Photo credits: Spyglass cover shot, Pebble Beach – Pebble Beach Company
One of the perks of living in California is the year-round weather, the type where we complain when it gets into the 50s.
For golfers the relatively mild winters means playing golf all 12 months!
Are there some courses I prefer to play in Northern California during the winter? Without a doubt and it usually means I am heading to the coast for my winter golf.
Of course, with the coast you are also certainly dealing with fog, but the tradeoff is the coastal climate during the winter months is better than what you face inland.
And there is always the chance you get a clear day with the sun shining, creating a “chamber of commerce” type day!
What are my go to courses in NorCal from December through February? Following are my top five courses to play during the winter months. The first two courses may not be a regular, play everyday type of course, but they must be on your winter bucket list. All the courses are public courses – not country clubs.
1) Pebble Beach Golf Links: You cannot go wrong with either of the first two courses on the list, with Pebble Beach getting the nod because of so many wonderful views of the coast. Take your pick of No.7, 8, 9, 10, and 18 to embrace the stunning beauty of the California coast in the winter.
2) Spyglass Hill: I played the course – a couple days after Christmas, with it being 65 degrees without a cloud in the sky, and nary a breeze. The first five holes play down to along the ocean before turning back into the Del Monte Forest. Simply, Spyglass Hill is magical.
3) Pacific Grove Golf Links: Fits all budgets much easier and you experience similar views from the coast that you get with others. While the front nine is nothing to be giddy about, just knowing what awaits when the reach the tee box on No. 12 makes it fly by when you toil through the first nine. While the views don’t match Pebble, the Pacific Grove course is right there with the same scenic vistas as Spanish Bay.
4) Half Moon Bay Golf Links: The are two courses here – the Ocean and the Old course. Both are amazing and offer a complete contrast. Ironically, the Old Course features the most iconic, photographed hole – No. 18 – but it is the lone hole on the coast. The course is immaculate and just a wonderful round. The Ocean Course give the golfers views of the ocean throughout the round and features some spectacular hole along the coast.
5) Greenhorn Creek: Heading inland for this course and another that is great for playing in the winter. Greenhorn Creek is in Angels Camp up in Golf Country. Heading into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada doesn’t sound a great winter golf option, but the location is perfect as the course sits about the Central Valley fog line, but below the snow line, making for some wonderful winter golf!
There are plenty of year-round golfing options in California and as long as you are playing, that’s all the matters!
By Dennis Miller