As one of the premier golf destinations, there’s no shortage of world-class golf courses in Southern California that can make for truly memorable experiences. But as any experienced golfer can tell you, no matter the quality of the course, the people you play with can completely make or break your impression of the round. I’ve had outings on gorgeous grounds ruined by partners dead-set on sucking the joy out of golf, and unforgettable moments with great friends on dog tracks. You can’t always pick who you play with, but when you know who’s in your group, picking the right course for the circumstances can help make the most of the experience. There’s a wide variety of groups you may play with, so with that in mind, we put together some suggestions of where to book your next round in Los Angeles:
Best place to play with your usual weekend foursome
Rustic Canyon Golf Course (Moorpark)
Ok, so sometimes it is about the golf experience, and you’ll have a difficult time finding a more unique experience in the greater LA area than Rustic Canyon. One of the few links-style courses in the region, golf purists will love the old-school feel. Massive fairways and greens mean that wayward drives can still stay in play and approach shots that will often find the green, although you may find yourself with some putts that will leave you feeling like you’re auditioning for a spot on Holey Moley.
Best place to play with your significant other
Catalina Island Golf Course
Beaches, wine, shopping…golf? You may know Catalina Island as a great spot for a romantic getaway, but it’s also home to the oldest 9 holes of golf in Southern California. Bonus: you can rent clubs so you don’t have to lug yours around the island for the rest of your trip.
Best place to play with your parents
Penmar Golf Course (Venice)
Your folks may not get around as well as they did in their prime, but they can still enjoy walking this 9-hole, par-33 course. It’s not very long (2,582 yards) and gives them a chance to show off those accurate iron shots they’ve spent decades perfecting. Best off all, they offer fantastic senior rates ($9 weekdays, $13.50 weekends after noon).
Best place to play with your kids
Don Knabe Golf Center & Junior Academy (Norwalk)
As the name implies, this is the hub for junior golf in Los Angeles, with SCGA Junior, SCPGA Junior, and LA County Junior Golf all calling this home. On top of the premier practice areas, Don Knabe features a newly-redesigned pitch-n-putt course great for both kids and adults to work on their short game. The whole facility is lighted so you can keep playing well after the sun sets.
Best place for a business meeting
Industry Hills Golf Club (City of Industry)
Featuring two of the best golf courses in Los Angeles, Industry Hills is also known for their top-class pro shop, locker rooms, and restaurants which are sure to impress co-workers and clients (and all for reasonable daily rates). If you’re hosting colleagues from out of town, the club is also connected to the Pacific Palms Resort, which lays claim as the only “full-service luxury golf and conference resort” in Los Angeles County.
Best place to play with your broke buddy
Roosevelt Golf Course (Griffith Park)
Located on the south end of Griffith Park, it’s a great spot to wait out traffic with an after-work twilight round. It’s a 9-hole, walking-only course with great views of downtown LA, and the weekday twilight rate is only $10.
Best place to show off to your super wealthy friend
Hacienda Golf Club (La Habra Heights)
Los Angeles is notorious for its highly-exclusive private clubs, but for those of us without an agent, Hacienda Golf Club is an excellent site to experience the high life. It boasts an illustrious history, including Tiger setting a course record of 62 during his 1994 SCGA Amateur Championship victory, and the course and facilities are sure to impress any golf enthusiast. Low handicappers can really test their game from the tips (74.7 Course Rating/143 Slope), but is also fair for mid- and high-handicappers playing from shorter tees. Let the SCGA help you get on and show your friends their not the only ones with connections.
Best place to teach a beginner
Westchester Golf Course (near LAX)
If you’re introducing someone to the game, you’re going to want to start on the range, and Westchester has one of the biggest and best in Los Angeles. Once they’re ready to hit the course, you’ll find an executive course where beginners can learn the ropes that’s still fun for golfers of all skills.
Best place to challenge your scratch golfer friend
Angeles National Golf Course (Sunland)
Take a trip north to the base of the Angeles National Forest and you’ll find another L.A. gem: Angeles National Golf Course. While the course provides a challenge from no matter what tees you play, it’s an absolute beast from the furthest tees. Playing at over 7100 yards and coming in with a Course Rating of 74.7, it’s one of the toughest public courses you’ll find in Los Angeles.
Recommended Groups in Los Angeles
Great golf experiences are all about great company, but sometimes that isn’t so easy to find. Whether you’re new to golf, new to the area, or looking to expand your network of golf partners, we’re here to make it easier:
Kevin is a born and raised Southern California golfer. His golf highlights include occasionally breaking 90, losing an entire dozen balls in one round, and sinking a 20 foot putt on camera on the first take. Kevin is a member of Tiny Putters Golf and his current Handicap Index is none of your business.