Spotlight

Rancho Mirage C.C. golf course - 2nd

Saddle up for a surprising challenge at Rancho Mirage Country Club

Playing at just 6,100 yards from the tips, Rancho Mirage C.C. is a well kept, semi-private desert course where speedy, undulating greens, a host of engaging water features, some burly par 4s and pleasing mountain vistas combine to provide real backbone.
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Rio Hondo Golf Club - hole 7

Rio Hondo Golf Club in Downey: A hidden gem, but avoid trouble with the trees

Rio Hondo Golf Club in Downey offers a welcome respite from the bustle of nearby Los Angeles. The tree-lined fairways and gently sloping greens are a fairly well kept secret, but make sure to hit it straight if you want to score well. Robert Gray has more.

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Westchester Golf Course - jet

Laying up on your layover at LAX

If you have a multi-hour layover at Los Angeles International Airport, there's almost always time to smack some range balls or squeeze in a quick round of golf on courses nearly close enough to have their own terminal. Here are a few courses to consider.
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California Destinations

  • Central Coast of California

    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.

    Avila Beach Golf Resort is located right along the bay, giving it a scenic setting that has made it the most well known of the Central Coast golf courses. The layout offers plenty of variety with a hilly front nine that features small, often elevated, greens that are surrounded by oak-lined valleys and a back nine that that is routed across a tidal estuary.
    The 18-hole La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1986. Designed by Robert Muir Graves, La Purisima Golf Course measures 7105 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 143 and a 75.
    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.
  • San Diego

    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.

    Meadow Lake Golf Club in Escondido has a scenic location that offers stunning panoramic views of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. The course meanders across rolling hills dappled with century-old oak trees. In addition to the towering trees that shade the fairways, native chaparral and impressive boulders edge the rough and fairways.
    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.
    San Vicente Golf Resort sprawls across lush rolling hills in Ramona, though it is conveniently only 20 minutes from San Diego's many attractions. Situated in the Valley of the Sun, the golf course boasts scenic views of the surrounding mountains as well as temperate weather for most of the year.
  • Inland Empire

    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.

    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.
    El Prado Golf Course boasts two different 18-hole courses: Butterfield Stage and Chino Creek. Early in California's statehood, stagecoaches would make the 2,700 mile trek from St. Louis to San Francisco. The property used to be a stop on this trail, which is where the Butterfield Stage Course gets its name.
    Nestled in the foothills of Riverside County, Indian Hills Golf Club incorporates a range of different elevation changes. The elevated tees provide great views of the surrounding hills while the tricky raised greens make up the bulk of the course's difficulty.
  • Central Valley

    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.

    Nestled in the rolling hills of Gold Country, Apple Mountain Resort has a dramatic landscape that provides plenty of elevation changes, making it a nearly impossible course to walk. Some of the drops from tee to green are unbelievable, offering unrivaled views of the surrounding mountains. Nearly every hole enjoys a stunning backdrop.
    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 18-hole The Ranch Golf Club in San Jose, CA is a public golf course that opened in 2004. The Ranch Golf Club measures 6656 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 152 and a 72.
  • Monterey Peninsula

    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.

    Nestled within the foothills that lie just next to Monterey wine country, Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Gilroy enjoys a stunning landscape with incredible views. The course takes advantage of the natural contours of the oak-studded hills, allowing them to dictate the placement of the bunkers for the maximum level of challenge but also utilizing the panoramic views offered by the dramatic elevations.
    The 18-hole Pajaro Valley Golf Club in Royal Oaks, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1922. Designed by Floyd McFarkland, Pajaro Valley Golf Club measures 6684 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 124 and a 71.
    The 18-hole Boulder Creek Golf & Country Club in Boulder Creek, CA is a resort golf course that opened in 1961. Designed by Jack Fleming, Boulder Creek Golf & Country Club measures 4396 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 105 and a 60.
  • Orange County

    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.

    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.
    Situated within the Santa Ana Riverbed, River View Golf Course is conveniently located just minutes from Disneyland, Anaheim, and Long Beach. The course's design intertwines with the river, providing challenging hazards on several holes.
    The David L. Baker Memorial Golf Course is an affordable public course located in Fountain Valley. It has an approachable layout that is versatile enough to appeal to a range of different skill levels. No two holes are alike but all of the greens and fairways share the same excellent conditions.
  • Lake Tahoe and the High Sierra

    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.

