The Navy Golf Course Seal Beach is a 27-hole facility that includes the championship Destroyer Course and the nine-hole executive Cruiser Course. The 6,780-yard Destroyer Course presents a challenge even for low handicappers with a slew of hazards coming into play throughout. The small greens have challenging slopes ranging from subtle breaks to dramatic drop-offs.
Composed of the Ontario, Riverside and San Bernardino areas, the Inland Empire is the fifth largest urban area in the state of California and quickly becoming one of the most diverse. Although it holds onto to its agricultural roots, which includes the Temecula Wine Region, the area is growing in terms of cultural arts, sports and recreation, including golf.
Eagle Glen Golf Club has a beautiful backdrop provided by the Cleveland National Forest. It's a course that is as scenic as it is challenging with an unforgiving terrain that has mature trees lining the fairways and quite a bit of undulation. Each hole slopes differently and you'll face a different challenge on each from split fairways to deep bunkers.
Nestled in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, Yucaipa Valley Golf Club enjoys a stunning backdrop on most of its holes. Yucaipa Valley offers the unique combination of being both challenging and affordable, for this reason it's a local favorite. The layout is player friendly enough to appeal to a wide range of skill levels.
Shorecliffs Golf Course wanders through the coastal canyons and valleys of San Clemente, heading towards the beautiful shoreline. Situated just steps from the ocean, the course enjoys cool ocean breezes and a temperate climate, which makes it a year-round haven for golfers.
Although Orange County might be best known as the original home of Mickey Mouse, the area anchored by Disneyland offers plenty of other entertainment options for travelers, including scores of diverse golf courses, both on the coast and inland.
Westridge Golf Club is a challenging layout designed by Robert Muir Graves, a familiar name in California golf. Graves has designed many of the state's most popular courses including Boundary Oak in Walnut Creek and Quail Lodge Golf Club in Carmel. At just under 6,600 yards, Westridge G.C. is seemingly short but what it lacks in length it makes up for with more than 60 sand bunkers strategically placed alongside the narrow fairways and sloping greens.
Meadowlark Golf Club in Huntington Beach is a player-friendly layout that is a popular choice amongst locals. Like most classically designed layouts, the course is short and tight but that also makes it easily walkable. The pin placements on the greens can be tricky and there are also some challenging water hazards that come into play on several holes.
Tucked away in the hills of San Juan Capistrano, San Juan Golf Course is situated midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. Its location is conveniently close to Legoland, Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo, and miles of sandy beaches. The championship golf course underwent a major renovation of its fairways and greens, making them some of the best in south Orange County.
Desert hotbed Palm Springs anchors the Coachella Valley, a region home to a collection of cities with a wealth of golf communities. The valley is a favorite spot for seasonal residents and retirees, especially those after sunny winters on golf courses in prime, lush and green condition. Between January and April, few spots on earth are better for desert golf!
This is the monster of all monsters, the one that carries so many folktales of golfer terror with it that it should qualify as its own myth. The developers asked Pete Dye to make this "the toughest golf course in the world" and many argue he succeeded. Too well.
The Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta is one of those tracks that any self-respecting golf nut has to play once. Just to experience it.
Desert Dunes Golf Course has a unique layout that combines a traditional links design with true desert-style golf. The course winds through natural sand dunes that are accented with mature trees and an abundance of native vegetation. It offers one of the most challenging rounds in the valley with narrow fairways, dramatic elevation changes, and fast, sloped greens.
Nick Faldo brings his exacting, often critical eye to West Coast golf for the first time at this Shadow Ridge Golf Course in Palm Desert. Faldo wanted a design that forced a ton of strategic choices and the architect team of Brian Curley and Lee Schmidt delivered for him.
San Francisco is a favorite destination for travelers all over the world, thanks to a strong mix of cultures, unique attractions and mild weather year round. It's easy to stay busy on a San Francisco vacation, from riding cable cars throughout the city to exploring one of the many unique neighborhoods, each with its own appeal.
The 18-hole Poplar Creek Golf Course in San Mateo, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1933. Poplar Creek Golf Course measures 6042 yards from the longest tees. The course features 4 sets of tees for different skill levels. Greens and fairways are rye grass.
Lone Tree Golf & Event Center sits at the base of Mount Diablo State Park, tumbling across rolling hills that provide panoramic views of the scenic San Juaquin River Delta region. It is one of the most popular golf courses among local Bay Area golfers. The name of the course is misleading since the beautiful landscape is covered with mature forests filled with a variety of indigenous trees including majestic Red Oaks, Cypress, Eucalyptus, and Ponderosa Pines.
SkyWest Golf Course is part of the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, it's one of two municipal courses. Opened in 1964, the course has a traditional layout with classic lines. Mature trees line the fairways and there are two lakes that come into play. The large greens play true and they can be subtly tricky.
The year 1849 and the California Golf Rush are long gone, but "Gold Country" is still an attractive region of the state. Also nicknamed the "Mother Lode" region, it includes the capital city of Sacramento to the west and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which head into Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park to the east in Mariposa County, the state's largest.
Nestled in the heart of California Gold Country, La Contenta Golf Course wanders through the foothills of the Sierras. Being surrounded by beautiful mountains, the course feels peacefully secluded and enjoys stunning views, yet it is conveniently just a short drive from Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley.
Manteca Park Golf Course is a municipal course with the quality of a private club. With consistently good conditions and a challenging design, the course offers an especially good value for the price. The friendly staff has also added to the course's good reputation.
