Though it's surrounded by the rolling hills of Riverside County?and even has "hills" in the name?the course at Seven Hills Golf Club is a relatively flat affair that's welcoming to golfers of every stripe. The lack of steep inclines and writhing snake pits makes the links easy to walk, and the wide, welcoming fairways mean most players hopefully won't have to stray too far from the short stuff. After dispatching with every tree-shrouded shot and confidently navigating the small greens, players can continue to work on their cuts on the grass driving range, chipping green, and practice bunker, or head into the Cafe on the Greens for a post-round bite.
Framed by views of the San Jacinto Mountain Range, the Country Club at Soboba Springs has stumped some of the world's best golfers. Not long ago, it was home to the PGA Tour's Soboba Classic. Today, sporting a newly renovated, 32,000-square-foot clubhouse, the course leads visitors along a sculpted layout that barrels through a forest of cottonwood and palm trees. Water comes into play on 11 of 18 holes, and 78 bunkers filled with white sand lie in wait to snatch up errant shots or slow down golf carts that get off their leashes. Players should watch out for the 15th and 16th holes, especially, which are surrounded by water and used to give professionals fits as part of an especially challenging back nine.
Course at a Glance * Designer: Desmond Muirhead 1966; Redesigned by Cary Bickler 2005 * Lauded by Press Enterprise: Best round of golf 2014 * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total of 7,101 yards from the back tees * Three tees per hole * Course rating of 73.3 from the tips * Course slope of 131 from the tips
Surrounded by the peaks of the Ortega Mountains, the towering trees of Cleveland National Forest, and the waters of Lake Elsinore, The Links at Summerly Golf Club couldn't seem farther from the flat, wind-swept coast of Scotland. But that didn't stop course architect Cal Olson from molding an 18-hole layout in the image of Scottish links golf. To that end, he made the most of the area's natural mounding, shaped three miles of burns into the clay, and filled the course with devious bunkers shaped like kidneys or just ovals with poor posture. Adding to the difficulty, the 7,012-yard layout incorporates a host of water hazards, leaving players a thin margin for error on many holes.
A venue for first-rate course play, The Links at Summerly also serves as a venue for practice and improvement with lessons helmed by PGA Class A professional Scott Marson. Lessons can incorporate video swing analysis and guided on-course play to drive home new concepts and strategies.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 7,012 yards from the tips * Course rating of 74.1 from the tips * Slope rating of 142 from the tips * Three tee options
Designed by renowned course architect David Rainville—whose resumé includes famed courses such as Indian Wells Country Club—the 18-hole California Oaks course stretches across 5,218 yards of bucolic Southern California topography. Towering trees, intervening ponds, and immense bunkers conspire to kidnap wayward balls throughout the course, and the club's immaculate fairways provide a hospitable landing zone for pinpointed drives and golf-obsessed extraterrestrials. A stream flows alongside every hole, adding a sense of continuity to rounds as golfers contend with each on-course challenge. After 18-hole expeditions, players can replenish at Oaks Bar & Grill, which, like the course itself, affords customers splendid views of the Temecula Valley, the San Jacinto mountain range, and the cloud-like spirits of drowned golf balls trying to contact 9-irons from the beyond.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par-70 course (par 68 from the ladies' tees) * Designed by David Rainville * Length of 5,218 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 66.1 from the farthest tees * Slope of 122 from the farthest tees * Three tee options
For more than 30 years, Southern California Golf Schools' professional golfers and teachers have been passing their club-swinging tutelage on to golfers of all ages. The director of the golf school's operations, Steve Bean, started his teaching career in the early 80s and went on to teach alongside such golf luminaries as Derek Hardy and Hank Haney, who was Tiger Woods' swing coach and shadow-puppet partner. Bean has been a golf pro for several country clubs, has worked as a custom fitter for Titleist, and has owned multiple golf schools in San Diego and Las Vegas since 2011. In 2010, he was named the teacher of the year by the Professional Golf Teachers & Coaches Association of America.
Tall trees scrape the clouds across Colton Golf Club?but they aren't the only structures that reach skyward. They're joined by light poles, which fill the 18-hole, par 57 executive course with light to facilitate after-dark rounds. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the layout ripples over gentle elevation changes pocked with sand traps and a single pond, which comes into play on the fourth hole. Comprised of 15 par-threes and three par-fours, the course provides an ideal venue for novices trying to expand their game and experts looking to shoot par with nothing but an 8-iron.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 57 executive course * Course length of 3,108 yards from the tips * Course rating of 54.2 from the tips * Slope rating of 82 from the tips * Two tee options * Scorecard