The Clubhouse

Best golf courses in California

The Golden State has a great selection of golf courses to choose from. Read on and see which ones we have chosen as our favourites.

Allan Cranston
Allan Cranston
8 mins read

Whether you are playing in the Monterey Peninsula, San Diego or Palm Springs, there is much to enjoy about California golf courses.

The Golden State ranges from the Pacific Ocean to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and thanks to its beautiful, dry climate we are often asked what the best courses are in the area. Take a look at nine of our recommendations, which feature some of the best golf courses in California that you can enjoy on your USA golf holiday.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

On top of towering cliffs above the Pacific Ocean, you will find Torrey Pines, one of the most famous golf courses in America. Here you can marvel at the views of the coastline, deep ravines and world-famous championship golf holes on its two courses, the North and South. The South course is the host venue for the Farmers Insurance Open and was the scene for one of the most memorable U.S. Opens as Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate on the first sudden-death hole following an 18-hole play-off in 2008.

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach Resort is arguably the most well-known golf resort in the entire world, never mind America. There are five spectacular courses to choose from here, as well as the nine-hole Peter Hay par-3 course. This Monterey resort is definitely one that is on every single golfer’s bucket list, with the century-old Pebble Beach Golf Links taking centre stage. The host of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for 76 years and the US Open 5 times, offering golfers a truly unforgettable experience.

Pebble Beach Golf Links

La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST

There are six legendary courses on offer at PGA WEST in the Arnold Palmer Course, Greg Norman Course, Jack Nicklaus Course, Nicklaus Tournament Course, Tom Weiskopf Course and Stadium Course. The Norman, Nicklaus Tournament and Stadium courses are the three public courses here, each offering individual, unique tests. The Norman Course is the newest course in the Coachella Valley, with crushed marble bunkering a feature. The Nicklaus Tournament Course is unique in the fact it features two island greens. Finally, the Stadium Course is one of the toughest in the whole of the United States.

The Stadium Course, La Quinta Resort & Club at PGA WEST

The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa

The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa offers the outstanding Pete Dye Course. On the Pete Dye design, you will find hidden pin placements, carries over water, pot bunkers and elevated tees. All of which combine to create a 6,706-yard challenge of your golfing ability. Located across from the resort, Mission Hills North Golf Club hosts its sister course, the Gary Player Signature Course. The Gary Player layout is even longer at 7,062-yards and is the only golf course in Palm Springs designed by the World Golf Hall of Famer.

Pete Dye Resort Course, The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa

Classic Club

Noted as one of the finest golf courses in the Coachella Valley, over 30 acres of water and 5,000 trees surround the diversified array of flora and fauna on display at Classic Club. Designed by Arnold Palmer and former host of the Bob Hope Classic, this desert-style course features 5 sets of tees on each hole for enjoyable, challenging rounds for all abilities. Be sure to stop at the Tuscan Village inspired clubhouse after your round to experience the excellent dining options on offer.

Classic Club

Indian Wells Golf Resort

Founded in the early 1980s, Indian Wells originally featured 2 Ted Robinson designed courses, the East and West, on land formerly owned by Bob Hope's Sons. In 2006 after a large-scale revamp, the Clive Clark designed Celebrity Course opened offering challenging play with views of the Santa Rosa mountains. The John Fought designed Players Course opened around a year later, considerably different in layout compared to its sister course with large areas of exposed sand and desert grass.

Players course, Indian Wells Golf Resort

Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

Originally designed by Dick Wilson in 1965, although re-designed in 2011, the wide fairways on the Legends course seem very inviting from the tee and the minimal amount of rough allows for the odd wide shot but the small, elevated greens require an accurate approach. Once you reach the 8th hole, water makes an appearance and does so on eight of the next 10 holes. The signature hole on the Champions course has to be the par-3 16th, which requires water to be crossed from tee to green. This course was formerly known as of one the most illustrious courses on the PGA Tour.

Champions course, Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

Spyglass Hill Golf Course

Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the holes on this Monterey gem are named after characters and places from Treasure Island. The first hole is called Treasure Island and is a downhill 595-yard par 5, which doglegs almost 90 degrees to the left. One of the more renowned holes is the fourth, a 370-yard par- 4 named Blind Pew, which Robert Trent Jones has called his favourite par 4. Other hole names include The Black Spot (3rd), Captain Flint (10th), and Long John Silver (14th). Golf Digest has ranked Spyglass Hill as high as 5th on its list of 'America's 100 Greatest Public Courses'.

Spyglass Hill course

Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort

With two championship courses on-site, Tahquitz Creek offers a tough and unique experience with each course bringing its own set of challenges. The Legends course has a more traditional layout while the Resort course utilises the desert landscape to create an unforgettable round of golf. Designed by Ted Robinson Sr, the Resort Course uses the natural desert layout to create a unique experience that is hard to rival. The course also contains multiple challenges to overcome, like an island fairway, numerous water features and, as you would imagine, large desert areas.

Legend course, Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort

Feeling inspired?
The Golden State is nothing but a golfing delight from start to finish and its diversity in courses only adds to its appeal.


Allan Cranston avatar
Allan Cranston

Personal Travel Expert

"Enquire as to the cost of a room upgrade, they are often less than you think!"

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