Where to Play Golf in Los Angeles

By Ryan Adams, PGA
Published on

Yes, there’s the heavy hitting private clubs of Riviera, Bel-Air and LACC — as well as Wilshire and Hillcrest down the street in Beverly Hills — but golf has been played for over a century in Los Angeles, benefitting the city with a bevy of public-access Golden Age gems.
Here are four great options, in and around Los Angeles, that locals and out-of-state golfers will enjoy:
Rancho Park Golf Course
(Photo courtesy of Los Angeles City Golf)
(Photo courtesy of Los Angeles City Golf)
Close to Los Angeles Country Club, Rancho Park is similar to the U.S. Open venue in its Golden Age roots. The course also used to host the Los Angeles Open — now The Genesis Invitational — and oozes with championship history: Billy Casper, Charlie Sifford and Arnold Palmer all won the tournament at Rancho Park in the 1950s and ‘60s. The course was co-designed by William Johnson and William “Billy” P. Bell, who worked closely with Los Angeles Country Club’s architect George C. Thomas.
Rancho Park’s rates are some of the best in the city, too: weekdays, it’s $39 while on the weekend, it’s $50-55. Juniors pay $8 for nine holes and $15 for 18, making it a perfect stop for a family outing.
Griffith Park: Harding & Wilson Courses 
(Photo courtesy of Los Angeles City Golf)
(Photo courtesy of Los Angeles City Golf)
Another course that shares some connection with LACC are Griffith Park’s Harding and Wilson Courses. The two layouts were Thomas’ first in Los Angeles — he designed the Harding (named after President Warren D. Harding) in 1923 and the Wilson layout (named after President Woodrow Wilson) in 1927.
Prior to Thomas’ work, the first Griffith Park course opened on November 1, 1914, with the support of members from LACC and the Southern California Golf Association. It was a sand green links designed by Tom Bendelow — and also the location where Babe Ruth signed his New York Yankees contract in 1920. That sand links was grassed over in 1934 and is now the charming Roosevelt Memorial par-3 course. For Harding and Wilson, the value is stupendous and similar to Rancho Park: $35 for weekdays, and under $55 on weekends. Juniors also pay $8 and $15.
Rustic Canyon Golf Course
(Photo courtesy of Rustic Canyon)
(Photo courtesy of Rustic Canyon)
About 45 miles north of Los Angeles sits Rustic Canyon. The course, located in Moorpark, was co-designed by the flourishing architect duo of Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner and golf writer Geoff Shackelford, who’s penned several books on course architecture — as well as Thomas’ biography. Rustic Canyon is lauded for its wide fairways, rolling and free-flowing greens, and strategic shotmaking; all at a very affordable price that’s given it the No. 1 Best Value title by GOLF magazine. Golfers seeking quality value golf will find it, with weekend 18 holes (Thursday-Sunday, booked 14 days in advance or closer) at $89 and weekday rates at $59. Junior and senior rates are all less than $40 any day of the week, too.
Los Verdes Golf Course
We couldn’t make this list without a course sitting next to the ocean, right? Well, that’s what you get in Los Verdes, a course in Rancho Palos Verdes on the Southern California coast. Billy Bell, Thomas’ right-hand man who helped with Rancho Park, was the designer here at a layout that doesn’t miss with its views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. It’s Golden Age roots is met with terrific value — weekday tee times are $42 while weekends are $48. Juniors pay $5 and $8, too, for the same times. If an oceanview course at a wonderful price is what you’re looking for in an LA course, look no further than Los Verdes.