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

  • 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!

    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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    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.
    The 18-hole Pine/Mountain at Whittier Narrows Golf Course in Rosemead, CA is a public golf course that opened in 1955. Designed by William F. Bell, Pine/Mountain at Whittier Narrows Golf Course measures 6099 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 114 and a 68.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    This course used to be considered a hidden gem. Now, Oak Valley Golf Course in Beaumont is an off-the-beaten-path known reasonable joy. Stopping on the way from Los Angeles to Palm Springs for a golf detour is no fool's play. Not with the fast greens, dramatic elevation changes and swerving fairways available at Oak Valley in Beaumont. A Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley design, Oak Valley is probably best known for greens that are anything but desert typical. Speed is the name of the game here, with a tap sometimes too much on a downhill putt.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
  • 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.

    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 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.
    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.