The 18-hole Tracy Golf & Country Club in Tracy, CA is a private golf course that opened in 1955. Designed by Bob E. Baldock, Tracy Golf & Country Club measures 6630 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 124 and a 72.
Northern California's High Sierra makes for some of the world's most spectacular natural mountain wonders. It's home to Yosemite National Park, home to mighty waterfalls and marvelous glacial rock formations. To the north, sparkling Lake Tahoe sits at an elevation of over 6,000 feet and provides one of the West's great winter and summer escapes, home to skiing in the winter, and boating, mountain climbing and plenty of golf in the warmer months.
Located at the base of a ski resort, Northstar California Golf Courserse possesses two completely different nines. Robert Muir Graves, the designer, fully utilized the rugged Tahoe landscape, creating a course that partly plays across grassy meadows before moving on to more mountainous terrain.
The 18-hole Nakoma Golf Resort in Clio, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1998. Designed by Robin Nelson, Nakoma Golf Resort measures 6791 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 139 and a 72 USGA rating. The course features 7 sets of tees for different skill levels.
Graeagle Meadows Golf Club offers a dramatic round with plenty of water, towering pine trees, and elevated tees looking out over breathtaking mountain views. Located just an hour from Reno and Tahoe, the course is a favorite among locals and visitors. The challenging layout will test even the most seasoned golfers from the back tees.
From wine tasting to redwoods to quaint small towns bursting with arts, shopping and history, the North Coast of California may be the most relaxing region in the state. Here, you can explore the famous Sonoma vineyards, drive a car through a giant Redwood or experience the best of outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, river rafting, mountain biking and, of course, golf.
Nestled in the foothills of Napa Valley, Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club is bordered by endless rows of grapes. Unlike many other vineyard courses that sell their grapes, Eagle Vines produces their own wines. Surrounding the vineyards is a landscape of 200-year-old oak trees and lush, grassy meadows, an ideal setting for golf.
Established in 1892, Mare Island Golf Club is the oldest course west of the Mississippi. The course was originally just a nine-hole layout before it was recently expanded to a full 18 holes. Now, the golf course offers two distinct nines. It starts out with a more traditional front nine featuring small greens and tight fairways lined with Eucalyptus trees.
The 18-hole Hidden Valley Lake Golf Course in Hidden Valley Lake, CA is a semi-private golf course that opened in 1965. Designed by William F. Bell, Hidden Valley Lake Golf Course measures 6667 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 124 and a 72.
Those who drive the famous Highway 101 up the California coast will agree there is no better ocean drive in the United States -- and perhaps the world. The beauty of the coastline is highlighted by 17-mile drive along the Monterey Peninsula, which passes through beach towns as well as one of the world's most coveted golf vacation destinations.
The 18-hole The Tournament Course at Coyote Creek Golf Club in Morgan Hill, CA is a private golf course that opened in 1999. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, The Tournament Course at Coyote Creek Golf Club measures 7027 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 144 and a 74.
The Black Horse was built after the unexpected popularity of its sister course the Bayonet that was built 10 years prior in 1954. Situated on the site of the former Fort Ord, both share a rich military history. Both also offer unrivaled vistas of Monterey Bay, but the more open nature of Black Horse allows for more panoramic views
For travelers and outdoor enthusiasts looking to escape the crowds, there's no better area than the Shasta Cascade region of northern California. Located in the shadows of Mount Shasta and the Cascade Mountains, this eight-county area, which makes up one-fifth of the state of California, is much the way it was centuries ago, albeit with a few more towns and a few peaceful golf courses sprinkled into the mix.
The 18-hole Mount Shasta Resort in Mount Shasta, CA is a resort golf course that opened in 1993. Designed by Jim Sommers and Sandy Tatum, Mount Shasta Resort measures 6065 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 121 and a 68.
The 9-hole Lake Redding Golf Course in Redding, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1959. Lake Redding Golf Course measures 3685 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 87 and a 58.9 USGA rating.
The 9-hole Churn Creek Golf Course in Redding, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1977. Churn Creek Golf Course measures 6299 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 123 and a 70.3 USGA rating. The course features 3 sets of tees for different skill levels.
Between the bustling metropolises of Los Angeles and San Francisco runs an unparalleled stretch of American beauty that is the Central Coast of California. State Route 1 along the Pacific has long been aptly numbered in inspirational value for painters, writers, vacationers, and, of course, golfers.
Blacklake Golf Resort boasts 27 holes of championship golf that are divided into three nines called the Oaks, Canyons, and Lakes. The nines can be played in three different 18-hole combinations. The Oaks/Canyons Course is the toughest of the three.
The 18-hole Hunter Ranch Golf Course in Paso Robles, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1994. Designed by Kenneth Hunter and Mike McGinnis, Hunter Ranch Golf Course measures 6741 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 138 and a 72.
The 18-hole Rancho Maria Golf Club in Santa Maria, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1965. Designed by Bob E. Baldock, Rancho Maria Golf Club measures 6541 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 124 and a 70.
Nobody does weather better than San Diego, which makes the area a perfect location for many great outdoor activities such as shopping, hiking, surfing, sailing sunbathing and playing golf.
Pala Mesa Golf Resort is situated between Temecula wine country and the beautiful countryside of San Diego's North County. The course was carefully carved from the surrounding hillsides, providing rolling fairways and undulating greens throughout the layout.
Eagle Crest Golf Club is routed through the scenic San Pasqual Valley. Its secluded location and challenging layout have made Eagle Crest one of San Diego's best-kept secrets. The beautiful layout incorporates cascading waterfalls and eight lakes along with colorful wildflowers and rolling green hills.