California Golf Courses

The Golden State has some amazing golf courses. With perfect weather the majority of the year, it’s the perfect location for some of the best links and courses in the U.S. Let’s explore a few of our favorite Northern California options.

Motivational Golf Quotes

“Golf is a game invented by the same people who think music comes out of a bagpipe.”

-Anonymous

“I’m not feeling very well – I need a doctor immediately. Ring the nearest golf course.”

-Groucho Marx

Californian’s are a healthy lot. They love to eat right, exercise, and hang out in the sunshine. Most of all, they love their greens. Not talking salad here. How about a hint. It’s Californian’s second favorite four-letter word. Once you get your mind out of the rough, you’ll realize we’re talking G-O-L-F.

In fact, California (928) is only bested by Florida (1,055) when it comes to golfers per capita. But according to golfadvisor.com, California doesn’t even garner a rating on their top ten states for golf. Dudes, what were you smoking? It’s not just beaches and bikinis here. We got grass. Lots of it. In Southern California alone we have over 600 golf courses.

Let’s consider what The Golden State has to offer the native and traveling golfer. Put on your sunscreen and grab your nine-iron. We’re heading west to find some golfing gold.

Coyote Moon Golf Course, Truckee, CA

Where the heck is Truckee? I’m glad you asked. Truckee is a small town tucked away in the Sierra Nevada crest, east of Sacramento, and minutes from the icy cold waters of Lake Tahoe. With 250 acres of uninhabited rambling hills and lofty pines, it’ll make you feel like the last person on earth after the zombie apocalypse. Make sure to stop and smell the wildflowers or take a break next to Trout Creek. You won’t find a suburb in sight in this secluded paradise.

According to the golf course’s website, “It’s a challenging but fair test of Lake Tahoe golf. With ample landing areas and few forced carries, most holes funnel down to medium-sized, undulating greens, well protected by trees, sand, and water.”

Designed by former PGA player, Brad Bell, who is “Well known for creating highly praised golf courses around the central valley of California,” Coyote Moon is no exception.

The course touts a full swing warm-up station – balls included with each green fee, and an expansive chipping and putting green, sand bunker, and flop-shot areas.

golfadvisor.com gives it a 4.7 out of 5 stars.

The Course at Wente Vineyards, Livermore, CA

Another place in NorCal you might care to take a swing at is the Greg Norman designed, 18-hole championship course simply called, The Course at Wente Vineyards.

Considered to be the Bay area’s premier course, this 7,181-yard, par 72, is nestled in the Livermore valley about an hour from San Francisco. It features “Three distinct topographies, native woodlands, mature vineyards, and rolling hills of natural grasslands.” What more do you need? Whether pro or novice, the visual panoramas and diversity of play are unmatched in this Bay area course.

Side Note: There is an enforced dress code. No denim allowed. Collared shirt with slacks or walking shorts are de rigueur.

golfadvisor.com gives it a 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Apple Mountain Golf Resort, Camino, CA

Find yourself in Sacramento on business? Need a break from the meetings? Bring the clubs along just in case. We’ve got you covered.

Just a hop, skip, and small jump east of the Golden State’s capital puts you squarely in the gold-rush region of the rolling Sierra Nevada foothills. With towering pines, cedars, and madrones (Google it. I had to.) You’ll be surrounded by some of the most serene and breathtaking scenery of any course in NorCal.

The backdrop of snow-capped mountains, combined with a superbly designed championship course, make this a truly unique golfing experience. Can’t promise a Bigfoot sighting, but nevertheless, wildlife abounds, though of the smaller and less intimidating variety.

Also available is 12,000 square feet of pristine practice greens for beefing up your short game: “Practice from fairway lies, the rough, or from two different bunkers to hone your sand saves.”

golfadvisor.com gives it a 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Northwood Golf Club, Monte Rio, CA

Like golf? Like wine? Let’s do this.

Designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie (Augusta National, Pasatiempo and Cypress Point) the Northwood Golf Club lies thirty minutes west of Santa Rosa, California, in the midst of one of the finest wine-producing regions in the world.

The afternoon rays glittering off the Russian River and the towering, 150-foot-tall Redwoods will simply take your breath away. Golf Magazine’s Travelin’ Joe Passov was so captivated, he placed the Northwood Golf Club in the Top 5 MacKenzie courses in the entire world. Pretty high praise indeed.

California Golf and Travel Magazine said, “This may be the only place in the world you can walk an Alister MacKenzie design for under $30.”

golfadvisor.com gives it a 4.9 out of 5 stars.

The Coronado Golf Course, Coronado, CA

Located a stone’s throw from downtown San Diego, over the iconic Coronado Bay Bridge, this course is a gem any local resident would prefer to be kept secret. But since the California peeps are glad to share the beauty, any out-of-towner is invited to enjoy this course with its gorgeous view of the San Diego harbor.

Anyone who enjoys the game of golf, loves a value and scenery that are priceless, this is your place. Oh, and you might even spot a celebrity or two.

Ranked No. 5 nationally by Golf Digest for delivering the best golf value, The Coronado “Measures 6,590 yards from the blue tees and is a par 72. Immaculate greens, wide inviting fairways and dramatic views coupled with incomparable weather, make Coronado a must-play for all golfers year round.”

Side Note: Appropriate golf attire and own clubs are required. Check in 25 minutes prior to reserved tee time to avoid tee-time reassignment or cancellation. Players are expected to support pace of play of four hours and 30 minutes.

golfadvisor.com gives it a 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Rustic Canyon Golf Course, Moorpark, CA

Considered to be one of the Top 5 rated golf courses in California, and on the Top 100 list by multiple media outlets, including Golf Digest on a regular basis, the Rustic Canyon rounds out our trip around the Golden State.

Set In a secluded canyon north of Los Angeles, the links-style course’s flat, wide-open fairways seem to fade into native surroundings that flow with sagebrush, cactus, waves of brome, and stipa grass.

The course’s website describes it as “A bump-and-run style, just like you would find on a links course in Ireland or Scotland. Rustic Canyon is a strategic course for golfers who savor the discovery of a proper approach position from an expansive fairway to best attack the green.”

Rustic Canyon was ranked in the Top 6 Best Courses You Can Play list by Golf Weekly Magazine in 2017; and rated at No. 91 of the Top 100 Courses in the U.S. in September 2012 by Golf Magazine.

golfadvisor.com gives it a 4.1 out of 5 stars.

So, the next time your business or pleasure finds you in California, and you want to go clubbin’, check out one of these little diamonds in the rough.

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By: Heather Rhoades