The 10 Best Golf Courses in California – Rated By Real Players

The Golden State of California has 921 golf courses and many of the world-renowned courses are open to the public.

The fantastic Californian climate plus the diverse terrain on which courses have been constructed, utilizing springs, rivers, canyons, and ravines, offers a difficult choice.

Any trip to this area will be worthwhile.

The 10 Best Golf Courses in Californian Ranked in Order

Ranking the best 10 courses in CA presents a very tough ask of any scribe, and contentious opinions will always abound.

This task has been eased with a collaboration with TheGrint, our favorite mobile app that helps golfers track their handicap and stats. They have collected golf course reviews from millions of real golf rounds from real golfers.

  1. Los Angeles Country Club | North
  2. Riviera Country Club | Riviera
  3. Spyglass Hill Golf Course | Pebble Beach
  4. Sherwood Country Club | Sherwood
  5. Pebble Beach Golf Links
  6. Pebble Beach Golf Links
  7. The Olympic Club | Lake
  8. Yocha De – He Golf Club
  9. Pasatiempo Golf Club
  10. The Olympic Club | Ocean

1. Los Angeles Country Club | North

Los Angeles Country Club North

  • Site Link
  • Location: Los Angeles, California.
  • Par: 70
  • Length: 6,289 meters off the Tips and 5,699 meters off the Front. (3 tee options are available).

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 98.9
Fun Rating: 99.1
Shape Rating: 98.6

Signature Hole – The 223-meter par 3 11th is the signature hole and allows the

player to lay up short and use the slope to feed the ball into the green.

All the par 3s are long, and a few holes could easily be classified as the signature.

The 2023 US Open is destined for this course and the 2010 restoration program has created natural-looking bunkers, and shot-making is required to score well.

Every hole has a different character and the backdrop vistas of L.A. and the Hollywood Hills are spectacular.

2. Riviera Country Club | Riviera

Riviera Country Club

  • Site Link
  • Location: Pacific Palisades, California.
  • Par: 71
  • Length: 6,435 meters off the Tips and 5,401 meters off the Front. (4 tee options are available)

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 98.3
Fun Rating: 98.5
Shape Rating: 98

Signature Hole – The signature hole is the 160-meter par 3 6th hole which is rated one of the most famous in the world. It features a bunker in the center of the green.

Situated in the Santa Monica Canyon, just below the Santa Monica Mountains, this course has stood the test of time.

One of the world’s best natural layouts, no two holes are alike.

It is a true test and every club and shot is required during the round.

3. Spyglass Hill Golf Course | Pebble Beach

Spyglass Hill Golf Course Pebble Beach

  • Site Link
  • Location: Pebble Beach, California.
  • Par: 72
  • Length: 6,362 meters off the Tips and 5,597 meters off the Front. (3 Tee options available).

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 98.1
Fun Rating: 98.5
Shape Rating: 97.6

Signature Hole – The 338-meter par 4 4th hole is the signature hole and the stunning views compensate for a very intimidating hole irrespective of how you play from the tee.

The approach shot to a 46-meter long narrow green, set in the dunes, is “scary”.

Even the Pros are keen to walk off with a par and get on with the round.

Spyglass has some elite course neighbors like Pebble Beach and Cypress Point to mention two. The course is a great challenge and from the 1st hole, dropping some 550 meters off the tee to the green, gets the adrenaline going.

Add the dunes and Del Monte Forest that come into play during the round, it is a “must play”.

4. Sherwood Country Club | Sherwood

Sherwood Country Club Sherwood

  • Site Link
  • Location: Thousand Oaks, California.
  • Par: 72
  • Length: 6,423 meters off the Tips and 5,593 off the Front. (3 tee options available).

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 98.1
Fun Rating: 98.8
Shape Rating: 97.5

Signature Hole – The 170-meter par 3 6th hole is the signature hole and requires a shot  over water to the green.

Club selection is the key as the beautiful cascading waterfalls in front of the green awaits the errant tee shot.

A Jack Nicklaus signature course set in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.

The continuous challenge on every hole keeps the golfer enthralled and rewards good shot-making.

The 408-meter par 4 18th is deemed to be one of the finest finishing holes in golf.

A golfer making par, after a blind tee shot followed by a long 2nd to a heavily guarded green, will be the highlight of the round.

5. Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach Golf Links

  • Site Link
  • Location: Pebble Beach, California.
  • Par: 71
  • Length: 6,467 meters off the Tips and 5590 meters off the Front. (4 tee options available).

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 97.9
Fun Rating: 99
Shape Rating: 69.6

Signature Hole – The 496-meter par 5 18th is the signature hole and rated by many as the best finishing hole in golf. It sweeps around Stillwater Cove on the left and out of bounds beckons on the right of the fairway.

To add to the contest a large Cypress tree sits in the middle of the fairway short of the green.

Pebble Beach is famous for all the fantastic holes it offers and is home to the shortest par 3 on the Tour.

At 96-meters it plays downhill to a small green protected by water on 3 sides.

Many major championships have been staged and the finishing 5 holes are extremely challenging.

Take any opportunity to play it.

6. Rams Hill Golf Club

Rams Hill Golf Club

  • Site Link
  • Location: Borrego Springs, California.
  • Par: 72
  • Length: 6,611 meters off the Tips and 5,324 meters off the Front.

