San Diego and golf go together like iced tea and lemonade. From the impeccable year-round weather to the bucket list golf course options, San Diego deservedly ranks as one of the best US golf destinations. And whether you’re new to San Diego or a longtime resident who simply wants to play more, there is a diverse array of ways to plug in to the San Diego golf scene. Here are 10 of my favorites:
Goat Hill Park (Oceanside)
“Come one, come all”
Photo: Goat Hill Park
One of San Diego County’s oldest courses, Goat Hill has earned a cult-like following due to its “come one, come all” attitude and a headline-grabbing renovation in 2014 as local golfers united to save the course from redevelopment. The result is a challenging 18 hole short course with state of the art simulator bays, free-to-play children’s area, weekly games & meetups and a welcoming atmosphere for golfers and families of all skill levels.
Babes Golf began with the mission of introducing more women to the game. And since its creation, it’s expanded to become a lifestyle, a sisterhood and a network for all Babes. Hosting golf tournaments, teaching clinics and social events, Babes Golf is THE most welcoming place for women golfers in San Diego. Whatever your skill level, they excel at creating welcoming opportunities to plug into and learn more about the game of golf—whether it’s a social meetup at The Golf Bar or quick rounds at the local par 3.
It may be hard to believe, but one of the most competitive games in the San Diego golf scene takes place at an unassuming executive track in Mission Bay. Each week on Tuesday and Friday, a pickup skins game forms that has featured visiting pros, ex-collegiate players and local talent alike. This one is not for the faint of heart—as the rule of the night is “birdie or bust.” Come on any other time and you’ll find a delightful mix of weekend warriors looking to sneak in a few swings and new-to-the-game players alike. But come during the skins game, step aside and watch the fireworks begin.
You’re never more than a pitch and a putt away from a brewery, brew pub or tap house in San Diego. But only Dogleg Brewing Company combines San Diego’s world class beer culture with a love for the game of golf. Their facility in Vista features a well-stocked tap room as well as a golf simulator, putting green and TVs to catch the latest on-the-course action—making Dogleg the ideal destination for both golf fans and beer snobs alike. The fun isn’t limited to the brewery though; Dogleg also hosts monthly golf tournaments at courses throughout San Diego.
Looking for a fun night out with friends but still get a few swings in? Look no further than The Golf Bar just off the 805 in Clairemont. Featuring 4 state of the art Full Swing simulator bays, a mouth-watering menu of bar bites and a fully stocked bar and draft list—everyone in your crew is sure to have a good time. For those looking to get competitive, get your crew together and join them for league night action. What’s not to love?
Torrey Pines Golf Course (Torrey Pines)
“A timeless classic”
Photo: Torrey Pines Golf Course
It’s impossible to talk about San Diego golf without mentioning the crown jewel: Torrey Pines. While out of towners have to fork over the sky-high rates, the greatest value in San Diego golf continues to be the San Diego Resident card which will earn you weekday Torrey twilight rates of $28/$38 for the North/South courses. And at $25 per year for the resident card… the price is unbeatable.
Del Mar Golf Center & Pelly’s Mini Golf Course (Del Mar)
“Fun for the whole family”
Photo: Del Mar Golf Center
“Golf with children” can always be a tricky affair so any opportunity to combine golf with family fun is a can’t-miss. Nowhere do the two come together better than the Del Mar Golf Center. Step to the Golf Center side for real grass driving range bays as well as simulator tents to play with friends or hone in your skills. Or turn around to step onto the Pelly’s mini golf course and get ‘em started young with a bright and cheery 18 hole track that will have the whole family doing the Tiger fist pump.
Coronado Golf Course (Coronado)
“Embrace the island life”
Photo: Golf Digest
Tucked into the heart of the San Diego Bay lies Coronado Island and their true gem of a muni course. Mirroring the island’s personality, Coronado Golf Course features a welcoming environment for anyone to enjoy. More than perhaps any course in the area, Coronado beckons you to make it a day as you pair a round with a stroll through downtown or a bayside meal at their stellar restaurant Feast and Fareway.
There are many reasons we love the game of golf but one of the most universal reasons is watching our handicap inch lower and lower on the back of our hard work and practice. And San Diego golfers looking to shave a few strokes (or more!) off their game have to add Stadium Golf Club to their list. Touting themselves as “the most complete practice facility anywhere” Stadium certainly sets the bar high—and boy do they deliver. If world class teachers, state of the art practice facilities and Golf Digest’s pick for America’s best club fitter doesn’t get ya then perhaps the batting cages will. Because we all know after a particularly challenging round… releasing a little frustration on some slow pitches always does the trick.
While I’ve flagged the previous 9 entrants as some of my favorite ways to plug in to San Diego golf—the best thing about the SCGA is their Club Finder tool which allows you to find a member club near you that best fits your skill, location or personality.
Seriously! Search by course, location, age, handicap and more to find the exact club that fits you. Because golf is always better when you play with friends.