2016 Most Wanted Golf Course – California

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The Best of the Golden State

California has the 3rd highest number of golf courses of any state in the US (trailing only Florida and Michigan). It's home to several PGA Tour Events, and some of the most iconic venues in the game.

The state is packed with courses that even the most casual golfer dreams of playing. Course for course, California's golf scenery is unmatched, but do the big name, made-for-TV courses live up to their reputations? What about the hidden gems that don't have the fame, but offer every bit of the experience? Shouldn't those courses be celebrated?

Where can you find the best golf that California has to offer? To find out, we turned to real golfers just like you.

200000-reviews

About Our Rankings

To generate our rankings, we used data from TheGrint, a golf handicap and stat tracking service that also allows golfers to rate the courses they play. Here are the pertinent details:

  • Ranking derived from over 200,000 golf course reviews
  • Only reviews from the last 365 days are considered
  • A course must have a minimum of 30 reviews is required in order to qualify for ranking

Nearly every aspect of a golf course review is subjective and there's always going to be a difference of opinion, so healthy (and hopefully polite) debate is to be expected.

Top 10 Golf Courses in California

yochadehe-1

PebbleBeach-2

spyglass-3

IndianWells-Celebrity-4

pechanga-5

PGAWEST-Nicklaus-6

goosecreek-7

PGAWest-Stadium-8

pelicanhill-north-9

oakquarry-10

California's 10 Most Wanted

mw-cally-jpg

About MyGolfSpy

As the “Consumer Reports of Golf” our mission is to educate and empower golfers. Our goal is to help you get the most out of your time, money and performance.

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Comments

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

SDDrew August 3, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Welp, looks like I have some courses to get after. Pechanga is expensive, but there’s a deal on UnderPar right now, same with Oak Quarry, heard that is fun course for the money, but have to go to Riverside for it :( Surprised not the see Torrey South on here, but again, picking a top 10 in a place as big as CA is hard. Tip: Rams Hill in Borrego is spectacular, play it if you can. They have the Golfboards there too, sooo fun!

Hey MGS, for a good conversation piece, how about breaking this list into Southern, Central, and Northern CA regions? Just a thought.

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Mike August 3, 2016 at 11:18 am

Torrey South is one of my favorite courses ever. I can’t believe it’s not on the list. Someone mentioned Maderas above. I honestly didn’t think it was anything special…

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Justin August 2, 2016 at 3:18 pm

I would expect to see Maderas on this list someday :)

I am also really surprised to see Goose Creek on this list. It’s a local course for me and is reasonably priced for the conditions. It really is an underrated course in a location that most would not think of as a golf destination.

There are so many good courses in California that it’s really tough to pick a top 10. Also, I would assume that this list only includes public courses or the top private courses do not have enough qualifying reviews. For me, out of the 100+ golf courses I have played, Sherwood Country Club ranks #1 on my list by a wide margin. Great layout, excellent condition, peaceful surroundings… just a great day of golf

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MyGolf Spy July 29, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Thanks Joe;)

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chemclub July 29, 2016 at 8:31 am

It would have been really helpful to see a map where all these were located in the state. I travel to Cali every so often and it would have been nice to see which course would be close by without googling each one.

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Ryan Hall July 29, 2016 at 4:18 am

3. Yoche,indian wells, pga stadium

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SouthBayZ July 28, 2016 at 11:02 pm

Oak Quarry is rarely in good enough shape to be on this list, and the greens don’t generally have the pace to be a top 10. Cypress Ridge in Arroyo Grande is unbelievable and I suspect didn’t make the list due to lack of attention in reviews. Scenic, maybe a little tricky, but in impeccable shape.

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Tom July 28, 2016 at 9:32 pm

Played Spyglass Hill. Loved it.

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Mega July 28, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Love Yocha despite a couple of quirky holes that are my least favorite anywhere, a regular stop on the Golf Channel Am Tour. Course has generous fairways on most holes but rough can be penal. They restrict driving in the rough which limits how much it gets flattened by the carts. Course condition has always been excellent, even with the drought and yes the opening tee shot is a site to behold.
Hope to play Pebble and/or Spyglass in October for my 50th. Pasatiempo took a hit during the drought, it was great before the drought and I hear it has now recovered nicely, hope to get back there again next year after finishing my Monterey Peninsula bucket list.

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zipplock July 28, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Have played 1 and 2. First shot at Yocha may be the best first tee shot anywhere, super fun.

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Max July 28, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Played the top 3.

Yocha Dehe at a $65 weekday discount is a STEAL.

Pebble is far more spectacular, though.

SpyGlass was the most perfectly manicured course I’ve played.

Courses I wish I could play but probably never will: Meadow Club, LA Country Club, Riviera, Cypress Point, Mayacama

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Mitch Cosentino August 27, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Mayacama is nice but it doesn’t belong in the category with the others you mentioned. Typical Nicklaus course. Some nice challenging holes with a couple of bad holes. No personal gripe, I like playing it and I have won a tournament there. But having played Cypress Point numerous times it is in a class by itself. LACC and Riv are the best in LA. As a long time Nor Cal player, any “player” here will say “if you haven’t played Spyglass, you haven’t played golf”.

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Kenny B July 28, 2016 at 5:22 pm

Although I like Indian Wells, I wouldn’t put it in the top 10.

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John Newill July 28, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Played 2. Pebble Beach and Oak Quarry with hopefully more of the ones on the list.

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John Barba July 28, 2016 at 4:00 pm

#10 only – LOVED it!

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Jon Baldwin July 28, 2016 at 3:17 pm

I’ve played 6 of the top 10, including all of the top 3!

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MyGolf Spy July 29, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Which course did you like best Jon Baldwin?

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Jon Baldwin July 29, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Pebble is in a class by itself

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McaseyM July 28, 2016 at 9:57 am

I’ve only played 1 on that list, but it is Yocha Dehe. It is an unreal, gorgeous course and on of the best birthday gifts I got from my wife. The opening teebox is elevated about 3-4 stories over the fairway and provides an awesome view of the valley. Awesome from start to finish, Troon runs this club amazingly well and tee times can be had for low rates ($25-50 if you can handle the midday heat).

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Pete July 28, 2016 at 9:49 am

Interesting for sure. No Pasatiempo or Harding Park? I would imagine that’s because they didn’t have enough course reviews.

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Randy July 28, 2016 at 11:43 am

Played 6 on that list, Pasa is better than them all, but trying to decide amongst them is like picking what color Red you want your Ferrari

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mcavoy July 28, 2016 at 9:25 am

I’ve played both Journey at Pechanga (once) and Oak Quarry (many times). Both have a couple of sphincter tightening holes. #6 at Pechanga is a par 4 w/a 170+ foot drop to the fairway. Don’t go left. #14 at Oak Quarry is a par 3 that plays about 170-190 depending on the tees but has water in play on the left the whole way. You can bail right but if the pin is back left you better commit. Hole has to be seen to be appreciated. Pechanga is a good course that I think is overpriced and is completely unwalkable. Oak Quarry I think is the better overall value. But Pechanga has a better clubhouse, food and of course the casino. So there’s that.

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Tom54 July 29, 2016 at 12:32 am

I played Journey once and was paired with a couple of club pros. They were playing the black tees. On #6, one of them almost deposited his drive on the head of a guy down in the fairway. Because of that elevation change, it was about a 340 drive. Just no way to accurately gauge the carry on that hole!

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