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 97.8
Fun Rating: 98.9
Shape Rating: 96.7

Signature Hole – No defined signature hole but the 195-meter par 3 10th and the 464-meter par 4 15th are high on list of spectacular holes.

Rams Hill golf course has it all. Lakes, ponds, waterfalls, streams, and vistas of the surrounding mountains and an outstanding challenging course.

It has unique height variations for a desert layout, and views of the desert way below the fairways.

Fits naturally into the environment and an enjoyable course for all.

7. The Olympic Club | Lake

The Olympic Club Lake

  • Site Link
  • Location: San Francisco, California.
  • Par: 71 and 70
  • Length: 6,547 meters of the Tips(71) and 5,740 meters off the Front. (4 tee options available).

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 97.6
Fun Rating: 98.5
Shape Rating: 96.7

Signature Hole – The 317-meter par 4 18th is the signature hole and is well worth the title. The tee shot to a sloping fairway followed by your 2nd into a treacherous final green is target golf at its best.

The green has been criticized and lauded by many but will be a point of discussion after the round.

The Olympic course has a long history of hosting the top tour events and requires a good skill level to score well.

A feature is a lack of any water hazards and only 1 fairway bunker on the layout. Tree-lined fairways and rough protect the course, which requires shot-shaping off the tees.

Select your tee box based on your ability, and enjoy the testing but scenic course.

8. Yocha De – He Golf Club

Yocha De He Golf Club

  • Site Link
  • Location: Brooks, California.
  • Par: 72
  • Length: 6,590 meters off the Tips and 5,918 meters off the Front. (3 tee options available).

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 97
Fun Rating: 97.8
Shape Rating: 96.3

Signature Hole – The 468-meter par 5 17th is the choice of many and starts with a blind tee-shot, then water comes in to play down the right fairway.

A semi-island green beckons the big hitter to take it on, but the carry is over water.

This course is blessed with another 4 holes that could hold this title.

An underrated course by many, but the trip to this rather remote track is well worth it.

Rolling elevations take you through the Capay Valley and the terrain is used to perfection to bring some truly beautiful and challenging holes.

The back 9 offers water, risk, and reward, and a brutal 17th to keep your score in check.

The forward tees take some “sting” out of the course to enable all skill levels to appreciate and enjoy the round.

9. Pasatiempo Golf Club

Pasatiempo Golf Club

  • Site Link
  • Location: Santa Cruz, California.
  • Par: 70
  • Length: 5,941 meters off the Tips and 5,599 meters off the Front.

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 96.6
Fun Rating: 98.1
Shape Rating: 95

Signature Hole – The 154-meter par 3 18th is the signature hole and very few courses end with a one-shotter.

The tee-shot over a well-forested barraca, that feeds into the front of the green, and the yawning bunkers protecting its surrounds, makes it special.

A golden age classic is a great description of this outstanding golf course. Set on rolling hills, with small ravines and well matured tree-lined fairways, it is a breath-taking experience for all to play.

It is noted for its well-positioned sprawling bunkers and a testing par 3 as the finishing hole.

10. The Olympic Club | Ocean

The Olympic Club Ocean

  • Site Link
  • Location: San Francisco, California.
  • Par: 71
  • Length: 6,330 meters off the Tips and 4,923 meters off the Front.

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 96.5
Fun Rating: 98.2
Shape Rating: 94.8

Signature Hole – The signature hole is difficult to establish, but the downhill 408-meter par 4 8th is rated the toughest.

The slightly uphill 430-meter par 4 15th is also rated and has a large Cypress tree in the middle of the fairway, to add difficulty to the approach shot.

Originally known as The Pacific Links, this course has undergone numerous reconstruction over the years. It provides a balance for every skill level and the tree-lined fairways, incorporating elevation changes,  make it a fair challenge.

Some of the back 9 holes have been modeled on famous holes from other courses.

Other Notable Courses in California

1. Pelican Hill Golf Club | Ocean North

Pelican Hill Golf Club Ocean North

  • Site Link
  • Location: Newport Beach, California.

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 96.1
Fun Rating: 97.3
Shape Rating: 94.8

Panoramic views from every tee box set the tone for this picturesque golf course.

It offers a good test of golf for all skill levels and shot-making is rewarded.

2. TPC Stonebrae

TPC Stonebrae

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 96.1
Fun Rating: 98.2
Shape Rating: 93.9

Set in the hills above Oakland, the undulating fairways and deep bunkering offer plenty of variety and challenges and is worth the visit.

3. CordeValle Golf Club

CordeValle Golf

  • Site Link
  • Location: San Martin, California.

PLAYER RATING

Overall Rating: 95.8
Fun Rating: 95.5
Shape Rating: 96

A Robert Trent Jones Jnr designed layout, it is a fair challenge to all skill levels as well as the Pros.

The course meanders through sycamore trees, creeks, and canyons, and the views can be distracting to your round.

Final Thoughts

The variety of golf courses in and around California, make it a destination not to be missed.

Golfers of all skill levels will enjoy the absolute beauty of the natural environment incorporated into the courses.

Don’t be mislead by the surroundings and select your tee box and accept the challenge that suits your game.

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