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Los Angeles‘ private golf clubs are great if you’re rich or famous, but the city has plenty of superb public courses designed by notable names where you can pay and play.
So if you’re planning a golf trip to Southern California, here’s our list of the city’s best public courses you’ll be able to access without spending a fortune.
The only course in L.A. County designed by Jack Nicklaus‘ firm Nicklaus Design Group is nicely situated in the foothills below Angeles National Forest, providing superb mountain views just 20 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. It’s a highly playable desert-style course with wide fairways and it has one of the best clubhouses of any public golf course in the L.A. area. It will cost around $140 to play.
Located among the cliffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, around half an hour south of LAX, this Pete Dye design boasts incredible views of the Pacific Ocean at every hole. It’s open to the public as pay and play, yet it’s one of the most expensive courses to be built in the United States, reportedly costing $250 million. Opened in 2006, it’s a highly manicured, links-like experience and one of the more expensive publicly accessible rounds of golf in L.A. $400.
One of the most dramatic public courses in L.A., Oak Quarry Golf Club was built on the site of a 100-yard-old marble quarry in Riverside, towards Palm Springs. It’s known for superbly conditioned fairways framed by huge white granite cliffs. It’s a thrilling round with superb views, and combined with the excellent facilities and clubhouse it’s one of the city’s finest public courses. $165.
Rustic Canyon is one of Southern California’s best public courses, designed by Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner and Geoff Shackelford in 2001. It’s located in a fantastic spot northwest of Los Angeles at the base of a broad canyon with wide, generous fairways surrounded by desert hills. It’s a highly natural and minimalistic design where the holes get better and better as the round progresses. $85
Steeped in history, this championship course, between Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, hosted the Los Angeles Open in the 1950s and 60s when Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper won here. Rolling hills and small greens make it a test as it did back then, and though this is a historic championship course it’s highly affordable and accessible. $60
Griffith Park Golf Course: Harding
This is one of the oldest courses in Los Angeles County dating back to the 1920s. It co-hosted the L.A. Open with neighbouring Wilson Golf Course from 1936-39, and has since been upgraded several times, especially the greens and bunkers. Today it’s one of the city’s best and most affordable public courses. $65.
Alongside the Harding Course, this also dates back to the 1920s and is one of the longest public courses in the L.A. area and probably the higher rated of the two fine courses at Griffith Park. Both Wilson and Harding are gorgeous looking with mildly sloping tree-lined fairways surrounded by verdant hills where deer often roam across the fairways. They also share excellent amenities including the clubhouse and driving range and the club is close to the L.A. Zoo and Griffith Park Observatory. $65.
Located at Pacific Palms Resort just east of L.A., the Eisenhower course here hosted the 2011 Kia Classic on the LPGA Tour. There’s plenty of elevation changes which provide glorious views of the San Gabriel Mountains. The rolling terrain has several doglegs fringed by palm trees and lakes. $90.
The 36-hole Industry Hills Golf Club also offers the Zaharias Course with its similarly narrow tree-lined fairways and elevated tees. Together they are well worth the visit for a true taste of the palm-tree adorned rolling terrain of L.A. golf. $85.