Course designers have given the Californian desert a facelift. The difference between natural landscape and fairway is drastic with little chance to incorporate natural hazards into the game. But immaculate grooming and facial reconstructive surgery have created beautiful oases. Here, golf communities such as Palm Springs have mountain range backdrops but are otherwise golf resort/retirement towns in middle of unremarkable desert. Around the San Diego area Coronado Golf Course and Balboa Park are the best value.
The more rugged and coastal courses of mid and northern California are loved more for their personality. Ocean side courses are short drives from San Francisco including the Monterey Peninsula and the famous Pebble Beach. Majestic rocky coastlines reminiscent of Scottish links have similar seaside grass roughs. In contrast to the expanse of mid-Californian courses, northern fairways are often cut into dense walls of tall redwood forests. In the north, weather can become wet in fall and winter, making the best time to visit in spring and summer months when the south is too hot. Resort courses are an option but in California most areas are drivable from a city centre.