If you’re looking for a list of the best public golf courses in Los Angeles, you’ve come to the right place.

I visited Los Angeles a few years back and can atest to the fact there are some outstanding places to play golf.

This sprawling megacity on the California coastline has a vast number of golf courses to choose from. Many of these are distinctly private, some considered the finest in the country. The likes of Bel Air, Riviera and Los Angeles Country Club amongst others. 

See more: What are the best private golf courses in Los Angeles?

Naturally, those courses get a huge amount of publicity. But what about the large number of outstanding public golf courses? And which are the best ones to play? 

Let’s dive into them now.

The best public golf courses in Los Angeles

RankGolf Course
1Rustic Canyon Golf Course
2Trump National Golf Club
3Pelican Hill (North & South)
4Oak Creek Golf Club
5Sand Canyon Country Club
6Tustin Ranch Golf Club
7Angeles National Golf Club
8Los Robles Greens Golf Course
9Santa Anita Golf Course
10Los Verdes Golf Course
Table showing the best public golf courses near Los Angeles

Have your say!

Best for….

GroupsLos Verdes Golf Course
Value for moneySanta Anita Golf Course
ClubhouseTustin Ranch Golf Club
ViewsTrump National Golf Club

1. Rustic Canyon Golf Club

Rustic Canyon Golf Course, Los Angeles, California -

So we kick off our list of the best public golf courses in Los Angeles with an awesome layout in Moorpark, north of Thousand Oaks. This is Rustic Canyon Golf Course, a layout which consistently gets praise and recognition.

Most golf publications rate Rustic Canyon incredibly highly. For example, Golfweek rated it as one of the best golf courses you can play, both in the U.S. and California

Here you’ll find a course that fits perfectly in its natural environment. You’ll find that the engaging and strategic design born from the great links of the UK will keep you begging the round to never end.

Ryan Kennedy, PGA Golf Instructor, Rustic Canyon

This fine layout was designed by the hugely respected and in-demand architect Gil Hanse. Hanse’s design style is to work with the natural topography. This involves minimal construction and retaining as much of the endemic vegetation as possible. 

Rustic Canyon ticks all those boxes. This is a true lay-of-the-land creation where quite extraordinarily, there were no detailed blueprints or drawings developed. Everything was done based on the natural landscape. 

Finding the right position in the wide fairways is critical to getting the right approach into the greens. Yet beware as fairways fade away discreetly into wild and rough terrain. This is strategic golf personified. 

This is an outstanding golf course. However, it is also the furthest from central Los Angeles, at around an hour’s drive. But boy is it worth it.

2. Trump National Golf Club

Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles, California

Perched on the cliffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, is the epic Trump National Golf Club. As far as locations go, few will beat this. 

The course has stunning panoramic views out across the Pacific Ocean. In the distance you can see the glorious Santa Catalina Island. 

In one sense you are so close to one of the largest cities in the world. And in another, you couldn’t be further away.

For such a sublime location, you need a first-class architect. And they got one with Pete Dye. 

Dye has created a masterpiece, with numerous holes strategically positioned to make the most of the views. But this is not style over substance. It is a challenging layout which encourages risk/reward shots. 

Greens are long and narrow and incredibly well protected. And from the back tees you’re looking at well over 7,200 yards. 

There is a stunning restaurant in the 45,000 square foot clubhouse. But as expected, you’ll pay a handsome green fee for this experience. 

See also: What are the best golf courses in Glendale, California?

3. Pelican Hill (North & South)

Pelican Hill Golf Club, Ocean South, Orange County, California - John Luciano 1
Photo credit John Luciano

To the south of Los Angeles, past Huntington Beach and into Newport Coast, is the superb Pelican Hill Resort. 

This is a luxury five-star resort, one which I included in the article for the best golf resorts in the US for couples. It is also home to two world-class golf courses, both designed by the master Tom Fazio. 

Fazio has a litany of golf courses in the various Top 100 golf course lists. Although the two at Pelican Hill don’t quite make it in, they’re certainly two of his better ones.

Like the Trump National Golf Club, the Pacific views are to die for. Although unlike the aforementioned, very few holes actually flank the ocean. But don’t let that take anything away as the views are impressive.

