Harding Park
Why Play It? In 2002, a massive redesign put this 75-year-old municipal layout and its bay views into the nation's top 100. It now hosts the World Golf--American Express Championship.
Your Chances of Getting on: Not good using the municipal seven-day-in-advance automated system, but, with a $10 surcharge, groups of two or more can call and book up to 30 days in advance, making it easy.
Peak Greens Fees: $135 to $155
Contact: 99 Harding Road, San Francisco; (415) 664-4690;,  

The Course at Wente Vineyards
Why Play It? With jaw-dropping views and huge elevation changes, this Greg Norman design is the best of California's many winery courses.
Your Chances of Getting On: Surprisingly good, as this is a bit of a hidden gem.
Peak Greens Fees: $85 to $105.
Contact: 5040 Arroyo Road, Livermore; (925) 456-2475;