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Scenic Golf Courses in the Golden State
Health & Fitness

Scenic Golf Courses in the Golden State

From unspoiled coastlines to vast valleys, the most picturesque golf courses in California are un-fore-gettable in every way.

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5 min read

May 24, 2021

It’s no coincidence that the most beautiful golf courses are found in California. Many courses are scouted by designers solely because of their natural beauty, and later preserved and enhanced to be the scenic playgrounds that they’re internationally known for. Due to its rich terrain, the Golden State is loaded with scenic golf courses in a variety of settings. From unspoiled coastlines to vast valleys, the most picturesque golf courses in California are un-fore-gettable in every way.

Beautiful Golf Courses in Northern California

Wente Vineyards features one of the greenest, most magnificent golf courses in Northern California. Photo courtesy of Wente Vineyards.

The Course at Wente Vineyards

Location: 5040 Arroyo Road, Livermore

Designer: Greg Norman

Imagine playing golf surrounded by beautiful views and following up your game with a gourmet dinner. Well, you don’t need to imagine for long—this scenic golf course is just 50 minutes away from the City by the Bay. 

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Located on the lush grounds of Wente Vineyards, this golf course in Livermore is surrounded by unique pastoral views as far as the eye can see. The Wentes commissioned professional golfer Greg Norman to design the course, which resulted in a sprawling 7,181 yard, 18-hole championship course that accommodates both novice and advanced players. Its three distinct topographies—native woodlands, mature vineyards, and natural grasslands—make this beautiful golf course stand out. 

Invite your besties for a friendly game and grab a bite at the on-site restaurant—this is the formula for the perfect golfing adventure.

Pasatiempo is an internationally recognized golf course designed by architect Alister MacKenzie. Photo courtesy of Pasatiempo Golf Club.

Pasatiempo Golf Course

Location: 20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz

Designer: Alister MacKenzie

The Pasatiempo Golf Course is known for two things—spectacular scenery and a rich golfing history. World-famous golf architect Alister MacKenzie, who also designed Augusta National in Georgia and Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, is the mastermind behind this scenic golf course.

Since the golf course was built before electric carts were invented, Pasatiempo is very walkable. Every tee is close to the previous green, and you don’t necessarily need carts to navigate the course. However, the terrain does have significant elevation changes, so if you like walking and can handle the hilly terrain, you’ll love this beautiful golf course.

As a semi-private golf club, Pasatiempo sets aside certain tee times each day for public play, which you have to book in advance online. The club professionals also offers private and group lessons.

The Prettiest Golf Courses on the Central Coast

Cypress Point Club is known for its series of dramatic holes tucked along the Pacific Ocean and set in coastal dunes on the Monterey Peninsula.

Cypress Point Golf Course

Location: 3150 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach

Designer: Alister MacKenzie

The Central Coast—especially the gorgeous 17-Mile Drive section—is home to some of the most scenic golf courses in the world. Not only that, but the area’s history in shaping America’s golf culture is truly undeniable.

Opened in 1928, Cypress Point Golf Course is a revered and timeless 18-hole destination and a go-to spot for some of the world’s best players. The course is set in coastal dunes, enters the Del Monte forest during the front nine, and exposes you to the rocky coastline for the finishing holes—scenic views are taken to a whole new level here.

But before you get too excited, you should know that this club is often referred to as the most exclusive one in California. You’ll probably find around 30 players at this 17-Mile Drive golf course on an average day, and it’s virtually impossible to play a game here unless you have an invite from a member. Among its estimated 200 to 250 members are tycoons and celebrities such as Clint Eastwood, so good luck networking with all the Californian celebrities.

Boasting wide open views of Carmel Bay, Pebble Beach Golf Links is highly regarded as one of the most beautiful courses in the world.

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Location: 1700 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach

Designer: Jack Neville and Douglas Grant

Not too far from Cypress Point is another bucket list-worthy golf course, Pebble Beach Golf Links. But in contrast to the previous scenic golf course, this one is open to the public.

A must-see spot in Monterey, Pebble Beach Golf Links is regarded as one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. The mere mention of one of the most scenic golf courses makes pro golfers’ jaws drop. Pebble Beach Golf Links is iconic. The course has hosted six U.S. Opens thus far—more than any other course over the last 50 years.

The beautiful 18-hole golf course hugs the rugged coastline with panoramic views of Carmel Bay and overlooks the Pacific Ocean on the south side of the Monterey Peninsula. Can’t physically get to the scenic golf course? Get a taste through video games such as the Tiger Woods PGA Tour and the Links series.

The Most Scenic Golf Courses in Southern California

The Crossings at Carlsbad is an 18-hole championship course. It's located about a mile from the Pacific and boasts spectacular views.

The Crossings at Carlsbad

Location: 5800 The Crossings Drive, Carlsbad 

Designer: Greg Nash

The Crossings at Carlsbad is inspired by its natural surroundings and ocean views—the golf course is named after the five bridges (or crossings) that were integrated into the layout. Designed by landscape architect Greg Nash, this par-72 course boasts over 6,800 yards of play and 18 holes. Due to its multiple teeing options, this scenic golf course is also suitable for all skill levels.

Carlsbad’s prettiest golf course offers a state-of-the-art practice center with new tee-line technology, large practice putting green, and a great practice bunker—it’s perfect for those looking to practice their skills. Take a swing, play a few rounds, unwind in the players’ lounge, and stick around for the sunset whenever you visit this top SoCal golf course.

Torrey Pines Golf Course is a 36-hole municipal course. It sits where Camp Callan—a U.S. Army training center during World War II—once was.

Torrey Pines Golf Course

Location: 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla

Designer: William F. Bell

Torrey Pines Golf Course is the only municipal public golf facility on the list—it’s officially owned and operated by the city of San Diego. Sitting pretty atop coastal cliffs overlooking the ocean, this beautiful golf course is rich in views and picturesque sunsets. 

This scenic golf course is named after the rare Torrey pine, a local tree that grows wild along the San Diego coast and is massive in size. Torrey Pines features a total of 36 holes—the scenic golf course is divided into two parts. The North Course covers 7,258 yards, whereas the South has a length of 7,698 yards.

This year is a lucky one for the Torrey Pines Golf Course—it’s set to host the 2021 U.S. Open on the South Course. So, even if you don’t get to play here this year, you’ll definitely envision the course on your TV when you tune in to watch the tournaments.

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