With such a variety of golf courses in Orange County, choosing a place to play can be an overwhelming task, especially if you’re strapped for time or budget-conscious. With its supreme Southern California location, Orange County features a wide variety of golf courses along the coast, in the hills, and that wind through environmentally protected areas.
To help you find your way through the maze of potential fairways, we’ve compiled the following guide of what to look for when deciding to spend the day on a great orange county golf course.
CHOOSE YOUR TYPE
First, you need to decide what type of course you want to play. Orange County offers fun 9-hole tracks, short-and-sweet executive courses, and championship layouts that will leave you both challenged and inspired.
Courses such as Coyote Hills Golf Course—an 18-hole, award-winning championship layout designed by Cal Olson and PGA Tour legend Payne Stewart—offers 250 acres of lush fairways, a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, majestic views, and an immaculate clubhouse. The par 70, 6,510-yard undulating layout winds through the hills of Fullerton, and its flowing streams and dramatic elevation changes add to the challenge.
Another 18-hole option is Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course, which is centrally located in Irvine and features a 6,431-yard layout designed by William Francis Bell. The gentle terrain on this par 70 track makes it easy to walk the course, too.
A slightly shorter option is Fullerton Golf Course, a 5,168-yard William F. Bell design located on the other side of town from Coyote Hills. The course is narrow with slight elevation changes and dramatic doglegs, and it follows along the beautiful Brea Creek.
When it comes to executive golf courses in Orange County, Casta del Sol in Mission Viejo is a gem. An 18-hole Ted Robinson design that measures 3,670 yards long, Casta del Sol features a collection of short-to-long par 3s and par 4s that max out at 317 yards. With tree-lined fairways and two streams that weave between nearly every hole, the design places a premium on accuracy, making the course a challenge to even low handicappers, yet still an enjoyable Orange County golf course for all skill levels.
Lake Forest Golf & Practice Center is one of the few 9-hole golf courses in Orange County. Set among orange groves, mature trees, and two sparkling lakes, the course is built for walking and great for beginners and juniors. It is also lit for night play so you can get in a round after the sun goes down. Moreover, if you like soccer or want to have a fun first-time experience on the golf course, you can book a FootGolf tee time, which is a new game that combines the best of both soccer and golf.
REMEMBER TO PRACTICE
Another aspect every golfer should consider when picking an Orange County golf course is the practice facilities. Whether you want to warm up properly before your round or just get in some extra work on the range, you need to make sure that the course you choose has the proper facilities.
Both Coyote Hills and Fullerton Golf Courses offer full-size driving ranges with practice greens to warm up on before your round. Rancho San Joaquin and Lake Forest Golf & Practice Center offer night-lit driving ranges with more than 60 stalls each, making them both listed among the most expansive practice facilities in Orange County. Lake Forest also offers golfers a large putting green and five chipping areas, and at Rancho San Joaquin chipping, short-game areas, and sand bunkers are available as well.
GET A GOOD DEAL
Finally, before you visit Orange County and pick an Orange County golf course to play, you need to check rates and determine what course will get you the best deal for your dollar. These days, pricing for a round of golf can hinge on many factors, such as the time of day, season, or tee sheet schedule that particular day. Your best bet is to check rates online where you can compare times and get detailed information on the courses you want to play.
One of the best sources for golf courses in Orange County is GOLFZING.com, where you can find important information about the course, compare rates, and book your tee time online from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. When you book through GOLFZING you also can earn reward points to use toward future rounds of golf.
Another great option to look into if you’re planning on playing an Orange County golf course often is THE PLAYERS CLUB. The PLAYERS CLUB is a player development program offered at all but two of the aforementioned Orange County golf courses (with the exception currently of Casta del Sol & Lake Forest). THE PLAYERS CLUB offers golfers an array of resources, discounted (or free!) golf rounds, and lessons to help encourage practice and a love for the game—all for a low monthly membership. You can check out the individual PLAYERS CLUB page for each of these courses to find out more: Coyote Hills; Rancho San Joaquin; Fullerton.
We hope that this guide helps you on your next Orange County golf trip. Whatever course you choose, we know you’ll have a great time out on the course!