How to plan a weekend in Southern California (and play 3 Top 100 courses!) for less than $2K

February 14, 2020
Trump National GC LA

Tiger Woods and the rest of the world’s best are busy taking on Riviera Country Club at this week’s Genesis Invitational, but if watching them has you yearning for your own spin around Riviera, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you that the course is super-exclusive and private, so unless you have a connection, a tee time will be hard to come by.

The good news? The greater Los Angeles area is chock-full of great, publicly accessible golf — including three courses that are ranked in GOLF’s Top 100 You Can Play. Here’s how to spend a long and satisfying SoCal weekend playing them for less than $2,000.

AIRFARE: ~$315

Flying into LAX is wonderfully convenient from most major cities in the country, so you are pretty much guaranteed a direct flight. Late March is also a great time for some smokin’ deals on airfare — at least from some major airports.

From JFK, I found a non-stop, round-trip, long-weekend itinerary for the ultra-low price of $260, and only $271 from BOS. Chicago’s ORD was inexplicably pricier at $390 (all prices via Expedia).

TOTAL AIRFARE: ~$315

GROUND TRANSPORTATION: $126

Los Angeles is a place where having your own vehicle comes in handy, and since you’ll be doing a fair bit of driving on this trip, I recommend renting instead of Ubering, just to simplify things.

A midsize vehicle from U-Save can be had for as low as $252 for a long weekend (price via Expedia). Split that in half with your travel buddy, and that’s only $126 for the duration of your trip.

TOTAL SPEND: $315 + $126 = $441

An exterior view of the Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif.
Expedia.com

LODGING: $545.03

For this three-course itinerary where the courses are separated by about 100 miles, I think staying in Santa Monica makes the most sense. It’s beachy, trendy, less than 10 miles from LAX and offers the best driving distance to each of your courses. Yes, traffic can be a bugaboo, but this is LA! Plan accordingly as best you can.

I don’t have much personal experience staying in Santa Monica, but one of Expedia’s top-rated hotels is the Ambrose, which is available for $288 per night for a room with two beds, for a total price of $1,090.05 when you include taxes and fees. That means it’s only $545.03 when split in half!

TOTAL SPEND: $441 + $545.03 = $986.03

An aerial view of the majestic 123-yard par-3 13th hole at Pelican Hill's Ocean South Course.
Courtesy of the Pelican Hill Resort

GREEN FEES: $594

Now let’s get to the mind-blowing golf itinerary. On Day 1, venture 55 miles south to the magnificent Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Coast, ranked No. 89 on GOLF‘s most recent list of the Top 100 Courses You Can Play. At $295 per person, it’s not cheap, but it is fabulous.

On Day 2, head 45 miles north to Rustic Canyon in Moorpark. The $69 green fee is an absolute steal for a course ranked No. 95 on our list.

Finally, for your third and final round, drive 34 miles south to scenic Rancho Palos Verdes for a round at Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles, ranked N0. 27 on the list, where the average weekend green fee is around $230 per person.

TOTAL GREEN FEES: $594

TOTAL SPEND: $986.03 + $594 = $1,580.03

DINING: $340

I realize this is LA, and nothing is exactly budget-friendly, but try to stick to the following breakdown to avoid blowing too much cash.

Arrival dinner: $50

Day 1 golf course lunch: $30

Day 1 dinner: $50

Day 2 golf course lunch: $30

Day 2 dinner: $50

Day 3 golf course lunch: $30

Miscellaneous breakfasts and snacks: $100

TOTAL DINING: $340

TOTAL SPEND: $1,580.03 + $340 = $1,920.03

And there you have it! Airfare, rental car, three nights in a top-rated hotel in Santa Monica and three rounds of golf at Top 100-ranked courses, all for under $2,000! Ready to book? Happy travels!

Want more dream trip itineraries? Check out the budget breakdowns to these fantastic destinations:
Pebble Beach
TPC Scottsdale
Torrey Pines
PGA West

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