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

  • 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.

    The Links at Victoria Golf Course has a convenient location in Carson that is easily accessible from the South Bay, downtown Los Angeles, or Orange County. William Bell, the mastermind who crafted the Torrey Pines courses, also designed the Links at Victoria. The course has a traditional design that features wide, gently undulating fairways and large, well manicured greens.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.
    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.
    The Welk Resort San Diego offers two 18-hole championship golf courses, the Oaks and the Fountain. Both courses stretch out across over 600 acres of lush, beautifully manicured terrain that incorporates both forests and wetlands. The Oaks gets its name from the plentiful 100-year-old oak trees that blanket the golf course. The 18-hole, par-3 course is ideal for anyone looking to improve their short game, regardless of skill level.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
    Salinas Golf & Country Club tumbles across the rolling hills of Monterey County's countryside. Opened in 1925, the course is one of the area's oldest and over the years it has come to be known as the friendliest club in the area. Originally opened as a nine-hole layout, the now-18-hole course offers a great round of classic golf but the club is hardly what you would call traditional.
  • 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.

    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 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.
    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.
  • 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!

    It's not easy to outdo and overshadow Pete Dye. But many golf observers feel that Gary Player's done just that with this design at Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage. Gary Player Signature Course is the second course at Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, having followed Dye's South Course.
    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.
  • 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.
    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.
    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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    The Links at Summerly borders Lake Elsinore, southern California's largest natural lake. The Ortega Mountains and the Cleveland Natural Forest are also the golf course's neighbors. Although it feels nicely secluded, the Links are conveniently just minutes from Temecula.
    Situated in the foothills of Riverside, Jurupa Hills Country Club is popular amongst locals for offering one of the most affordable rounds in the area. The layout is player friendly enough for all skill levels to enjoy but there are still some tough holes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    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.
    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.