As are both layouts. The South Course was first to be opened, in 1991, with the North Course following 2 years later. 

The routing for the North Course circumnavigates canyons and ridges. Whilst the South Course is a little less challenging. That said, many argue it is positioned on a more interesting footprint.

This is delectable golf, but choose when you visit carefully. If you don’t choose your time wisely, you could be paying over $400 a green fee.

4. Oak Creek Golf Club

Oak Creek Golf Club, Los Angeles, Facebook - resized

From one special Tom Fazio designed club, to another. Oak Creek Golf Club is located in Irvine and is another creation from the prolific architect.  

Unlike some of the previous entries on this list, Oak Creek is not on the coast. It is towards East Irvine and close to Interstate 5. But despite this urban location, it has a truly beautiful setting. 

You can’t help but feel secluded, surrounded by lush vegetation. Attractive flora and fauna accompany the serene Oak Creek which meanders through the site. And there are glorious views out towards the Silverado Mountains. 

But be assured, you’re coming to play a testing golf course. One which is used as a US Open qualifying course no less. 

There are five sets of tees on each hole which does allow golfers of most levels to tee it up here. But playing from the backs is the real tester. Tapered fairways dotted with bull-nose carved bunkers ready to lead you astray. Water comes into play on a handful of holes.

This is a fine challenge and without doubt on the best public golf courses in Los Angeles and the Orange County area. 

See also: What are the best golf courses in Orange County?

5. Sand Canyon Country Club

Sand Canyon Country Club, Los Angeles, California, Permission Given FB - resized

In the foothills of the Santa Clarita Valley, at the base of the Angeles National Forest, is Sand Canyon Country Club.

This country club located just past Humphreys, is approximately 35 miles north of Los Angeles. It was formerly called Robinson Ranch Golf Club, possibly a nod to the original architects Ted Robinson Sr. and Ted Robinson Jr. 

Having opened in 1999, Robinson Ranch was a victim of the Sand Canyon Fire in 2016. Devastated and at rock bottom, the club was purchased by local businessman Steve Kim. 

Kim’s vision was to convert the club into one of Southern California’s premier golf destinations. Fast forward to today, and the club is well on its way to being revitalized to its former glory and more.

Kim started with the golf course. No longer 36 holes, it is now 27 holes with the Valley, Desert and Mountain 9-hole courses. Aesthetics have been improved and the conditioning is being constantly invested in. 

Next will come the five-star luxury spa hotel. But up until that point, it’s fair to say this remains one of the best public golf courses in Los Angeles. I can only see this country club improving year upon year. 

6. Tustin Ranch Golf Club

A good 45 minute drive from downtown Los Angeles is Tustin Ranch Golf Club. This wonderful club is located in West Irvine, 14 miles from the coast. 

This part of Orange County is climbing up towards the mountains. You’re not too far from Santiago Canyon and the Limestone Canyon Regional Park, of which you have terrific views.

The 18-hole championship course was designed by Ted Robinson and opened for play in 1989. Ever since then, this has remained one of the most popular options for golf amongst the locals. 

Water hazards come into play on 8 of the holes. But these are no small ponds or meandering creeks. We’re talking sizable lakes flanking fairways and huge bodies of water to carry from the tee or to approach greens. 

This is also what makes Tustin Ranch so much fun. It is also pleasing on the eye, with dense vegetation and palm trees omnipresent. 

Golf Digest has awarded Tustin Ranch 4 out of 5 stars on multiple occasions. This is a great fun course and well worth coming to play.

See also: What are the best golf resorts in California?

7. Angeles National Golf Club

Angeles National Golf Club, Los Angeles, California, Permission Granted - resized

At the base of the Angeles National Forest, is the wonderful Angeles National Golf Club. 

A relative newbie on the golfing scene in Los Angeles, the club opened to much acclaim in 2004. Why the acclaim? Well partly because this is the first and only Jack Nicklaus design in Los Angeles County. 

The parcel of land has glorious views up over the surrounding mountains. Whilst there are also at times, spectacular views back across to San Fernando and through the valley.

This desert style layout has lush undulating fairways and large sprawling greens. But where these end beware, for stray shots will be well lost in the thick and rugged rough. Yet it’s easy to hit poor shots for you’ll be constantly admiring the views. 

