For golfers, vacationing often means hitting the links, and L.A.'s pleasant year-round weather and fantastic array of public courses will thrill any golf fanatic.
L.A.'s city-owned courses easily hold their own against members-only links. According to Golf Digest, Babe Ruth was a regular golfer at Griffith Park, which is home to three public golf courses that are named for U.S. presidents. The Wilson and Harding municipal golf courses are historic 18-hole beauties that offer ultra-accessible golf experiences. The Wilson course welcomes recreational golfers with its forgivingly wide, tree-lined fairways. The Harding course is just as picturesque but tends to challenge and delight more-skilled players with its narrower fairways and somewhat tricky greens. A clubhouse, putting green, driving range and restaurant serve both courses.
Roosevelt Municipal Golf Course is a picturesque executive 9-hole course located at Griffith Park across the street from the Greek Theatre. Opened in 1964, the Roosevelt is a very hilly and challenging course with beautiful views of the entire L.A. Basin as well as the Griffith Park Observatory. Roosevelt is a walking-only golf course.
L.A. boasts several other public courses that are so phenomenal, you'll be shocked they don't require a king's ransom in country-club dues. The 18-hole Rancho Park Golf Course is one of the most popular in the ciy, and with good reason. Located off Pico Boulevard in West L.A., Rancho Park offers a great layout, scenic views and very reasonable green fees, which start at $33 for residents and $38 for non-residents, with discounts for seniors and juniors. Rancho Park opened with the 1949 USGA Public Links Championship and has since hosted 18 Los Angeles Opens as well as numerous LPGA and Senior tour events between 1978 and 1994.
The Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area in the San Fernando Valley features three 18-hole public golf courses. Opened in 1954, Balboa Municipal Golf Course is a short-length golf course with narrow tree-lined fairways. Balboa provides a real challenge for mid- to high-handicap golfers. Encino Municipal Golf Course is a medium-length golf course with large, wide tree-lined fairways. Opened in 1957, Encino offers a unique and varied layout that provides a test for the long hitter. Encino Golf Course also has a number of challenging 3 pars. Woodley Lakes Municipal Golf Course opened in 1975 and offers wide fairways, large greens and nine acres of water hazards. Woodley Lakes also provides habitat to a wide variety of wildlife species.
Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms counts itself as one of the oldest and most prestigious public courses on the West Coast. Thirty-six holes of championship golf spanning 650 acres are found on the Dwight D. Eisenhower and Babe Didrikson Zaharias courses. Industry Hills, named the 2010 Golf Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association, recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation that includes new practice facilities and expanded resort amenities.