California courses make Golfweek's Top 100 Public
22 May 2010
by Katie Denbo


Drum roll please...of the 25 California courses named in Golfweek's 2010 Best Courses You Can Play, 12 of the properties awarded are in Southern California! Although the list came out in March, many folks are just getting the print edition in their mailboxes. Pebble Beach Golf Links is at the California helm, but some of golfers' favorites have made this year's list. A quick look at these fine properties, shall we?

4. Barona Creek Golf Club, San Diego (modern): Barona's one of my favorites in San Diego County. A Todd Eckenrode design that recently hosted a U.S. Open Local Qualifier, the course has garnered a number of awards since opening in 2001. Fairways are expansive and forgiving, greens are slick, and golfers can push back as far as 7,300 yards off the tee box. It's beauty, though, with more than 100 bunkers, mature oak trees and the smooth rock formations of the surrounding mountains are what golfers will remember. Stick a couple bucks in the slot at Barona while you're out there. The 5x Pay machines are my fave. Info: barona.com/golf

Rustic Canyon Golf Club
5. Rustic Canyon Golf Club, Moorpark (modern): Gil Hanse designed the ranch-style Rustic Canyon in 2002, a great open golf course with expansive waste bunkers (I'm always in them!) and native shrubbery. The course was ravaged by flooding in 2005, but amazingly, rebounded a year later when Hanse returned to repair damaged holes including the fourth, which was buried under four feet of mud. Great test of golf. Info: rusticcanyongolfcourse.com

6. PGA West TPC Stadium Course, La Quinta (modern): What can be said about this beast of a course that hasn't been said already? It's been the host of PGA Tour Q-School where players are challenged by Alcatraz and other holes, sports beautiful views of Coachella Valley mountains and is one of the toughest tests of golf around. Info: pgawest.com

8. Classic Club, Palm Desert (modern): Classic Club, an Arnold Palmer design, is a thing of beauty right off I-10 in Palm Desert, with its evergreen, rolling fairways and spectacular clubhouse. It's unique in that there's not one palm tree on the course. It's also a past host course of the Bob Hope Classic. Info: classicclubgolf.com

9. Torrey Pines South, San Diego (classic): Who doesn't remember the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines? A Rees Jones design approaching its 40th anniversary, the South offers some of the best ocean views in the Southland and is a great place to make some Open memories of your own. Read about my Torrey Pines experience. Info: torreypinesgolfcourse.com

18 and 19: Indian Wells Golf Resort's Celebrity and Player Courses, Indian Wells (modern): Perhaps one of my favorite properties in Coachella Valley, Indian Wells GR underwent major renovations in a couple of years ago at the hands of Coachella Valley resident Clive Clark (Celebrity Course) and John Fought (Players Course). Each has a distinct look and feel: the Celebrity plays into the Santa Rosa Mountains and Eisenhower Peak and is spotted with an abundance of flowers, while the Player course is classic, rolling and studded with mature trees. Check out the IW Club after a round, it's pretty awesome. Info: indianwellsgolfresort.com

Pelican Hill Golf Club
20 and 22: Pelican Hill Golf Club Ocean South and North Courses, Newport Coast (modern): Renovated by Tom Fazio in 2007 and 2008, both the Ocean North and South courses boast unbeatable ocean views on layouts that are very player-friendly. On a clear day Catalina sunsets are some of the best in the area, and the impressive Resort at Pelican Hill, along with its portfolio of restaurants and amenities, offers players a reason to keep coming back. Info: pelicanhill.com

21. Maderas Golf Club, Poway (modern): Maderas is one of North San Diego's hidden gems, rated Zagat Survey's No. 1 golf course in San Diego. Robert Muir Graves and Johnny Miller designed the course in 1999, but only a handful of years ago the fires that ravaged San Diego ripped through the property, fortunately jumping fairways and greens but burning a bridge and rough that revealed hundreds of abandon golf balls. Maderas is as good as new, however, with cliffs, creeks and rock outcroppings providing challenge over six sets of tees. Info: maderasgolf.com

23. Journey at Pechanga, Temecula (modern): On a personal note, this is one of my favorite properties in the Southland, it's breathtaking! Literally 10,000 years in the making is both the course's slogan and reality at the newest property on this list, opened in late 2008. Part of Pechanga Resort and Casino, pure beauty is how this course can be described, routed around ancient burial grounds and rock outcroppings as it "sets out at the base of a large mountain, crosses the Pechanga River...then basically sets off into the sky," said architect Steve Forrest. Afterward, get in a quick hand of Pai Gow at the casino or grab a bite at one of Pechanga's great restaurants. The Journey's End in the clubhouse serves up a delish club sandwich. Info: journeyatpechanga.com

24. Trump National Golf Club, Rancho Palos Verdes (modern): Fabulous views, fabulous clubhouse, it's the only way Donald Trump would have his West Coast golf course. Reborn from what was once Ocean Trails Golf Club before its 18th hole collapsed and was swept into the Pacific in 1999 (making it one of the most expensive holes in golf at $63 million to rebuild), the Pete Dye design was reincarnated into a Donald J. Trump Signature Design in 2002. It's a pricey little venture to play, but the panoramas can't be beat. Info: trumpnationallosangeles.com

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