The basic reasons to book a trip to San Diego – sand, sunshine, surf, sights, etc. – most people can recite by heart, but how well do you know America’s Finest City when it comes to golf?
Did you know San Diego has nearly 90 golf courses? That’s a lot of playing possibilities, only a handful of which involve the ocean. The rest are scattered throughout the county and offer an incredible range of experience, everything from desert golf to resort golf to some fine executives and par 3s, all the way to courses you see on Tour on TV.
But here’s another thing you should know about golf in San Diego, courtesy of The Golf Channel’s Matt Gianella. When Gianella sized up San Diego’s courses during the PGA Tour stop here in January, besides rating them, he also put them in perspective within Southern California. His take: LA – country club golf; Orange County – high-end resort golf; and San Diego – quality and affordable public golf with its own mix of resort offerings.
That makes San Diego golf an affordable amenity that can help make your vacation dollar go further when bringing your clubs to coast.
Affordability is among our top seven reasons to book a golf round in San Diego. Here’s our list:
Where else could this list possibly start? El Niño has taken a few days out of play in 2016, but that’s a rarity. For all intents and purposes, it’s a year-round golf season here, which puts California on a pretty short list of states (hello, Hawaii and Florida).
By that measure, San Diego is a great golf escape, especially for those in states and destinations where the snowman on the scorecard in the winter is an actual snowman. Winter doesn’t play through here, but spring and summer do. As evidence, it hit 88 degrees at our course in February. Our Canadian guests, especially, didn’t seem to mind a bit. To them, the best man-made climate change was getting on an airplane to San Diego. A record number of tourists to San Diego in 2015 can’t be wrong.
2. Diversity, density and quality of courses
Golf stretches all across a county that unto itself is the size of the state of Connecticut. No matter what type of golf you’re looking for (parkland, desert, links, etc.), you can find it here at all levels of expertise. For a look at four courses that cater to more skilled and experienced players, Maderas included, you can watch our video that provides a detailed look at their most challenging holes. That’s the other thing about San Diego courses: For all their beauty, you can find all the golf here your game can handle.
3. The Tour plays here
The PGA Tour arrives at Torrey Pines in late Jan./early Feb. and the LPGA bring the women’s tour to San Diego each March during the KIA Classic at Aviara Golf Club. Tiger Woods famously won his last major at Torrey in 2008 in dramatic fashion, adding historical context to playing in San Diego for golfers worldwide. The U.S. Open returns in 2021. Major winner Phil Mickelson makes his home here, and you can hardly find a San Diego course worth its practice putting green that doesn’t have a story or memory to share about Mickelson or one of his fellow pros.
4. The sights and scenery
If you want to see ocean views, San Diego golf has it, along with beautiful lakes, bays and waterfalls. If you want breath-taking mountain vistas, San Diego has it. If you want jaw-dropping elevation change, San Diego has it. Wildlife, lush landscapes, inspiring rock formations … check, check, check. Get the picture?
5. The value
Matt Gianella clued The Golf Channel audience into a local secret that shouldn’t be so secret. You’ll pay less for a comparable course in San Diego to some other popular golf destinations in California … and possibly at a higher level of service. Maderas in particular prides itself on providing country-club level amenities and service in a public setting.
6. The equipment industry
Did you know Callaway Golf, TaylorMade and Cobra Puma are all based in Carlsbad in North County San Diego? And Titleist has a testing facility in Oceanside. That makes San Diego the Silicon Valley of golf equipment. Scotty Cameron operates a premier putting fitting studio in Encinitas. The latest and great in golf equipment and apparel is all available here making San Diego an ideal place to upgrade your game.
7. Craft beer
Depending on who’s making the list, this might rank a lot higher, but the craft beer scene is an emerging force in San Diego when it comes to national recognition and enhancing of the San Diego experience. Out of the county’s more than 100 craft breweries, you likely know the names of Stone, Ballast Point and Green Flash and a host of others who are continually transforming and growing the San Diego craft beer scene. And you’ll find many of their popular pale ales and lagers on tap and on the beverage carts at courses throughout the county. It’s one more reason to say “Cheers!” to golf in San Diego.