Best of 2016: Top 25 golf courses in California



In Northern California, Pasatiempo may be the best course designed by Alister Mackenzie the public can access. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor)
San Diego's Aviara Golf Club is one of the best resort courses in southern California. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
In Palm Desert, the Classic Club is an Arnold Palmer design that was top-rated in Coachella Valley in 2016. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
Around the corner from Pebble Beach, Black Horse at Bayonet/Black Horse is one of the best 36-hole facilities in California. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
Maderas Golf Club, managed by Troon Golf, is a top "member-for-a-day" facility in the San Diego area. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor)
Near Sacramento, Yocha Dehe was No. 1 in the U.S. in 2015 and second in the state of California in 2016. (Courtesy of Yocha Dehe G.C.)
Rams Hill Golf Club, located in between San Diego and Palm Springs, was the top-rated course in the country in 2016. (Courtesy of Rams Hill)
The par-5 eighth hole on the Bayonet Course at Bayonet/Black Horse plays downhill to a three-tiered green. (Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor )

If you believe California is the best state for golf in the U.S., Golf Advisor reviewers have certainly submitting the ratings to back it up.

The top-rated course in the country in each of the past two years according to Golf Advisor has come from California. While in 2015, Sacramento-area Yocha Dehe Golf Club took this honors, this time, it was a remote San Diego County course, Rams Hill Golf Club, that had a superlative year of ratings and reviews from golfers. Six California courses made the Top 50, and it's also worth noting the No. 1-rated value course in the U.S. was also from the state.

Our Top 25 courses in California, gathered from your ratings and reviews in 2016, feature courses from many of the top destinations like Monterey, San Diego and Palm Springs. To compile the Top 25, we used a similar method to that of our our national Top 50 ranking. A course's score is based on their overall (50%) rating and subcategory average (50%). A review is weighted based on how prolific that reviewer is on Golf Advisor, and a course receives a bump in their rating if their score is better than that reviewer's average score.

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There are high-end resorts as well as some over-achieving, daily-fee facilities. That's the beauty of our reviews from regular golfers: virtually any facility with enough reviews, and not just those on the ocean or with a $200-plus green fee, is eligible. (A few of the most well known courses in California failed to receive enough reviews to be considered in 2016. Want to see your favorite California course in the 2017 list? Leave a review here.)

Top-rated course in each subcategory in 2016

Course layout: Rams Hill Golf Club
Course conditions: Rams Hill Golf Club
Value:Ranch Course at Diablo Grande
Off-course amenities: Desert Willow Golf Resort
Pace of play: Ridge Creek Dinuba Golf Club
Staff friendliness: Yocha Dehe Golf Club
Most improved
: Boulder Oaks (Formerly Meadow Lake)

Top 25 courses in California in 2016

25. Black Gold Golf Club

Yorba Linda

24. Escena Golf Club

Palm Springs

23. Arnold Palmer Classic Course at SilverRock Resort

La Quinta

22. Carmel Valley Ranch Resort

Carmel

21. The Reserve At Spanos Park

Stockon

20. Pasatiempo Golf Club

Santa Cruz

19. Moorpark Country Club

Moorpark

18. Maderas Golf Club

Poway

17. Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort

Indian Wells

16. Mountain View at Desert Willow Golf Resort

Palm Desert

15. Aviara Golf Club

San Diego

14. Ranch Course at Diablo Grande

Patterson

13. San Juan Oaks Golf Club

Hollister

12. Black Horse at Bayonet/Black Horse

Seaside

11. The Ridge Golf Club

Auburn

10. Ridge Creek Dinuba Golf Club

Dinuba

9. Heritage Palms Golf Club

Indio

8. La Purisima

Lompoc

7. Players Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort

Indian Wells

6. Ojai Valley Inn and Spa

Ojai
No. 41 in the U.S. in 2016

5. Greg Norman Course at PGA West

La Quinta
No. 40 in the U.S. in 2016

4. Classic Club

Palm Desert
No. 19 in the U.S. in 2016

3. Bayonet at Bayonet/Black Horse

Seaside
No. 18 in the U.S. in 2016

2. Yocha Dehe at Cache Creek Casino Resort

Brooks
No. 12 in the U.S. in 2016

1. Rams Hill Golf Club

Borrego Springs
No. 1 in the U.S. in 2016

Video: Rams Hill earns No. 1 spot in Golf Advisor Top 50

Jan 31, 2017

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Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.


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