This Southern California mecca is a hub of activity. The only question is, where to begin? With fantastic amusement parks, from Universal Studios or Six Flags Magic Mountain to Disneyland, shopping, art museums, incredible dining, celebrity spotting, and beaches, Los Angeles/Orange County is a never-ending playground for adults and kids alike. Plus, with well over 300 days of sun each year, every day is a good day to hit the greens on any of the world-famous layouts or well-crafted, modern daily fee courses.
Feature Photo: Courtesy of Los Robles Golf Club
Angeles National Golf Club
Angeles County sets the standard of excellence and beauty for all golf courses throughout Southern California. This club, built in 2004, features a 7,141-yard, par-72 championship desert-style layout with magnificent views, generous contoured fairways, strategically-positioned 54 bunkers, two lakes and large emerald greens.
Black Gold Golf Club
This Arthur Hills-designed layout stretches up to 6,756 yards with dramatic elevation changes and panoramic views overlooking Orange County and portions of the Newport Beach coast. The front nine requires accuracy and the back nine offers some interesting risk-reward opportunities. Water hazards come into play throughout the course, most notably a pond and cascading waterfall on the par-5, 18th hole fronting the 20,000-square-foot clubhouse. Black Gold GC also features a lighted driving range.
Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort
CITY OF INDUSTRY
This Southern California vintage gem (1979) spanning 650 aces in the San Gabriel Valley features two championship courses designed by William F. Bell, Jr. and Casey O’Callaghan championship courses that have since been upgraded with new lush green carpet. Having hosted LPGA tour events, the 7,199-yard Dwight D. Eisenhower (“Ike”) is known for large undulating greens while the shorter 6,821-yard Babe Didrikson Zaharias Course (“Babe”) features long narrow fairways and strategically placed bunkers. ihgolfclub.com
Los Robles Greens Golf Club
Less than one hour north of Los Angeles and etched into the rolling foothills of mountain-lined Conejo Valley, Los Robles GC is an upscale public golf experience with superlative guest services one might expect at a private country club. Towering oaks, water features and unique bunkering frame the fairways and undulating greens of the 6,304-yard layout designed by William F. Bell and rated 4 ½ Stars by Golf Digest.
Monarch Beach Golf Links
Along the dramatic bluffs of Southern California and one of only a handful of oceanfront golf courses throughout the Golden State, Robert Trent Jones, Jr. has fashioned an intriguing layout in the Scottish links tradition with commanding sweeping views to the Pacific Ocean. The 18-hole, par-70 championship course, adjacent the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Spa, features rolling fairways with exquisite landscaping and bunkers strategically situated near the landing zones.
Pelican Hill Golf Club
With panoramic ocean views (including Catalina on a clear day) from a majority of holes, the Tom Fazio-designed Ocean North and Ocean South Courses solidified Pelican Hill GC as one of the most scenic golf experiences on the West Coast. The 6,580-yard Ocean South (1991) features wide, terraced fairways with large undulating greens around numerous ravines and canyons coming into play. The 6,945-yard Ocean North, a solid sister course, provides more of a links-style look.
Rustic Canyon Golf Course
Soon after it appeared on the secluded landscape in 2002, near the Los Angeles and Ventura County border, Rustic Canyon garnered instant acclaim for its minimalist design by Gil Hanse. Named the No. 1 “Best Value in the U.S.A.” by Golf Magazine in 2010, Rustic Canyon’s 7,044 yards are an exercise in restraint with flat, wide-open fairways fading into the native surroundings, free-form greens and bunkers sculpted to preserve and incorporate into the flow of the native barrancas.
Strawberry Farms Golf Club
Developed by former Major League Baseball player, Doug DeCinces, and designed by Jim Lipe, Strawberry Farms GC combines the rural beauty and tranquility of the landscape amid canyons and wetlands along with stunning vistas across the 35-acre reservoir and rolling greens surrounded by native wildlife. In a Southern California area where every available plot of land appears to have a house jammed onto it, this premier 18-hole, 6,700-yard layout meanders through hills, boulders and waterfalls.
The Links at Terranea
RANCHO PALOS VERDES
Perched along the coastal bluffs of Rancho Palos Verdes, south of Los Angeles, this nine-hole, 1,239-yard, par-3 course offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. Golf course architect Todd Eckenrode routed a collection of championship-quality holes ranging from 104 to 173 yards with elevation changes, green contours, and artful bunkering that integrate masterfully with the natural surroundings adjacent to the Terranea Resort, one of Southern California’s premier oceanfront resort destinations.
Tustin Ranch Golf Club
Playing over gently rolling terrain, the classic Ted Robinson-designed course with his signature water features embraces a natural beauty and intimacy all its own to make it one of Orange County’s finest treasures. The 6,842-yard layout is very playable for all levels, yet challenging enough to interest even the lowest handicap players. Four lakes come into play on eight holes and the rolling fairways are lined with palm trees at the beautifully landscaped, well-groomed facility.