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Best golf courses near Santa Monica, CA

Below, you’ll find a list of courses near Santa Monica, CA. There are 42 courses within a 15-mile radius of Santa Monica, 24 of which are public courses and 18 are private courses. There are 24 18-hole courses and 18 nine-hole layouts.

The above has been curated through Golf Digest’s Places to Play course database, where we have collected star ratings and reviews from our 1,900 course-ranking panelists. Join our community by signing up for Golf Digest+ and rate the courses you’ve visited recently.

Riviera Country Club
Private
Riviera Country Club
Pacific Palisades, CA
4.8
198 Panelists
A compact and shrewd design by George C. Thomas Jr. and associate William P. Bell, Riviera features everything from a long Redan par 3 to a bunker in the middle of a green to an alternate-fairway par 4. With its 18th green at the base of a natural amphitheater, and its primary rough consisting of club-grabbing Kikuyu, Riviera seems tailor-made as a tournament venue. It hosted a PGA Championship in 1995, a U.S. Senior Open in 1998 and a U.S. Amateur in 2017, but no U.S. Open since 1948. Riviera was recently awarded the 2031 U.S. Open, and it will also host the 2028 Olympics. But it’s the site of an annual PGA Tour event, which is even better exposure to the golf world.
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Los Angeles Country Club: North
Private
Los Angeles Country Club: North
Los Angeles, CA
4.8
236 Panelists
It’s on the edge of Tinsel Town, but the architecture of the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club has been solid gold ever since its 2010 restoration by architect Gil Hanse, his associate Jim Wagner and their colleague Geoff Shackelford. It matters not that Hanse’s team didn’t replicate the bunkering style of original architect George C. Thomas, but rather the more visually exciting style of Thomas’ associate, William P. Bell. The first nine plays rustically up and down a shallow canyon with holes switching back and forth across a dry barranca, and the second nine loops across a more spacious upland section with one par 3 (the 11th) that can stretch to nearly 300 yards and another (the 15th) that often plays just 90 yards. The hole strategies reinstituted by Hanse provided an intriguing examination when LACC's North course hosted the 2023 U.S. Open.
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Hillcrest Country Club
Private
Hillcrest Country Club
Los Angeles, CA
4.4
39 Panelists
Hillcrest Country Club sits adjacent from Rancho Park Golf Course—one of L.A.’s better public options—and across West Pico Boulevard from the Fox Studio Lot. The private country club opened in 1920, and the course was designed by Willie Watson. In 2018, Kyle Phillips made extensive changes to the course, creating six new holes and making room for a new six-acre practice facility. The par 3s stand out at Hillcrest, including the 12th, which can tip out as far as 260 yards and plays to massive Biarritz green. Hillcrest hosted Final Qualifying for the U.S. Open ahead of the 2023 championship at Los Angeles Country Club, just a mile north.
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Bel-Air Country Club
Private
Bel-Air Country Club
Los Angeles, CA
Completing a George C. Thomas hat trick of designs (the others being No. 16 Los Angeles C.C. (North) and No. 18 Riviera) is Bel-Air C.C., a charming throwback design that winds through mansion-dotted canyons of Los Angeles, the topography so steep that golfers are guided from hole to hole via a tunnel, an elevator and the city’s most famous suspension bridge, which spans a gulch on the par-3 10th and serves as a dramatic backdrop for the 18th green. Bel-Air’s design had been altered over decades by, among others, Dick Wilson, George Fazio, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Tom Fazio. But in 2018 Tom Doak erased every bit of their work, removing most of the phony water hazards and faithfully recapturing Thomas’s splashy signature bunkering. To complete a round amidst these Hollywood hills, you’ll definitely encounter a Hollywood star. Her name is Bel-Air.
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Wilshire Country Club
Private
Wilshire Country Club
Los Angeles, CA
4.2
77 Panelists
Wilshire is an exclusive private club with old-school layout situated on 104 acres near Hollywood. The course is bisected by Beverly Boulevard and a barranca meanders throughout, coming into play on around half the holes. The course was designed by Englishman Norman Macbeth in 1919 and hosted four Los Angeles Opens between 1928-1944. Tipping out around 6,500 yards, Wilshire is a very short course by modern standards, but a variety of testing green shapes with plenty of undulation, as well as sharp-lipped deep bunkers make the historic course a strong test.
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Lakeside Golf Club
Private
Lakeside Golf Club
Burbank, CA
4.1
59 Panelists
Lakeside is a classic old-school layout across the Los Angeles River from Universal Studios Hollywood. The course was designed in the early 1920s by Max Behr, a Yale graduate and the first editor of Golf Illustrated magazine. Lakeside has long been a favorite among Hollywood elite—Bing Crosby notably was a five-time club champion. The relatively short course is well bunkered, features tiny greens and receives high marks in conditioning from our course-ranking panelists.
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Brentwood Country Club
Private
Brentwood Country Club
Los Angeles, CA
3.8
35 Panelists
Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, Brentwood Country Club boasts dynamic green complexes with firm conditions. The layout features width off the tee, providing its defense in the form of unique features such as deep barrancas and difficult green complexes. With a late afternoon wind and the marine layer, Brentwood provides a fair and fun challenge from the back tees.
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Los Angeles Country Club: South
Private
Los Angeles Country Club: South
Los Angeles, CA
3.7
57 Panelists
Overshadowed by its championship brother, the South course at LACC is still an incredibly fun course and often gets more play than the more difficult North. Highlighted by interesting variety and shark-toothed bunker formations from George C. Thomas, remodeled by Gil Hanse and Geoff Shackelford, LACC's South course packs less of a punch in comparison to the North. South’s tunnels are one of its most interesting features, Holes 1-2 and 17-18 share the side of Wilshire Road with the North course, while the rest of the holes come after crossing a tunnel to get to the other side of the property. The South also weaves through buildings that provide a fitting metropolitan backdrop for the Tinsel Town stunner. South’s par 3s are probably the highlight of the course, delivering five very different holes and mandating five very different shots.
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Rancho Park Golf Course
Public
Rancho Park Golf Course
Los Angeles, CA
Situated between Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, Rancho Park hosted the Los Angeles Open in the late 1950s and 1960s with Arnold Palmer, Charlie Sifford and Billy Casper all winning here. This Los Angeles muny also hosted the 1949 U.S. Amateur Public Links. With weekday rates under $40 and junior rates under $10, Rancho Park offers an accessible way to play a historic championship course.
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Heroes Golf Course
Public
Heroes Golf Course
Los Angeles, CA
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