Spotlight

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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Palm Royale C.C. golf course - 5th hole

Par-3 nobility at La Quinta's Palm Royale C.C. in the SoCal desert

For a quick play and some sound exercise, the par-3 Palm Royale Country Club in La Quinta is the course for you. "It's a fun, low-key little course," said local golfer Sue Ellen McMaster. "There's no anxiety out here. It's great to walk and get some exercise and take everything in, instead of always whisking around in a cart.
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Tahoe Donner Golf Course

A peek at the peaceful mountain golf course of Tahoe Donner in Truckee

There's no secret that the golf in this area is stellar, with courses like Old Greenwood, Coyote Moon and Gray's Crossing, to name a few. But not to be overlooked is one of the area's oldest courses, Tahoe Donner Golf Course, a challenging championship test of more than 7,000 yards cut through tall pines.
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California Destinations

  • 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.

    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    Established in 1926, Plumas Lake Golf & Country Club has long been one of the Sacramento Valley's most treasured courses. First opened as a nine-hole layout, the course expanded to a full 18 holes in 1960. Mature oak trees line the lush fairways and small greens and there is also a canal that snakes through the entire property, coming into play on 12 holes.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
    The 18-hole Hiddenbrooke Golf Club in Vallejo, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1995. Designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, Hiddenbrooke Golf Club measures 6638 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 142 and a 72.
  • 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.

    Located just minutes from LAX, Rio Hondo Golf Club is conveniently accessible from the South Bay and Orange County. Golf Digest has ranked the course as one of southern California's "Places to Play." The course features tight, tree-lined fairways and subtly contoured greens that are faster than they look. It's not a particularly long layout but the par 3s provide some good length. Golfers will face a variety of challenges throughout, but there is also plenty of scenic respite.
    Royal Vista Golf Club offers 27 holes of golf that are played in three different 18-hole combinations. The East/North combination is the longest of the three layouts. The course features elevated tees, narrow fairways lined with trees, and elevated greens, many of which are bordered by deep bunkers.
    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.
  • 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.
    The Shark's turned in what's widely regarded as the second-toughest course at PGA West - Greg Norman Course in La Quinta. No small feat considering the developers of the neighboring TPC Stadium ordered Pete Dye to make it, "the hardest damn golf course in the world."
    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.
  • 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 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.
    San Juan Oaks Golf Club is a Fred Couples course that is seemingly located in the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by mature oak trees and rolling farmland with views that stretch across the neighboring hills, the setting is well worth the drive. The classic Couples design has a player-friendly front nine and a more challenging back nine.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

    The Country Club at Soboba Springs was founded in 2004 when the Luiseno Indians purchased the property. It had long been a dream of the tribal leaders to own this golf course, which borders their reservation. The tribe's leaders hired Cary Bickler, a disciple of the course's original designer, Desmond Muirhead, to update the layout and pave the way for it to once again be one of southern California's premier golfing destinations.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    There are 27 holes of championship golf at Blacklake Golf Resort, allowing golfers to mix and match to suit their preference and skill level. The holes are divided into three nines: the Canyons, Oaks, and Lakes, that can be played in different 18-hole combinations. The Lakes/Canyon combination strikes a good balance between being challenging and player friendly.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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 6,333 yards indicated on the scorecard.
    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.
    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.
  • 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 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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.