From the Monterey Peninsula to San Diego, discover golf in the Golden State

Where To Learn  
Pelican Hill Golf Club,
Newport Coast
Lead by director of instruction Glenn Deck, Pelican Hill Golf Academy focuses on developing sound fundamentals and getting the club on path for more consistent shotmaking. Learning programs are available in a variety of forms, including those for individuals, groups or juniors. Two-day VIP clinics, which include video analysis, short-game and full-swing fundamentals as well as an 18-hole playing lesson also are available.

(949) 760-0707
Pebble Beach Resort,
Headed by 2003 PGA Teacher of the Year, Laird Small, the Pebble Beach Golf Academy covers all areas of the game, including putting, short game, long game, mental and physical training, and on-course practice. Video analysis also is available, as is a Callaway professional clubfitting system. Various programs are designed to satisfy groups of different size, skill level and schedule. Each member of the school staff is hand-picked and trained to make an experience at Pebble Beach Golf Academy as enjoyable as possible.

(831) 622-8650 
Four Seasons Resort Aviara,
In operation since 1991, the Aviara Golf Academy, which is run by noted instructor Kip Puterbaugh, has a curriculum that gives players of all ability levels an opportunity to learn about the golf swing. The Aviara Golf Academy operates year-round and specializes in two- and three-day golf schools and short-game schools.

(800) 433-7468

Local Knowledge

With the task of breaking down local attractions in an area as large as California almost impossible, heed our advice and plan a vacation that includes experiencing some top designs from one of course architecture’s all-time greats: Alister Mackenzie

The name Alister Mackenzie (1870-1934) evokes instant images of top-tier golf designs. If you have ever had the pleasure of playing one of this transplanted Scotsman’s better U.S. creations—Cypress Point Club, Augusta National or Valley Club of Montecito—the experience no doubt will stick with you forever. The problem is, all of those mentioned above, and many of his other memorable designs are guardedly private.

There are, however, several public Mackenzie courses that one can and should play in California. The best of them is Pasatiempo [link is] (1929) in Santa Cruz, on the northern rim of the Monterey Bay. Mackenzie lived in a home on one of the fairways at Pasatiempo and continued to refine this design until he passed away. Tree-lined fairways and panoramic ocean views combine with strategic arroyo crossings and Mackenzie’s signature bunkering patterns to create a wonderful, fulfilling experience here.

A bit north, just below San Francisco in the small coastal town of Pacifica, golfers will discover an 18-hole Mackenzie layout called Sharp Park. [link is] This design is flatter than Pasatiempo and has fewer ocean peeks, but Mackenzie enthusiasts will enjoy its strategic shot requirements and demanding greens.

North of San Francisco is Northwood Golf Course [link is] (1928), a nine-hole Mackenzie course on the Russian River. Huge redwood and fir trees grace play on this unassuming design. And in Sacramento is the newly renovated Haggin Oaks [link is] (1932), a popular municipal course that boasts very distinct Mackenzie design features. Pittsburg’s Delta View Golf Course [link is](1931) features nine holes of Mackenzie design.

Golfers who enjoy the history and traditions of the game are likely to find an Alister Mackenzie pilgrimage nothing short of sacred. If you count yourself in this category, northern California is the place to do it.


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