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Best Public Golf Courses In Los Angeles

July 12, 2014 5:00 AM

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(credit: Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

(credit: Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

(Credit: Thinkstock)

(Credit: Thinkstock)


Chasing a little white ball around verdant greens at places where this is an accepted and definitely respected activity is one way to bond with other fanatics frequenting public golf courses in and around Los Angeles. But you don’t have to be a perfectionist in a quest for which that’s hardly possible and you don’t have to belong to an expensive private club either, because beginners and non-affiliates alike are welcome to learn this very tricky game via great public venues designated for this specific and often frustrating sport. And no worries about the need for sunny weather in order to play here either, because Mother Nature makes that available in abundance in the City of Angels. That said, the following are five of the best public golf courses to be found in Los Angeles.
Trump National Golf Club's course begins against a backdrop of a $2.5 million waterfall. (credit: Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles)

Trump National Golf Club’s course begins against a backdrop of a $2.5 million waterfall. (credit: Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles)


Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles
1 Trump National Drive
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
(310) 265-5000
www.trumpnationallosangeles.com

Who would innately expect Donald Trump to offer a public-access course in his portfolio? Well, here’s one and it’s a doozy, especially given its location on the top of a bluff overlooking the Pacific just below. That said, the front nine holes have been called cramped due to the jagged topography in this storied spot in Rancho Palos Verdes that the entrepreneur from New York snagged in 2008. Predominately designed by Pete Dye, Trump had his hand and say in making this challenging course what it is today. Speaking of challenging, arguably the most difficult hole here is number 15. It is also the shortest and the smallest and is surrounded by sand. Note: Trump’s beautiful public course has been used as a filming location for such popular TV shows as “Californication,” “Revenge” and “Entourage.”

(credit: Dan K./Yelp)

(credit: Dan K./Yelp)


Harding Golf Course
4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 663-2555
www.golf.lacity.org

Even if you tee off alone early in the morning at Harding, you’ll likely not only come across wide open fairways but also all kinds of critters, up to and including deer, coyotes, bunnies and even Canadian geese. This old school, Griffith Park-based course is very walkable by all ages. With that in mind, when you play, expect a number of narrow approaches, specific challenges for any handicap like very fast greens and a longer play time than you might come across at other, less popular courses. Expect a snack stand at hole 8.

Woodley Lakes Golf Course (credit: golf.lacity.org)

Woodley Lakes Golf Course (credit: golf.lacity.org)


Woodley Lakes Municipal Golf Course
6331 Woodley Ave.
Van Nuys, CA 91406
(818) 780-6886
www.golf.lacity.org

As the name implies, water traps abound on this course that makes Woodley Lakes Municipal Golf Course and its wide fairways a force to be reckoned with as designed by Ray Goates. The third golf course in the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area to bow, Woodley Lakes also serves as a refuge for all sorts of wildlife indigenous to the area. Despite all of the water around this legendary muni course, there are not any places to find a drink once you get going, so carry your own to keep hydrated as this popular Valley outpost will leave you mighty thirsty after just a few rounds. A number of novices who have played here have claimed that this particular course serves as a good place to practice and golf lessons are on offer at the driving range for those who want game.

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(credit: Tischa B./Yelp)

(credit: Tischa B./Yelp)


Wilson Municipal Golf Course
4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 663-2555
www.golf.lacity.org

Another golf course thriving in Griffith Park, Wilson boasts wide and mildly sloping fairways at a course erected in 1923 by George C. Thomas Jr. This particular course started the tradition of naming the courses in the nation’s largest municipal park after certain Presidents of the United States. But don’t expect to see any POTUS on the greens these days because these people rarely have enough time to spare golfing on a slow course like this one, especially on the weekends. Golf life is better very early in the morning on week days. That said, Wilson welcomes all kinds of golfers, especially neophytes young and old who wish to be one with the little white ball and a major taste of urban nature all at the same time.

(credit: Joan S./Yelp)

(credit: Joan S./Yelp)


Rancho Park Municipal Golf Course
10460 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 838-7373
www.golf.lacity.org

Designed by William Johnson and William P. Bell, Cheviot Hill’s Rancho Park takes skill and perseverance to conquer. Perhaps some time on the new range at this hot golf spot will do a lot to improve your game. By way of background, this celebrated course bowed while hosting the 1949 U.S.G.A. Public Links Championship and since that seminal tournament, this challenging course has welcomed more than a dozen Los Angeles Opens as well as a number of LPGA and Senior tour events. These days, golfers out for a nice day while not competing prefer this muni course for many reasons, among them the prime location in West LA. However, those who do choose this venue should expect to be on the course for quite a while as six-hour rounds are not unusual.

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(credit: Brookside Golf Course)

(credit: Brookside Golf Course)


Brookside Golf Course
1133 Rosemont Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 585-3594
www.brooksidegc.com

Located directly next to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Brookside is a beautiful multi-course golf facility which is a popular choice for LA residents. Brookside offers two courses, the longer C.W. Koiner Course (course #1) and the shorter course, E.O. Nay Course or Course #2. They are divided by the Arroyo Seco and offer an intermediate level challenge for golfers. In addition to the courses, you will find a restaurant, meeting room, banquet hall, pro shop, putting greens, chipping area, a practice bunker, a driving range and more.

Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.

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