Destination Guide: Golf in San Diego, California
Known for its world famous zoo, Wild Animal Park and Sea World, San Diego is that and so much more. With arguably the best climate on the planet, California's second largest city has 70 miles of beaches, borders Mexico, the Anza Borrego Desert and the Laguna Mountains.
Temperatures generally top out in the 70s with low humidity year-round, so San Diego is ripe for any type of outdoor activity, such as hiking, biking and - of course - playing golf. There's also the renowned Gaslamp District, where you will find scores of world-class restaurants, shops and cultural activities.
What kind of golf is San Diego known for?
There are more than 90 golf courses throughout the San Diego region, from seaside settings to desert mountains to inland valleys. And any discussion of San Diego golf begins with the municipal seaside course, Torrey Pines, located in La Jolla just up the coast. Host of the PGA Tour's Buck Open and the unforgettable 2008 U.S. Open, the South Course at Torrey Pines is where Tiger Woods survived a bad knee and Rocco Mediate to win in an 18-hole playoff. Perched on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the South Course underwent a renovation by "Open Doctor" Rees Jones.
While Torrey can cost you more than $200 if you're from out of town, Balboa Park in San Diego is a more affordable muni that offers 18 holes of championship golf as well as an executive course.
There's also the Johnny Miller-Robert Muir Graves-designed Maderas Golf Club, perennially ranked among the top public courses in the area as well as Rancho Bernardo Inn, located near the city's attractions in the northern part of the city.
Five minutes from downtown, you'll also find Riverwalk Golf Club, formerly known as the Stardust Country Club, which hosted a PGA Tour event back in the 1950s.
San Diego's golf resorts
San Diego is a natural destination for resorts. Barona Creek Golf, for example, is located just 30 minutes outside the city on the Barona Ranch Resort & Casino in Lakeside. Ranked one of California's top five public golf courses by Golfweek magazine, the Todd Beckenrode design blends in with the surrounding foothills with five sets of tees.
There's also Morgan Run Resort & Club in Rancho Santa Fe north of the city; Doubletree Golf Resort in San Diego, and, of course, the famous La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, where many of the major golf equipment manufacturers are located.
La Costa, which has two 18-hole championship courses, is one of the premier golf destinations in the country. The resort was the site of Accenture Match Play Championship (from 1999-2006), hosted the Tournament Of Champions (1969-1993) and the Mercedes Championship (1994-1998).
Getting to San Diego
San Diego International Airport is located three miles northwest of downtown, providing one of more scenic landings and takeoffs of any destination. Served by most every notable U.S. airline, visitors should have no trouble booking direct flights into the airport, which also has a full slate rental car companies accessible by shuttle.
By car, you can visit San Diego via Interstate 10 from the east and I-15 and I-805 (the inland freeway) from the north. You can also access the city on Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner from Los Angeles and other destinations to the north.