best golf courses in San Diego
Torrey Pines South Course is one of the best golf courses in San Diego. Credit: Torrey Pines

San Diego has plenty of courses to try out. Unfortunately, they’re not all worth a visit. Spend your time trying out the best courses in the area instead with this list of 11 Best Golf Courses in San Diego.

Golf CourseGreen FeeBook
South Course at Torrey Pines$40-$278Book
Aviara Golf Club$175-$305Book
Maderas Golf Club$159-$229Book
Mt. Woodson Golf Club$45-$80Book
North Course at Torrey Pines$30-$176Book
Arrowood Golf Course$60-$100Book
CrossCreek$32-$79Book
The Champions Course La Costa$120-$205Book
Steele Canyon$75-$175Book
Willow Glen at Singing Hills Resort$45-$85Book
Coronado Golf Course$20-$49Book

1. South Course at Torrey Pines

South Course at Torrey Pines
Credit: Torrey Pines

Access: Open to the public
Site: torreypines.com
Green Fee: $40-$278
Stay and Play Package: Stay and play packages are available with the La Jolla Hilton

Torrey Pines features two golf courses. Of these two, the South Course is considered to provide a difficult challenge. The course was first designed in 195 by William Bell Sr. It underwent some major renovations in 2001 and 2019. 

These renovations made the challenging course even more difficult. It’s also longer with around 7,800 yards now. Though it is a challenging course, it’s not impossible to play. The course is home to the Farmers Insurance Open PGA Golf Tournament. 

The South Course is also made into our list of the best golf courses in the US. Check the list out to find more fantastic courses.

2. Aviara Golf Club

Park Hyatt Aviara
Credit: Park Hyatt Aviara

Access: Semi-private
Site: parkhyattaviara.com
Green Fee: $175-$305
Stay and Play Package: Stay and play packages are available and highly recommended

The Aviara Golf Club is one of the most well-known golf courses in San Diego, right up there with Torrey Pines. It stretches 7,007 yards and offers challenges for players of every skill level. There are also beautiful views. 

The course overlooks the Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Preserve, allowing you to take in gorgeous scenery and wildlife. The course is also nestled in rolling hillsides. This is also the only Arnold Palmer-designed course in the area.

3. Maderas Golf Club

Maderas Golf
Credit: Maderas Golf

Access: Open to the public
Site: maderasgolf.com
Green Fee: $159-$229
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

Though it’s only a 45-minute drive from the heart of San Diego, playing at the Maderas Golf Club feels like you’re in the remote wilderness. It’s peaceful and quiet without all of the sounds of the city. This makes it the perfect place to play when you need a little breather. 

The first nine of the course are pretty relaxed. There’s beautiful scenery to enjoy. While the front nine lets you stretch your golfing muscles, the back nine provides test after test. There are narrow fairways, hills, and plenty of bunkers to catch you if you mess up a shot. 

4. Mt. Woodson Golf Club

Mt. Woodson Golf
Credit: Mt. Woodson Golf

Access: Open to the public
Site: mtwoodsongolfclub.com
Green Fee: $45-$80
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

At first glance, the Mt. Woodson Golf Club may not seem like anything special. It’s a par 70 course with only 6,000 yards. However, this course was designed by Brian Curley and Lee Schmidt. It offers challenges and stunning scenery in every hole 

For an example of what to expect, each of the holes has a name. Some of the names are things like “Tree Tops”, “Ledges”, and “The Beach”. You will find yourself in places you’ve never been before, such as high above canyons. 

5. North Course at Torrey Pines

North Course at Torrey Pines
Credit:Torrey Pines

Access: Open to the public
Site: torreypines.com
Green Fee: $30-$176
Stay and Play Package: Stay and play packages are available with the La Jolla Hilton

The North Course is undoubtedly the easiest of the two courses at Torrey Pines. Though it is easier than the South Course, it still offers a fair amount of difficulty. There are a few other differences between the courses.

The main one is that the North Course is shorter. It’s still 18 holes but is only 7,258 yards. It’s also the cheaper option to play on. If you’re tight on cash or don’t feel comfortable trying the challenging South Course, you may find the North Course at Torrey Pines to be the better option. 

6. Arrowood Golf Course

Arrowood Golf
Credit: Arrowood Golf

Access: Open to the public
Site: arrowoodgolf.com
Green Fee: $60-$100
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

The Arrowood Golf Course was designed by Ted Robinson, Jr. Hole 16 is considered the most challenging. The challenge seems to come out of nowhere as it follows a few easier holes. The course itself is rather challenging but also offers some leniency for those who need it. 

Many people say that the course takes a while. Despite being a standard 18-hole course, it often takes upwards of five or more hours to play. This may be because this isn’t a course for beginners, and so some players struggle with some of the holes. 

7. CrossCreek

CrossCreek
Credit: CrossCreek

Access: Open to the public
Site: crosscreekgolfclub.com
Green Fee: $32-$79
Stay and Play Package: Stay and play packages are available with nearby hotels

The Cross Creek Golf Club features a golf course designed by Arthur Hills. As the name suggests, there’s a creek that runs throughout the course. While it makes for pretty scenery, it is also a challenge in its own right. Try to hit the perfect shot, or you may hear your ball fall right into the water. 

