What golfer doesn’t dream about playing all the great California courses spotlighted on PGA Tour broadcasts?  Especially if you are a wino to boot!  In fact, for over a year now that is all that I have been doing…dreaming about playing somewhere else.  At this stage anywhere else will do!

The good folks at Links Magazine have inspired me to share some of California’s Top Public courses in the link below.  Having played a good number of them and more it is an awesome collection that they present.  You can read all about them in the link below.

The Best Public Golf in California | LINKS Magazine

In my mind the next trip to California will have some wine infused into it, hmmmm, not unlike most of my trips one might think!

In doing some casual research, the two properties that have caught my attention in traditional wine country are: The Course at Wente Vineyards and the Inn at Pasatiempo with the course of the same name.  Pasatiempo is mentioned in the Links link above.

The Lake Tahoe area is one that flies completely under the radar for many of us easterners and I am particularly intrigued by the golf in the Lost Sierra.

From the Golf Course to the Tasting Room

The Course at Wente Vineyards

The Course is a Greg Norman design and having played many courses I will sight unseen go out on a limb and say that it will be top notch.  Wente wine, well, I have had plenty of that too!  So is there any wonder as to why this is on my list?

Location is approximately 50 minutes east of San Francisco in the Scenic Livermore Valley.  Considered one of the premier courses in the Bay Area, The Course at Wente Vineyards opened in July 1998. With three distinct topographies, native woodlands, mature vineyards and rolling hills of natural grasslands, The Course at Wente Vineyards offers extraordinary visual panoramas and a diversity of play unmatched in the Bay Area.

Welcome to Wente Vineyards | Wente Vineyards

The Name Alone Relaxes Me – Inn at Pasatiempo

It sounds old, warm and comfortable and with a bar by the name of Back Nine Bar and Grill sounds so welcoming to golfers to boot.  Golf Digest just named Inn at Pasatiempo Best Golf Resort in California.

Ranked 106th in America as golf courses go, The Pasatiempo Golf Club is a pristine Santa Cruz golf course was the prize design of world-renown Alister MacKenzie. Nestled in the hills above Santa Cruz, this championship golf course has been consistently ranked as one of the top golf courses in America and features panoramic views of Monterey Bay.  Santa Cruz Hotel | The Inn At Pasatiempo

Who knows what you might find in The Lost Sierra

Just north of Lake Tahoe and on the outskirts of Reno, NV you will find a collection of unique small towns, Graeagle, Portola, Quincy, Chest Lake Almanor, and Greenville where you will find a true sense of mountain living.

Amongst these small towns you will find yourself emersed in golf, so it might be a longer stay than you think.

Leading the way might be the Nakoma Resort just north of Truckee CA, nestled in the majestic peaks and tall pines of Plumas County.  Nakoma Resort | North Lake Tahoe Luxury Resort in Plumas County, CA

Golf Courses to consider are:

Of course, being this close to Reno, NV you might just want to nip across the state line and play another of the area’s top courses, Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course on the shores of Lake Tahoe and do a little gambling while you are there.  Golf | Edgewood Tahoe Resort

And a couple more Reno must stop might include:

And depending where you are in California here are a few others that if you’re in the area they are worth the stop.  The Links at Bodega Harbour and Sandpiper I would put in the hidden gems and probably most under exposed.  Omni La Costa doesn’t need much of an introduction.

Links at Bodega Harbour: You like ocean views?  You get plenty of them here.  A Robert Trent Jones Jr. design, a true Scottish links style course   Combining spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean from each of its 18 holes.  The rolling fairways of the front nine, with its carefully placed pot bunkers and multi-tiered greens, to the dramatic climax of the 3 final holes near the edge of the Pacific Ocean coupled with fabulous ocean views you will see why it has previously been rated as one of Northern California’s top ten courses to play.  The Links at Bodega Harbour

Plenty of wineries in this area, maybe just on the outskirts of Sonoma, I did spend a fair bit of time tasting with one Kendal Jackson!

Sandpiper Golf Club, Santa Barbara:  What a treat it was to play this course, back then, it was often referred to as “the poor man’s Pebble Beach,” and that was fine by me.  Traveling up the coast from LA to Pebble it was a purposeful stop to play and enjoy an evening in Santa Barbara.

An Inspiring combination of challenge and beauty as championship golf brings you to the edge of the Pacific Ocean. With breathtaking ocean and mountain views from every hole, Sandpiper is truly a memorable experience.
The championship golf course at Sandpiper has been rated by Golf Digest in the top twenty-five public golf courses in California and top 100 public courses in the Country. It was designed by William F. Bell and opened in 1972 featuring beautiful rolling fairways and challenging greens in a seaside links style layout. Sandpiper’s dynamic design attracts players of all skill levels including players of the highest caliber.   Sandpiper Golf Club

Omni La Costa Resort & Spa:  About an hour north of San Diego this classic California resort boasts 36-holes of spectacular golf and it is a very cool place to stay.  Accolades to mention a few include:
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

  • Top 100 Golf Resorts in North America, Golf Magazine, 2019
  • Editors’ Choice Award, Golf Digest, 2019
  • Best Courses You Can Play, Golf Week, 2018

It won’t come soon enough for me, hope to see you on the links somewhere, anywhere.