Carlton Oaks Lodge and Country Club. Many prestigious qualifying events—including the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur qualifiers—have been held at this difficult course that was built in 1958 and designed by Pete Dye. The historic course is considered a local landmark and has a picturesque setting, with Sycamore and Eucalyptus trees, several lakes, and a creek. The newly renovated Oaks Bar and Grill serves sandwiches and wraps and offers good Happy Hour specials between 4 and 7. 9200 Inwood Dr., Santee, CA, 92071. 619/448–4242. www.carltonoaksgolf.com. For members: $35 Mon.–Thurs., $45 Fri., $60 Sat., $50 Sun. For nonmembers: $55 Mon.–Thurs., $65 Fri., $85 weekends. 18 holes, 6700 yards, par 72.
Omni La Costa Resort and Spa. One of the premier golf resorts in Southern California, La Costa over the years has hosted many of the best professional golfers in the world as well as prominent politicians and Hollywood celebrities. The resort recently remodeled both its courses. The Dick Wilson–designed Champions course has new bent grass greens, Bermuda fairways, and bunkers. The more spacious Legends Course received a complete makeover including a redesign of all 18 greens, as well as new bunkers and turfgrass plantings. After a day on the links you can wind down with a massage, steam bath, and dinner at the resort. 2100 Costa del Mar Rd., Carlsbad, CA, 92009. 800/854–5000. www.lacosta.com. $210 Mon.–Thurs., $230 Fri.–Sun. Champions: 18 holes, 6608 yards, par 72. Legends: 18 holes, 6524 yards, par 72.
Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club. This golf course consistently ranks as one of the best in California and is the only course in San Diego designed by Arnold Palmer. The course features gently rolling hills dotted with native wildflowers and views of the protected adjacent Batiquitos Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean. There are plenty of bunkers and water features for those looking for a challenge, and the golf carts, included in the cost, come fitted with GPS systems that tell you the distance to the pin. The two-story Spanish colonial clubhouse has full-size lockers, lounge areas, a bar, and a steak house. 7447 Batiquitos Dr., Carlsbad, CA, 92011. 760/603–6900. www.golfaviara.com. Members: $130 Mon.–Thurs., $150 Fri.–Sun. Nonmembers: $225 Mon.–Thurs., $245 Fri.–Sun. 18 holes, 7007 yards, par 72.
Rancho Bernardo Inn and Country Club. Designed by William Francis Bell in 1962, this 18-hole course has a traditional layout, but renovations in 2009 and 2010 have kept it feeling fresh and new. New bunkers were even added in 2013. The course has hosted both PGA and LPGA events and offers an oasis in Rancho Bernardo, with its tree-lined fairways and various water features. A challenging 18th hole requires an approach shot over a creek. Located at the esteemed Rancho Bernardo Inn, the property offers great amenities like a spa and several restaurants, including AVANT, where gourmet mustards are served on tap. 17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr., Rancho Bernardo, CA, 92128. 858/675–8470. www.ranchobernardoinn.com/golf. Members: $55 Mon.–Thurs., $59 Fri., $85 weekends. Nonmembers: $100 Mon.–Thurs., $115 Fri., $135 weekends. 18 holes, 6631 yards, par 72. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, restaurant, bar.
Sycuan Resort & Casino. With its three courses orginally designed by Cecil Holingsworth, this resort offers something for every golfer. Due to flooding in the late 1970s, the courses had to be redesigned by golf course architect Ted Robinson Sr., who added elevation changes and lakes to increase the difficulty. Hackers will love the executive par-3 course, while seasoned golfers can play the championship courses. Sycuan Golf Resort hosts a variety of tournaments, including the Junior World Golf Championships, U.S. Public Links Qualifying site, and the San Diego Junior Amateur. 3007 Dehesa Rd., El Cajon, CA, 92019. 619/219–6028 or 800/457–5568. www.sycuanresort.com. Willow Glen and Oak Glen: $55 for members Mon.–Thurs., $56 Fri., $66 weekends; $91 for nonmembers Mon.–Thurs., $96 Fri., $111 weekends. Pine Glen: $25 for members and nonmembers. Willow Glen: 18 holes, 6687 yards, par 72. Oak Glen: 18 holes, 6682 yards, par 72. Pine Glen: 18 holes, 2508 yards, par 54. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, pitching area, golf carts, pull carts, rental clubs, pro shop, golf academy/lessons, restaurant, bar.