11 California Golf Courses That Belong on Your Bucket List

1. Pebble Beach Golf Links

Location: Pebble Beach

Established in: 1919

Designed by: Douglas Grant and Jack Neville

Golf equipment rentals: Yes

Size: 7,040

Holes: 18

Located along the coastline of Monterey County, Pebble Beach Golf Links—the famed Pebble Beach golf course—provides sweeping vistas and undeniable luxury. It’s also the site of five U.S. Opens, including the legendary 100th tournament in which Tiger Woods won the trophy and tied the record for the lowest 72-hole score ever in the national championship. 

The course underwent a number of enhancements before the 2010 U.S. Open—which ended with Graeme McDowell, the first European winner since 1970, taking the title—in hopes of strengthening the appreciation of players, creating a more challenging experience, and exceeding guest expectations. Pebble Beach Golf Links has been successful at maintaining its reputation and continues to be an iconic destination for all avid golfers. 

See the area: Spend a Day (or Three) in Carmel-by-the-Sea

2. Torrey Pines Golf Course

Location: La Jolla 

Established in: 1988

Designed by: William F. Bell, then later redesigned by Rees Jones in 2008 and revamped by Tom Weiskopf in 2016

Golf equipment rentals: Yes

Size: 14,956 yards

Holes: 36

This expansive property is owned by the city of San Diego and is home to two 18-hole championship golf courses. Torrey Pines South Course—the setting of the 2008 U.S. Open—sits atop the coastal bluffs of La Jolla, providing panoramic views of the sandy beaches and the swells of the Pacific Ocean. The 7,698-yard course is also slightly larger than the North Course, which spans 7,258 yards.

Though the two courses differ in size, each is a par 72 and offers carts and clubs. There’s a driving range available to practice your swing prior to beginning the courses, too. Enjoy the poa annua grass throughout the South Course, or check out the blend of 007 and Tyee bentgrass along the North Course. 

After a long day on the green, relax at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, get a spa treatment, and dine at one of the indulgent restaurants to experience the ultimate golf resort vacation. 

See the area: The 10 Best Beaches in San Diego to Visit Now

3. TPC Harding Park


Location: San Francisco

Established in: 1925

Designed by: Willie Watson and Sam Whiting, then renovated by Chris Gray in 2003

Golf equipment rentals: Yes

Size: 7,169 yards

Holes: 27

With an ideal location just six and a half miles southwest of downtown San Francisco, TPC Harding Park is an unusual course and a sight to see. Take a swing at the 27 holes across the two courses, and enjoy the views of the surrounding cypress trees and Lake Merced. 

See the area: Getaway Guide: San Francisco

4. Indian Wells Golf Resort

Location: Indian Wells

Established in: 1986

Designed by: Clive Clark and John Fought

Golf equipment rentals: Yes

Size: 7,050 yards

Holes: 36

Complete with a 53,000-square-foot clubhouse and two 18-hole golf courses, the luxurious Indian Wells Golf Resort is an ideal destination for weddings, quick getaways, and group events. The courses have hosted the PGA’s Skins Game as well as the Golf Channel’s Big Break, and they provide easy access to the Palm Springs International Airport. 

Equipped with a private practice area, a putting and chipping green, practice bunkers, and PGA professional lessons, Indian Wells Golf Resort is the perfect place to learn the sport and to enhance your skills. 

See the area: Getaway Guide: Palm Springs

5. Stadium Course at PGA West