Updated on March 27th, 2023 at 11:20 am

Golfing in Southern California is an experience like no other. With stunning views, well-manicured courses, and year-round sunshine, it’s no wonder that the region has become a mecca for golf enthusiasts.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, there are plenty of public courses that offer challenging holes, unique features, and unforgettable experiences.

Let’s take a closer look at the best public golf courses in Southern California, highlighting their standout features and what makes them worth a visit. So grab your clubs, and let’s hit the links.

Top 10 public golf courses in Southern California

Torrey Pines Golf Course

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Torrey Pines Golf Course is a golfer’s paradise in the coastal town of La Jolla. This course offers stunning ocean views, challenging holes, and a unique history that sets it apart from other courses in the region. It has two 18-hole courses: the North and the South, that offer a challenging and rewarding experience requiring skill and strategy.

One of the standout features of this course is the picturesque coastal views. Golfers can enjoy sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged cliffs that line the coast, making for a truly unique golfing experience that’s hard to replicate elsewhere.

But that’s not all. Torrey Pines also boasts a challenging layout. The South course, in particular, is known for its tough holes, including the famous par-3 3rd hole that requires a long shot over a deep canyon. Golfers must be on their A-game if they hope to conquer this course.

Another unique feature of Torrey Pines is its history. Designed and built by William F. Bell in 1957, the golf course has hosted several high-profile events, including the US Open and the Farmers Insurance Open. Walking in the footsteps of golfing legends adds extra excitement to the experience.

Rustic Canyon Golf Course

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Nestled in the picturesque hills of Moorpark, Rustic Canyon Golf Course is a hidden gem that offers golfers a unique experience. The course was designed and built in 2001 on a 350-acre site with under 20,000 cubic yards of earth moved in construction.

The minimalist design is the work of Gil Hanse with the help of Jim Wagner and Geoff Shackelford. Their goal was to create a course where golfers played on the ground and air, a goal they effortlessly succeeded in.

The course winds through rolling hills and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The use of natural grasses and dunes adds to the course’s rugged charm and makes for a memorable golfing experience.

But Rustic Canyon isn’t just a pretty face. The course offers a challenging layout that requires golfers to bring their A-game. The wide fairways and challenging greens will test even the most experienced golfers. And with five sets of tees (black, blue, hanse, white, and red), the course can be enjoyed by players of all skill levels.

Another unique feature of Rustic Canyon is its commitment to sustainability. The course uses recycled water and environmentally friendly practices to maintain its natural beauty. It’s a refreshing approach that sets Rustic Canyon apart from other courses.

Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles

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Located in the coastal city of Rancho Palos Verdes, Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles is a luxurious golf course with beautiful ocean views, challenging holes, and top-notch amenities. The course was designed by renowned golf course architect Pete Dye in 1999 but has gone through a troubling time.

In the 1990s, there was a landslide that caused a huge chunk of the 18th fairway to slip off the edge during construction. The stabilization work that followed cost a fortune and threw the course into bankruptcy. It was finally rescued by the Trump Organization and opened in 2006.

The course is perched atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, offering panoramic coastline views. Golfers are treated to stunning ocean views on several holes, making for a memorable golfing experience.

Aside from beauty, the course presents a good challenge. The course features several signature holes, including the par-3 7th hole that requires a shot over a scenic ocean cove. The course is known for its tough greens and challenging bunkers, which will test even the most experienced golfers.

Last but not least, Trump National Golf Club offers top-notch amenities that add to the luxurious experience. The clubhouse features a restaurant, bar, and outdoor terrace that offer stunning ocean views.

La Mirada Golf Course

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La Mirada Golf Course is a public golf course located in the city of La Mirada that offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels. William F. Bell designed the 18-hole course in 1961.

The course at La Mirada Golf Course features tree-lined fairways, challenging bunkers, and undulating greens that require golfers to use strategy and precision to score well. La Miranda also features four tees and several water hazards that add to the challenge and beauty of the course.

The course is known for its excellent customer service and affordable rates. The course also features a driving range, putting green, and a pro shop, making it a one-stop shop for all your golfing needs.

Mountain Meadows Golf Course

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Nestled in the rolling hills of Pomona, Mountain Meadows Golf Course is a public golf course built in 1927 by Ted Robinson, Sr., that offers a fun and challenging experience for golfers of all skill levels. The course features an 18-hole championship layout that is well-maintained and provides a great golfing experience.

The Mountain Meadows Golf Course course features wide fairways, well-manicured greens, and beautiful views of the surrounding hills. Anyone who’s played here can tell you it’s designed to be challenging yet fair, with water hazards bunkers strategically placed to challenge golfers’ skills.

