Best of 2016: Top 25 golf courses in California

If you believe California is the best state for golf in the U.S., Golf Advisor reviewers have certainly submitting the ratings to back it up.

The top-rated course in the country in each of the past two years according to Golf Advisor has come from California. While in 2015, Sacramento-area Yocha Dehe Golf Club took this honors, this time, it was a remote San Diego County course, Rams Hill Golf Club, that had a superlative year of ratings and reviews from golfers. Six California courses made the Top 50, and it's also worth noting the No. 1-rated value course in the U.S. was also from the state.

Our Top 25 courses in California, gathered from your ratings and reviews in 2016, feature courses from many of the top destinations like Monterey, San Diego and Palm Springs. To compile the Top 25, we used a similar method to that of our our national Top 50 ranking. A course's score is based on their overall (50%) rating and subcategory average (50%). A review is weighted based on how prolific that reviewer is on Golf Advisor, and a course receives a bump in their rating if their score is better than that reviewer's average score.

There are high-end resorts as well as some over-achieving, daily-fee facilities. That's the beauty of our reviews from regular golfers: virtually any facility with enough reviews, and not just those on the ocean or with a $200-plus green fee, is eligible. (A few of the most well known courses in California failed to receive enough reviews to be considered in 2016. Want to see your favorite California course in the 2017 list? Leave a review here.)

Top-rated course in each subcategory in 2016

Course layout: Rams Hill Golf Club
Course conditions: Rams Hill Golf Club
Value:Ranch Course at Diablo Grande
Off-course amenities: Desert Willow Golf Resort
Pace of play: Ridge Creek Dinuba Golf Club
Staff friendliness: Yocha Dehe Golf Club
Most improved
: Boulder Oaks (Formerly Meadow Lake)

Top 25 courses in California in 2016

Yorba Linda

Palm Springs

La Quinta



Santa Cruz



Indian Wells

Palm Desert

San Diego








Indian Wells

No. 41 in the U.S. in 2016

La Quinta
No. 40 in the U.S. in 2016

Palm Desert
No. 19 in the U.S. in 2016

No. 18 in the U.S. in 2016

No. 12 in the U.S. in 2016

Borrego Springs
No. 1 in the U.S. in 2016

Video: Rams Hill earns No. 1 spot in Golf Advisor Top 50

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.

Related Links

Golfers rated these 25 courses the best in California, from the Monterey Peninsula and San Francisco areas to San Diego and Palm Springs.
1 Min Read
California dreamin' for a golf getaway? Here's a look at 12 of the state's best golf destinations.
5 Min Read
Millions of dollars have been invested in getting Rams Hill Golf Club into PGA Tour-caliber condition. It might be the most scenic round of golf in southern California not on the ocean.
11 Images
Pebble Beach anchors the Monterey Peninsula, home to some of the finest golf courses in the U.S. Here's a photo tour of the best you can play.
13 Images
More from the author
5 Min Read
December 7, 2021
It may be the private club capital of Florida, but golfers endorse these public-access courses.
4 Min Read
December 3, 2021
It's never been easier to design custom hats, golf balls, clubs, headcovers and more.
2 Min Read
November 30, 2021
It's possible this little ditty finds you scooping up the last bit of cranberry pie crumbs out of the tray. Thanksgiving may have passed but the effects of celebratory eating around the table, and also possibly social imbibing during all the various football games throughout the weekend, are sticking with us. To our bellies and elsewhere.
4 Min Read
November 23, 2021
We scoured the web of golf and found holiday savings up to 50% off.
12 Min Read
November 18, 2021
Golfers can choose from a wide variety of portable launch monitor price points and user experiences. Here is what's new and the best ones to consider to improve your golf.
7 Min Read
November 9, 2021
Our community loves the value and experience at these popular and affordable military facilities and even book online.
1 Min Read
January 17, 2023
Our community of reviewers select the local favorites and hidden gems on the Emerald Isle.
1 Min Read
January 17, 2023
Our community of reviewers showcase the best public golf courses in Pennsylvania.
By Golfers' Choice
1 Min Read
January 17, 2023
Our community of reviewers determine the Bluegrass State's top 20 golf courses.
By Golfers' Choice
1 Min Read
January 17, 2023
Our community of reviewers honor the top 10 golf courses in Iowa.
By Golfers' Choice
Now Reading
Best of 2016: Top 25 golf courses in California