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

  • 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 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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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!

    On the Classic Club's scenic landscape, golfers will find a wide variety of trees including olive trees, towering pines, and California pepper, but unlike the many other golf courses in Palm Springs, there isn't a single palm tree.
    Indian Canyons Golf Resort boasts two championship courses, the North and South. The courses are surrounded by the San Jacinto Mountains, providing scenic views while also sheltering them from the wind. The North Course is the longer of the two. It has a classic layout that was designed by William Bell. Thousands of trees blanket the course, including palms and olive trees as well as several varieties of native trees.
    The trademark railroad ties and pot bunkers are visible throughout this Pete Dye course. The ruthlessly hacker crushing holes are not. At Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa Pete Dye Resort Course in Rancho Mirage, Dye very much keeps the resort player in mind. It is still target golf when you get closer to the greens, but it's not impossible target golf.
  • 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.

    Located at the base of Mt. Miguel next to a State Wildlife preserve, Salt Creek Golf Club has a traditional link-style layout that tumbles across the gently rolling hills of San Diego County. Although it stays true to its Scottish heritage in design, it has a truly southern Californian landscape.
    There are 27 holes of golf available at Riverwalk Golf Club, which is situated at the center of San Diego's Mission Valley. The holes are divided into three nines known as Presidio, Mission, and Friars, which can be played in different 18-hole combinations. The Presidio/Mission golf course combines the longest, the front nine, and the shortest of the three.
    There is no shortage of golf courses in the San Diego area, but Woods Valley Golf Club still manages to stand out. The design of the course carefully incorporated the gentle contours of the rolling hills, creating a layout that requires strategy, accuracy, and distance. The course offers a front nine with a different set of challenges than the back nine.
  • 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.
    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 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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    The aptly named Hidden Valley Golf Club feels secluded set between two large hillsides, amongst carefully preserved boulder outcroppings, ravines, and an abundance of native flora and fauna. The challenging layout demands accuracy and it will also test your shot-making skills.
    Situated next to the Cleveland National Forest, the Golf Club at Glen Ivy winds across canyons and sloping hillsides and through groves of citrus trees. The layout also has rolling fairways and the wind definitely comes into play, but the more challenging elements are balanced by generous landing areas that are welcoming to beginners.
  • 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.

    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.
    DeBell Golf Club in Burbank offers an 18-hole Regulation Course and a nine-hole par-3 course. The Regulation Course has a tight layout with narrow fairways and a variety of elevation changes that range from subtle to dramatic. Accuracy is the key to doing well on this golf course but it's not overly punishing.
    Looking for the quality and atmosphere found in the top country clubs? You will find it at Vellano Country Club. With four different tees, golfers of all skill levels will enjoy the Greg Norman-designed course -- the first in the Los Angeles area -- which winds its way through a picturesque southern California landscape.
  • 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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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
    The 18-hole The Tournament Course at Coyote Creek Golf Club in Morgan Hill, CA is a public 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 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.
  • 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.

    The 18-hole The Valley Course at Coyote Creek Golf Club in Morgan Hill, CA is a public golf course that opened in 2001. The Valley Course at Coyote Creek Golf Club measures 7066 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 135 and a 74.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    Wildhawk Golf Club is a challenging championship layout that is one of Sacramento's most popular public courses. The verdant landscape is dotted with scenic water features, including a cascading waterfall. Water is naturally a prominent presence but the unique shape and positioning of the bunkers also makes the course stand out from other public tracks.
    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.
    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.