Upon opening, it received plenty of praise with Travel + Leisure Golf magazine celebrating it as one of the best new public golf courses in Los Angeles.

Despite the two lakes and 54 bunkers, the course is open to all levels of golfers. From the back tees the course yardage stretches to over 7,100 yards. Whilst from the Reds, it shortens it to 4,900 yards.

8. Los Robles Greens Golf Course

This fine golf course is just 39 miles from Los Angeles, located in Thousand Oaks in the Conejo Valley. It has a beautiful spot, routed in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains which sit to the south.

Los Robles Greens has been around for decades, having opened in 1964. But it was quite recently that it benefitted from a major renovation. 

And this was no ‘run of the mill’ renovation. This was a major redesign with the goal of making the golf course truly environmentally sustainable. 

This meant removing over 30 acres of turf, getting rid of water features as well as introducing 40 naturalized acres including thousands of drought tolerant native plants. 

Despite being just 6,300 yards and a par 70, this William Bell design was awarded 4½ stars by Golf Digest. It really does feel like a private club experience. 

The layout is characterized by towering oaks which line the pristine fairways. And all the while, there are magnificent views to be admired. A must play and definitely one of the best public golf courses in Los Angeles.

See also: What are the best public golf courses in Palm Springs, California?

9. Santa Anita Golf Club

Santa Anita Golf Club, Los Angeles, California

Up in Arcadia, 25 minutes from downtown, is the superb, and hugely underrated Santa Anita Golf Course. 

This is a really friendly and sociable golf facility which does a great job of serving the local community. But it is the course we should rave about. 

Firstly, it is well established, having opened for play way back in 1935. It was designed by James Harrison Smith, a complete novice when it came to designing golf courses. It was also his only golf project. 

But Smith excelled himself and produced a mighty impressive 18-hole layout. Despite this being relatively flat land, Smith created subtle movements in the landscape with more impressive undulations sitting between fairways. It all just flows perfectly and isn’t forced. 

It really is a pleasure for us amateur golfers to find courses like Santa Anita, unheralded but with so much history and charm. 

The location is nothing special, close to the freeway and surrounded by urban Arcadia. But the course is verdant and secluded with wonderful views out across to the San Gabriel Mountains. 

Plus it is incredibly affordable!

10. Los Verdes Golf Course

Los Verdes Golf Course. Los Angeles, California, Facebook - resized

And so to the last public golf course in Los Angeles I want to highlight, the wonderful Los Verdes Golf Course. Without a doubt, some of, if not ‘the’ best views on this list. 

The club is located in Rancho Palos Verdes, south of Los Angeles. It’s not too far from Long Beach, Manhattan Beach and the city of Torrance. 

Yet it’s the coastal location which blows every visitor away. There are very few places on the course which don’t have spectacular ocean views to be salivated over.

It was designed by William Bell and opened for play in 1964. Since then, it has been one of the most sought after courses in LA. In fact, getting a tee time here can be as challenging as actually playing the course!

The front nine is delightful. But it is the back-nine where you’ll get some of the more scenic views. The bunkering is top notch and all-in-all, this is a load of fun to play. 

Great value when compared to Trump National just up the coastline. 

See also: What are the best golf courses in Temecula, California?

Other notable mentions

There are so many great public golf courses in Los Angeles to choose from, we’re spoiled for choice. 

Special mentions go out to the golfing facility of Griffiths Park. There are 36-holes designed by one of the architectural pioneers George Thomas. The Harding and Wilson layouts are great fun but didn’t make the list primarily due to their condition. 

Goose Creek Golf Club is a special layout and on another day would have firmly cemented its place on this list. 

Just like the quirky Recreation Park and either of the two golf courses at Brookside Golf Course

What is the best public golf course in Los Angeles?

The best public golf course in Los Angeles is Rustic Canyon Golf Course. Located in Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, the course was designed by the widely respected Gil Hanse. A layout which seamlessly integrates itself into the natural landscape, it is also great value.

5/5 - (1 vote)

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One comment


Love this list. agree Rustic Canyon is up there. I do like Sand Canyon – hidden gem!

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