Introduction to Glendale
In this blog post we’re going to delve into the golf courses in Glendale, California.
Glendale is a huge city approximately 8 miles north of Los Angeles. This is the San Fernando Valley with stunning views over to the Verdugo Mountains.
With nearly 200,000 residents, this is the fourth largest city within Los Angeles County. And despite having one of the most visited cities worldwide on its doorstep, Glendale is growing its own burgeoning reputation as one of ‘the places to visit on the west coast’.
There are a number of quirky galleries and cool museums. One great example is the Museum of Neon Art (MONA). This hugely popular museum has continued to be a hit despite being transferred from downtown Los Angeles to Glendale in 2016.
For great shopping and a selection of bars and restaurants, head down to Brand Boulevard. Trendy cafes, bookshops and other interesting shops can be found on the main drag.
And within the Glendale limits are some fine golf courses which we’ll jump into now.
The best golf courses in Glendale, California
La Canada Flintridge Country Club
We kick off our list of best golf courses in Glendale with the friendly member’s club of La Canada Flintridge Country Club.
To the north of Glendale, La Canada Flintridge is positioned in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Any further north and you’ll be climbing the slopes of these impressive mountains.
Clearly this plays a large part in influencing the topography of the site and subsequently the course layout. This is also what makes La Canada Flintridge so much fun. Raised tee boxes with stunning views. Carries over ravines. Elevated greens. This is impressive stuff.
The course is mature and opened for play back in 1962. It was designed by Lawrence Hughes, who in the early stages of his career was able to work directly alongside Donald Ross. Many of the courses he designed are based in California.
La Canada Flintridge is certainly not for the faint-hearted though. Granted it is ‘just’ a par 70, but there are narrow fairways which you will be badly penalized for straying from. Without doubt a shot-makers course.
Brookside Golf Club
In the North Arroyo neighborhood to the east of Glendale, is the hugely popular Brookside Golf Club. This is essentially in the outskirts of the city of Pasadena, but just a fifteen minute drive from downtown Glendale.
Brookside is steeped in history and is one of the most visited daily fee clubs in Los Angeles.
For starters, it is the oldest golf course in Los Angeles County. Both its courses were designed by one of the prominent architects of the era, William P. Bell, and opened for play in 1928.
The main championship course is called the C.W. Koiner Course which from the back tees measures 7,104 yards. The sibling E.O. Nay Course is for the slightly higher handicaps, measuring 6,025 yards. But it is no less fun to play.
Over the years, the club has been firmly in the limelight. It was the home to the Los Angeles Open in 1968, won by Billy Casper. It has also hosted a number of other high-profile events including the LPGA in 1971.
The site has stunning mountain views. But it is probably better known for having the Rose Bowl Stadium right next to it. So much so a couple of fairways run alongside it.
What’s also great about Brookside is what good value it is. A twilight green fee midweek is just $25!
Annandale Golf Club
Between Glendale and Pasadena, just north of the highway, is the elegant and refined Annandale Golf Club. Thai is without doubt one of the finest golf courses in California, let alone Glendale.
Having been in existence since 1906, Annandale has been a destination for many distinguished and noteworthy families. This has included Gamble (wine), Kelloggs (cereal) , Weyerhaeuser (timber), Huntingdon (railroads) and many more.
A basic 18-hole layout came to life in 1906, designed by Willie Watson. But it was William P. Bell, who previously had been the club’s caddy master, whose stamp is on Annandale.
Bell was responsible for a number of changes including the addition of the canyon holes which climb up into the hills. One of these, the 16th, is the course’s signature hole. An elevated tee box overlooks a narrow fairway and sloping fairway. In the distance is a sea of trees. Just 431 yards but accuracy is critical.
More recently, Brian Silva was commissioned to oversee a huge refurbishment, with the rejigging of the routing to make it more playable. A key part of the project was also recreating Bell’s sculpted bunkers.
Today Annandale continues to be a golf course of distinction. Member’s are attracted to the club, not just for the magnificent golf course, but the amenities. The clubhouse is spectacular and houses one of the finest dining experiences in Pasadena.
Oakmont Country Club
Up towards Montrose to the north of Glendale, is the private club of Oakmont Country Club. Like a number of courses on this list, Oakmont’s history reaches right back to the beginning of the twentieth century.
Strangely enough, the land upon which Oakmont’s eighteen holes are routed, was previously a vineyard. But in 1923, the land was purchased by Oakmont Country Club and a golf course soon followed.
The course was designed by Max Behr, who was also the brains behind Rancho Santa Fe, Montebello and Lakeside. The first nine-holes were built in 1923 with the second nine following in 1925.
Fast forward all the way to 2008, when Brian Curley of Schmidt-Curley Design, was chosen to completely renovate the course. The project finished a year later in 2009 and has elevated the course to new heights.
To score well at Oakmont, accuracy is key. There are a number of tight tree-lined fairways, with mature trees and elegant palms. The design ingeniously uses the undulations of the natural terrain. And from the back tees, with the course measuring over 7,000 yards, this is one tough challenge.
This is a beautiful layout, with stunning views of mountains. Although you might be waiting a while if you want to be one of the 200 members that call Oakmont ‘their’ club.
DeBell Golf Club
Just to the north of Glendale in Burbank is the municipally owned DeBell Golf Club. Here the Verdugo Mountains are literally on your doorstep and DeBell is routed up in the foothills.
This is a sumptuous location with glorious views out across Los Angeles County. Without going off hiking on a mountain pass, this is as close to the mountain wilderness as you can get.
De Bell Golf Club started life in 1959 after one hundred acres had been donated to the City of Burbank by Joseph A. De Bell. The club brought in the famed architect William F. Bell as well as William Johnson to create the routing. Some twenty-five years later in 1984, Richard Bigler was commissioned to renovate aspects of the course.
When it comes to course distance, it isn’t the longest. From the Blues, the back tees, it measures 5,605 yards. This isn’t a huge plot and clearly the topography doesn’t allow for large sweeping fairways.
But what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in the inherent challenge. There are multiple doglegs with countless elevation changes hitting up to raised greens. A number of fairways are narrow, putting a premium on precision. This is no walk in the park.
All that said, it is fun. And it is also great value with midweek twilights starting around the $30 mark.
Wilson & Harding Golf Courses
Just west of Glendale is the vast Griffith Park. This is an urban oasis providing welcome green space in this vast mega city. It is also in Griffith Park that you’ll find the legendary Hollywood sign as well as the Griffith Observatory and the Old Los Angeles Zoo.
But you’ll also find one of the oldest and most popular golfing establishments in the city. This encompasses two municipally owned golf courses, the Harding and the Wilson.
Golf has been played in Griffith Park for over a century, starting with one 18-hole layout designed by Tom Bendelow. This was the first golf course west of the Rockies.
A decade or so later, this layout was replaced by the two courses we know today, with the Harding course opening in 1923 and the Wilson course in 1927. Both were designed by George C. Thomas.
From the back markers, the Wilson is the longest at over 7,000 yards. Despite being a beautiful layout, this is a tough test of golf. Sloping fairways with smallish greens.
The Harding course is some 300 yards shorter, measuring out at under 6,700 yards. But the tree-lined fairways are somewhat more narrow and many greens are well-guarded.
As far as muni golf goes, you can’t go wrong. A great location, awesome value (just $24 for a twilight rate), steeped in heritage and great fun. Isn’t that what golf is all about!?
What is the best golf course in Glendale, California?
The best golf course in Glendale, California, is Annandale Golf Club. Golf was first played here from 1906, although in later years William P. Bell was largely responsible for the layout we play today. It is considered one of the finest golf courses in California