Top 25 courses in California on GolfAdvisor in 2014

About 770 miles from top to bottom, no state boasts such a diversity of regions as California. So it's no surprise that the state's inaugural top 25 golf courses as rated by GolfAdvisor users features a wide assortment, from high-end courses in Palm Springs to hidden gems in the High Sierra mountains of NoCal.

And judging by the more than 17,500 ratings of state courses in 2014, there's plenty of good golf to go around, no matter where you live or visit, and no matter your wallet size. Well over 100 courses had a yearly average higher than 4.0/5, and to make the top 25, courses needed to score at least 4.48/5. Courses needed a minimum of 20 reviews during the year and nearly 300 courses in the state qualified.

For you top 100 chasers out there, Pebble Beach only had six reviews for the year and was not eligible despite its perfect score, though Monterey-area favorite Bayonet and Black Horse both made it. Backwoods mountain courses such as The Dragon at Nakoma Golf Resort (no. 3) and Graeagle Meadows (no. 6) fared higher than Maderas (no. 9), which made Golf Digest's most recent Top 100 ranking.

The Sacramento-area suburb of Auburn placed three courses into the top 25. Either it's quite an undiscovered golf mecca or perhaps its residents are just easy-to-please golfers.

Top 25 Courses in California in 2014

1. Indian Wells Golf Resort*, Indian Wells
2. The Dragon at Nakoma Golf Resort, Clio
3. Black Oak Golf Course, Auburn
4. DarkHorse Golf Club, Auburn
5. Graeagle Meadows, Graeagle
6. Wente Vineyards, Livermore
7. Bayonet at Bayonet BlackHorse, Seaside
8. Maderas Golf Club, Poway
9. Plumas Pines Golf Resort, Graeagle
10. Stone Tree Golf Club, Novato
11. Classic Club, Palm Desert
12. Mountain View at Desert Willow Golf Resort, Palm Desert
13. Yocha Dehe at Cache Creek Casino Resort, Brooks
14. Black Horse at Bayonet & Black Horse, Seaside
15. Poppy Ridge Golf Course, Livermore
16. Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Ojai
17. Shadow Ridge Golf Club, Palm Desert
18. Mountain Vista Golf Course at Sun City, Palm Desert
19. Stevinson Ranch, Stevinson
20. Legends Course at Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon, Beaumont
21. Moorpark Country Club, Moorpark
22. The Ridge Golf Course, Auburn
23. Oak Quarry Golf Club, Riverside
24. Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West, La Quinta
25. The Club at Crazy Horse Ranch, Salinas

*Denotes 36-hole facility rated as one course.

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.
Commented on

Perhaps you shouldn't publish a list like this if a 9-hole goat track in Auburn finds its way in the rankings. There are some awesome golf courses not on the list: Presidio, Harding, Torrey, Poppy Hills, etc? Glad to see that Blackhorse and Bayonet made the list. Those are the two best values in California hands down.

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Top 25 courses in California on GolfAdvisor in 2014