Best Public Golf Courses in San Jose, California

Updated February 2024 to update booking information.

San Jose is considered by many to be the central hub of everything new and cool on the West Coast.  That’s especially true when it comes to technology.  Think Silicon Valley, titans of industry, high cost of living, the list goes on.  And of course, along with commerce, comes culture.  This city is truly a melting pot of some of the brightest minds on the planet.

I’ve spent some time in San Jose, but not a ton.  And I’ve only played a smattering of the area’s many great public golf courses.  With that being said, the San Jose area comprises a significant cohort of our readership.  And they’ve been after me for a long time to highlight their fair city’s best public courses. 

Better late than never, so the saying goes.

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When you step onto the grounds of Cinnabar Hills Golf Club, you’re greeted by a stunning landscape of rolling hills and native beauty, offering golfers a challenging and scenic experience. This championship golf course, located in San Jose, is a gem among public golf courses. The 27-hole property, designed by John Harbottle III, boasts spectacular scenery and native landscaping. Cinnabar Hills Golf Club offers a dynamic golfing game, with six possible 18-hole combinations to choose from.

If you’re a golf enthusiast, you’ll appreciate the well-maintained fairways and greens that provide an excellent playing surface. The club isn’t only a golfer’s paradise but also a haven for wildlife, adding to the serene ambiance. Moreover, visitors can explore the Lee Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum, adding a touch of history to their golfing trip.

Cinnabar Hills Golf Club is a versatile destination that caters to the needs of golfers of all levels. Whether you’re looking to challenge your skills or simply enjoy a round of golf surrounded by breathtaking views, this San Jose municipal golf course is sure to exceed your expectations.

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Los Lagos Golf Course

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If you’re a golfer seeking a course that offers great value and picturesque scenery in Silicon Valley, Los Lagos Golf Course is the perfect choice. This San Jose gem not only provides an affordable round of golf, but also boasts stunning views and a layout that caters to all skill levels. Here’s why Los Lagos Golf Course should be at the top of your list:

  • Scenic Delight: Los Lagos Golf Course is renowned for its breathtaking views, abundant wildlife, and striking water features that create a serene and captivating golfing experience.
  • Perfect for All Levels: The course’s design includes prominent water hazards and wide landing areas, making it suitable for both beginners and seasoned golfers.
  • Expert Instruction: With top-notch instructor Matt Flenniken on site, you can elevate your game and take full advantage of all that Los Lagos has to offer.

When seeking the best public golf courses in Silicon Valley, Los Lagos Golf Course stands out for its combination of value, scenery, and accessibility. Whether you’re a local or visiting the area, this course should definitely make it onto your must-play list.

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Pruneridge Golf Club

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Los Lagos Golf Course offers a calming and enjoyable golfing environment. Another great option for golf enthusiasts in San Jose is the Pruneridge Golf Club. This club is immaculately maintained and offers a quick nine-hole round, perfect for those seeking a convenient and fun golfing course. With a par of 30 and an excellent pace of play, it’s a great choice for golfers in the metropolitan area.

What sets Pruneridge Golf Club apart is its staff, which includes multiple Class A PGA Professionals. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your game or a skillful player seeking to refine your skills, the club offers expert guidance from knowledgeable golf instructors.

Furthermore, the club features a double-deck driving range, providing ample space for swing and target practice. Additionally, Pruneridge Golf Club offers foot golf games, adding a unique and enjoyable twist to the traditional golfing experience.

4

The Course at Wente Vineyards

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Located in the colorful vista of Livermore, just a short drive from San Jose, The Course at Wente Vineyards offers golf enthusiasts an upscale facility with unparalleled service and a unique combination of golf and wine.

This modern parkland layout spans over the rolling hills of the Livermore Valley, providing golfers with three distinct landscapes to navigate while enjoying pristine course conditions and beautiful panoramas. The course’s meticulously maintained fairways and greens make for an exceptional playing experience.

As you tee off, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the stunning vineyards of Wente, creating a serene and captivating atmosphere. After your round, take advantage of the exceptional practice facilities to hone your skills, or simply unwind and savor the stunning views.

Whether you’re a golf aficionado or a wine enthusiast, The Course at Wente Vineyards offers an unparalleled blend of leisure and luxury, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a memorable golfing trip in the San Jose area.

5

Poppy Ridge Golf Course

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Just a short drive from the upscale facility of The Course at Wente Vineyards, you’ll find the immaculately kept and diverse Poppy Ridge Golf Course, offering golf enthusiasts a peaceful and exceptional stay in Livermore. Designed by Rees Jones, this golf course features three spectacular nines, each with unique characteristics. The spacious property ensures there’s no crowding, providing a serene atmosphere for your game. Poppy Ridge Golf Course is renowned for its fast greens, which add an exciting challenge to your round. The stunning views further enhance the overall experience, making it one of the best courses in the area.

Poppy Ridge Golf Course offers a charming setting and exceptional design, making it a must-visit for golfers seeking a top-notch golfing experience. The course’s proximity to Livermore’s wine country adds to its allure, allowing visitors to combine their love for golf with wine tasting and scenic drives. Whether you’re tackling the Chardonnay, Zinfandel, or Merlot nines, you’re in for a treat at Poppy Ridge Golf Course, a true gem designed by the renowned Rees Jones and managed by KemperSports.

