Whereas the masterly Torrey Pines South course is San Diego’s golfing flagship, the other golf courses along the Pacific Coast are also great fun and offer plenty of variety for all skill levels.
Enjoying golf in California
San Diego is California’s second-largest city and also referred to as “‘America’s Finest City“. This chic nickname is due to the city’s agreeable climate and location on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Home to around 1.5 million people, San Diego is just twenty miles from the US-Mexico border and roughly 120 miles south of Los Angeles. There is definitely no shortage of golfing opportunities in this lovely part of the world: with more than sixty golf courses in the area, golfers are spoiled for choice!
The star among them is arguably Torrey Pines that hosted the 2008 United States Open Championship on its South course. Tiger Woods won with a double stress fracture in his left tibia, defeating Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole play-off (!) and winning his 14th major championship. By the way, the South course will host the U.S. Open again in 2021. Torrey Pines is also the venue of the annual Farmers Insurance Open, of which the first two rounds are played on the North course and the final round on the more challenging South course.
The two courses are a challenge, not just in terms of golf but also in terms of getting a tee time: although Torrey is a public golf facility, tee times are quickly taken and expensive (from 200 US dollars). Having said that, it is both cheaper and easier to tee off on the North course. Reservations can be made online.
Coronado Golf Course
The Coronado Golf Course is another “must-play”. Opened in 1957 (just like Torrey Pines), the facility is located just minutes from downtown San Diego and has a very different vibe: Coronado is where the action is, almost bordering on hectic. The spectacular backdrop of the city skyline and the iconic Coronado Bay Bridge is complemented by the rustling sound of sailing boats and helicopter rotors. It should be mentioned here that this must-play experience is available for relatively little money. No wonder it is among San Diego’s most popular and most played golf courses!
Maderas Golf Club
Also recommended: Maderas Golf Club in San Diego County, the beautifully kept Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club designed by Arnold Palmer (venue of the LPGA Tour) and the two golf courses of Omni La Costa in Carlsbad where more than 35 US PGA Tour events have been held. Anyone desiring to play golf on the Grand Golf Club course (designed by Tom Fazio) must be a guest at the 5-star Fairmont Grand Del Mar resort. If that is too expensive, the Balboa Park Municipal Golf Course provides a convenient alternative: built in 1921, the great Sam Snead has held the course record for 75 years. The 18-hole course happens to be near the airport (green fees start at 24 US dollars), so it is basically a “must-do” on your day of arrival or departure.
Good to know
Many public golf courses in the US offer “twilight rates”, a term used to describe cheaper green fees during the second half of the afternoon. Real bargains are often to be had – and twilight golf can be a thing of great beauty!