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Golf is a great game — but it can also be expensive. Finding the right course at the right price is often one of the most difficult parts of planning your round.
Let’s face it — no one wants to overpay for a track that isn’t in great shape or for a six hour round. After all, you’re paying for this experience, so you’d like it to be memorable for all the right reasons.
On the other side of that coin are the hidden gems. The courses that seemingly only you and yours know about that are the best deals in town.
Lucky for you, there are dozens of great courses in Southern California that fit the bill. There are some great deals to be had for players of all skill levels with all types of expectations. It doesn’t matter who you are, you’ll always be able to find a deal for you.
Here are the 10 best golf course deals in Southern California:
The first course on the list of best deals is San Diego’s Balboa Park Golf Club.
Usually, when you think about golf in San Diego, you think of the breathtaking views and major-championship-caliber courses like Torrey Pines, but there’s plenty of good, affordable golf that provides similar views and excellent conditions. Priced at just $40 for 18 holes, Balboa Park is one of those.
Balboa Park is the oldest public golf facility in the San Diego area and has more than just the championship 18-hole golf course. There’s also a 9-hole executive course and a full-length driving range to hone your skills.
If there’s one thing the City of L.A. does incredibly well (besides enforce parking laws) is run their golf courses. All of their municipal tracks are exquisite tests of golf, each one providing a different test of golf — and at rates that anyone can afford.
Whether you’re looking for 18 holes at Rancho Park, Woodley Lakes, Harding or any of the other other gems or you’re trying to squeeze in 9 at a par-3 or executive course like Roosevelt, Penmar or Los Feliz, you’ll always find fun, affordable golf.
For all of these courses, the best time to play is twilights — when rates are slashed and rounds move a little more quickly.
It may not be championship length, but Scholl Canyon is still a must-visit SoCal course thanks to it’s inviting price, challenging layout and stunning views.
Carved out on top of the Verdugo Mountain Range in Glendale, the course winds around the mountain, providing views of the Pacific Ocean, the San Fernando Valley and the L.A. basin. It may only be 3,039 yards long, but it can be challenging if you don’t hit your spots.
Best of all, Scholl Canyon offers all this at just $35 for 18 with a cart during peak hours, with even lower rates for off-peak tee times.
Whether you’re learning how to play the game or you’re golf-nut trying to squeeze in another round, executive courses are an awesome way to do it. Vista Valencia in Santa Clarita may be one of the very best.
The 27-hole facility features a 9-hole par-3 course, as well as the par-61, 18-hole executive course that is the main draw thanks to pristine water features and superb course conditions. One look at Vista Valencia, and you’re sure you’ll be paying a pretty penny.
That, fortunately, is not the case. In fact, Vista Valencia is one of the best deals in Southern California. You can walk the course any time, any day of the week for less than $30 and can take a cart for less than $40 — trying finding conditions like these at that price elsewhere.
With all the incredible golf courses in Southern California, it’s easy to forget some of the true gems on the area that are open to the public. One of those is Recreation Park Golf Course in Long Beach.
A true championship 18-hole golf course, full of dramatic elevation changes and challenging greens, Recreation Park offers a resort-level round at municipal prices.
Most days of the week, a round can be had for less than $50. If you play late in the day, prices drop to below $20 to walk the course, making Long Beach’s Recreation Park one of the best values in California.
Golf in big cities isn’t normally easy to find, but Los Angeles isn’t most big cities. Surprisingly, L.A. is teeming with great, municipal golf. Perhaps the best is Harding Golf Course.
The first all-grass golf course in Los Angeles has gone through several changes of name and facelifts over the years, but it’s still one of the best values in the state.
On the busiest days of the year, Harding Golf Course will run you about $70 for 18 with a cart, but most days you can get on the course for less than $40 walking — nothing when you consider the cost of some local semi-private and resort tracks during the same time of year.
The Classic Club in Palm Desert makes this list for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s the former site of a the PGA Tour’s Bob Hope Classic. Second, it’s owned and operated by Troon Golf — one of the most respected golf course properties in the world and third, is an exquisitely designed Arnold Palmer layout.
Where else are you going to find those three items in one place? Not many — and because of that, you will pay a little bit more than you might at places like Griffith Park or Vista Valencia. That being said, you’ll also never find a course like this priced this reasonably elsewhere.
Whether you live close by or you’re just visiting Southern California, it’s worth making the time to fit the Classic Club into your schedule.
Another tremendous value in Southern California is Rustic Canyon in Moorpark.
The name — Rustic Canyon — suggests what you’re in for when you show up, but it doesn’t quite do the actual beauty of the terrain justice. You have to play the course to believe it. Always in pristine condition, the course can stretch from 6,000 yards to over 7,000 and features sweeping sand features, challenging greens and inviting fairways — sure to test even the most skilled golfer.
During peak hours, Rustic Canyon will run you in the neighborhood of $50 to play — which is reasonable enough, but when you consider that from 4:30 PM on, you can get out for $15 — you’ve got one of the best deals in the state.
Whether you’re a local or from out of time, Rustic Canyon is not to be missed.
One of California’s best deals is in Ventura at the Olivas Links.
Like Rustic Canyon, Olivas is one of the premier courses in Southern California that can be played for less than you’d expect. With rates ranging from less than $30 to to around $75 for 18 with cart on the weekends and holidays, it’s no wonder why Olivas Links is one of SoCal’s most popular spots.
The course features four different sets of tees, providing a challenging round for any level player, all in a tranquil setting with scenic views of Ventura Harbor, Ventura hillside and the Channel Island.
Barona Creek Golf Club may be part of the Barona Creek Resort and Casino, but that doesn’t mean the public isn’t welcome — or that it’s not a deal.
Sure, peak time play will set you back a pretty penny, but twilight rates are quite reasonable. Twilight rates, by the way, begins at 11 AM. That’s plenty of time to play 18 holes for anyone, regardless of skill level.
The course is a test for all golfers, with 100 bunkers dotting the landscape, natural streams meandering through the layout and natural hazards placed strategically placed — waiting to derail the round of those more concerned with the view than their games.
If you’re looking for a resort course experience but don’t want to pay the resort course price, than Barona Creek is definitely the option you’re looking for.