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Golf is an Attraction all It's Own in California

October 23, 2009

SACRAMENTO, CA – California might be best known for its beaches and theme parks, but golfers are taking note as greens across the state continue to expand and evolve, offering up some of the best and most diverse golf courses in the world.

“California is the land of plenty,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Caroline Beteta of the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC) and the national chair of the U.S Travel Association. “There is plenty to do and plenty to see – golf is absolutely part of that mix, and for many the crux of their California vacation. To say that our courses vary is an understatement. In three consecutive days, California visitors can play the rugged desert, golf alongside the ocean and take a swing in the mountains.”

San Francisco is a bustling urban center that is the very definition of culture, but outside the busy streets are ocean-side courses along with links that meander through the rural, wine-producing region of the Napa Valley. Golfing enthusiasts choose between two award-winning championship courses, the Old Course and the Ocean Course, at Half Moon Bay Golf Links in the San Francisco Bay Area Region. In Napa, the aptly named Chardonnay Golf Club received four stars from Golf Digest as “Best Places to Play” and provides three nines: The Lakes, Meadows and Vineyards, with all three courses using the natural terrain, working vineyards and creeks to provide golfers with both beauty and beast. Formerly a nationwide tour stop for the professionals, The Course at Wente Vineyards in Livermore offers well-framed greens and wonderful holes. Newcomers here tend to over-read the break. Best advice: remember to keep it straight off the tee.

The Central Coast Region stretches from Monterey in the north to Santa Barbara in the south and provides a tranquil, relaxing setting that reinvigorates even the most frustrated golfer. But among these charming, quiet ocean towns is Golf Digest’s top pick of “America’s Best Public Golf Courses,” Pebble Beach Golf Links, host of the 2010 U.S. Open. This premier course affords gorgeous views and a walk through golfing lore. Its small putting surfaces, together with the weather, provide most of the golfing challenge to a course that everyone will want to play at least once. In Santa Barbara, the Rancho San Marcos Golf Course was once the site of an old stagecoach trail and offers a rustic setting with stunning views of the Santa Ynez River Valley. The Avila Beach Golf Course has a back nine that navigates through a tidal lagoon, while the Chalk Mountain Course in Atascadero provides great value with lots of elevation changes.

The Los Angeles County Region offers up the world’s first $250 million dollar golf course, The Trump National Course, which also might be one of the most exciting courses in the world. Perched high upon the cliffs along the Pacific Ocean, this course has been honored with numerous accolades for its greens complexes, bunkering and signature waterfalls. Located off the coast of Southern California, the Catalina Island Golf Course is a tricky and scenic executive course with a rich history. For nearly 40 years, Catalina has played host to the Catalina Island Junior Tournament, with former players including Tiger Woods. The Palos Verdes Golf Club can be described in two words: a masterpiece. It’s a traditional golf course with beautiful views, wide tree-lined fairways and small greens that require a careful touch. Nestled at the edge of the Angeles National Forest, Robinson Ranch in Santa Clarita has the short Mountain Course, which demands accuracy off the tee, and the Valley Course with lots of sage and trees.

ThWith well over 300 days of sunshine each year, the Orange County Region might be the brightest place to take a swing throughout California. Many consider the Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Coast the premier course in the region. Located immediately above the Pacific Ocean, the canyon-crossing tee shots and ocean-side holes are impressive. A favorite among those traveling for business is the Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine. The upscale, daily-fee course plays in a valley, with significant wetlands and hazards constantly to the golfer’s left. Conde Nast Traveler ranked Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point among its “Top 100 Golf Resorts” for its great views, rolling hills, trees and an abundance of fairway and greenside bunkers. The course appears short from a yardage standpoint, but is a par 70.

For more information about the California Tour and Travel Commission, a free California Visitor’s Guide, California Road Trips 2009, and the full media release go to www.VisitCalifornia.com.