The Best Golf Courses in Sonoma County

The Best Golf Courses in Sonoma County

Picture of 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.

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, there’s a golf challenge to suit any size wallet.

The following is a curated list of 20 greater Bay Area public golf courses in alphabetical order.

Feature Photo: Courtesy of The Links at Bodega Harbour
Best-Bay-Area-Golf-Northwood ©Robert Kaufman-800
Photo: Robert Kaufman

Northwood Golf Club

Year built: 1928
Architect: Alister Mackenzie
Number of holes: 9
Practice Area: Putting green
Food & Beverage: Casa Secoya / Northwood Bistro

Adjacent to the Russian River in Sonoma County, Northwood GC (1928) was designed by famed architect Alister MacKenzie (Meadow Club, Cypress Point, Augusta National) in collaboration with Robert Hunter, as a creation for the exclusive Bohemian Club. Now open to the public, the friendly staff is super welcoming at this picturesque 2,893-yard nine-hole course with narrow fairways weaving around strands of towering Redwoods.

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Photo: Courtesy of Sonoma County Golf

Sea Ranch Golf Links

Year built: 1974 (front nine) / 1995 (back nine)
Architect: Robert Muir Graves
Number of holes: 18
Practice Area: Putting green
Food & Beverage: The Bar + Lounge

This Scottish-style links course along the North Coast was completed in two phases with the front nine appearing in 1974 along the undulating landscape, followed by the back nine in 1995. The 6,649-yard layout is fairly unprotected from the ocean breezes and the fairways are bordered by native grasses and plants that sometimes serve as a magnet for wayward hit golf balls. Stay-and-play packages are available.

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Photo: Courtesy of Rooster Run Golf Club

Rooster Run Golf Club

Year built: 1998
Architect: Fred Bliss
Number of holes: 18
Practice Area: All-grass driving range, two practice putting greens
Food & Beverage: Snacks and drinks

Located on the outskirt of Sonoma Wine Country, Rooster Run GC features level, wide fairways surrounded by ancient oak trees, native willows and cottonwoods, plus a bevy of water hazards, including six lakes and the areas only island green. But the true test for scoring well on the 7,001-yard track will be earned on the greens that are large, fast, and very undulated.

Photo: Robert Kaufman

The Links at Bodega Harbour

Year built: 1978 (back nine) / 1987 (front nine)
Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Number of holes: 18
Practice Area: Putting green
Food & Beverage: Bluewater Bistro

Hugging Sonoma County’s coastline with spectacular Pacific Ocean views, The Links at Bodega Harbour (back nine, 1978/front nine, 1987) guarantees a happier birdie experience than Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds that was filmed nearby. With rolling hills and undulating greens dominating this Scottish-style links designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the front nine is demanding with strategically-placed pot bunkers, while the back nine presents wider fairways and a dramatic three-hole, par 4-3-4, finish.

Best-Bay-Area-Golf-Windsor ©Robert Kaufman-800
Photo: Robert Kaufman

Windsor Golf Club

Year built: 1989
Architect: Fred Bliss
Number of holes: 18
Practice Area: All-grass driving range, putting green, chipping area
Food & Beverage: Charlie’s Restaurant

As a one-time host to several PGA Ben Hogan Tour and Nike Tour (now Korn Ferry Tour) tournaments, Windsor GC (1989) in Sonoma Wine Country is a challenging 6,599-yard layout uncluttered by neighboring homes that carves through a gently rolling landscape with a multitude of visual treats, including the club’s signature Silo, native oaks, and strategically-placed ponds.

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