With temperatures that never become unpleasant, Los Angeles, California is a year-round oasis for golf. With a location that hugs the Pacific Ocean, golf course designers have been in love with creating layouts that use the natural beauty of the surrounding area. As a result, there are tens of golf courses that provide a terrific experience for the traveler or the resident. Here are the best golf courses in Los Angeles that are easily accessible for the weekend warrior.
The best golf courses in Los Angeles
The first course on the list is Trump National. Regardless of how you feel politically, it is hard to deny that Donald Trump can put together a fantastic golf course. Located in the suburb of Rancho Palos Verdes, Trump National was designed on property that rests directly against the Pacific Ocean.
For some, this is both a highlight and a hinderance as the front nine is prone to complaints that it is too tight and restrictive due to the natural surroundings. But for those golfers who adore the course, the ability to see waterfalls and tee off on bluffs that over look the Pacific, make it all worthwhile.
Speaking of waterfalls, the best hole on the course is the 238-yard par-3 17th. Golfers will hit into a green that has a 45-foot waterfall as its’ backdrop. When the golfer pulls their cart into the green area mist from the waterfall will cover the cart. It’s a incredible sideshow, but what else do we expect from the Donald?
Pelican Hill Golf Club
Next on the list, is two courses from the same club, the Ocean North and South courses from the Pelican Hill Golf Club. What makes both courses so highly desired is the fact that both layouts offer complete views of the Pacific Ocean from each hole.
What players love about the Pelican Hill courses is the feeling of isolation even though the Newport Beach location is a mere 40 miles from Los Angeles. The Tom Fazio designed courses utilize the natural exterior forcing the golfer to hit shots from elevated plateaus and over open canyons.
The easier of the two layouts at Pelican Hill is the North course. But that shouldn’t give the impression that this eighteen hole course is a pushover. In fact the opposite is true as the North will challenge the golfer with dramatic elevation changes, risky shot making, and greens that force long, difficult putts.
But what keeps golfers coming back to the North course is the stunning views and the enjoyable play. The South course offers a similar experience to the North but with small but delightful differences. For example, the South’s 12th and 13th hole are back-to-back par 3s. But the wrinkle is on the 13th hole, where two greens exist and the intended landing area changes daily for the golfer.
Surrounded by a first rate resort, the Pelican Hill Golf Club is a once-in-a-lifetime destination.
Angeles National Golf Club
The next course on the list is the Jack Nicklaus designed Angeles National Golf Club. Located in Los Angeles County, 30 miles from the city of Los Angeles, the plush course has become a hotspot for celebrities and a favorite of golfers who love an exciting eighteen holes.
Noted for its immaculate conditions, Angeles National plays at a moderate length at just over 7,000 yards and is a popular spot for professional tournaments. Utilizing the two lakes that exist on the property, Nicklaus created a layout that is wide and accommodating without much in the way of bunkers. But that doesn’t mean that it will be an easy ride for the golfer. Environmentally protected areas that line the course will undoubtedly cost the average golfer a few golf balls over the course of the round. Greens at the Angeles National play slippery, with quick putts as the norm, but over the course of a day a golfer will grow accustomed to the speed.
Another one of the hidden gems in the Los Angeles area is a course designed by iconic golfer Fred Couples by the name of Talega. Located in the hills of San Clemente, this par 72 course uses the natural vegetation to craft an experience that local golfers love.
Couples has designed a course that rewards accuracy and forces the golfer to create a plan with each shot. After playing the layout many feel that Talega is a true risk/reward course that satisfies the careful and adventurous golfer alike. Highly affordable, Talega is a great example of an overlooked course that exists around Los Angeles.
The final duo in our list is located at the gorgeous Pacific Palms resort in the suburb of City of Industry. The Eisenhower and Zaharias courses at the Industry Hills Golf Club have risen to the top of the best golf courses in Los Angeles lists due to Eisenhower’s multi-million dollar overhaul that was completed in 2006.
As a result, the resort has hosted multiple LPGA tournaments and several U.S. Open qualifiers. The renovation put an emphasis on creating an atmosphere that accommodates all types of golfers. Highlighting its massive greens that offer uniquely long putt opportunities and fairways that play wide, the Club’s two courses are charming landmarks in the Southern California golf landscape.
The Eisenhower course, known by its “Ike” nickname to local residents is the tougher of the two courses at Pacific Palms. “The Ike is a little more macho, as opposed to the resort-friendly Babe,” Dave Youpa, director of golf at Industry Hills told GolfNow.com in 2010. “It’s longer, has more elevation changes, and wider fairways. The Ike is literally more golf course, and that’s why so many people enjoy it.”
The crown jewel of the Eisenhower is the 18th hole, a 652-yard, par-5 that plays uphill and is difficult for even the longest hitters to reach in two.
The Zaharias course didn’t open until 2007 and is primarily designed for the resort crowd. It plays shorter than the Eisenhower at just over 6800 yards long. Some argue that the Zaharias is tame compared to the “Ike” and suffers as a result. Others claim that the resort course is a great course of the mid-handicapper looking to enjoy a day on the course.
Good luck on the course!