An an older golfer, the days of my exotic golf travel adventures may be over. I prefer to take weekend golf getaways to areas in and around Los Angeles, where I live now. I really like the combination of a luxury hotel, fine dining and a weekend of golf without having to fly or drive a long distance to another city. Here are my suggestions for a great Los Angeles golf getaway:
Where to play: Day 1 – Rancho Park Golf Couse
Conveniently located in West Los Angeles, across the street from Fox Studios, Rancho Park Golf Course is owned by the City of Los Angeles and has been hosting golfers since 1949. Host to the annual Los Angeles Open, the 18-hole, par 71 course runs 6,630 yards and is a nice oasis in the middle of the city. I like the course, it’s got some nice terrain elevation and makes good use of the space it’s in. Long, wide fairways with small greens set back and sometimes very hard to reach. Main hazards are sand and the trees that line each hole. Resident green fees are $33 weekdays and $43 on weekends. Non-resident fees are $38 mid-week and $48 on weekends. There are discounts for 9-hole play, seniors and twilight play. Cart rental (not required) is $24. Advance reservations are available online.
Where to play: Day 2 – Wilson Municipal Golf Course
Another public course owned by the City, the Wilson Municipal Golf Course is located in Griffith Park, about 20 minutes from Rancho Park. The course was built in 1923, as a second course to the original municipal course, now called Harding. At 6,947 yards, Wilson is a full 18-hole, par 72 course. Like with Rancho Park, it has very long, wide fairways with gentle slopes. Fees are the same as at Rancho Park: resident green fees are $33 weekdays and $43 on weekends. Non-resident fees are $38 mid-week and $48 on weekends. There are discounts for 9-hole play, seniors and twilight play. Cart rental (not required) is $24. Advance reservations are available online.
Where to stay: InterContinental Los Angeles Century City
The hotel is about five minutes away from Rancho Park Golf Course and about 15 minutes from Wilson. I’m constantly impressed with the InterContinental hotels and find them really competing now with Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton, at a much more reasonable price point. We’ve had more than a few luxury experiences with them, most recently at the InterContinental Presidente Resort in Cancun. The luxury and service is also present at the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City (2151 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067), which I still remember as the legendary Century Plaza Hotel. It’s been transformed into one of the city’s most luxurious destinations and a great base for a golf getaway. Rates from about $250 per night.
Where to practice: Aroma Spa and Sports driving range
This automated four-level range, located in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles, is one of the city’s best kept golf secrets. I go there frequently with my son, mid-week, at night, where you can always find a tee station and play until 11 p.m. seven days a week. I also like how the whole system is automated, you insert a card and the system loads the balls on the tee, one by one. You can also adjust the height by pushing buttons with a golf club, no need to bend over. Aroma Spa and Sports (3680 Wilshire Blvd. LA, CA 90010) offers club and shoe rentals. 180-ball buckets are $18 or pay by the ball, from $0.09 per ball, mid-week. The range is a 10 minute drive from the InterContinental Los Angeles.
Where to eat: The Counter
Playing great golf always makes me hungry, and dining is always an important part of my golf getaways. I love a great burger and The Counter delivers a totally customized burger experience, with over 300,000 possible variations of the hamburger. Fresh beef, or chicken, or turkey or veggie, made with your choice of pretty much any kind of cheese and topping you can think of. A full one-pounder, with a good selection of toppings is $15.50. The restaurant is part of the extremely upscale Westfield Century City shopping mall, and it’s all about five minutes away from the InterContinental.