Golf: Catalina Island Golf Course
Play 9 Holes or 18 on What May be the West's Oldest Golf Course
Many golfers only dream of playing a course where the likes of Tiger Woods–not to mention Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler, John Cook, Toni Seals, and Amy Alcott–have competed in tournament play. Yet the beautiful and historic Catalina Island Golf Course gives you the chance to do just that, at green fees that seem low by the standards of most courses today.
In 1892, a three-hole course of oiled sand was first built up in Avalon Canyon–midway between Avalon and the current site of the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens–by the Banning brothers, whose family owned the island at the time. They added four more holes the following year, two more the year after that. Finally completed to a 9-hole design by John Duncan Dunn in 1925, the course was finally able to have grass greens and fairways in 1927 when the completion of Catalina's Thompson Dam made water reliably available for irrigation. Nine more holes were added in 1929, but during World War II the course reverted to its present nine holes, with two sets of tees allowing for 18-hole play.
Many golfers, amateur and pro alike, have been drawn to the beautifully landscaped, idyllically sheltered course. The Bobby Jones Invitational Tournament was played here annually from 1931 to 1955 (with a brief break during the war). Since 1967, the course has hosted the Catalina Island Junior Golf Tournament, in which Tiger Woods competed at the age of 14 (having first played Catalina at the age of 4!).
All players, regardless of their experience level, appreciate the course's demand for accuracy with a wide range of clubs. They're particularly challenged by the par-three, 194-yard 7th hole, which calls for unerring accuracy on drives and approach shots alike. Most memorable of all holes, however, is invariably the 8th, where an elevated tee provides breathtaking panoramas down to the harbor and, when the weather is especially clear, all the way across the water to Long Beach and Palos Verdes.
Playing Catalina Island Golf Course
The Catalina Island Golf Course is located at 1 Country Club Drive in Avalon. Open to the public, the semi-private 9-hole course–2,100 yards total, with a 32 par–welcomes guests year round for 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tee time reservations are recommended; call the Pro Shop, 310-510-0530 for reservations. Shirts and soft spiked shoes are required.
Green fees Monday to Thursday are 9 hole $35 or18 hole $49, Friday to Sunday 9 hole $40 or 18 hole $56. Special rates are also available for seniors and juniors. Golf carts and Taylormade clubs may be rented. There are also rental packages, groups are welcome, and there's a PGA pro on staff. Some but not all holes include ladies' tees.
When playing Catalina Island Golf Course, bear in mind that some players are likely to be relaxed vacationers, perhaps on the island for romantic getaways. So play can sometimes move along at a leisurely pace.
Time to Allow: Two to four hours.
Tee time reservations are recommended.
Prices and availability are subject to change.