Golf has a rich history in California, with courses dating back over 100 years. If you’re looking to play a round at a classic and historic course, you’ll want to know which is the oldest golf course in the state.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The oldest golf course in California is the Del Monte Golf Course located in Monterey.

History of Golf in California

Golf has a rich history in California, with the state being home to some of the oldest golf courses in the United States. The sport arrived in California in the late 19th century, as the state experienced a surge in popularity and growth.

Golf Arrives in California in the Late 19th Century

In the late 1800s, golf began to make its way to California. The first golf course in the state, the San Francisco Golf Club, was established in 1895. Located in the Bay Area, this historic club played a significant role in the early development of the sport in California.

As the popularity of golf grew, more courses started popping up throughout the state. The Pasadena Golf Club, founded in 1898, became another notable golfing destination in California. These early courses provided a platform for golf enthusiasts to come together and enjoy the sport.

Growth of Golf Courses in Early 20th Century

The early 20th century saw a significant growth in the number of golf courses in California. With the state’s pleasant climate and diverse landscapes, it became an ideal location for golf enthusiasts to play year-round.

One notable example of this growth is the Pebble Beach Golf Links, which opened in 1919. Located on the Monterey Peninsula, this iconic course has hosted numerous prestigious tournaments and is considered one of the most beautiful courses in the world.

During this period, other famous courses such as the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles and the Olympic Club in San Francisco also emerged. These courses not only attracted local golfers but also drew national and international attention to California as a premier golf destination.

Today, California boasts a wide array of golf courses, from historic clubs to championship layouts. Golfers of all skill levels can enjoy the beautiful scenery and challenging fairways that the state has to offer.

For more information on the history of golf in California, visit

The Origins of the Del Monte Golf Course

Opened in 1897 in Monterey

The Del Monte Golf Course, located in Monterey, California, is the oldest golf course in the state. It holds a rich history that dates back over a century. The course first opened its doors in the year 1897 and has since become a beloved landmark for golf enthusiasts.

When the course first opened, it quickly gained popularity among locals and visitors alike. Its picturesque location, nestled among the beautiful coastal landscape, made it an instant hit. People flocked to the course to enjoy a round of golf while taking in the stunning views of the ocean and surrounding scenery.

Over the years, the Del Monte Golf Course has hosted numerous prestigious tournaments and events. It has welcomed golfing legends and amateurs alike, providing a challenging and memorable experience for players of all skill levels.

The course has managed to maintain its charm and appeal throughout the years, making it a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts.

Designed by Golf Pioneer Willie Dunn

The Del Monte Golf Course was designed by renowned golf course architect Willie Dunn. Dunn was a pioneer in the field of golf course design and is credited with creating some of the most iconic courses in the world.

With the Del Monte Golf Course, Dunn sought to create a challenging yet enjoyable playing experience. He carefully incorporated the natural features of the land into the course design, utilizing the rolling hills, strategically placed bunkers, and undulating greens to create a course that tests a golfer’s skills while still offering an enjoyable round.

Dunn’s expertise and attention to detail are evident throughout the course. The layout of the holes, the placement of hazards, and the overall flow of the course are all carefully crafted to provide an engaging and rewarding golfing experience.

Today, golfers from all over the world flock to the Del Monte Golf Course to experience its rich history and play on a course that has been enjoyed by generations of golfers. Its timeless design and stunning location continue to make it a favorite among golf enthusiasts looking for a memorable round of golf in California.

Del Monte Golf Course Over the Years

Del Monte Golf Course, located in Monterey, California, holds the title for being the oldest golf course in the state. With a rich history dating back to 1897, the course has seen numerous changes and developments over the years, making it a true gem in the world of golf.

Multiple Renovations and Redesigns

Throughout its long history, Del Monte Golf Course has undergone several renovations and redesigns to keep up with modern standards while preserving its classic charm. These changes have been made to enhance the playing experience and maintain the course’s reputation as a top destination for golf enthusiasts.

One notable renovation took place in the early 1900s when famous golf course architect, Jack Neville, was commissioned to redesign the course. Neville is also renowned for designing another iconic golf course, Pebble Beach Golf Links.

His expertise and vision transformed Del Monte Golf Course into a challenging yet picturesque layout.

Another significant renovation occurred in the 1960s when renowned golf course architect Robert Muir Graves was brought in to update the course. His changes included the addition of new bunkers, reshaping fairways, and improving drainage systems.

These updates not only improved the aesthetics but also enhanced the playability of the course.

