Now that you have plenty of free time, it might be your best chance to experience some of the most dreamed about golf courses in the world. The West Coast is a haven for iconic courses and golf history. Listed below are just five of the consistently rated top courses in the region. Whether you’re just looking for a day trip or a weekend getaway, these courses will give you everything you need for creating lifelong memories.
Torrey Pines – San Diego, CA
The annual host of the Farmers Insurance Open, Torrey Pines was elevated into golf folklore hosting the 2008 U.S. Open. While it’s unlikely your time here will result in something as thrilling as the 19th hole playoff won by Tigers Woods that year, it will still be an unforgettable experience. Divided into two world-renowned courses – the North and South – you won’t run out of challenges on this municipally owned course.
Located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in beautiful San Diego, it offers steep, sandy cliffs that jut to the ocean below. Torrey Pines has a traditional layout with tree hazards as well as sand traps, but also some very scenic views of the nearby ocean. Prices range from $37-$183 for non-residents but if you get there early, many tee times are on a first-come, first-served basis. Active adults wanting to retire near this world-class course have plenty of options nearby, including High Country Villas, Auberge at Del Sur, Seven Oaks, and Oaks North.
Chambers Bay – University Place, WA
One of the newer courses on the list, Chambers Bay rose to fame after hosting the 2016 U.S. Open. The course has similarities to the traditionally bumpy, untamed British course, meaning this meant it faced fierce criticism as a U.S. Open host. To laymen, however, a day trip to Chambers Bay could be the golf experience of a lifetime. Its location on the shores of the Puget Sound provides breathtaking views of the water and land beyond. There are no tree hazards on the course, meaning some vantage points provide a view of the entire course. All you have to avoid are sand traps, tall grass, and unpredictable bounces off the hilly terrain. Non-members will pay anywhere from $100-$139 for a memorable day of golf. Communities in the surrounding area include Jubilee at Hawks Prairie, AutumnWood at Brooktree, and Trilogy at Tehaleh, all of which are just a short drive away from Chambers Bay.
Pronghorn Golf Club & Resort – Bend, OR
Hosting a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course as well as the Tom Fazio Championship Course, Pronghorn has something for everyone. Every hole offers a picturesque view, whether it’s lush green fairways, stone ridges, or the peak of Mt. Bachelor cutting into the sky. Pronghorn offers almost everything a golfer could ask for; it can play fast or slow, be bumpy or flat, with lakes, sand dunes, and juniper trees. Make a day out of it or stay for the weekend at the opulent resort; either way, you’ll be experiencing one of Oregon’s best golf courses. Prices range from $92-$199. The Bend, Oregon area is home to some of the region’s finest 55-plus communities, including The Falls at Eagle Crest, Ceres Gleann, and Salemtowne.
PGA West – La Quinta, CA
One of the most notorious locations in American golf, PGA West features six world-class courses, although only three are public. One was designed by Jack Nicklaus, one by Greg Norman, and another one is the Stadium Course, which has hosted a number of professional tournaments over the last three decades. The Stadium Course is noted for being difficult even for professionals, although it’s thrilling to walk the same greens as some of the greats, even if you struggle to hit par. A golf paradise nestled into the California desert, you’ll be playing along mountains and a crystal blue lake, making the views alone worth the price of admission. PGA West is also a world-class resort. It might be best to experience it and its three beautiful courses along with a stay in one of many hotel rooms. Prices range from $69-$225. La Quinta is also one of the most popular retirement destinations in Southern California. Some of the standout communities in the area include Trilogy at La Quinta, Andalusia at Coral Mountain, Trilogy at The Polo Club, The Citrus Club, and many more.
Pebble Beach Golf Links — Pebble Beach, CA
Easily the priciest course on the list, but also the most iconic. One would be forgiven to feel like a major winner while teeing up at the eighth hole, where so many famous moments in golf have occurred. This is not just one of the most beautiful courses on the West Coast or in the country, but one of the best in the world. Winding the rocky coastline off of the Pacific Ocean, the course designers attempted to put as many holes as possible near the water.
They certainly achieved their goal – it would be impressive for anyone to avoid one of the biggest water hazards in the world. Unlike most famous courses, Pebble Beach has no single iconic hole because there are so many of note, whether it’s the par-3 seventh hole or the par-4 eighth hole, you’ll be sure to have the golf experience of a lifetime. Prices range from $495 to $530. Pebble Beach is also home to several terrific communities, some of which include Traditions at River Oaks, The Villages Golf and Country Club, Cottage Park.