arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

Mickelson Has Fond Memories of Mission Trails Golf Course

This San Diego golf course holds dear memories for his family

Phil Mickelson played some of the finest golf courses in the country and world; however, there is a course three miles from his parent’s San Diego home that creates dear memories.

Mission Trails Golf Course

Called Navajo Canyon when Mickelson began playing there more than 30 years ago, Mission Trails Golf Course is a 6,000-yard, par-71 course located in the San Carlos neighborhood of San Diego. This is the course where the championship golfer played regularly during the ages 12 to 14 and really began to come into his own as a golfer.

Phil Mickelson Sr. and his wife Mary raised Phil and siblings Tim and Tina in San Diego. He once recalled the days of driving past the course and his son’s early years of golfing.

"When Phil was about 12 years old, he went to the golf course and talked to the pro and told him that he wanted to be a professional golfer," said Mickelson Sr., "and that he would like to work at his golf course doing anything that they would want him to do. Not for pay but for the ability to hit range balls and play golf.

They suggested that he could work in the parking lot and around the pro shop picking up any type of trash two or three times a week. That was his first job, and he took advantage of the opportunity to hit golf balls and spent a lot of time practicing and then they allowed him to pick up the flags at the end of play each day. He did that. And he graduated to picking up range balls and did that as well."

Young Phil practiced or played at the course nearly every day. His father learned soon enough how much that improved the youngster's game.

"He asked if I would come out and play after work one day and we did," said Mickelson Sr., a retired airline pilot. "I wasn't playing exceptionally well, but I shot 81. He beat me by EIGHT shots. That was first time he beat me, and the darn guy shot 73."

Mickelson Sr. said there was nothing unusually spectacular that transpired on the course that day.

"It was just a standard good round of golf," he said. "He hit the ball well. It went where he wanted it to go. And he made putts. Pretty soon I realized that there was no way I was going to catch him...The 73 was very likely his best score at that time."

Mickelson Sr. remembered something that happened with his son at virtually each hole. He recalls the par-five 14th hole not for an incredible shot but for young Phil's middle school science fair project.

"He would set up a teeing area and then walk off 10-yard increments and mark them," said Mickelson Sr. "Then he and some of his Junior Golf friends he would invite would come and hit. His project was to determine which compression golf ball was best suited for the junior golfer - 80, 90 or 100 compression ball. He would have the person hit and then mark where it lands and chart that. He had a regular method for throwing out the best two and the worst two and coming up with an average and determine which ball they had the best success with. That was the premise for his science fair project."

There was one other Mission Trails story in particular that Mickelson Sr. recalled leading to a life lesson for his son.

"I had been gone for a week or so and came back and he wanted to play golf and we went down together," said Mickelson Sr. "He hit the ball (on his first shot) and he kind of banged his club on the ground. He wasn't exactly happy with the shot. And I'm thinking I don't remember seeing any kind of reaction like that before."

"Apparently, he had been playing golf with a couple teenagers the week that I was gone. It happened again on the second or third shot. I said, ‘What are you doing? What's this banging the club?'

His son said, "Well, I didn't like the shot." To which his father replied: "Yeah, but you don't have to do that."

This happened again a few more times and finally Phil's father had had enough.

"If you're banging your club like that, then you're not having fun," he said. "We're out here to have fun. If you do it again, then we can just go in."

"On the seventh hole, it happened again. When we were on the tee for the eighth hole, I said, 'You can see the car up there (in the parking lot). You can either take your clubs and walk to the car, because, obviously, you're not having fun, or, you can walk with me. I'm going to enjoy the last two holes and I'll meet you at the car.'"

Said his son, "I'll walk with you."

"When I was picking the ball out of the hole at No. 8," said Mickelson Sr. "I was leaning over and he tugged on my shoulder and he said, 'Dad, I think I can have fun now.'

"So we played the last hole together. That was the last time I ever saw him bang a club anywhere or show any emotion in that respect."
Mickelson Sr. remembered the moment - and others - with great pride.

"It's fond memories," he said.

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Deals just for you

Restaurants

Wine All Day Wednesdays

Hope 46 Restaurant
Valid: Apr 6 - ongoing

Receive 50% off our wide selection of wine bottles $50 and under.

Accommodation

Buy Now, Travel Later Offer

Humphreys Half Moon Inn
Valid: Jan 13, 2021 - ongoing

This year is all about giving back. Give the gift of a tropical getaway to Humphreys Half Moon Inn to yourself or your loved one and enjoy an additional $25 gift card on us!  FOR A LIMITED...

Accommodation

Bonus Rewards Points

Days Inn By Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle
Valid: Jan 13, 2021 - ongoing

Plan your much needed 2021 escape to San Diego and enjoy additional Wyndham Rewards Points each night of your stay. Here at Days Inn by Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle, you'll always experience a...

Events to check out

Event

San Diego International Auto Show

Dec 30, 2021 - Jan 2, 2022

Where the cars are the stars! The San Diego International Auto Show features the widest variety of new vehicles under one roof.

Event

Fleet Week San Diego 2021

Nov 4 - Nov 11, 2021

Welcome to Fleet Week San Diego 2021, November 4th – 11th at the Broadway Pier and Port Pavilion, San Diego.  Experience one of San Diego’s largest Military events featuring Military...

Event

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Dec 12 - Dec 19, 2021

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition with more than 80 boats lavishly decorated sailing by the shores for all to see.

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Partners

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish