As the US Open returns to America’s ‘Golden State’, we bring you the lowdown on the best golf courses in California. If there is a more glamorous list of courses in the world, we’ve yet to see it. Let’s start at the bottom and count down…
Best golf courses in California – 10. Bel-Air
Down the years George Thomas’s creation had been tinkered with by Dick Wilson, George Fazio, Robert Trent Jones Jr and Tom Fazio, but then Tom Doak came along in 2018 and waved his restoration wand to return it to Thomas’ vision.
Fewer trees and the removal of water hazards have let the natural topography of the land be the star of this quirky classic.
Best golf courses in California – 9. Monterey Peninsula (Shore)
The late Mike Strantz has been widely praised for his 2004 work on this neighbour to Cypress Point.
It has width off the tee but fabulous green complexes and variety.
Natural rock formations provide terrific spots for tees and greens.
Best golf courses in California – 8. Spyglass Hill
Yep, that glorious course in the main photo at the top of the page only manages to come in at No. 8.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1966 and revised by Tom Fazio 30 years later, this Pebble Beach course begins with five epic holes among sand dunes running close to the Pacific coast.
The remaining holes sprawl across pine-covered hills and around water hazards.
Noted as being tough for the higher handicapper, it is regarded by many as the prolific RTJ’s finest work.
Best golf courses in California – 7. Olympic Club (Lake)
It was designed by Willie Watson in 1924 but redesigned three years later following a storm by Sam Whiting – who had built the original course.
The revised course had all 18 holes north of Humphrey Drive, with only the first four untouched from Watson’s work.
The host of five US Opens, it features forest-lined fairways and expansive views of San Francisco.
Best golf courses in California – 6. Pasatiempo
An Alister MacKenzie design and although he also had Augusta National and Cypress Point (more on that later) under his belt, he was said to cherish this one the most.
That he made his American home next to the 6th fairway perhaps bears this suggestion out.
Located in Santa Cruz, many holes offer views of Monterey Bay. Renovated by Tom Doak, its short holes are majestic.
Who makes it into the top 5 of our best golf courses in California? Find out on the next page…
We dive deep into the golf ball roll back plans!