California

The Golden State of California covers a vast area on the west coast of the USA, ranging from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the east. The forested state of Oregon bounds the state to the north and the border with Mexico forms a line of demarcation to the south.

Golf plays a significant part in the sporting life of Californians and the game has been played here for over a century. To be exact, the oldest club in the state was established at Mare Island Golf Club in 1892 and architect Robin Nelson has recently remodelled this historic course.

Many of the most enduring courses in the Golden State were constructed during a 15-year period between 1915 and 1929 when prolific Golden Age architects like Alister MacKenzie (Cypress Point and Pasatiempo) and George Thomas (Riviera and Los Angeles) were at the height of their architectural powers.

Four Californian clubs have hosted the US Open down the years. Riviera (1948) and Torrey Pines (2008) have both held the event once, while Pebble Beach was the venue in 1972, 1982, 1992, 2000 and 2010. When the Open returned to Olympic Club in 2012, it matched Pebble Beach’s haul of hosting five Opens.

Our California Best In State Rankings were last updated in April 2016. Click the link to read the story.

Top 100 Golf Courses - California

Cypress Point

1st California - Best in Area

Cypress Point Club is set at the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains on the very tip of the Monterey Peninsula and the cliff top terrain is varied and thrilling.

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Pebble Beach

2nd California - Best in Area

Cypress Point is the course you can’t play at Pebble Beach, but thankfully Pebble Beach Golf Links is one you can.

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San Francisco

3rd California - Best in Area

Albert Warren Tillinghast was probably the greatest American golf course architect of his day and “Tilly” was the genius who crafted San Francisco in 1915.

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Riviera

4th California - Best in Area

There are few courses with no weaknesses, but the Riviera Country Club can take the moniker. It’s a truly remarkable golf course routed across less than ideal terrain.

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Los Angeles (North)

5th California - Best in Area

The Wilshire location for the Los Angeles Country Club makes it possibly one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world.

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Olympic Club (Lake)

6th California - Best in Area

Host to four US Opens, the Lake course at Olympic Club is a serious challenge. Take your stabilisers and expect few level lies on these sloping fairways.

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Pasatiempo

7th California - Best in Area

The great Alister MacKenzie designed Pasatiempo and it opened for play in 1929 with a mixed exhibition foursome between Marion Hollins, Bobby Jones, Glenna Collett and Cyril Tolley.

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California

8th California - Best in Area

The California Golf Club of San Francisco can now boast tournament measurements. From the new back tees, which are aptly called Venturi, the course can be stretched to more than 7,200 yards.

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Valley Club of Montecito

9th California - Best in Area

Dr Alister MacKenzie designed the Valley Club of Montecito in 1929 and by Mackenzie’s standards it is one of his more modest designs.

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Spyglass Hill

10th California - Best in Area

Spyglass Hill is possibly the hardest golf course on the Monterey Peninsula. The hilly land tumbles down towards the sea, leaving fairways lined with cypress and pines, laced with areas of brilliant white sand.

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