This course isn’t for the casual golfer. Every hole features natural and designed challenges. The hills, trees, wind, and shape of the course all come together to challenge every golfer with every shot. If you don’t take care to line up the shot, you’ll find yourself stuck in some rough-edged bunkers that aren’t easy to escape. 

8. The Champions Course La Costa

The Champions Course La Costa
Credit: Omni Hotel

Access: Open to the public
Site: omnihotels.com
Green Fee: $120-$205
Stay and Play Package: Stay and play packages are available

La Costa has two courses to choose from. While the Legends Course is fun to play, the Championship Course is the best one. It was built by Joe Lee and Dick Wilson back in 1965. It went under some major renovations in 2011 with designs by Damian Pascuzzo, Steve Pate, and Jeff Brauer. 

The course is so amazing that it was listed on the list of Best Golf Courses in Southern California alongside Torrey Pines and Aviara Golf Club. It might not be as well-known as the other two golf clubs, but it still has plenty of challenges and beautiful scenery to make it worth a visit. 

9. Steele Canyon

Steele Canyon
Credit: Steele Canyon

Access: Semi-private
Site: steelecanyon.com
Green Fee: $75-$175
Stay and Play Package: No stay and play packages are available

Steele Canyon offers 27 holes. It’s a championship golf course and was originally designed by Gary Player in 1991. The golf club itself has received a four-and-a-half-star rating from Golf Digest. It’s one of three clubs in San Diego County that has received such an award. 

One of the reasons the course stands out so much is that each hole has something unique to offer. Some homes have extreme elevation changes, while others offer full seclusion and subtle nuances. You won’t ever feel like you’re playing the same hole on repeat at Steele Canyon. 

10. Willow Glen at Singing Hills Resort

Willow Glen at Singing Hills Resort
Credit: Singing Hills Resort

Access: Semi-private
Site: singinghillsgolfresort.com
Green Fee: $45-$85
Stay and Play Package: Stay and play packages are available from the resort

If you want narrow and demanding fairways alongside bunkers in all the right places, then you have to try your hand at the Willow Glen Golf Course at Singing Hills Resort. It runs alongside Sweetwater River, and the water is often used in the holes for an added challenge. 

Ted Robinson redesigned the golf course in 1980. It was originally designed and laid out in the 1950s. With minimal renovations, this course keeps the traditional feeling that many golf courses lack. Try your hand at some of the more difficult shots if you want a challenge.

11. Coronado Golf Course

Coronado Golf
Credit: Coronado Golf

Access: Open to the public
Site: golfcoronado.com
Green Fee: $20-$49
Stay and Play Package: Stay and play packages are available through GolfSanDiego

The Coronado Golf Course opened in 1957. Locals and tourists alike flock to the course located just a few minutes from downtown San Diego. While playing, you get stunning views of both the heart of the city and the harbor. While the views are brilliant, make sure you keep your eye on the ball. 

It’s also a course that is playable throughout the year. If you are finding yourself needing a little taste of golf outside the normal season, Coronado is a great course to book. The green fees are fairly cheap and there are stay and play packages to reduce the cost further if you’re not from the area. 

FAQS

Is it Hard to Get a Tee Time at Torrey Pines?

It is extremely difficult to book tee times at Torrey Pines. Some people argue that it’s one of the hardest golf courses to get into. Torrey Pines has been making an effort to change this by changing how far out and when you can start booking. 

For example, you can book tee times now between 4 and 90 days in advance. Additionally, if reservations are canceled, you can book in less than three days as a non-resident. It’s helped a little. It’s still pretty difficult, though.

Is Torrey North or South Harder?

Torrey South is definitely harder. The difference in difficulty is debatable. Though some people prefer the South Course because of its challenges, not everyone feels that way. Some people prefer the Torrey North Course because it’s a more enjoyable and relaxing course. 

During the Farmers Insurance Open, many people noticed that the scoring average on the South was higher than the North Course by roughly three strokes. This is a pretty big difference. Which one is better for you depends on what you’re looking for in a course. 

How to Get Green Fee Discounts in San Diego?

If you golf a lot and you live in San Diego, you can get discounts when you’re golfing. You have to pay an initial fee of $25 and bring in documents that prove your residency in the city. This can include driver’s licenses, passports, student IDs, military IDs, and more. 

These cards provide you with green fee discounts at the city-owned golf courses in and around San Diego. It also gives you access to a few of the private courses and clubs.

What’s the Safest Way to Get Your Golf Equipment to San Diego?

Traveling and shipping items is kind of a horror story. People report equipment getting broken whether you mail it in a carefully padded box or take it with you on the plane. 

To preserve your peace of mind when traveling with your golf equipment, the best option is to purchase a golf travel bag. The best golf travel bags for any budget offer your bag and other golf equipment protection when traveling on a plane. The travel bags are durable and collapsible so minimize damage to anything inside. 

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