Ask any golfer where to find the best golf courses in the United States, and he’ll always say you’ll find them in California. But some of the best-known California golf courses have exorbitant green fees, and often require a multiple-day stay at their resort to get a tee time. This is not the case in San Mateo County, home to some of the finest coastline golf courses along the Pacific Ocean. These are golf courses with world-famous names, but with public and semi-private booking options. They’re all a short drive from San Francisco and they all come with unforgettable, spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean coastline or the San Francisco Bay.
The golf courses in San Mateo County are well known and have prestigious reputations, and some even have PGA Tour dates scheduled on their greens. Whether you’re swinging for a daytime golf outing or a full golf weekend, there are terrific golf courses on the San Francisco Peninsula that you’ll find well above par!
TPC HARDING PARK
One of the most prestigious golf courses in California is also one of its most affordable. TPC Harding Park is the only city-owned public golf course in America that’s managed by the PGA Tour. Indeed, the course hosted the 2009 Presidents Cup, as well as the 2020 PGA Championship, which was the first PGA Championship played in the western US in more than 20 years.
And while the course’s pedigree is incomparable, it is once again the scenery that makes TPC Harding Park so exceptional. You won’t realize that you are actually within the city limits of San Francisco, with lakes, ponds, cypress, and eucalyptus trees that give this course more the feel of Monterey. Located within a mile of San Mateo County, TPC Harding Park has both 18-hole and nine-hole courses that give you a chance to play the very same links that have been golfed by Rory, Tiger, Phil, and other pros.
POPLAR CREEK GOLF COURSE
There is no bad time of year to play at the Poplar Creek Golf Course, a San Mateo golf course nestled right next to the San Francisco Bay at the Coyote Point Recreation Area. Though located right within the city of San Mateo and just a mile south of San Francisco International Airport, Poplar Creek has a wonderfully idyllic feel. Lakes, ponds, waterfalls, and immaculately maintained greens help keep Poplar Creek very popular, with roughly 70,000 rounds played annually to make this one of the most frequently played courses in Northern California. Hungry? Make sure to stop at Par 3 at Poplar Creek and enjoy a delicious meal after a long day of golfing.
CRYSTAL SPRINGS GOLF COURSE
Located in Burlingame, Crystal Springs Golf Course is one of the best golf courses in San Mateo County, offering spectacular panoramic views of the Crystal Springs Reservoir. Designed by the British architect, W. Herbert Fowler, this classic 6,628 yard, 18-hole, par 72 layout meanders along the natural contours of the San Francisco Peninsula and offers a challenge to any level golfer. Among the tests, you will face are well-bunkered greens and rolling hillsides that will amaze you with their uneven lies. The course generally slopes downward toward the reservoir.
The golf course offers great food, great service from experienced professionals and their incredible location is just 11 minutes from San Francisco International Airport. This venue is the perfect place to host your next golf tournament or any other private event. In addition, this golf course is well known for local wildlife – 61 different kinds of birds, mule deer, and bobcat are in abundance here. Watch for the red-tailed hawks, the American kestrel, and the ever-present turkey vultures wheeling high overhead.
GOLF PACKAGES WITH OVERNIGHT STAYS
When you want to make a golf weekend out of your San Mateo County stay, there are a number of overnight lodging deals for golfing at Half Moon Bay Golf Links. With a Ritz-Carlton right next to the course, it’s no surprise the Ritz offers their "Legends of Golf Package" that includes overnight accommodations, one round of golf per person per night's stay, GPS enabled golf cart, $50 resort credit per night and overnight valet parking per night.
Just up the road at the Beach House Hotel, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean in close proximity to Half Moon Bay Golf Links. Also nearby, at Pillar Point Harbor, site of the famed Mavericks surfing competition, the Oceano Hotel & Spa, with its stunning harbor views, offers a "Golf Package", which includes two rounds of golf at the course of your choice, golf cart, and two complimentary beverages at Mullin Restaurant overlooking the 18th hole and the scenic Pacific Ocean.
The views are spectacular and the golf courses are legendary in San Mateo County, an area that should be on every golfer’s must-see list. Make plans to tee up on your next visit to the San Francisco Peninsula, where the renowned golf courses, breathtaking scenery, luxury accommodations, and California sun combine to win a grand slam!
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