With its pleasant climate, stunning scenery and idyllic setting, San Diego is a little slice of Californian heaven for golf enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for the kind of challenging play that will test your abilities to the limit, or just a fun round with your buddies, San Diego’s impressive range of courses is guaranteed to offer what you’re looking for. Check out the best of the best with our rundown of the top 10 golf courses in San Diego.
10. Encinitas Ranch
With a distant view of the ocean, elevated tees, and a super playable course, the Encinitas Ranch offers a great range of amenities (including five sets of tees, open fairways, and bunkers) and the kind of play that lets everyone come away with a low score and a smile on their face.
9. Aviara Golf Club
As the only Arnold Palmer signature golf course in the area, the Aviara Golf Club is one you don’t want to miss. As Golf Now notes, it’s as much botanical garden as it is golf course, offering a stunning setting and some of the best views over the Batiquitos Lagoon you’ll likely find anywhere in San Diego.
8. Balboa Park Golf Course
The grounds may not be as well-manicured as some of the other additions to our list, but Balboa Park Golf Course’s challenging game more than makes up for. A stunning setting in the canyons and multiple elevation changes make for the kind of game you’re unlikely to forget in a hurry. Located conveniently close to downtown San Diego just off the Route 94 and Interstate 5 freeways, the resort also includes a Pro Shop offering a great range of golf merchandise for sale or rent, along with Professional Golf Instruction staff available for group and individual golf lessons.
7. Oaks North Golf Club
If you’re up for a challenge, the Oaks North Golf Club should definitely feature on your list of “must visits’. It may only offer 27 holes, but it plays like a full-length course, offering plenty of head-scratching shots and opportunities for you to test your precision. The well-organized club is a great place for all ages and skill levels to get their practice in, and even offers a JC Junior Players Card to encourage young golfers to improve their game.
6. Maderas Golf Course
With some of the best views of any golf course in San Diego, the Madera Golf Course is one place where you’ll want to bring your camera, as well as your golf bag. The expertly laid out Johnny Miller-Robert Muir Graves designed course is set in stunning surrounds with three sparkling lakes, five tumbling waterfalls, and 40 acres of stunning wildflowers. With a putting green, driving range, and a team of teaching pro’s on hand to help you improve your swing, the club offers the kind of great all-round golfing experience every enthusiastic golfer should try at least once in their lifetime.
5. Bonita Golf Course
With a straightforward, classic William Bell design, a challenging but not punishing play, and some of the lowest entrance fees of any course in San Diego, Bonita Golf Course is the kind of workaday course that doesn’t make a song and dance about its achievements but offers a great game of golf regardless. Once you finished up on the course, don’t miss a visit to the Bonita Bar & Grill: the perfect place to enjoy a cold pint and relax to some local music after a strenuous day on the fairways.
4. Cottonwood Golf Club in El Cajon
For a great value game of golf, you’ll find it hard to beat Cottonwood Golf Club in El Cajon. It may lack the grandeur of some of its neighbors, but if you’re looking for substance over style, you’ll find it hard to beat. “Great wide-open course tucked in the back of the scenery”, says one reviewer, while another enthuses, “Super price of $45 with cart for 18 holes. Greens in fair shape and staff were friendly. Good snack foods as well. Enjoy!. With comments like that, what more convincing do you need?
3. Coronado Golf Course
Supremely affordable and with some of the best scenery you’ll find in San Diego, the Coronado Golf Course makes for one of the best-golfing experiences’ you’ll find in San Diego. If you don’t get too distracted by the spectacular views over the downtown and the Coronado Bay Bridge, you’ll find yourself in the perfect setting for a fun game of golf that while challenging, is unlikely to leave you sweating. Great for all skill levels, Coronado Golf Course is a solid addition to your golfing bucket list.
2. Singing Hills Golf Resort at Sycuan
Nestled in an idyllic location in the hills of El Cajon, The Sycuan Golf Resort offers three equally praiseworthy courses. For golfers in a hurry, Pine Glen provides a quick 18-hole play. Willow Glen and Oak Glen offer a more intense experience, but while challenging, it’s never threatening. If you’re looking to take advantage of the full facilities on offer at Sycuan Golf Resort, don’t miss out on the chance to improve your game on its excellent range of practice greens, driving range, and short game areas.
1. Torrey Pines Golf Course
If you’re in San Diego, it would be remiss not to take in at least one game of golf at the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course… even if you’ve never swung a club in your life. Cited as one of Tiger Woods’ favorite golf courses, the course has played host to numerous events and tours over the years, including the PGA Tour stop for the Farmers Insurance Open and the 2008 U.S. Open. Unless you’re a local (who benefit from a great deal with a San Diego city resident card) you can expect to pay a premium, but with stunning views and a challenging game, it’s well worth the price.