California, known as the Golden State, possesses a coastline that extends more than 800 miles from Oregon south to Mexico. The state is the third largest in terms of size, behind Alaska and Florida, and first in terms of population.
Famed for Hollywood, surf culture and Silicon Valley, California is also one of the world's golf hotspots, with an incredibly wide variety of experiences to be sampled. From summer-only courses around Lake Tahoe and classic courses in urban San Francisco and Los Angeles to desert courses in Palm Springs and ultramodern resorts near San Diego, this state has something for everyone. There are now more than 1100 courses in California, and more than a million Californians play the game. The state also hosts twelve important Professional Golf events annually, including the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am in Monterey, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and the first Ladies Golf major of the season, the Ana Inspiration at Rancho Mirage.
While San Francisco and Los Angeles are known for exclusive private clubs, such as the US Open Venue, Riviera Country Club, Olympic Club and nearby San Francisco Golf Club, Los Angeles Country Club and Cal Club of San Francisco, the Golden State also boasts some hidden gems in terms of public courses, such as Pasatiempo Golf Club overlooking Monterey Bay, which was designed by Dr. Mackenzie, the recently renovated TPC Harding Park, which hosted the 2015 WGC Match Play won by Rory McIlroy and the stunning layout by Robert Trent Jones II at CordeValle. Some 130 miles outside San Francisco, the Monterey Peninsula is a must-see and play destination for any golfer, with its breathtaking coastal landscape and such iconic public golf courses as Pebble Beach, home of 5 US Opens, Spyglass Hill and the redesigned Poppy Hills. Close to the latter is the revered and ultra private Cypress Point, designed by Dr. Mackenzie in 1928.
San Diego’s Torrey Pines is one of the most spectacular courses in the country, and is now known as the site of Tiger Woods' last major win, in the 2008 US Open. Donald Trump has built a memorable course in Palos Verdes, and Pete Dye’s TPC Stadium in Palm Springs is also among the top public courses in the country. Carlsbad near San Diego is another key center for the game in Southern California, being a special golfer's paradise because it is home to such major equipment companies as Taylor Made, Callaway and Cobra. Given the climate and the abundance of courses of this quality, it is no wonder that California is a prime destination for golfers.