Marshall Canyon: A rolling, treed L.A. County layout up against the San Gabriel Mountains with particularly strong par threes. ($21.50)
Rio Hondo: The course was redesigned in mid-1990s; it's tight, not too long and in good shape. ($35)
River Ridge: The course is wide-open to the eye, but it's tougher than it looks. ($30)
Soule Park: It has mountain views in Ojai and was completely redesigned in 1995. ($28)
Woodley Lakes: It's flat and a good place to massage your ego. ($22)
If you don't hit the ball with some consistency, here are challenges that offer more pain than pars. But if you have your A game going, these are 10 places to put it to the test:
Angeles National: Like many tough courses, the tee shots are critical here. Put it in play with your first shot, and you'll be OK. When the wind blows, which is often, that can be very tough. Excellent greens.
Arrowood: This well-conditioned, new layout with good greens is very playable from the middle tees. A mix of very challenging and playable holes.
Industry Hills, Eisenhower: The course has been renovated and is more playable than in the past, but you still need to hit it very straight off the tee.
Monarch Beach: Beautiful setting, but it's a bit cramped in spots, which means thinking where you want to put your shots, and executing, are key.
Moorpark: Of the 27 holes, the Ridgeline/Creekside combination tops out at a 142 slope that's as challenging as anyone needs.
Oak Valley: When the wind kicks up, hitting these narrow fairways is like trying to land a ball on a ribbon.
PGA West, Stadium: Impossibly deep bunkers, rocks and water, narrow fairways and plenty of trouble everywhere. A Pete Dye classic.
Redhawk: Tough enough at 7,175 yards to be site of the California State Open, and one of the best bargains around for a true championship layout.
TPC of Valencia: Mark O'Meara, who was a designer of the course, has the game to play here and handle the 142 slope. Triple-figure greens fees can make playing poorly expensive to the ego as well.
Trump National: Speaking of triple-figure greens fees you're paying for the spectacular view on every hole; you'll pay dearly for errant shots into thick rough and brush as well.