California

Map of California

About

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... but not for long, the US Open returned to 17-Mile Drive in 2019.

Our California Best In State Rankings were last updated in July 2020. 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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Los Angeles (North)

3rd California - Best in Area

The location for the Los Angeles Country Club makes it possibly one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world. It’s therefore fitting therefore that North course does full justice to the land...

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

San Francisco

5th 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 the course for San Francisco Golf Club in 1915.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

California

6th 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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Olympic Club (Lake)

7th 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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Valley Club of Montecito

8th 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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Pasatiempo

9th 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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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Monterey Peninsula (Dunes)

10th California - Best in Area

The Dunes course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club is a 1926 Seth Raynor layout that Robert Hunter completed with advice from Alister MacKenzie. It was remodeled by Rees Jones in 1999 and renovated by Fazio Design in 2016.

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Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

California Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 P Soracco Courses Played 66
2 Maurice A Delgado Courses Played 62
= Alan Abrina Courses Played 62
4 Ron Stelten Courses Played 61
5 Bill Vostniak Courses Played 60
6 Bruce Bearer Courses Played 59
7 Joshua Asher Courses Played 56
8 David Harak Courses Played 53
9 Kurt Krause Courses Played 51
10 M. James Ward Courses Played 50