One of the unique features of the course is its wildlife. It’s home to several species of birds, including hawks and eagles, that can often be seen flying overhead. Even better, there are several ponds home to ducks and other waterfowl.

Maderas Golf Club

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Located in the scenic hills of Poway, California, Maderas Golf Club is a stunning and challenging 18-hole championship course that offers golfers an unforgettable experience. The course, built in 2000 by Johnny Miller and Rober Muir Graves, features lush fairways, rolling hills, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Maderas Golf Club is known for its excellent course conditions and attention to detail, with greens that roll true and well-maintained fairways. There are several challenging holes, including doglegs, water hazards, and strategically placed bunkers, that require golfers to use their skills and strategy to score well. Overall, there are 9 sets of tees to try your hand at.

One of the standout features of Maderas Golf Club is its clubhouse, which offers golfers a luxurious and relaxing environment to unwind after a round of golf. The clubhouse features a restaurant and bar, a pro shop, and a variety of other amenities that make it a great place to socialize and relax with friends and family.

Another unique aspect of Maderas Golf Club is its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. The course is home to various wildlife and natural habitats, and the staff works hard to maintain the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape while providing a world-class golfing experience.

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa

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Nestled in the rolling hills of Carlsbad, California, the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa is a world-class golf destination that offers golfers an unforgettable experience. From the name, you know the golf course is in a resort. The first thing you’ll do when you arrive is take a walk around the property to take all the beauty in – it’s gorgeous.

The legendary golfer Arnold Palmer designed the course with the help of Robert Walker and Ed Seay in 1991. They envisioned 18 challenging holes that wind through natural vegetation and offer spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, and boy, did they deliver. Over the years, the course has been well-maintained and features excellent greens that roll true and fairways that are always in excellent condition.

In addition to the exceptional golf course, the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort offers luxurious resort amenities that make it a great destination for golfers and non-golfers alike. The resort features a spa, multiple restaurants, and a variety of other amenities that make it a great place to relax and unwind after a round of golf.

Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort

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The Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort is a premier golf destination in the heart of the San Gabriel valley. It offers golfers two championship courses (Ike and Babe), luxurious accommodations, and top-notch amenities.

Industry Hills Golf club is one of the oldest public courses in Southern California. William F. Bell built it in 1979, and over the years, it has won prestigious awards like the 2010 Golf Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association.

The Ike and Babe courses at Industry Hills Golf Club are both challenging and picturesque, with rolling hills, mature trees, and stunning views of the San Gabriel Mountains. The courses are well-maintained and offer golfers of all skill levels a fun and challenging round of golf.

The challenge on the course is created by eight lakes and 160 uniquely placed sand bunkers on an endless horizon of the lush fairway. Depending on your skill, you can choose the tee from the 6 sets of tees available.

Pelican Hill Golf Club

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Pelican Hill Golf Club is a world-class golf destination in Newport Beach that offers golfers two championship courses, luxurious amenities, and breathtaking ocean views. The Ocean South was designed by tom Fazio and opened in 1991. Ocean North followed several years later. Both courses are built on a cliff at Newport Beach delivering excellent ocean views.

The North Course is a par-71 that measures 6,945 yards, while the South Course is a par-70 that measures 6,580 yards. The club also features a state-of-the-art practice facility, which includes a driving range, putting greens, and chipping areas. There are also experienced golf professionals available for lessons or to provide tips to help you improve your game.

After your round, you can enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the club’s multiple dining options, including the Pelican Grill, which offers stunning views of the golf course and the Pacific Ocean. The club also features luxurious locker rooms, a pro shop, and other top-notch amenities.

El Dorado Park Golf Course

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El Dorado Park Golf Course is a public golf course in Long Beach, California. Designed by Ted Robinson, Sr. in 1962 and measuring 6,921 yards, this par-72 course features 18 holes that wind through mature trees and pristine lakes, creating a scenic and relaxing atmosphere.

Although it has fewer sets of tees than other golf courses in the area, it’s still challenging. The Back is the most challenging tee, stretching over 6461 yards with a slope of 127, and the forward is the most beginner friendly, stretching over 5625 yards with a slope of 125.

Final thoughts

Southern California is home to a diverse range of public golf courses, each with its unique features and challenges. Whether you are a seasoned golfer or a beginner, there is something for everyone in this region.

From the scenic views of Torrey Pines to the eco-friendly approach of El Dorado Park Golf Course, these courses provide an enjoyable and unforgettable golfing experience. So, grab your clubs and hit the greens at one of these fantastic golf courses in Southern California.

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