    Tahoe Donner Golf Course was carefully carved from forests of pine with streams and creeks that meander across the layout. Overlooking the Truckee Valley, the course epitomizes the beauty of the High Sierra and the commitment to preserving the environment was recognized with the course's certification as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
    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.
    Tahoe City Golf Course dates all the way back to 1917, making it one of the oldest courses in the Tahoe area. The nine-hole course has been host to many well known names over the years, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bob Hope, and Sammy Davis Jr. Despite the course's famous guest list, this underrated gem is still mostly just a secret among the locals.
  • Sacramento & Gold Country

    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.

    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.
    Teal Bend Golf Club runs alongside the Sacramento River, enjoying a lush landscape covered in natural wetlands. One of the characteristics the course is known for is its stunning scenery, which works against the challenging layout by being almost too distracting.
    Located in the Central Valley, Micke Grove Golf Links is surrounded by scenic vineyards. The course is mostly flat and measures to a reasonable 6,565 yards from the back tees, but it is not to be underestimated. There are some tough holes including the par-5 fifth, which requires an accurate tee shot in order to avoid the hazards on both the left and right.
  • Shasta Cascade

    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 Wilcox Oaks Golf Club in Red Bluff, CA is a private golf course that opened in 1957. Designed by Ben Harmon, Wilcox Oaks Golf Club measures 6099 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 124 and a 70 USGA rating.
    The 9-hole River Tasalmi Golf Course in Redding, CA is a semi-private golf course that opened in 1990. Designed by Bill Ralston, River Tasalmi Golf Course measures 4104 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 97 and a 61.
    Bailey Creek Golf Course is situated along the shores of Lake Almanor with Mount Lassen serving as the backdrop. The course has a traditional mountain design that is both scenic and challenging.
  • Napa/Sonoma

    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 9-hole River Tasalmi Golf Course in Redding, CA is a semi-private golf course that opened in 1990. Designed by Bill Ralston, River Tasalmi Golf Course measures 4104 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 97 and a 61.
  • Palm Springs

    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!

    Desert Springs Resort has a longstanding reputation as a luxury resort that offers something for everyone. There are two championship golf courses that sprawl across beautifully landscaped grounds covered with lush vegetation and sparkling lagoons, providing a scenic oasis amidst the desert surroundings.
    This course sits at the intersection of two of the most famous roads in Palm Springs: Bob Hope Drive and Frank Sinatra Drive. Yet, it's one of the better kept secrets in the golf scene. Rancho Mirage Country Club in Ranch Mirage is a semi-private club available to outside play through stay & play packages so it does not do a lot of publicity.
    Located in the heart of the Palm Desert in the Coachella Valley, Woodhaven Country Club offers panoramic views that stretch across the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains. The golf course has a traditional desert landscape but the stunning mountain views elevate it to a truly unique experience.
  • Los Angeles

    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 Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu Golf Club enjoys one of southern California's most stunning settings. The club is conveniently located less than an hour from downtown L.A., making it an easy getaway that feels much further than it actually is. The layout is target golf at its finest with a combination of mountains, valleys, towering trees, and thick rough.
    Alhambra Golf Course has a player-friendly design that is ideal for beginners but also great for more experienced players who are looking for a quick but fun round. It may not be long but it offers plenty of other challenges. There is plenty of variety between the two vastly different nines.
    The 18-hole River/Pine at Whittier Narrows Golf Course in Rosemead, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1955. Designed by William F. Bell, River/Pine at Whittier Narrows Golf Course measures 6837 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 116 and a 17.
  • San Francisco

    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.

    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.
    Roddy Ranch Golf Course is known for being one of the best values in the East Bay. The layout was carved from a 2000-acre working cattle ranch. The course sprawls across 235 acres, offering an expansive links-style layout complete with undulating greens framed by strategically placed bunkers.
    Tucked away in the Pittsburg foothills, Delta View Golf Club offers exactly what its name implies, beautiful views of the Delta as well as Mount Diablo in the background. The course originally opened as a nine-hole layout in 1947 but it was lengthened to an 18-hole course in 1991. The rolling terrain allows for elevated tees and undulating greens that make it feel longer than the 6,317 yards indicated on the scorecard.