6

Mission Hills of Hayward Golf Course

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Conveniently located in the heart of Hayward, the Mission Hills Golf Course offers a delightful and accessible option for golf enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, this golf course caters to everyone.

Here’s why you should consider teeing off at Mission Hills:

  • Fun Atmosphere: The course is known for its enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere, making it a great place to unwind while enjoying a round of golf.
  • Ample Practice Areas: Mission Hills provides practice areas that are perfect for honing your skills, including opportunities to work on your short game.
  • Value for Money: Golfers find that Mission Hills offers great value for the quality of the experience, making it a refreshing option for those looking to get their money’s worth.

Mission Hills of Hayward Golf Course’s nine-hole layout is always in great shape, and playing during the week ensures an optimal pace of play. It’s a popular public facility that provides a fantastic golfing tour without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re visiting from San Jose or the nearby Del Pueblo Golf Course or Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum, Mission Hills is a must-visit for any golf enthusiast in the area.

7

Blackberry Farm Golf Course

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Considering your enjoyable visit to Mission Hills of Hayward Golf Course, your next golfing adventure should lead you to the vibrant and charming Blackberry Farm Golf Course in Cupertino.

This nine-hole gem offers a unique and lovely setting, with narrow fairways lined by trees, making it unnecessary to use a driver. Despite its compact size, the course provides a challenging and enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels.

What sets Blackberry Farm apart is its vibrant character and charm, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The course is known for offering one of the best values in the expensive Bay Area, making it an affordable yet delightful golfing destination. Additionally, the course has a rich history, with golf memorabilia and artifacts that add to its allure.

If you’re a fan of the Ryder Cup, you’ll appreciate the course’s connection to the prestigious event. After your round at Blackberry Farm, consider visiting the nearby Poppy Ridge for another exceptional golfing event in the area.

8

Spring Valley Golf Course

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Centrally located in the San Jose area, Spring Valley Golf Course offers golfers convenient access from multiple locations in the region. The course provides a short drive from various cities, making it a convenient choice for golfers in the area.

Here are some noteworthy features that make Spring Valley Golf Course stand out:

  • Scenic 18-Hole Course: Enjoy an impressive 18-hole, 6,140-yard course at Spring Valley, featuring doglegs, sand bunkers, and stunning par 3s.
  • Practice Facilities: The course includes a 29-stall driving range for practice, catering to golfers looking to refine their skills.

Spring Valley Golf Course offers a refreshing golfing experience suitable for players of varying skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your game or a seasoned golfer seeking a challenging round, Spring Valley Golf Course has something to offer.

With its central location and diverse features, Spring Valley Golf Course is a must-visit for golf enthusiasts in the San Jose area.

9

Rancho del Pueblo Golf Course

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There is more than enough high-end golf to play in and around San Jose.  As there should be. It’s one of the most cutting-edge, newly affluent locales in the world. 

But it warms my heart knowing that places like Rancho del Pueblo Golf Course exist and thrive in a community of tech geniuses and industry titans.

This executive course dates all the way back to 1965.  Yes, it’s another nine-holer.  Between corporate offices and houses on top of one another, there isn’t much space left for golf courses. 

As I said, I’m glad this course has stood the test of time. 

Even though there’s only one par four (it’s drivable) on this track, its experience is rich.  For more than 50 years, the working man has called Rancho Pueblo home.  Will you find this course’s stories in the Golf Digest archives?  Probably not.

But having played this course a number of times (while always making time for a beer afterward), I can attest that my intentions of one beer, seemingly turn into two, sometimes three.  And it’s all because of the characters I encounter here.  They’re fiercely loyal to their small slice of heaven and revel in stories of past and present that are at times both unbelievable and heartwarming.  They aren’t worried about the future.  They simply love their golf in the present moment. 

You can have the same experience for a more than modest fee.

10

Deep Cliff Golf Course

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The first time I played Deep Cliff Golf Course, it was early in the morning.  The fog seemed to cloak the fairways, almost offering up a dare to make a committed swing down the tree lined first fairway.

I make a decent swing, and thankfully found my ball in the short stuff.  Long story short, my kids are obsessed with Lord of the Rings and have described it to me. . .  I’m still not convinced the motion pictures weren’t filmed here. 

Moving on, this course is short and ever tight.  And it deserves respect.  It’s timeless in the sense that it doesn’t require brute strength and length.  Instead, it’s quirky, welcoming, and somewhat foreboding all at once.  It isn’t long.

I’ve done my best to describe Deep Cliff, but I can only say that you need to experience this place for yourself.  Refusing to might have the Golf Gods frowning down upon you.

Conclusion

San Jose is a place unlike any other.  To fathom the number of people that are changing our world and travel in and out here each day is tough to conjure.

I know I’m not one of them.

But I can say that there are more than enough golf options here to keep anybody occupied for a long time. 

If you don’t mind paying a couple of bucks, have at it.  Mente Vineyards and the like are calling your name. 

Should you need to sneak out of the office for a quick nine and don’t want to spend a fortune, plenty of options for you as well.

Thanks to everyone in the San Jose area for your input and support.  I know I’ve left some tracks off the list, but we only have room for ten.  For additional thoughts, please chime in below in the comments.

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast both on Apple and Spotify talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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