We Know: Six Best Golf Courses in Northern California

The cooler climates and unique topography of Northern California make its courses some of the toughest around. Players should definitely play any of these six courses:

1. Pebble Beach Golf Links - Pebble Beach, California.

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean off the Monterey Coast, Pebble Beach is where every golfer dreams of playing. It's rated as the best golf course on the West Coast and as one of the world's most renowned courses. Pebble Beach has hosted the U.S. Open on more than one occasion.

  • Public golf course
  • Location: 1700 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA; 831.625.8518
  • Features and amenities: pro shop, lighted driving range (with grass and mats), chipping area, practice bunker, lessons, full bar, beverage cart, snack bar, and restaurant.
  • Lodging on the premises; full-service spa.
  • Fees:
    • Resort guests: $425 per person, including golf cart.
    • Non-resort guests: $425 per person, plus a $25 cart fee.

2. Spyglass Hill Golf Course - Pebble Beach, California.

This par-72, 18-hole course boasts one of the largest courses in Pebble Beach. Windy gusts and holes teetering on the Pacific make Spyglass Hill a particularly challenging golf course to play.

  • Resort golf course.
  • Location: Stevenson Drive and Spyglass Hill Road, Pebble Beach, CA; 831.625.8563
  • Features and amenities: pro shop, driving range, putting green, sand and chipping area, golf school and lessons, with restaurant snack bar, and bar on-site.
  • Accommodations on-site.
  • Fees:
    • Resort guests: $290 per player, including golf cart.
    • Non-resort guests: $290 per player + $25 golf cart.
    • Twilight: $170 per player.

3. Poppy Hills - Pebble Beach, California.

Not even the suave Tiger Woods has tamed this challenging, par-72 course. Unique to this golf course are the five par-5s, tricky greens, requiring skill and well-played shots. Poppy Hills is maintained by the Northern California Golf Association (NCGA), an amateur golfing organization.

  • Public golf course.
  • Location: 3200 Lopez Drive, Pebble Beach, CA; 831.625.2154
  • Features and amenities: full-service golf shop, clubhouse, and restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch, full-service bar, with patio dining.
  • Fees:
    • NCGA members: $52 per person weekdays, $66 per person weekends and holidays.
    • NCGA guests: $80 per person weekdays, $95 per person weekends and holidays.
    • Public: $130 per person weekdays, $160 per person weekends and holidays.
    • Golf cars: $32.

4. Coyote Creek Golf Club - San Jose, California.

The preferred course by the Bay Area's professional sports players, such as the Giants and A's (baseball), the San Francisco 49ers and Raiders (football), and the San Jose Sharks. The two par-72, 18-hole Valley Course and Tournament course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and suits players of all skill sets.

  • Public golf course.
  • Location: 1 Coyote Creek Golf Drive, San Jose, CA; 408.463.1400
  • Features and amenities: pro shop, driving range, clubhouse, practice green, putting green, individual and group lessons.
  • Resort packages include first-class spa treatments and tennis. Art galleries and shops are also available on the premises.
  • Fees:
    • Regular: $79 weekdays (Monday to Thursday), $86 Fridays, and $102 for weekends and holidays.
    • Twilight: $60 weekdays, $81 Fridays, and $66 for weekends and holidays.
    • Super Twilight: available weekdays and Fridays at $40.
    • Carts are mandatory on weekends. Weekend rates add a cart fee of $17 per person.

5. Harding Park Golf Club - San Francisco, California.

Golf Magazine ranks Harding Park at number 50 on its list of "Top 100 Upscale Public Golf Courses" and the second best municipal course in California. The course includes an Executive 9-hole course known as Fleming Golf Course (par-30). The location within San Francisco city limits makes this the perfect getaway for busy executives. Harding Park hosts the annual American Express Championships.

  • Public golf course.
  • Location: 99 Harding Road, San Francisco, CA; 415.664.4690
  • Features and amenities: pro shop, driving range, clubhouse with restaurant, practice putting green, practice area with TourTurf surfaces in the tee and landing areas, and lessons.
  • Fees - includes a $10 non-refundable booking fee per player.
    • Harding Course:
      • Standard rates: $125 weekdays, $138 weekends and holidays.
      • San Francisco Residents: $35 weekdays, $48 weekends.
      • Bay Area Residents: $82 weekdays, $94 weekends.
      • Twilight: $80 weekdays, $92 weekends.
    • Fleming Course - permits walk-ins:
      • Standard rates: $22 weekdays, $27 weekends.
      • San Francisco Residents: $17 weekdays, $19 weekends.

6. Winchester Country Club - Meadow Vista, California.

Winchester is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. An exclusive golf course that caters to the well-to-do, Winchester sports an 18-hole championship course designed by the father-son team of Robert Trent Jones Senior and Junior. The course received Golf Weekly's distinction as the Best Residential Golf Course in America, and its 35,000 square foot clubhouse was named among the largest in the U.S.

  • Private golf course.
  • Location: 3030 Legends Drive, Meadow Vista, CA; 530.878.9585
  • Features and amenities: pro shop, golf club cleaning, locker and steam rooms, fitness center, formal dining facilities, banquet and meeting spaces, swim and tennis club, hiking, and equestrian trails.
  • Fees: $250 per non-member Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

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