Golf World readers name Stevinson Ranch the top public course in California

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Stevinson Ranch Golf Club is seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but California golfers know it provides one of the best golf experiences in the state.

Stevinson Ranch Golf Club
Stevinson Ranch Golf Club scored well across the board in the most recent Golf World magazine reader survey.
Stevinson Ranch Golf ClubHiddenbrooke Golf ClubTrump National L.A. - hole 7Desert Willow Mountain View
If you go

While people in other parts of the country may not be familiar with the club located between San Francisco and Sacramento, locals speak volumes about the golf course designed by John Harbottle III and George Kelley. So much so, in fact, that they voted the Stevinson Ranch their favorite public facility in California in Golf World magazine's latest Readers' Choice Rankings.

Stevinson Ranch is the state's top choice and finished fifth on the list of the Readers' Choice Rankings: The Top 50 Public Golf Courses in America. It was one of four California golf courses to make the top 50. It's the second year that Golf World and Golf Digest magazines have conducted the survey, which scores courses in 11 different categories.

Hiddenbrooke Golf Club in Vallejo, finished ninth on the list, followed by Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles at 15th and the Mountain View course at Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert at No. 25.

Stevinson Ranch is a unique setting

Located in the Central Valley of California, Stevinson Ranch Golf Club was built on some of the most fertile land in America. It was the brainchild of Kelley, whose family has raised dairy cows there for more than a hundred years.

Kelley was also a fine player himself, having earned a PGA Tour card at one time. He hired Harbottle in the mid-1990s, and the two collaborated for a spectacular golf course over and around a sensitive wetland. It was also the first Audubon Signature Course on the West Coast.

The course is also in terrific condition as evidenced by the high marks it received in conditioning, which at 9.54 (on a scale of 10) was the second highest among the 11 categories.

Hiddenbrooke Golf Club, which is located in the San Francisco Bay area, is an Arnold Palmer design that hosted the LPGA Tour's Samsung Championship from 2000-2002. You'll experience plenty of elevation changes and immaculate conditions.

Trump National, with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, may be the most expensive golf course ever built. The 18th hole, which had to be rebuilt after a landslide, reportedly cost some $264 million alone. Originally a Pete Dye design called Ocean Trails, billionaire Donald Trump completely rebuilt the course. It features the best waterfalls, clubhouse and service money can buy, and the green fees reflect that.

And finally, the Desert Willow Golf Resort has 36 holes - the Firecliff course and Mountain View course. Both courses are designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan and tour player John Cook.

Firecliff measures more than 7,000 yards as it winds around water hazards and more than 100 bunkers. Mountain View stretches to more than 6,900 yards. In 2009, it underwent a renovation project that included the rebuilding of greens and bunkers and reshaping of its lakes. Both courses provide great scenery of the desert and nearby mountains.

Click here to see the complete list.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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