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Best Golf Courses in California

Best of Golf from the experts in Golf Travel

It's tough to definitively say which part of the USA is the best for golf, but it's certainly fair to include California in that conversation. The Golden State covers a vast area of the USA's west coast and some of the world's best golf courses take pride of place on some truly awe inspiring patches of land.

Immediately the likes of Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Torrey Pines spring to mind, two of which have hosted The US Open and countless other prestigious professional events including the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and (at the time of writing ) the Farmers Insurance Open which Tiger Woods has won an incredible 7 times! But even away from these well known heavy hitters, California offers so much more to the visiting golfer.

Palm Springs boasts the amazing La Quinta and Indian Wells Resorts, while down on the Los Angeles Coast you'll find the impossibly luxurious Pelican Hill Resort. Combine all this top class golf with sun, sand and endless iconic attractions, and you have a recipe for a truly unforgettable golf holiday.

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Perhaps one of the most visually impressive courses in the world and arguably one of country’s most recognised courses, Pebble Beach Golf Links bound to be on every golfer’s bucket list. Having hosted the US Open on no less than 5 separate occasions and a regular stop on the PGA Tour with the AT&T Pro-Am, the game’s greatest players are constantly gracing the dramatic links. The course itself skirts the jaw dropping, rugged coastline that gifts players unforgettable views of Monterey Bay and the Northern Pacific. Each hole at this stunning course is worthy of a postcard or two but none more so than the par 3, 7th which has you playing downhill towards the green and the Ocean. For those looking for the golfing experience of a lifetime then look no further than Pebble Beach Golf Links.

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Quick facts about Pebble Beach Golf Links

Location: Monterey Penninsula, California
Length: 7,080 yards
Par: 72
Designed by: Jack Neville & Douglas Grant
Established: 1919

Pasatiempo Golf Club

World-renowned golf architect Alister MacKenzie designed Pasatiempo, some say it was his favourite layout, ahead of the likes of Augusta National and Cypress Point. Making full advantage of the charming Santa Cruz location, the legendary golf architect created a sublime course that winds through avenues of trees and between lovely ravines.

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Quick facts about Pasatiempo Golf Club

Location: Santa Cruz, California
Length: 6,495 yards
Par: 70
Designed by: Alister MacKenzie
Established: 1929

Spyglass Hill

It comes as no surprise that Spyglass Hill is ranked inside the world’s top 100 courses, even just by looking at the pictures you would probably put it there. The course is one is part of the trio of venues that make up the AT&T Pro-Am and despite being located in the Monterey Peninsula like the other 2, it still offers a unique golfing experience. The opening holes skirt the rugged coastline and meander their way through the dramatic dunes of the Monterey shore before golfers head inland to the tree lined fairways of the Del Monte Forest. The course utilises the incredible natural landscape of the region to create a setup that many argue to be better than Pebble Beach. We will let you be the judge of that…

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Quick facts about Spyglass Hill

Location: Monterey Peninsula, California
Length: 6,960 yards
Par: 72
Designed by: Robert Trent Jones
Established: 1966

Cordevalle

Cordevalle has featured on the PGA Tour and this Robert Trent Jones Jr. championship design will challenge and excite the experienced and novice golfer. Defined as the internationally acclaimed golf architect's finest creation, Cordevalle requires the visiting golfer to negotiate meandering creeks, towering sycamore trees, canyons and broad meadows. Located just an hour from San Francisco, in the foothills of the stunning Santa Cruz Mountains, the resort combines easy access with privacy and a real sense of getting away from it all.

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Quick facts about Cordevalle

Location: San Martin, California
Length: 7,360 yards
Par: 72
Designed by: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Established: 1999

Torrey Pines, South Course

Any golfing fan will know this course not for the Farmers Insurance Open which it hosts annually but for the 2008 US Open. Need I describe the events that occured on 16th June 2008… the South Course… Broken leg… Tiger Woods… ring a bell yet? Yes that’s right Tiger won what is now his most recent major on just one leg. Now to the course. The layout itself is rather unique as despite being a links course it features ‘normal bunkers’, the occasional grouping of pines, pristine fairways and perfectly manicured greens. Golfers are treated to stunning vista of the Pacific Ocean with arguably the best coming from the short 3rd hole. Boasting year round sun, 18 glorious golf holes and magnificent views there aren’t many better places to play then the South Course at Torrey Pines.

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Quick facts about Torrey Pines, South Course

Location: San Diego, California
Length: 7,707 yards
Par: 72
Designed by: Rees Jones
Established: 1957

Pelican Hill, Ocean North Course

This challenging Tom Fazio creation is carved into the arroyos and coastal scrub of the stunning hillside landscape. The Ocean North is the championship layout of the two courses at Pelican Hill and offers spectacular views of the ocean from every tee, at nearly 7,000 from the tips it also poses a challenging round of golf.

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Quick facts about Pelican Hill, Ocean North Course

Location: Newport Beach, California
Length: 6,945 yards
Par: 71
Designed by: Tom Fazio
Established: 1993

The Links at Spanish Bay

A triumvirate of golf architects combined to design The Links at Spanish Bay, Robert Trent Jones Jr, Tom Watson and Sandy Tatum created a course that seems to have taken influence from the Scottish coastline. Sandwiched between the Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Asilomar State Beach the course proudly takes it's place amongst an elite group of designs along the famous 17-Mile Drive and offers an experience that will live long in the memory of the visiting golfer.

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Quick facts about The Links at Spanish Bay

Location: Pebble Beach, California
Length: 6,821 yards
Par: 72
Designed by: Robert Trent Jones Jr, Tom Watson and Sandy Tatum
Established: 1987

La Quinta, Mountain Course

La Quinta resides at the foot of the spectacular Santa Rosa Mountains offering a truly desert oasis for visiting golfers. This Pete Dye design serves up a serious challenge with pot bunkers, rock formations and large elevation changes all needing to be safely negotiated. The views from the course are outstanding and the icing on the cake comes at the raised 16th tee.

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Quick facts about La Quinta, Mountain Course

Location: Palm Springs, California
Length: 6,666 yards
Par: 72
Designed by: Pete Dye
Established: 1981

Trump National Los Angeles

Less than an hour away from Los Angeles International airport sits Trump National Golf Club, perched on top of the jagged cliffs of the California coastline. The course consists of lush fairways, expansive bunkers filled with pristine sand, huge lakes and magnificent ocean views. Pete Dye created a layout that teases golfers with risk and reward decisions, challenging experienced golfers to seek out those well-placed shots.

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Quick facts about Trump National Los Angeles

Location: Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Length: 7,242 yards
Par: 71
Designed by: Pete Dye
Established: 2006

TPC Harding Park

Recently renovated to allow it to host PGA Tour events, the TPC Harding Park layout now features beautiful fairways, smooth bunkers and 400 more yards in length! The fairways are lined by tall Monterey Cypress trees making them feel quite narrow, combined with small intricate greens it makes posting a good score quite tricky. The final few holes provide a cracking end to your round from the short par four 16th, over a high bluff and onto the signature 18th with Lake Merced as the backdrop.

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Quick facts about TPC Harding Park

Location: San Francisco, California
Length: 7,169 yards
Par: 72
Designed by: Willie Watson & Sam Whiting
Established: 1925