They are right that there are a lot of great courses in SoCal. I play mostly in the Northern L.A. County area. My favorite public courses are:
Simi Hills - good price and well kept
Olivas Links - just redone and now is a links type course
Soule Park - in Ojai is quite a drive though
Knollwood - $37.50 with a cart - tough track with tough greens but fun - cute cart girls too!
Elkins Ranch - it is a tight course but I really have fun there - best burgers...