In a previous post, we explored some of the best golf courses in America. Not surprisingly, two of them were located on California’s Central Coast. Famous for its picturesque scenery and perfect year-round weather, it’s no wonder that so many golfers from around the world pack up their golf apparel and head to California’s Central Coast for a round of golf, regardless of the season. We asked the original johnnie-O for some of his favorite Central Coast golf courses, and here are a few that made his list.
Sandpiper Golf Club
Sometimes referred to as the “Pebble Beach of Santa Barbara”, Sandpiper has a lot in common with its world-famous California cousin. Like Pebble Beach, Sandpiper sits on a cliff directly above the ocean and boasts spectacular views and meticulously maintained grounds. Unlike Pebble Beach, it’s a little easier and more affordable (about $170 for a weekend booking, with additional twilight, junior, and replay discounts) for traveling golfers to take in a round of golf. Pro tip: The 18-hole course (in addition to some others on this list) is a non-metal spike facility, so check your golf apparel ahead of time to ensure you aren’t accidentally breaking any rules.
Talk to any Central Californian about the area’s lesser known golf gems, and La Purisima is sure to top their list. Located near a historic Spanish mission, a round of golf at La Purisima will take you through a gorgeous, natural layout that will test your skill as much as it stimulates your senses. The course has quite a few elevation changes and is known to get quite windy, so if you aren’t wearing a long sleeve golf shirt to the course be sure to throw one in your golf bag just in case. Visitors are welcome on both weekdays and weekends, but are advised to book at least ten days in advance. Pro tip: while you’re there, check out the La Purisima Mission State Historic Park--it’s only two miles away from the course.
Sea Pines Golf Resort
Sea Pines is the only hotel on the Central Coast that’s situated directly on a golf course, making it the ideal location for those hoping to throw on a golf shirt and instantly enjoy a round of golf. Plus, if you’re bringing your wife or kids, the dog-friendly hotel has tons of accommodations, including the Tranquility Spa, the Clubhouse Grill, and horseback riding. Recognized as one of the finest and most challenging executive 9-holes in California, the course offers great views of Morro Rock and protected coastal dunes. Pro tip: Sea Pines offers disc golf and foot golf for those looking to try something new.
Hunter Ranch Golf Course
Located in the heart of the Central Coast wine country, Hunter Ranch combines small town charm with world class golf. Unlike some of the other courses in the area, Hunter Ranch is virtually untouched by civilization--you won’t see any homes overlooking the course and the near constant elevation changes make it seem as if you’re truly one with nature. Rated 4.5 stars by Golf Digest, the Hunter Ranch Golf Course truly is Paso Robles’ hidden gem. Pro tip: short on time? Hunter Ranch has a new way to play. With Quick.golf you play as many holes as you have time for, and you only pay for the holes you play. At $4 a hole including cart, you can play five holes of golf for as little as $20. Learn more here.
Not only is Pebble Beach one of the premier courses in California, it’s one of the best in the world. Renowned for its gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, there’s a reason Pebble Beach is the number one public course and golf resort in the country. Don’t trust us? It’s been rated the greatest public golf course in America by Golf Digest every year since 2003! And with multiple live golf cams, it’s easy to imagine yourself taking in the scenery. Pro tip: for all the off-season golfers, Pebble Beach offers a reduced rate for those who play between the beginning of December and the end of March.
Dress the Part
If you decide to book a round of golf at any of the above courses, remember there’s more to golf than just showing up to the course on time with your favorite set of clubs. Most courses have a dress code that must be followed, whether in the form of cleat restrictions or no-denim rules. A pro tip from johnnie-O himself: it’s always a good idea to pack extra golf apparel. Our line of prep-formance polo golf shirts have a clean, sophisticated look, and with moisture-wicking qualities, you’ll be comfortable regardless of the weather.