Must Visit Golf Courses in California

California Dreaming


When it comes to choosing a vacation destination, California often comes at the top of the list, and for a good reason. It’s a beautiful place to vacation in that offers a little something for everyone’s tastes. Although it is best known for its surfing opportunities, there is so much more to this popular destination. Vibrant cities interlay with stunning natural beauty to create the perfect scenery. When it comes to golfing, there are several notable golf courses in California that will spark the interest of any golf enthusiast.

So, if you are considering California as your next golf getaway destination but you are still unsure of where exactly to go, we’ve put together a guide to the best golf destinations in the area to help you make the best possible choice and have the most relaxing vacation.

  1. San Diego

San Diego stands at the top of the list with its almost perfect weather, a vast collection of golf courses located in the most awe-inspiring sceneries, and a multitude of popular local attractions you can enjoy off the course. San Diego is especially popular in this period, with the US Open returning to Torrey Pines this June.

To help you choose the golf course that suits you best, here is a short overview of some of the most popular ones in the area:

  • Torrey Pines Golf Course

Location: 11480 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA.

The Torrey Pines course is best known by golf enthusiasts because of the 2008 US Open in which Tiger Woods made one of the most improbable comebacks in the championship’s history and won against Rocco Mediate in the playoff; all with an injured knee that later required surgery.

Being located on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, this course offers some of the best ocean views in possibly all of Southern California. It is divided into two different courses, the south and the north one.  

  • The south course is the more famous one where the US Open took place in 2008 and will be returning in 2021. It is more difficult than the north course and is the best choice for experienced golfers looking for a challenge.
  • The north course doesn’t fail to impress either, and it is more accessible to all-level golfers. It is said that it also offers better views than the south one.
  • Encinitas Ranch Golf Course

Location: 1275 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA.

The Encinitas Ranch Golf Course is another southern Californian golf course offering spectacular ocean views. Located on a splendid sweep of bluffs, you have a constant view of the Pacific Ocean throughout the course.

Golfers of all skills, from beginners to advanced, can enjoy a fun and challenging game on the course offering 18 championship holes, each with its ups and downs. The Ranch also features a clubhouse and a restaurant where players can relax and grab a delicious meal after a match. The clubhouse also features a splendid ocean view outdoor patio overlooking the ocean where weddings, banquets, and other events take place.

  • Coronado Golf Course

Location: 2000 Visalia Row, Coronado, CA.

The Coronado Golf Course is considered one of the best public golf courses in the US, ranked #5 by Golf Digest for delivering the best golf value. It is located just minutes from downtown San Diego, beneath the iconic Coronado Bridge. 

The course offers open tree-lined fairways, and large greens, making it an ideal vacation destination for recreational golfers.  

  1. Monterey Peninsula

The Monterey Peninsula is a world-renowned golf vacation destination, with over thirty different golf courses for you to choose from and some of the most breathtaking coastal sceneries, making it a must-visit vacation destination for any golf enthusiast. 

 Some of the must-play golf courses in the Monterey Peninsula include:

  • Pebble Beach Golf Links

 Location: 1700 17 Mile Dr, Pebble Beach, CA.

The Pebble Beach Golf Resort, host of six US Opens, is the #1 rated public golf resort in the country. It is quite expensive but at least you don’t have to be part of the golfing elite to get tee time and have the chance to play in the steps of legends while taking in some of the most stunning views. The holes on the ocean are the course’s most special features.

  • Pasatiempo Golf Club

Location: 20 Clubhouse Rd, Santa Cruz, CA.

The Pasatiempo Golf Course, built by the great Alister MacKenzie,  is set on the rolling southern hills of Santa Cruz, just north of Monterey. The course traverses, climbs, and dives the mountains using the landscape perfectly to create a course that feels natural and fits right in with the scenery.

Pasatiempo is an entertaining course for all-level players and in these days of so many closed or private Top 100 golf courses, this semi-private course makes the top of the list of the greatest public access courses in the country.

  • The Links at Spanish Bay

Location: 2700 17 Mile Dr, Pebble Beach, CA.

Another great golf course in Pebble Beach is The Links at Spanish Bay. Like many of California’s golf courses, stunning ocean views are a key feature of this course as well. The course is laid out on an area of sandy terrain overlooking the Pacific. The first nine holes zigzag to and from the ocean, while the final six holes offer a constant ocean view, producing some of the most scenic golf around.

  • Monterey Pines Golf Course

Location: 1250 Garden Rd, Monterey, CA.

The Monterey Pines Golf Course is the favorite course of the Monterey local golf players who recognize it as the best value for golf on the Monterey Peninsula. Wavy greens and lakes that come into play on multiple holes pose a challenge even to experience golfers and offer everyone a great recreational experience. The course also features a golf shop where you can buy anything you may need and that offers periodic Demo Days on the range featuring the major golf equipment manufacturers showcasing their most recent innovations.

At this course, reduced fees are available for active and retired military staff and Department of Defence staff.

  1. Napa Valley

Napa Valley is the perfect vacation destination for golfers who are also wine enthusiasts. The area is famous for its wide selection of wineries offering some of the highest quality wine in California. And, just like its wineries, the area’s golf courses don’t fail to impress.

Some of the most notable golf vacation destinations in the area include:

  • Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club

Location: 580 S Kelly Rd, American Canyon, CA.

The Eagle Vines Golf Course is a Napa Valley classic, with fairways that wind through the vineyards, and gorgeous views of the surrounding nature. It is considered by local golfers as one of the most challenging courses in the area and it will have you use every club in your bag.   

  • Napa Golf Course at Kennedy Park

Location: 2295 Streblow Dr, Napa, CA.

The Napa Golf Course is the only 18-hole championship public course in the valley. Beautifully designed and well maintained this course is beginner and budget friendly while still offering golfers of all skills a great time plus some gorgeous views. It is surely one of the great golfing values in the region.

Hopefully, this brief guide will come in handy when planning your next vacation and it will help you make the best choice, and enjoy the most relaxing golf getaway, in California.


About the author: Julio Sanchez is the owner of Cardiff Vacations, a luxury vacation rental business in Encinitas, California.

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