Category Archives: San Diego Tourism Authority

SD Tourism: Four Great Golf Finishing Holes in San Diego



Editor’s note: This post is part of an occasional series for the San Diego Tourism Authority – www.sandiego.org – promoting golf in San Diego. http://blog.sandiego.org/2015/07/great-finishing-golf-holes/

Like the ending to a great book or movie, the 18th hole of a golf course should offer an experience that’s both satisfying and memorable.

Few things in golf beat a walk-off birdie, so consider this a short bucket list of places you’d like be lucky to score one in San Diego. The following is a list of some of the best finishing holes San Diego golf courses have to offer:

RBI 18

1. Rancho Bernardo Inn –
William Bell, the designer of Torrey Pines and many other public courses in San Diego, did some of his best work on No. 18 at Rancho Bernardo Inn, a hole that’s as scenic as it is strategic.

This closing par 5 begins with a decision off the tee: Do you try to drive the culvert crossing the fairway at around 250 yards or do you lay up? From there, it’s all about positioning to this uphill hole protected by ponds and a stream. That’s a lot of watery waters for things to go wrong trying to reach this narrow, triple-tiered green. But whether you make birdie or bogey, the setting, which includes two fountains, makes the hole and experience unforgettable.

Aviara Golf Club

2. Aviara Golf Club – Possibly the most beautiful finishing hole in San Diego is also its most difficult. This dogleg right par 4 wraps around a lake with a magnificent waterfall and offers a gorgeous view of Batiquitos Lagoon on the left. The lake is a popular destination for tee shots – and second shots, as finding the fairway is no guarantee of anything. The second shot, while played to a sizeable green, is deceivingly difficult. The approach is played into a Pacific Ocean breeze that can push your ball right into the water or out of bounds left. Par feels like a birdie here. The pros on the LPGA Tour are even tested by this one.

new Maderas 18

3. Maderas Golf Club –
This straight away par 5 starts with an elevated tee shot over a ravine to a fairway where a majestic giant oak marks the right side. Aim for the oak and then pour all you’ve got into your second shot on this long finishing hole. The green is situated in front of the Maderas clubhouse, which has the look of an Italian villa. You can putt out and then retire to the patio and enjoy a great view of the hole you just played.

18 torrey

4. Torrey Pines (South Course)
– Design-wise, this flat, straightaway closing par 5 may seem fairly ordinary, but what’s happened here makes it extraordinary. As the finishing hole for the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open, it gets the most TV time of any hole in San Diego. But the lore of No. 18 really ties back to 2008 and the iconic U.S. Open. This is where Tiger Woods trickled in a tricky 12-foot birdie to force the playoff with Rocco Mediate that made that Open legendary and turned Torrey into hallowed ground in golf. Here’s your chance to recreate history.

Honorable mentions: Golf Club of California, Balboa Park Golf Course, La Costa, The Vineyard, Coronado Municipal Golf Course

SD Tourism Infographic: 15 Reasons To Tee Off in San Diego

torrey art

This is a first for the blog: We were part of compiling an infographic overview of San Diego golf for the San Diego Tourism Authority. Thanks to Casual Fridays for the creative partnership.

Follow the link to find out about San Diego golf by the numbers.

blog.sandiego.org/2015/05/golf-infographic/?sf9016470=1

SD Tourism: Five Camera-Phone Worthy Golf Holes in San Diego

TP3

Editor’s note: This post is part of an occasional series for the San Diego Tourism Authority – www.sandiego.org – promoting golf in San Diego. blog.sandiego.org/2015/04/five-camera-golf-holes/

With nearly 90 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 breath-taking ocean views and brilliant botanical beauty, San Diego courses have all.

The following is all-too-brief list of some of the most camera-phone worthy holes in San Diego.

TP3

1. No. 3 (South Course) at Torrey Pines (La Jolla)

This iconic par 3 on the South Course, site of 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 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.

No. 6 at Journey

2. No. 6 at Journey at Pechanga (Temecula)
After playing irons shots at Torrey, it’s time to pull out driver to play this awesomely elevated par 4 at Journey at Pechanga. Trust us when we say you will remember the first time you get glimpse of this tee shot. You’re basically hitting the ball off the side of the mountain and watching it soar like a dimpled seagull to the dogleg-left fairway below. The backdrop is a vast overview of Temecula that makes it seem like you can see all the way to wine country. And cheers to you if you hit a big one here. You’ll feel like Paul Bunyan.

aviara 14

3. No. 14 at Aviara Golf Club (Carlsbad)

Aviara, which is literally an 18-hole botanical garden, 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 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.

No. 3 at Coronado

Photo courtesy of www.greenskeeper.org

4. No. 3 Coronado Municipal Course (Coronado)

The setting of the Coronado course – surrounded by San Diego harbor – makes it unique, but the glimpse you get of the Coronado Bay 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.

No. 7 Encinitas Ranch

Photo courtesy of www.jcgolf.com.

5. No. 7 at Encinitas Ranch (Encinitas)

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 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.

SD Tourism: Touring TaylorMade and the Other Golf Equipment Companies in Carlsbad

tmade

Editor’s note: This post is part of an occasional series for the San Diego Tourism Authority. I’ll post the link after it goes live at www.sandiego.org.

As the home of the headquarters of TaylorMade Golf, Callaway and Cobra, Carlsbad is akin to the Silicon Valley of the golf equipment industry.

The game-changing birth of the metal wood occurred in Carlsbad and those companies been leading the technology boom that has revolutionized the game ever since.

Carlsbad presents a rare opportunity to visit all three of these influential brands at once. They are all headquartered within a few miles of each other.

