The Perfect Drive

Pebble Beach isn’t the only California course with killer views

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The Resort at Pelican Hill has two Tom Fazio designs. Pictured here is No. 18 on its North Course.
This month when Pebble Beach hosts the 110th U.S. Open, viewers are sure to see plenty of aerial shots of azure waters crashing into the rocky outcroppings framing the course. The ocean, nicknamed the world’s largest water hazard, comes into play on nine holes. Yup, at Pebble, it’s all about location, location, location.

But, of course, location comes with a price tag. One round at Pebble costs a minimum of $1,700. (To play, you must stay at least two nights at the resort.) What if you like killer views that don’t kill your wallet?

Well, from San Diego to San Francisco, there are many courses on or very near the coast that offer Kodak-worthy moments—and for a fraction of the price.

This month, we take a look at eight of them, most of which can be found along the Pacific Coast Highway. Taken together, they all add up to the perfect drive.

Torrey Pines Golf Course, La Jolla, California.
Designed by William P. Bell, Torrey Pines Golf Course hosted one of the most thrilling golf tournaments ever played, the 2008 U.S. Open. (Need we remind you of what happened?) Its two courses are showcased each year at the Farmers Insurance Open (formerly the Buick Invitational). Considered a true “public” course, Torrey’s recent rate hikes have some locals fuming (weekend rates for San Diego residents shot up 49% last year alone). Nonresidents have to pay more. Green Fees: $38-$218.

Monarch Beach Golf Links, Dana Point, California.
This Robert Trent Jones, Jr., design hasn’t ever hosted a major golf tournament, but it does boast major ocean views on every hole—two of which border the beach. On your birthday, get free golf, and look for the five- and nine-hole rates. Green Fees: $115-$195.

Pelican Hill Golf Club, Newport Coast, California.
After the recent addition of an ultraluxurious hotel, spa and clubhouse, The Resort at Pelican Hill has emerged as one of California’s most exclusive resorts. Its two Tom Fazio designs (the North and South courses) are perched on a bluff and offer postcard views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. With generous landing areas off the tee, the courses’ biggest challenge remains their sneaky-quick greens. When you’re not saying, “Wow” at the ocean views, you’re saying “Wow” at the palatial homes above the resort. Currently being built: a home with a 75-car garage. Who said times were tough? Green Fees: $140-$325.


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