California’s must-try golf courses

Indian Wells Golf Resort, Indian Wells, Palm Springs, California
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Golfers in the Santa Clarita Valley are fortunate to have several exceptional golf courses where they can drive, putt and seek that elusive “hole-in-one.”

The Oaks Club at Valencia, Sand Canyon Country Club, Valencia Country Club, Vista Valencia Golf Course and Elkins Ranch Golf Course in Fillmore give SCV residents a variety of private golf clubs and public courses to “make par.”

However, most golfers desire to play at least one, or more, of California’s iconic or “vacation-worthy” courses.

The California coastline provides the sublime backdrop for some of the PGA’s most famous gatherings: the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the Monterey Peninsula and the 2008 and 2021 U.S. Open, as well as the Farmers Insurance Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.

Both courses also offer opportunities for the public to live out their dream of golfing “like the pros.”

Here’s a few options where you can perfect your swing and enjoy beautiful scenery at the same time. Most courses give priority tee times to those staying at resorts and hotels associated with the course.

2016 Visit California Spring Board Meeting in Pebble Beach, California, May 16, 2016.

Pebble Beach Golf Links

1700 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach


Open to the public, the Pebble Beach Golf Links may be among the most iconic golf courses in the United States, if not the world. Fans of golf know all the holes, and the history of the course, first opened in 1919.

It is rated the No. 1 public course in the country. Pebble Beach is located on one of the most spectacular landscapes and seascapes in the world… near Monterey.

Perhaps one of the most famous holes in golf is the short par 3 seventh hole, which plays at a little more than 100 yards even during major championships. It is one of the most photographed holes in the world.

All guests of Pebble Beach Resorts can reserve a tee time at Pebble Beach Golf Links up to 18 months in advance, subject to minimum stay requirements.

The green fee for Pebble Beach is $550, a far cry from the 1970s when you could play the course for less than $100.

If you feel like gambling you can book a tee time a day out without the resort stay (pay an additional $45), but it is far from a sure bet you’ll get on the course.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines Golf Course

11480 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla


A stay at La Jolla’s The Lodge at Torrey Pines gives you priority tee times at this fabled golf course, or book a tee time (around $250) 90 days in advance, without a lodge reservation.

The scenery of velvety-green cliffs, the area’s namesake pines and the Pacific is beautiful enough to satisfy even a nongolfer. In addition to golf, there are 8 miles of trails in nearby Torrey Pines State Park to wander and explore when not teeing off.

La Quinta Resort & Club. La Quinta, California.

La Quinta Resort

49499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta


La Quinta Resort and Club offers avid golfers a choice of five 18-hole golf courses to explore. You don’t have to stay at the resort to book a public tee time online.

Stadium Course at PGA West

Walk in the footsteps of golf legends on this course, ranked among the best courses in the world. Home of the Desert Classic Golf Tournament, this par-72 course was designed by Pete Dye.

Mountain Course at La Quinta

Nestled at the base of the picturesque Santa Rosa Mountains, this course is famed for its Pete Dye design, playability and stunning visuals. This ultra-challenging course features pot bunkers, rock formations, elevations of tee boxes and well-bunkered greens.

Jack Nicklaus Course at PGA West

This course offers a challenging desert layout. Long hitters will appreciate the opportunity for power off the tee, while elevated greens require you to literally raise your game to another level. The dramatic beauty of this course can make you forget this is one of the most highly regarded courses in the Palm Springs area.

Greg Norman Course at PGA West

Carved from an ancient ocean, this Greg Norman-created course captures the essence of the outback. This challenging design features an abundance of sand, pockets of wildflowers, nine lakes and panoramic vistas.

Dunes Course at La Quinta

This 72-par course, designed by Pete Dye, offers traditional rolling-links style golf with Scottish and Irish flair, characterized by rolling mounds, manicured fairways and thick rough. Length, strength and finesse are key to scoring on this course, which has hosted the PGA Club Professional Championship and the Californian State Open.

Indian Wells Golf Resort, Indian Wells, Palm Springs, California

Indian Wells Golf Resort

44-500 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells


This 36-hole Palm Springs golf resort features a 53,000-square-foot clubhouse and is one of the few properties to have two courses ranked in the Top 25 “Best Municipal Courses in the United States” by Golfweek Magazine. The Celebrity Course and Players Course, known as “Beauty and the Beast,” have hosted Golf Channel’s “Big Break” and the PGA’s “Skins Game.” Both courses are located within walking distance from four luxury hotels. Tee times $40 to $120.

Quail Lodge.Trademarks and Logos must be removed before any commercial use.

Quail Lodge Golf Club

8205 Valley Greens Drive, Carmel-By-The-Sea


The 18-hole championship golf course at Carmel’s family-friendly Quail Lodge was designed by Robert Muir Graves in 1964 and later refined by Todd Eckenrode. It features short-grass areas that surround the greens for more shot options, as well as grass swales that come into play on seven holes. There’s also an on-site academy for those duffers who want to polish golf skills with the aid of a pro.

Reviews of this Monterey Peninsula golf course say the 6,500-yard, par 71 Carmel Valley golf course “is perfect for the walking golfer of all ages and skill, offering just enough bite to make it interesting.”

You don’t have to stay at the lodge to play the course. Online reservations are available for advance tee times with costs ranging from $120 to $170.

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS