GOLF’s Course Raters and Ran Morrissett, Structure Editor

December 21, 2022

No shock — Cypress Level tops the record of finest programs in California.

Christian Hafer

As a part of GOLF’s course score course of for 2022-23, our fleet of 100-plus skilled panelists recognized the very best golf programs in California. Browse the hyperlinks beneath to take a look at all of our course rankings, or scroll right down to see the very best programs in California.

GOLF’s different course rankings: High 100 Programs within the World | High 100 Programs within the U.S. | High 100 Programs You Can Play | High 100 Worth Programs within the U.S. | America’s Greatest Municipal Programs | The 100 Greatest Quick Programs within the World

1 = High 100 Course within the U.S.
P = Public/Resort Course
V = High 100 Worth Course within the U.S.
M = High 30 Municipal Course within the U.S.

Ed. observe: Some programs had been omitted from our rankings as a result of they didn’t obtain sufficient votes.

The very best golf programs in California (2022/2023)

1. Cypress Level (Pebble Seashore) [1]

It’s nearly inconceivable that land this beautiful was made accessible for golf. For the fortunate few who get to play right here, they get pleasure from one of many recreation’s most inspiring walks as Alister MacKenzie’s design effortlessly transports the participant across the numerous property. The long-lasting par-3 sixteenth, which extends into the churning Pacific, is the sport’s most dramatic and photographed gap, however there are infinite different highlights, from the forested portion to heaving dunes to its famed jagged shoreline. MacKenzie extracted the very best from the land partially by breaking the “guidelines” and having back-to-back par-5s on the entrance and back-to-back par-3s on the again. The drivable ½-par ninth is one other standout with its angled inexperienced towards play.

The Los Angeles Nation Membership North Course will host the 2023 U.S. Open.

LC Lambrecht

2. Los Angeles – North (Los Angeles) [1]

Gil Hanse and staff restored George Thomas’s basic to perfection in 2010. Bunkers had been reshaped and relocated, fairways widened and a pure barranca was introduced again into play as a strategic hazard. Arguably America’s premier city design, LACC North hosted the 2017 Walker Cup and design aficionados can’t look forward to the 2023 U.S. Open. As Hanse says, “The course enjoys an ideal sense of place and steadiness.” Two shotters like 3 and 10 will problem the gamers with uneven fairway lies however its superlative assortment of one-shot holes can even show fairly a check, even with ball in hand and an ideal lie/stance.

3. Pebble Seashore (Pebble Seashore) [1, P]

The primary nice American public oceanside course, Pebble advantages from an ingenious routing that brings the participant to the ocean’s edge, then onto a lot increased floor, earlier than returning to the cliffs for the climactic closing two holes. Even in the present day, with gobs of world class programs having been constructed previously 100 years, no extra thrilling, spectacular stretch exists than holes 4 by means of 10. Moreover, does any stroll examine with that closing stroll up the enduring par-5 18th because it curves left round Carmel Bay?! Exhausting for a course this well-known to exceed first-time expectations — however it does.

4. Riviera (Pacific Palisades) [1]

The worth that an architect gives is highlighted right here in technicolor. In-built a slim canyon, there was no cause to carry excessive hopes for this course. But what emerged, courtesy of George Thomas and Billy Bell, is likely one of the recreation’s strategic design marvels. Collectively, the designers took bunker configuration and angled greens to new heights within the Nineteen Twenties. As proof of their magical abilities, look no additional than Riv’s 311-yard, par-4 tenth. Because of the impressed positioning of the bunkers and the angled inexperienced, choices abound on how one can card an enormous quantity on this tiny gap. Thomas’s well-known quote — “technique is the soul of the sport” — manifests itself at Riv. 

5. San Francisco (San Francisco) [1]

A.W. Tillinghast constructed his most creative assortment of bunkers at this low-key Bay Space hideaway that avoids publicity as steadfastly as its neighbor the Olympic Membership embraces it. Often known as the Duel Gap, the drop-shot par-3 seventh could be the course’s most well-known gap, however its par-4s, together with the 2nd, third, tenth and twelfth, are the true headliners.

California Golf Membership of San Francisco.

Evan Schiller

6. California Golf Membership of San Francisco (South San Francisco) [1]

For many of its 80-year historical past, the Cal Membership, as locals name it, served up a decent although well-regarded course, enhanced by its affiliation with Ken Venturi. Following a 2008 Kyle Phillips re-do that was half restoration and half redesign, many really feel this personal course is the same as any in California north of Cypress Level. Located on the facet of a hill, Cal Membership is assured to catch any wind that’s about. Add in fescue fairways and the positioning’s broad slopes and you’ve got a course whose asks change every day. Even in calm situations, the combo of quick grass, sprawling bunkers and cypress bushes present fixed photograph alternatives. While you uncover the design performs nearly as good because it seems to be, you’ve one thing particular.

7. Valley Membership of Montecito (Montecito) [1]

Designed by Alister MacKenzie with Robert Hunter overlooking building, The Valley Membership oozes allure. The holes don’t bully the participant and size isn’t the problem however approaching these greens from the optimum facet of the green is paramount, given the firmness of the taking part in surfaces that membership routinely achieves. Look no additional for proof than the primary two greens and the way they’re angled to reward play from the riskier, left facet of the green. The one factor lacking is yardage markers, however solely as a result of the membership doesn’t consider in them. Refreshing to discover a place the place the sport is performed by really feel, not analytics.

Pasatiempo Golf Course.

Patrick Koenig

8. Pasatiempo (Santa Cruz) [1, P]

Alister MacKenzie calls Pasatiempo the best course he ever constructed. Not like Cypress Level, simply an hour south, Pasatiempo sits barely inland, however its excessive factors provide views of the Pacific and the whole routing, with its large paw-print bunkers and enormous, undulating greens, make plain the affect that this course had on MacKenzie’s later work at Augusta Nationwide. Charms and challenges abound, from the lengthy, uphill par-3 third to the par-4 sixteenth, a humpbacked dogleg with a second shot that performs over a chasm to a wild and successful three-tiered inexperienced. Some nitpickers grouse that the course is pinched by houses. However a type of homes belonged to MacKenzie, who selected to reside beside the par-5 sixth.

9. Olympic – Lake (Daly Metropolis) [1]

It’s all the time a delight to discover a course that rewards the misplaced artwork of shaping photographs. The 4th gap, as an example, encompasses a reverse-camber fairway: the opening swings proper to left however the fairway tilts left to proper, mandating a draw from the tee. The subsequent gap, a dogleg proper, requires a fade. Latest clearing has helped to spotlight the beautiful nature of the cypress bushes that line this hillside overlooking Lake Merced. Its well-known 5-5-short 4 closing stretch produced one other climactic end on the 2021 U.S. Ladies’s Open. Kudos to William Watson, who would possibly effectively be the least appreciated essential architect from the Golden Age.

10. Monterey Peninsula – Shore (Pebble Seashore) [1]

As soon as a ho-hum structure that languished within the shadow of its well-known 17-Mile Drive neighbors, the Shore Course began drawing discover in 2004 after the iconoclastic architect Mike Strantz constructed 12 new holes and overhauled six others. Strantz mentioned his aim was to make gamers “dance among the many cypress.” However his routing, which opens and ends amid the pines, additionally takes benefit of an unlimited expanse of shoreline, with fairways fringed by wispy native grasses, and dramatic rock outcrops framing a number of greens and tees. In 2010, 5 years after Strantz’s passing, his work gained even higher recognition when the Shore Course joined the rota of the AT&T Championship.

11. Bel-Air (Los Angeles) [1]

A George C. Thomas basic that winds by means of the canyons overlooking Los Angeles. Nice architects had tinkered with Bel-Air over time, however Tom Doak’s current restoration took out the trendy gimmicks and greater than 30 bunkers, bringing Bel-Air again a lot nearer to its authentic design. What hasn’t modified: the clubby environment on the patio, that beautiful stroll over golf’s most well-known suspension bridge and a again 9 showcasing what Ken Venturi referred to as among the finest lengthy par-3s on the planet.

Monterey Peninsula – Dunes No. 9.

Chip Henderson

12. Monterey Peninsula – Dunes (Pebble Seashore) [1]

Every little thing outdated is new once more. Working with the unique Raynor routing, wunderkinds Tim Jackson and David Kahn dropped at fore the rugged options of a forest-meets-sea panorama on a reborn course that boasts majestic dunes, expansive sandy wastes and greens of wildly diversified dimension and contour. Previously straight fairways now sashay gracefully with the coastal terrain, and the par-3s, lengthy a energy, have grown remarkably nice. They embrace the hard-along-the-water 14th, which performs over the waves and is such a placing sight, vacationers typically cease to spectate from an overlook on 17-Mile Drive.

13. Spyglass Hill (Pebble Seashore) [P]

14. Meadow Membership (Fairfax)

15. Wilshire (Los Angeles)

16. Rustic Canyon (Moorpark) [P]

17. Stone Eagle (Palm Desert)

18. Diablo (Diablo)

19. The Quarry at La Quinta (La Quinta)

20. San Diego CC (Chula Vista)

21. Lake Merced (Daly Metropolis)

22. Hilcrest (Los Angeles)

Torrey Pines South hosted the 2021 U.S. Open.

Larry Lambrecht

23. Torrey Pines – South (La Jolla) [P, M]

24. Lakeside (Burbank)

25. Madison Membership (La Quinta)

26. Rancho Santa Fe (Rancho Santa Fe)

27. PGA West – TPC Stadium (La Quinta) [P]

28. La Purisma (Lompoc) [P]

29. La Jolla CC (La Jolla)

30. Los Angeles – South (Los Angeles)

31. The Protect (Carmel-By-The-Sea)

32. Mayacama (Santa Rosa)

33. Martis Camp Membership (Truckee)

Sherwood Nation Membership hosted the 2020 ZOZO Championship.

Courtesy Picture

34. Sherwood (Lake Sherwood)

35. Orinda (Orinda)

How we rank our programs

For GOLF’s course rankings lists, every panelist is offered an inventory of tons of of programs and “buckets,” or groupings. In the event that they consider the course to be among the many finest in its class (World, U.S. Worth, and so on.), they verify the corresponding field to position it in a particular bucket. Panelists are additionally free to write down in programs they felt ought to have been included on the poll. Factors had been assigned to every bucket; to reach at a median rating for every course, we divide its mixture rating by the variety of votes. From these level tallies, the programs are then ranked accordingly.

The important thing to the method is the expertise and experience of our panel. Hailing from 15 nations and all of the worldwide golf meccas, every of our 117 handpicked panelists has a eager eye for structure, each regionally and globally. A lot of our panelists have performed greater than 1,000 programs in 20-plus nations.

As a result of we don’t prescribe a set technique to evaluate programs as different ranks do, nobody opinion carries the day — our rank is a democracy. Some panelists consider that enjoyment is the last word aim, and thus prioritize design attributes resembling width and taking part in angles, whereas frowning on upon having to continuously hunt for balls in thick tough. Different panelists worth problem and the calls for of hitting each membership within the bag. Nonetheless others take into account a course’s environment and total surroundings of paramount significance, thereby emphasizing the setting and naturalness of the course. Ultimately, permitting raters to freely specific their tastes is what produces the specified eclecticism in our High 100 lists.

Panelist integrity is important. Voters with any ties or associations to eligible programs should flag such conflicts. Panelists additionally know to not let the standard of their play affect their poll — similar for a luxe expertise or clubhouse. Whereas opulence might make for a extra a memorable outing, it’s not what GOLF’s course lists are about. Our focus is on design and structure. We research the course, not the trimmings round it.

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