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 with Golfbreaks.

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 and one of the best US golf trips you can do. 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.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines


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.

Stadium Course, PGA WEST

Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach® 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 - ©Joann Dost. Reproduced by permission of Pebble Beach Company

Poppy Hills

Mark O’Meara described this course as “amazing,” and, with Golfbreaks, you could find yourself playing the amazing golf course at Poppy Hills. Located in the Del Monte Forest in Pebble Beach, the course sits at 207ft above sea level and is well known for being firm, fast and fun. Golf here will see you discover a rugged and rustic course that makes its way along the forest floor through the pine straw and native waste. A wonderful challenge for all standards of golfer.

Poppy Hills golf coursse

The Singing Hills Golf Resort at Sycuan

The Singing Hills Golf Resort at Sycuan, San Diego, offers fantastic value for money with 3 golf courses onsite and a casino nearby. The challenging Willow Glen Course features narrow fairways, strategically placed bunkers and even the Sweetwater River on some holes. It is the rolling greens on the Oak Glen Course that will catch out golfers. A good day with the short stick will see you score well here. Finally, the Pine Glen Course is an 18-hole par-3 course that will help you fine-tune your game. It is also known as southern California’s most challenging par-3 golf course.

The singing hills golf course at Sycuan

Bayonet & Black Horse

Bayonet and Black Horse is home to two outstanding golf courses, the Bayonet Course and the Black Horse Course – believe it or not. The Bayonet plays through narrow corridors, with penal bunkering and is regarded as one of the most difficult tests of golf on the Monterey Peninsula. The Black Horse is where you will find sweeping vistas of the Pacific. However, do not let this distract you, as fescue-framed fairways and bunkers with distinctive, serrated edges are waiting to gather any wayward shot.

Bayonet Black Horse golf club

The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa

There are two contrasting courses on offer when staying at The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa in the Pete Dye Course, and the Gary Player Course at Mission Hills North Golf Club. 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.

The Gary Player Course, located just outside of the Rancho Mirage Golf Resort, is even longer at 7,062-yards and is the only golf course in Palm Springs designed by the World Golf Hall of Famer.

Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort

Maderas Golf Club

This Johnny Miller masterpiece offers both beauty and challenge, thanks to its winding layout through cliffs, rock, outcroppings, creeks, and forests of the inland hill country of north San Diego. Quietly tucked away in the hills of San Diego, you can enjoy, but try to avoid, the three lakes, five waterfalls and native wildflower that gather any wayward shot. It is no wonder this stupendous golf course is regarded as the best golf club in San Diego, and one that you have to experience.


The SilverRock Resort in La Quinta is the home of the Arnold Palmer Classic Course and its 7,578-yard test. It's naturally beautiful setting against the backdrop of the Santa Rosa Mountains makes for an unforgettable experience, as you battle the numerous, stunning water features and large, native bunkers. It is clear to see why the PGA Tour chose this venue to host the Bob Hope Classic between 2008 and 2011.

Silverrock golf course

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

Golf Travel Expert

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

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