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:
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:
Cottonwood Golf Center's nine-hole executive course sharpens straight shots with one par 4 and eight par 3 holes. Duffer duets amble through the meandering fairways, launch dimpled orbs through 2,466 yards of emerald alleys, and defeat lesser opponents in pull-cart street races. The scenic course overlooks rugged hills and scraggly pines, thwarting off-kilter shots with a petite water hazard filled with foghorn-wielding ducks. Players can supply their own clubs, rent one of the facility's sets ($5), or thwack golf balls with the neighbor's flamingo lawn ornaments.
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.
The rolling contours of Fallbrook Golf Club's course wind through scenic Gird Valley to carve out a sturdy par 72 course highlighted by manicured greens and majestic, mature trees. Divot diggers of all skill levels will be led astray by the course's shimmering water hazards, strategically placed bunkers, and enticing strip-malls. The course spans more than 6,000 yards, with a slew of difficult par 5 holes neatly framed by native live oak, sycamore, and eucalyptus trees. Players grab a friend for a full round, complete with two large buckets of range balls for handicap-lowering rehearsal on the course's full driving range and practice green. Included golf carts ferry players between tees with the majesty of Phil Mickelson traversing Augusta on the back of a trumpet-playing lion.