Nine of the Best Nine Hole Golf Courses in California

California has some of the best nine-hole golf courses in the world for players of all skills to enjoy. We can play a quick nine with our kids and spouse or maybe there isn’t time for 18 and we can just enjoy a good walk. Here’s a list of some of the best nine-hole courses in California, from The Links at Terranea and The Hay in Pebble Beach to Ben Brown’s Golf Course at The Ranch at Laguna Beach and the classic and historic Catalina Golf Course! Go play nine and enjoy the sunshine!

The Links at Terrane

Rancho Palos Verdes

The Links at Terranea is a natural and dramatic nine-hole, par-3 Southern California oceanfront golf course with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. Masterfully routed and beautifully integrated with its natural surroundings, this collection of championship-caliber holes offers a unique environment for both group and individual play. Artful bunkering, unobstructed sight lines, and a wide range of classic strategic elements combine to deliver an unparalleled golf experience on the Los Angeles coast. Perhaps best of all, golfers at The Links walk and enjoy the magnificent coastal setting, just as the game was intended to be enjoyed.

Catalina Island Golf Course

Avalon

Catalina Island Country Club and Golf Course is the oldest operating course west of the Mississippi and former home of the Bobby Jones Invitational Tournament. Originally built in 1892 as a three-hole course, this scenic 2,100-yard course offers nine challenging holes, with two sets of tees for 18-hole play. The course was expanded to 9 holes in the early 1900s, and to an 18-hole tournament-level course in 1929. After World War I in 1945, it was brought back to its current 9-hole layout, featuring five Par 4s and four Par 3s. This long, narrow course meanders through a rustic canyon toward the ocean, offering stunning views of Avalon Bay and the iconic Catalina Island Casino. Since 1967, the Avalon Men’s Golf Club has sponsored the annual Catalina Island Junior Golf Tournament. Junior golfers who have played in the tournament include Craig Stadler, Corey Pavin, and Tiger Woods, who played there at age 4 and then again at age 14.

Peter Hay Golf Course at Pebble Beach Resort

Pebble Beach

The Hay has been a fixture at Pebble Beach since 1957, when famed Head Professional Peter Hay revolutionized the concept of a short course. Hay’s vision was to create a fun place where juniors, families, and friends, regardless of their ability, could gather around the game of golf. In 2021, Tiger Woods amplified Hay’s vision in a way few could have imagined with his brilliant redesign of the property. The result is a course overflowing with fun, including an exact replica of the famed No. 7 at Pebble Beach Golf Links, as well as holes designed to be played with any club in the bag, and an additional 20,000 square-foot putting course that sprawls 100 yards, yielding endless routings. 

The Ranch at Laguna Beach Golf Course

Laguna Beach

Located at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, Ben Brown’s Golf Course offers one of the most peaceful and serene nine hole golf courses in Southern California. The course is carved into the naturally dramatic and lush walls of Aliso and Wood Canyons, creating a private playing experience with stunning views and elevation changes on every fairway. Speedy greens and a commitment to proper tee box and hole placement keep the game fast, fun, and inviting with a casual California vibe. An off-the-beaten-path location offers a quiet playing experience and rare chance to connect fully in nature. The Ranch also has a great restaurant and festive 19th hole outside deck and bar.

Golden Gate Park Golf Course 

San Francisco

Located on the western edge of Golden Gate Park, just off the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco, this historic course was constructed in 1951 to encourage golf enthusiasts in the community and help build the game. This nine-hole par 3 golf course guarantees an unforgettable experience for all. In 2023, Golden Gate Park Golf Course underwent an extensive renovation, including upgrades to the entire facility and course. With these enhancements, GGPGC is more environmentally sustainable and offers improved playability for golfers of all skill levels.

Penmar Golf Course

Venice

Just blocks from Venice Beach, this executive length course is the perfect track to hone your short game skills. With six par 4s and three par 3s, the course will require golfers to concentrate on accurate approach shots and short game to score well. A great walking course to enjoy. Penmar was rated “Best Nine Hole Golf Course” by Los Angeles Magazine! Along with a fun golf course, The Penmar Venice restaurant has a great vibe, delicious food and hosts the Summer Sessions every Friday night with live local bands.  

Northwood Golf Club

Monte Rio

Along the Russian River and in the heart of one of the world’s finest wine-producing regions lies the most unique golf course you will ever experience that combines the magic of the architecture of Dr. Alister MacKenzie (Augusta National, Pasatiempo, Cypress Point) set amidst towering Redwood trees. It’s like nothing you have played before, and prompted Travelin’ Joe Passov of Golf Magazine to place Northwood on his top-5 MacKenzie courses…in the world! Contoured fairways and undulating greens are its calling card as it runs adjacent to the Russian River. Built in 1928, this nine-hole wonder predates Augusta National and was completed around the same time as Cypress Point.

Old Brockway Golf Course

Kings Beach

Historic Old Brockway Golf Course, on the shores of beautiful Lake Tahoe, is a family-owned and operated 9-hole golf course rated one of the best in America. Located on the corner of Highway 267 and North Lake Boulevard, Old Brockway plays to 3,400 yards of quality, serene golf with two par 5s, two par 3s and five par 4s–a total par of 36. A warm, friendly, welcoming staff, dedicated crew, and beautiful setting make Old Brockway a “Lake Tahoe Golfing Tradition” that you do not want to miss!

Gleneagles Golf
Course at McLaren Park

San Francisco

Designed by Jack Fleming, who was an early protege of Dr. Alister MacKenzie while he built Cypress Point Golf Club, this full length nine-holer has captured and broken the hearts of many a golfer for decades. Both high handicappers and scratch players alike come here to test themselves on the challenging contours that make us all equal and humbled. Established in 1962 to much pomp and circumstance, Gleneagles Colf Course continues the tradition with the renovation of all nine greens with bentgrass (2010), the same grass varietal used by The Olympic Club, TPC Harding Park and most private clubs. 

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