Hosted Major Championships

Del Monte Golf Course has had the honor of hosting several major championships throughout its history, further solidifying its status as a premier golf destination. One of the notable tournaments held at Del Monte was the California State Amateur Championship, which has seen some of the best amateur golfers competing for the prestigious title.

In addition to hosting amateur championships, Del Monte Golf Course has also welcomed professional golfers to its fairways. The course has been a qualifying site for the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, attracting top-notch players from around the world.

The challenging layout and beautiful scenery have made it a favorite among both amateurs and professionals alike.

Del Monte Golf Course’s rich history, multiple renovations, and hosting of major championships have all contributed to its reputation as the oldest and one of the most respected golf courses in California.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a casual enthusiast, a round of golf at Del Monte is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Other Notable Early California Golf Courses

California Golf Club of San Francisco (1918)

While the Del Monte Golf Course may hold the title as the oldest golf course in California, it is not the only notable early course in the state. One such example is the California Golf Club of San Francisco, which was established in 1918.

Located in South San Francisco, this historic course has a rich history and continues to be a prominent fixture in the golfing community.

The California Golf Club of San Francisco offers a challenging and scenic golfing experience, with its lush fairways and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The course has hosted numerous prestigious tournaments over the years, including the U.S. Women’s Open in 1958 and the U.S.

Amateur Championship in 2007. Golf enthusiasts from around the world flock to this historic course to test their skills and soak in its unique atmosphere.

If you’re a golf lover visiting California, the California Golf Club of San Francisco is definitely a must-visit. Its rich history, challenging course, and beautiful surroundings make it a top choice for golfers of all skill levels.

Riviera Country Club (1926)

Another notable early golf course in California is the Riviera Country Club, located in Pacific Palisades. Established in 1926, this exclusive club has a long-standing reputation for excellence in golfing.

With its picturesque setting and world-class facilities, it has become a favorite among professional golfers and avid enthusiasts alike.

The Riviera Country Club is renowned for its challenging course layout and meticulously maintained greens. It has hosted numerous major golf tournaments, including the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.

The club’s rich history and prestigious reputation continue to attract top players from around the world.

Aside from its golfing facilities, the Riviera Country Club offers a range of amenities for its members, including fine dining, tennis courts, and a luxurious clubhouse. It is a place where golfers can not only enjoy their favorite sport but also indulge in the finer things in life.

If you’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play at the Riviera Country Club, be prepared for an unforgettable golfing experience. The combination of its stunning scenery, challenging course, and world-class facilities make it a true gem in the world of golf.

The Legacy and Charm of the Del Monte Golf Course

The Del Monte Golf Course holds the prestigious title of being the oldest golf course in California. Steeped in history and surrounded by natural beauty, this iconic golf course has been captivating golfers for over a century.

Its rich heritage and timeless charm make it a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Historic Course that Still Operates Today

Despite its age, the Del Monte Golf Course continues to operate and thrive, offering a unique golfing experience that combines tradition with modern amenities. Established in 1897, the course has witnessed the evolution of the sport and has hosted numerous professional tournaments throughout its storied history.

Today, golfers can walk in the footsteps of legends and challenge themselves on the same fairways that have tested the skills of golfing greats for generations.

The course’s classic design, featuring tree-lined fairways and strategically placed bunkers, provides a challenging yet enjoyable experience for players of all skill levels. The well-maintained greens and breathtaking views of the Monterey Peninsula add to the allure of this historic golfing gem.

Provides a Glimpse into the Origins of California Golf

Del Monte Golf Course offers more than just a round of golf; it provides a glimpse into the origins of golf in California. As one of the oldest courses in the state, it serves as a living testament to the early days of the sport and the pioneers who brought it to the West Coast.

The course’s historic clubhouse, adorned with vintage photographs and memorabilia, tells the story of the game’s evolution and the role Del Monte has played in its development.

Visitors to the Del Monte Golf Course can immerse themselves in the rich history of the sport, learning about the challenges faced by early golfers and the milestones achieved over the years. The course’s connection to the past adds an extra layer of significance to the golfing experience, creating a sense of reverence for the game and its traditions.

As you step onto the fairways of the Del Monte Golf Course, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and appreciation for the legacy and charm that it embodies. This historic course is a testament to the enduring allure of golf and the timeless beauty of the California landscape.


For over 125 years, the Del Monte Golf Course in Monterey has welcomed generations of golfers. As the oldest golf course in California, it represents an important part of the history and growth of golf in the state. The classic course provides a special experience for those looking to walk in the footsteps of the earliest golf pioneers in California.

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