Golf courses in California are plentiful. Endless sunshine, a Mediterranean climate, and beautiful vistas are just some hallmarks of Southern California golf courses. So, which ones are the best? It depends on your budget and style.
Heartwell Golf Course – Easy Municipal Course for Beginners, Young Players
6700 E. Carson St.
Long Beach, CA 90808
Open 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Designed by William Bell, this 18-hole golf course offers par 3 game play for the novice and intermediate player. An adjacent driving range and two practice greens make it possible to work on difficult shots before heading onto the course. Play in the evening, when the course is beautifully lit. Book tee times between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. Play here is cheap – on average, a player pays $15.50 if walking the course.
David L. Baker Memorial Golf Course – Executive Municipal Course for the Short Game
10410 Edinger Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Open from sunrise to 9 p.m.; until sunset from Saturday through Monday
Another William Bell creation, this is one of the Southern California golf courses that challenges the short game. Weekend rates may be as high as $40. Consider walking the 3,825-yard, 18-hole course and enjoy play around six bunkers and lakes.
Rancho Duarte Golf Course – Short but Challenging Course for Intermediate Players
1000 Las Lomas Road
Duarte, CA 91010
Sunrise to sunset
An executive nine-hole course, Rancho Duarte is one of the best-maintained small public golf courses in California. Play nine holes for $14 – only $11 after noon – and replay the course for $7. Do not be lulled into thinking that you can get away with just bringing a few clubs, though. The venue might be small, but the course is well-designed. You are going to need every club you usually carry in your bag. There are no carts, so please be sure to wear proper footwear.
Willowick Golf Course – Good Choice for Chipping
3017 W. Fifth St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703
Open daily from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Tee times cost between $18 and $38. Not only is Willowick one of the best Southern California golf courses for the player who wants to squeeze in 18 holes before heading to nearby Disneyland, it is also the oldest Orange County course. While other courses might sport a few skinny trees – recently planted – here you enjoy the shade of majestic well-established trees. Watch out for the sand traps; they are tricky and deep.
Azusa Greens Golf Course – For Advanced Golfers
919 W. Sierra Madre
Azusa, CA 91702
Open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays; 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends
This course was designed by Bob Baldock. Measuring 6,200 yards, the fairways are narrow and lined with unforgiving trees. Allot about four to five hours if playing at a brisk pace. Rates range from $35 on weekdays to $45 on weekends. After 1 p.m., the costs decreases to $28 or $31 respectively; the rate decreases again by $5 after 3 p.m. Call ahead to ask about course maintenance – the greens were in need of some overhauls just recently, and there has been talk of doing aeration.