The Best Golf Courses in the East Bay

The big-ticket landscape of the greater Bay Area, from bustling cosmopolitan cities to quiet coastal communities, has been gifted with an exceptionally diverse collection of communal golf courses layered with a rich frosting of history, from the architects who conceived them to some of the greatest wizards of the links, including Johnny Miller and Ken Venturi, who honed their skills on the sidehill, uphill, and downhill lies around the doglegged fairways. Whether a local or visitor, theres a golf challenge to suit any size wallet.

Here are some of the best golf courses in the East Bay.

Feature Photo: Courtesy of Poppy Ridge Golf Club
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Photo: Robert Kaufman

Corica Park

ALAMEDA
Year built: North Course (1927); South Course (1957)
Architect: North Course (William Park Bell) / Redesign by Marc Logan (2022); South Course (William Francis Bell / Redesign by Rees Jones (2018)
Number of holes: 45 (North Course/South Course/Mif Albright 9 Par 3)
Practice Area: Driving range, short game area
Food & Beverage: Jim’s on the Course Sports Bar & Grill

Golf down under on the island city of Alameda at the Bay Area’s only Australian sand-belt style course. After a dramatic restoration (2018) to the South Course by famed architect Rees Jones, the minimalist 6,874-yard layout plays fast and firm with the option to strike the ball to the hole by air or ground. The property, five minutes from Oakland International Airport, is also home to the North Course (under renovation; 9 holes due to open June 2021) and one of America’s top nine-hole, par-3 courses. coricapark.com

Best-Bay-Area-Golf-Hiddenbrooke (website)-800
Photo: Courtesy of Hiddenbrooke Golf Club

Hiddenbrooke Golf Club

VALLEJO
Year built: 1995
Architect: Arnold Palmer
Number of holes: 18
Practice Area: Driving range, chipping area, and putting green
Food & Beverage: Hiddenbrooke Grill

A former host to the LPGA’s Samsung World Championships of Golf (2000-2002), the acclaimed an Arnold Palmer Signature golf course is nestled in a scenic secluded valley just north of San Francisco. At 6,619 yards with dramatic elevation changes, large challenging greens and water on 14 of the 18 holes, the award-winning (4.5-star rating from Golf Digest) Hiddenbrooke GC provides five sets of tees to accommodate beginning to advanced golfers. hiddenbrookegolf.com

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Photo: Courtesy of Metropolitan Golf Links

Metropolitan Golf Links

OAKLAND
Year built: 2003
Architect: Johnny Miller/Fred Bliss
Number of holes: 18
Practice Area: All-grass driving range, short game practice area
Food & Beverage: Snacks and drinks

In the tradition of great links courses, Johnny Miller and Fred Bliss designed 18 holes right next to Oakland International Airport with a spacious and open feel giving the thinking golfer a variety of options depending upon the wind and appetite for risk/reward. With a backdrop of the Oakland Hills, Bay, downtown Oakland and San Francisco, the compact 6,959-yard layout includes straight holes, doglegs and even a couple double doglegs throughout the subtle mounding and wetland areas. playmetro.com

Best-Bay-Area-Golf-Poppy Ridge (website)-800
Photo: Courtesy of Poppy Ridge Golf Club

Poppy Ridge Golf Club

LIVERMORE
Year built: 1996
Architect: Rees Jones
Number of holes: 27 (three nines)
Practice Area: All-grass driving range, pitching green w/bunker, and three putting greens 
Food & Beverage: Grill at Poppy Ridge

In the heart of Livermore Wine Country, the 27-hole Rees Jones design is reminiscent of the Scottish heathland courses. Three nines as distinct as the grape varietals they are named after – Merlot, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel – sweep through 3,000 acres of savannah-covered hills to provide challenges for golfers of any skill level. Each hole is shaped by extensive bunkering to reinforce the feel of a true links-style course and each nine closes with a lakeside green in front of the hacienda-style clubhouse. poppyridgegolf.com

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Photo: Robert Kaufman

The Course at Wente Vineyards

LIVERMORE
Year built: 1998
Architect: Greg Norman
Number of holes: 18
Practice Area: Driving range, putting green, chipping green, short game practice area
Food & Beverage: The Grill

Greg “The Shark” carved an 18-hole masterpiece through acres of century-old grapevines and rolling hills in the scenic Livermore Valley Wine Country. The Course at Wente Vineyards (1998), 50 minutes east of San Francisco, provides eye-candy panoramas to compliment a 7,181-yard layout that once challenged (2006-08) the PGA Tour’s Nationwide Tour (now Korn Ferry Tour). The cart ride from hole No. 9 to No. 10 treats golfers to a taste San Francisco’s world-famous Lombard St. wentevineyards.com/course

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Robert Kaufman

Robert Kaufman

Robert Kaufman is an internationally published golf & travel writer and award-winning photographer with an observant eye and insightful journalistic style that has guided him around the world, including all 50 states...and playing golf in 24 countries! During his entrepreneurial career, Robert founded Northern California’s first monthly golf publication and was instrumental in directing Visit California’s golf marketing initiative to raise global awareness for the state as a top-tier golf destination. His work can be viewed at Picture PARfect.

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