For golf enthusiasts, there are few places that are a better destination than the Bay Area. From great public courses to some of the nicest private clubs in California, you’ll always be able to find a course to your liking. Below you’ll find some of the best courses in the Bay Area and the San Francisco Peninsula, along with a brief description of each.
Pebble Beach Golf Links – A public course nestled along the Pacific Coast near Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pebble Beach is renowned as one of the best courses in the U.S. It features four different courses, Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Spanish Bay, and Del Monte. While the green fees are on the pricey side, you won’t find better views at any public or private course.
The Olympic Club – The Olympic Club in San Francisco is the oldest athletlic club in the U.S., having opened its doors in 1860. Located near Daly City, it boasts three different courses: Lake, Ocean, and Cliffs. The Lake and Ocean courses are 18 holes, while the Cliffs course is a 9-hole par three. All three courses offer tree-lined views of San Francisco and, according to the USGA, the Olympic Club is one of the first 100 golf courses in the U.S.
Mayacama Golf Club – Mayacama is a private course and community in Santa Rosa and ranks as one of the top 100 courses in America. It is one of Jack Nicklaus’ many signature courses and has fairways the wind through hills and valleys, true to the Sonoma wine country where it’s located.
Wente Vineyards Golf Course – Like Mayacama Golf Club, Wente Vineyards Golf Course has a close connection to local vintners as it’s situated on the Wente Vineyards in Livermore. The course was designed by golfing legend Greg Norman and its 18-hole layout offers panoramic views while enjoying a round on the links.
Pasatiempo Golf Club – Designed by famous course architect Alister MacKenzie, Pasatiempo Golf Club is the nicest course you’ll find in the Santa Cruz area. Its rich history dates back to 1929 when Bobby Jones was among the first golfers to play the course. It consistently rates as one of the most beautiful courses in the U.S. and its 18 holes provide views you won’t find at many other courses in the area.
Cinnabar Hills Golf Club – The best golf course in San Jose and perhaps all of Silicon Valley, Cinnabar Hills features 27 holes that can be played in six different 18-hole layours. The course design features hilly slopes which can make for challenging lies and, like the other courses on this list, has many signature views you won’t find on many courses outside the Bay Area.
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Presidio Golf Course – The Presidio Golf Course in San Francisco was built in 1895, is one of the oldest courses on the West Coast, and is a national historic landmark as well. It’s a public 18-hole course that can be challenging with its many hills and narrow tree-lined fairways.
TPC Harding Park – An 18-hole public course in San Francisco, THC Harding Park is in Lake Merced Park near San Francisco State University. Routinely ranked as one of the best public golf courses in all of the U.S., Harding Park as played host to PGA tournaments and events since the 1960s.
Hiddenbrooke Golf Club – A well-regarded 18-hole course in Vallejo, Hiddenbrooke was designed by golf icon Arnold Palmer. It’s an enjoyable course for players of varoius levels, but does have it’s challenges with several elevation changes and water hazards on most of the holes.
Bay Area Golf Resources
Golf Now – One of the best websites to find affordable tee times at courses around the Bay Area, Golf Now allows you to search by city, course name, or zip code. If you search the day you wish to play, you’ll find some of the best deals available here.
National Golf Course Database – From United States Golf Association, a comprehensive database of courses across the nation. Courses can be esily searched by name, city or state.