In the sunshine state, there’s no shortage of great golf courses to play and golf lovers vote Orange County golf courses some of the best in Southern California. There are greens for every skill level and budget, from luxury country clubs to open public courses.
Below we’ve rounded up five golf courses in Orange County that players consistently rank as their favorites, and that they have recommended to everyone, including longtime locals and traveling golfers looking for a new golf course to try.
#1 Monarch Beach Golf
Let’s start with our number one choice—Monarch Beach Golf Course. It’s one of the few oceanfront public golf courses in Southern California with a view of the Pacific from several holes. If you’re visiting and looking for a luxury experience, this is the place to golf—especially if you’re staying at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Hills less than a mile away.
A few of the reasons this course is so popular is the layout is fantastic and very walkable. The greens are always in top shape, with fairways looking like a vacuumed carpet. This fun yet challenging 18-hole course is our number one choice for Orange County golf courses. Whether you live in nearby Irvine or are just visiting, treat yourself to this luxury experience.
#2 Strawberry Farms Golf Club
Winding its way through Sand Canyon in the Turtle Rock area of Irvine, Strawberry Farms Golf Club is a testament to the vast natural beauty of Southern California.
Developed by former California Angel, Doug DeCinces, this par 71, 6,700-yard course is a joy to traverse thanks to its wooded ravine, rugged hills, and views over the Sand Canyon Reservoir.
#3 Pelican Hill Golf Club
Pelican Hill Golf Club, offers world-class golf with a luxury resort experience. This beautiful design is the work of legendary golf course architect Tom Fazio and offers two 18-hole courses. The setting is breathtaking with its panoramic ocean views, gorgeous sunsets, dramatic cliffs, and open canyons.
Although this is a public club, there are several choices when it comes to memberships. Enrollment ranges from $750 to just under $30,000, which is considered the going rate for joining Orange County golf courses. Even though this is an elite world-class club, they welcome golfers of all skill levels from beginners to bogey and scratch golfers. Be sure to take advantage of the world-class golf academy with a team of professional PGA teachers to learn the game or perfect your swing.
#4 Ben Brown’s Golf Course at the Ranch at Laguna Beach
Discover this hidden gem 9-hole course located in Laguna Beach. It’s tucked away in a canyon and back from the hustle and bustle of the beach itself and the Pacific Coast Highway. As an executive course, it only has nine holes, but that’s perfect for a quick game, especially after work. Following an affordable round of golf, take advantage of the cold and refreshing craft beer and live music, pre Covid days! Ben Brown’s is a favorite oasis for golfing in Orange County.
The course is always in pristine condition and very walkable. Don’t be surprised if you see deer on the green since there are woods throughout the course. Compared to 18-hole courses and elite clubs, you’ll meet golfers who are more relaxed and laid back. The serene vibe might be from all of that clean ocean air. Ben Brown’s is our top choice for 9-hole Orange County golf courses.
#5 Navy Golf Seal Beach – Destroyer Course
Our number 5 is a slightly unusual choice but we want to encourage you to play with the kids, and this is the best course to play with the family. Who wouldn’t want their kids to follow in the steps of where Tiger learned to play the game? And speaking of history, the Navy Golf Course facility has plenty of Navy relics and memorabilia that the kids will love. Get them started at the great practice facility and the Cruiser Course (a 9-hole executive track) before taking on the aptly-named Destroyer Course.
Originally opened as an 18-hole venue in 1966, the Navy Golf Seal Beach is now a 27-hole complex occupying 220 acres in Orange County, California. With a recently completed multi-million dollar full-service clubhouse and restaurant, the facilities at the Navy Golf Course continue to evolve and expand with future plans to add 18 cottage duplexes for overnight and extended vacations. The 18-hole championship Destroyer Course is a 6,780 yard challenge for even the most seasoned golfer, while the 9-hole executive Cruiser Course offers an ideal setting for a leisurely round with family and friends.