Golfers will go to great lengths to find a great course, but their journey around the links doesn’t necessarily have to be lengthy in San Diego to be quality. Some short-course gems are sprinkled through the county that can be a treat for the more experienced player while also being friendly to a beginner.
The following list of top courses for kids in San Diego includes those known for being particularly hospitable to kids, juniors and beginners.
Where: 1580 Sun Valley Rd, Solana Beach, CA 92075
Course architect William Bell is best known for designing Torrey Pines, but he also built this 2,431-yard gem in Solana Beach. Lomas has been named one of America's "Top Short Courses" by Golf Range Magazine the past two years and consists of all par 3s, save two 4s, and has an ocean view from the eighth tee box. Lomas is also the only course in the county currently offering 15-inch cups on 18 holes. The holes are all placed in the backs of the greens so as not to be obtrusive to regulation play.
Where: 12602 Oaks North Dr, San Diego, CA 92128
Oaks North offers three enjoyable nines that make it easy for beginners to ease into the game. Their 27 holes offer a mix of par 3s and 4s, with two topping 300s yards. So the course does offer a few chances to swing away, but mostly it’s meant to be a comfortable track for shorter hitters. The East Nine is the shortest of the three for those who want to work on the basics without taking on a distance challenge. Golfers will find all three nines affordable, playable and walkable. The practice facility, which includes a 15-inch cup as well, is a great place to learn.
Where: 1750 San Pablo Dr, San Marcos, CA 92078
These two courses in San Marcos are a doubly good destination for kids because they pair a playable regulation course (St. Mark's) and an executive course in the same community complex. St. Mark's hosts a number of junior tournaments. Its largely flat topography and manageable yardage (6,398 yards/par 71) make it ideal for juniors and beginners, though a long par 5 on the back and a severely elevated par 4 on the back provide a test. The course is plenty walkable and a pleasurable stroll while honing your iron and short-game play.
Where: 2300 N Broadway, Escondido, CA 92026
Even if you've experienced a number of par-3 courses, chances are you haven't played one like Reidy Creek in Escondido. Two things in particular make Reidy Creek unique: the setting and its sophisticated greens. The course winds through a wooded area in the shadow of the Escondido mountains, making it more like a miniature version of a regulation course than what people largely associate with short courses. Sometimes-severe bunkering and heavily sloping greens make scoring a challenging even though the course can be played entirely with irons. No. 18, with his stone-bridge walkway to the green, is a gem of a finishing hole.
Where: 2702 N Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
Located just minutes from downtown, Mission Bay Golf Course is an executive course owned and run by the City of San Diego. Speaking of setting, how do ocean breezes and night lighting work for you? You can enjoy both on this par 58 that includes four par 4s. Unlike some executive courses, Mission Bay also has a driving range. And if you like a little history with your golf, Tiger Woods won a Junior World title here once.
Where: 2600 Golf Course Drive, San Diego, CA 92102
Balboa Park Golf Course is set in beautiful Balboa Park and offers stellar views of downtown, scenic Point Loma peninsula and the Pacific Ocean. Owned and run by the City of San Diego, Balboa Park is San Diego’s oldest public golf facility and features a challenging 18-hole, par 72 course, where Sam Snead holds the course record. On weekday afternoons, future PGA hopefuls can be spotted perfecting their swings on the nine-hole executive course. Balboa Park also has a driving range and practice putting greens.
Where: 2960 Truxton Road, San Diego, CA 92106
Dating back to the 1900s, The Loma Club was originally part of the historic San Diego Country Club. Set in Liberty Station (the former Naval Training Center, San Diego) in picturesque Point Loma, the 9-hole, par 3 course was utilized by the Navy during the 1920s for physical fitness and recruit training. Today, the course attracts duffers of all levels with state-of-the-art fairways, greens and practice facilities designed by San Diego architect Gary Bickler.
Slated to opened summer 2021, duffers of all ages can enjoy a new 18-hole, mini-golf course and redesigned club house. The historic clubhouse’s new look will add to its family-friendly appeal by incorporating fun elements inspired by classic golf-themed movies like Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore.
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