California's Top 10 Tour Courses You Can Play
The PGA Tour descends on the Monterey Peninsula this week to play Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Poppy Hills. If your idea of golf heaven is to play where the pros play, then you're in luck. After the pros have departed, you can have your shot. Here's a list of California's Top 10 Tour Courses you can play.
10. Golf Resort at Indian Wells, Indian Wells
Architects: Ted Robinson/Clive Clark/John Fought
Thanksgiving's annual LG Skins Game moves from Indian Wells's Celebrity course site of the 2007 event with Fred Couples, Zach Johnson, Brett Wetterich and champion Stephen Ames to its sister course, the Players course, which was completely made over in 2007. Both courses sport in-your-face mountain vistas and strategic bunkering.
2 of 10Eric Risberg/AP Photo
2. Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Pebble Beach
Architect: Robert Trent Jones Sr.
Ever since Spyglass' debut as a PGA Tour venue in 1967, 72 has been considered a pretty good score. Nicklaus lost a $500 bet to Bing Crosby when the Golden Bear failed to break par the first time he played the course. Somehow, Mickelson and Luke Donald have each posted a 62 during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to share the course record.
3 of 10Robert Beck/SI
3. Torrey Pines Golf Course (South), La Jolla
Architects: William F. Bell/Rees Jones
Tom Weiskopf christened Torrey Pines South as a tour venue with a win in 1968, followed by Nicklaus in 1969. Watson won two titles here and Mickelson has three but no one can touch Tiger's six wins, including the last four Buick Invitationals. He might lap the field when the South hosts the 2008 U.S. Open in June.
4 of 10Harry How/Getty Images
4. PGA West (Stadium Course), La Quinta
Architect: Pete Dye
It's no longer the tremor-inducing test it was in 1987 when the pros swore they'd never return, but PGA West's Stadium Course can still turn legs to jelly. When the PGA Tour's final stage of Q-School is played here at the end of the 2008 season, you'll see tour-wannabes crumble.
5 of 10Eric Risberg/AP Photo
5. Harding Park Golf Course, San Francisco
Architect: Willie Watson
Perhaps John Daly's last hurrah took place at cypress tree-studded Harding Park when he missed a three-footer at the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship to lose a playoff to Woods. The match play feel will return when Harding hosts the 2009 Presidents Cup.
6 of 10Harry How/Getty Images
6. Poppy Hills Golf Course, Pebble Beach
Architect: Robert Trent Jones II
Ocean views are in short supply here, but deer sightings, massive undulating greens and towering Monterey pines are in abundance. Poppy Hills has been one of the courses used in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am since 1991.
7 of 10Charles Baus/Icon SMI
7. La Costa Resort & Spa, Carlsbad
Architects: Dick Wilson/Joe Lee
Between 1969 and 2006, boldly-bunkered La Costa was the home of the PGA Tour's Tournament of Champions/Mercedes, and then the WGC-Accenture Match-Play. Some of the greats who won here include Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Watson, Phil Mickelson and Geoff Ogilvy (left). To play the holes used in competition, sign up for holes 1-3 and 13-18 of the North course and the back nine of the South.
8 of 10Stan Badz/Getty Images
8. The Course at Wente Vineyards, Livermore
Architect: Greg Norman
At the Nationwide Tour's Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship last April, 15 former PGA Tour winners teed it up and not a single one broke par at this course. Veteran Omar Uresti edged fellow vet Skip Kendall to win, but perhaps the real winner was this hilly, vineyard-laden Greg Norman design, which yielded a 288 winning score.
9 of 10Chris Condon/WireImage
9. Sonoma Golf Club, Sonoma
Architect: Sam Whiting/Willie Watson
When asked to name his favorite course layout, Sam Snead responded that it was this oak-lined course. In late October, Sonoma will host the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup for the sixth consecutive year. Jim Thorpe (left, in red) practically owns the place, having won three times on this course, but Tom Watson has also won here.
10 of 10Mike Fiala/AFP
1. Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach
Architects: Jack Neville/Douglas Grant
Pebble Beach is unquestionably the most spectacular course in tournament golf. It's also one of the oldest, serving as a PGA Tour stop since 1947. Pebble will host its fifth U.S. Open in 2010. Previous Pebble Open winners include Nicklaus (left), Watson, Tom Kite and Woods.
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