With more than 70 courses to choose from, golf in San Diego is a veritable feast for your game – and your senses
From jaw-dropping elevation changes and stunning sweeping vistas to breathtaking ocean views and brilliant botanical beauty, San Diego courses have it all.
The following is an all-too-brief list of some of the most photo-worthy holes in San Diego.
3 at Torrey Pines
This iconic par 3 on the South Course, site of the annual Farmers Insurance Open and the 2008 and 2021 U.S. Opens, is San Diego's most famous golf hole. Golfers worldwide make the pilgrimage just to hit this elevated tee shot and watch their ball soar into the blue horizon of the Pacific Ocean in the backdrop. There's also the captivating view of La Jolla in the distance. Played mostly from 160 or 149 yards, this isn't the toughest hole at Torrey Pines Golf Course by any stretch, but it's certainly the most memorable – and photogenic. Its sister par 3 is No. 6 on the North, which features a nearly 200-foot drop to the green and plays directly into an ocean breeze. A birdie on either hole is a bonus. A whale sighting is a double bonus.
Book your tee time at Torrey Pines and 25 more premiere courses with San Diego Golf Reservations.
14 at Balboa Park
Tucked among canyons on the eastern edge of downtown, Balboa Park Golf Course is the oldest public golf course in San Diego. For more than 100 years, golfers have enjoyed this challenging course with its fair share of elevation changes and greens that can roll balls off into oblivion. Although many holes offer great views, none is as spectacular as No. 14, where the long fareway leads to a green at the edge of an overlook with a stunning view of downtown, Coronado Bridge and the Pacific Ocean. Stop and take a photo by all means, but don't let the views distract from your play. The course record here is overdue for breaking, if you can beat Sam Snead's 12-under 60 from 1943.
14 at Aviara Golf Club
The legendary Aviara Golf Club, designed by Arnold Palmer and home to the LPGA JTBC Classic, is like playing in an 18-hole botanical garden. It has several worthy candidates, but we have an affinity for No. 14, which is in the most remote part of the course. Like holes No. 3 and 11, 14 is an impeccably landscaped and elevated par 3 played over water. The green here is huge and gives you a second scenic treat when you reach it. To the left is a beautiful waterfall complex that's home to an array of water birds splashing in the pond and soaring in the skies. A Golf Channel announcer once said of No. 14 once, "If this hole doesn't make you want to play golf, I don't know what would." Our sentiments exactly.
3 at Coronado Municipal Course
The setting of the Coronado Golf Course – surrounded by San Diego harbor – makes it unique, but the glimpse you get of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a San Diego landmark, on holes 2 and 3 in particular is something special. We're going with hole No. 3, a par 4, for the list because it gives you the most unobstructed view. As you progress through your round, you'll also catch glimpses of passing Navy ships, downtown San Diego and the Hotel del Coronado. Being perfectly flat, it's an ideal course to walk and take in the evolving scenery around you.
7 at Encinitas Ranch
The view at the par-4 7th at Encinitas Ranch isn't so much about what's in front of you as what's behind. Looking back from the tee box, you can see a sweeping view of the two previous holes and a familiar blue hue in the background (the ocean). The scene is a pleasant surprise the first time you play the course and something you look forward to when you return. And a bit like No. 14 at Aviara, this hole offers two distinct visual experiences. Your downhill approach is to a green accented by two star pines and a vast view of the valley beyond. When walking off the green, don't forget your clubs – or to take a picture.
5 at the Loma Club
Originally part of the historic San Diego Country Club, The Loma Club is considered by many to be a local landmark – and for good reason. With a couple of dramatic elevation changes that treat golfers to amazing panoramic views of the downtown, San Diego Bay and harbor, you can't help but feel the tradition and history that played out on the course which is a fun challenge for golfers of all levels. With its elevation and setting hillside, Hole 5 provides breathtaking views of downtown's skyline, Coronado and the dramatic San Diego-Coronado Bridge. Without doubt, Hole 5 is the most photo worthy on the course and a hole that course architect San Diego-native Cary Bickler would be most proud.
17 at the Grand Golf Club
The stunning Los Penasquitos Canyon was the canvas for this Tom Fazio-designed course, and the Grand Golf Club's hole 17 beautifully captures his masterwork of dramatic elevations, diverse bunkering and lush fairways. With a large, picturesque water hazard surrounding the majority of the green, this can be the toughest tee shot players will have all day. At 242 yards, some would consider this a short par 4, but any shot towards the right side of the green will leave a reasonable chance for a par 3. Regardless of the outcome, the hole always leaves an impression for its photogenic appeal. Make certain to have your camera handy.
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