Inland Empire Golf Courses
Most golfers who visit Southern California know about the exclusive private clubs, the courses on the Pacific Ocean and certainly the courses near San Diego. But if you’re looking for affordable golf that’s also fun to play, Inland Empire golf courses are a good bet.
It’s a region that stretches from cities of western Riverside County and southwestern San Bernardino County, generally speaking. A warmer climate to be sure than the coastal areas, Inland Empire golf courses offers plenty of solid golf at a good value.
Perhaps the most golf rich of these areas is the western Riverside County area, and courses like Oak Quarry Golf Club in the city of Riverside lead the way. Oak Quarry, designed by Brian Curley, Lee Schmidt and Dr. Gil Moran, has plenty of elevated tees and elevation changes, plus terrific conditions, but it’s just the beginning. Over in Temecula, you could check out Temecula Creek Inn Golf Resort, which is set in the wine country, or the Journey at Pechanga, which not only offers a challenging Arthur Hills layout, but gaming, entertainment and lodging options as well.
Another of the top Inland Empire Golf Courses is The Country Club at Soboba Springs in San Jacinto, about 30 miles southeast of Riverside. Originally the Soboba Springs Royal Vista Golf Club, which opened in 1966, the course was designed by Desmond Muirhead. In 2005 the Luiseno Indians purchased the course and hired Cary Bickler, a disciple of Muirhead’s, to renovate the course, adding new bunkers, tees, water features and length. The course played host to the Soboba Springs Golf Classic on the Web.com Tour from 2009-’12.
Just north of The Country Club at Soboba Springs in the city of Beaumont, you’ll find three more excellent Schmidt-Curley designs. Oak Valley Golf Club is known for its excellent conditions, scenery and layout. And over at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon, there are two 18-hole layouts – the Legends and the Champions Course. Owned by Southern California PGA and open to guests Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, both courses are laid out over rolling terrain with plenty of mountain scenery.
North of Riverside in San Bernardino County, there are plenty of options, too. And a good place to start would be semi-private Arrowhead Country Club in the city of San Bernardino. An original William P. Bell design, the course measures a little more than 6,600 yards, is walkable and in great condition year-round.
Just west of San Bernardino in Fontana, Sierra Lakes Golf Club in a Ted Robinson design with great views of the San Bernardino Mountains. Measuring just over 6,800 yards, the course, which features plenty of water, works its way into the foothills on the back nine.
And finally, if you head over the western part of the county, there’s Vellano Country Club and Los Serranos Golf and Country Club in Chino Hills. Both are open to the public. Opened in 2007, Vellano Country Club is a fairly difficult Greg Norman design with plenty of ravines and hills, while Los Serranos has two 18-hole layouts, both dating back to 1925. Los Serranos’ North Course, designed by John Duncan Dunn, is a little less than 6,700 yards, while the South, designed by William Eaton, plays more than 7,500 yards from the tips with a slope rating of 76.1.