Destination Guide: Golf in Southern California

By Staff

What makes southern California a world tourist destination? Diversity has a lot to do with it. One out of every four Californians was born outside the United States. This brings a lot of foreign travelers yearly. The entertainment business also draws plenty of travelers. Los Angeles, and especially Hollywood, are stops for many film and television fans. California is also home to some of the country's most famous and beautiful national parks. Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks, Sequoia National Forest and Mojave National Reserve all bring thousands of campers and visitors to southern California each year.

Pelican Hill Ocean South Course
Pelican Hill's South Course boasts great ocean views.
Pelican Hill Ocean South CourseTorrey Pines - GolferJoshua Tree National ParkHollywood SignDunes Course at PGA West
If you go

What type of golf does southern California offer?

Some of the world's finest. More than 1,100 golf courses are dispersed over Southern and Baja California. Palm Springs is one of the world's premier golf destinations. In Palm Springs, resorts rule with PGA West, La Quinta and Mission Hills North Resorts leading the pack. Whether in the form of resort or championship courses, Palm Springs and the outlying Coachella Valley have some of the finest in the country.

Together, Los Angeles and San Diego sport hundreds of golf courses. Many are municipal courses near both metro areas. Outside of the cities are some of the best and most unique beach courses in the country. If you want to play courses near both cities, a stay in Oceanside or Carlsbad will put you halfway between the cities.

Where is the hottest round of golf near Los Angeles?

It can be found on the Pacific shoreline, south of Los Angeles in Newport Beach. Tom Fazio's Pelican Hill Golf Club has two championship courses that have both become extremely popular with locals and vacationers alike. The South Course is probably a bit more popular than the North Course, but both are lavish and beautiful beach tracts. When the South Course descends to the beach for a couple par-3s, blooming coral, eucalyptus and pine trees make these holes an experience unlike any other in Los Angeles.

Where should I go for the best golf in San Diego?

San Diego has a pair of unique beach courses in Torrey Pines Golf Course. The South Course hosted the 2008 U.S. Open. Seven holes offer views of the ocean surf 100 feet below. The South Course is filled with thousands of its namesake pines and many low-bending eucalyptus trees. An impressive 7,607 yards, Torrey Pines South should challenge any golfer who steps onto the first tee box. Complimented by its natural beauty, golf at Torrey Pines is world famous.

If you are limited to the cities, you'll be missing some of the area's best resort golf. If this interests you, head for Carlsbad. Here you can play at Aviara Golf Club and La Costa Resort and Spa.

What else is there to do in southern California?

There's plenty of sight-seeing to do. If the inland desert national parks don't do it for you, try a trip to Catalina Island. Located 22 miles of the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina offers dining, shopping, scuba diving, kayaking, a casino and even its own golf course. Catalina Island Golf Course is a nine-hole course that's been around for over a century.

Transportation: Getting to southern California

Los Angeles International and San Diego International serve each of the area's largest metro areas. John Wayne International Airport also serves Orange County. LAX and John Wayne Airports are both a two-hour drive from Palm Springs.

By car, Los Angeles and San Diego are easy to reach. Interstate Highway 5 runs north and south through every major metro area in California, Los Angeles and San Diego included. From Phoenix, I-10 runs through Palm Springs to Los Angeles. San Diego is a few hours from Los Angeles, but can also be reached from the East via I-8. This Interstate runs along the Mexico border through Arizona.


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