TaylorMade, however, is the only one still offering regularly scheduled public tours. They take place every Thurs. at 10 a.m. Cobra books private tours by appointment, while Callaway only books club fittings.

The following is a look at highlights and tips for taking the TaylorMade Tour, followed by information for booking appointments at Callaway and Cobra.

tmade

Touring TaylorMade

As most any golfer knows, TaylorMade is the world’s leading equipment manufacturer. Their campus encompasses two buildings – only one of which you see on the tour – and the driving range, the hallowed Kingdom, a domain for the pros and other elite players.

The TaylorMade tour offers some insight into the company’s latest club technology – the new R15 driver is under glass in the lobby with the club head dissected– as well a peek at the manufacturing process and an overview of golf’s technology revolution.

A rotating team of TaylorMade volunteers hosts the roughly 45-minute tour so your experience may differ depending on their experience. For instance, our host was an engineer named Matt, so we got a more technology-based tour.

Regardless of the host, be prepared to provide your ID and sign an electronic confidentiality agreement while you’re waiting. Note: No photos or phones on the tour.

While you’re waiting for the tour to begin, you can peruse the latest TaylorMade equipment, which is on display in the lobby along with the staff bags as such TaylorMade Tour players as Justin Rose, Jason Day and Sergio Garcia.

The tour begins with a bit of history about not only TaylorMade but its parent company, Adidas, a high-performance sports apparel manufacturer. For golf, the most pertinent history is the story of Gary Adams bringing TaylorMade to Carlsbad to pursue his dream of launching a medal wood to supplant the wooden clubs of the past.

That history is displayed under glass in the next story of the tour – the Wall of History. There, 12 clubs are exhibited that capture the evolution of the metal era. There’s everything from TaylorMade’s first driver, the head of which is about the size of a modern-day rescue club, to the latest, the state-of-the-art R15.

In between, you witness club head sizes growing, metal materials changing and then club adjustability coming into the picture. Even for those who know their club history, there’s likely something to learn and appreciate here.

The next stop is the manufacturing floor, where 10,000 clubs are assembled each day. You see everything in production from putters to drivers and learn what a golf assembly line looks like. The manufacturing floor shares space with the massive warehouse where thousands of equipment orders are being processed and shipped daily.

The tour concludes with a look at one of the most exclusive parts of TaylorMade – The Kingdom. Golfers are usually only granted access here with permission of a club pro and to be professionally fitted.

Otherwise, this is where TaylorMade’s professionals come to get their equipment updated in a state-of-the-art environment and to practice on the driving range.

The Kingdom has a country-club feel all its own, complete with a posh lounge just inside the entrance. Worth perusing: the guestbook at the front desk. Inside, you’ll find photographs and signatures from touring pros and celebrities who’ve visited The Kingdom. It’s a veritable Who’s Who.

Who was Adidas’ first sponsored athlete (hint: think track)? Where does TaylorMade gets its name from? Why did Gary Adams chose to relocate his company to San Diego? What does the R stand for on TaylorMade’s drivers?

If some of those questions pique your interest, the TaylorMade tour has answers for you.
If your visit coincides with one of the professional tour events in San Diego, you might end up keeping company with a tour pro. To register for a tour at TaylorMade, call 760.918.6000. Tours are given on Thursdays.

cobra

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Touring Cobra

Cobra Puma, the company represented by the stylish Rickie Fowler, has designated times of the month when tours are available, but they are by appointment only.

Cobra has more modest facilities than TaylorMade, but there are still things to be seen, including the hitting bay and swing simulator the pros use at Cobra. There’s also a warehouse and merchandise area where the colorful array of the Cobra Puma product line is displayed.

The tour can take 30 minutes to an hour depending on what guests want to see. Working in a club fitting can add another hour or two.

To schedule a tour, a fitting, or both, call 760.710.3502.

headquarters-front-2013-005-5x7

Getting Fitted At Callaway

Callaway Golf no longer offers public tours, but the headquarters does accommodate club fittings.

To learn more scheduling a fitting, go to www.callawaygolf.com/golf-clubs/custom-fitting/ and look under the custom fitting tab.

SD Tourism: The Farmers Returns to Torrey in February, Adds Concerts

TP3

This post is part of an occasional series for the San Diego Tourism Authority.

The PGA Tour’s annual spotlight on San Diego will shine again on Feb. 5-8, 2015, at the Farmers Insurance Open at scenic Torrey Pines.

Held in San Diego and at Torrey since 1952, the PGA’s annual stop is part of the Tour’s West Coast swing. The tournament falls between the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale and the AT &T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in Pebble Beach.

Highlights of the Torrey tourney: warm weather, a world-class course and the regular presence of such Tour stars as Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Woods is a seven-time winner of the event besides being the winner of the iconic 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

http://blog.sandiego.org/2015/01/pga-tour-farmers-insurance-open/?utm_content=buffer93cd1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

San Diego Tourism: SD’s Five Best Courses for Kids

2greenb_oaks_north18greenb-reidy-creek

Left: Oaks North. Right: Reidy Creek.

This post is part of an occasional series for the San Diego Tourism Authority. You can find this post on their site at http://www.sandiego.org/articles/golf/5-kid-friendly-golf-courses.aspx

Shop Adizero Golf Shoes Now Only $69.99 + Free Shipping at the TaylorMade Outlet Site!

Golf is a game for all ages, but it’s now more kid-friendly than ever in San Diego thanks to a new way to play the game.

In late summer of 2014, two courses in San Diego installed 15-inch cups, making the hole about the size of a large pizza, as a part of TaylorMade Golf initiative termed “Hack Golf” designed to draw new players to the game by making scoring easier.

Oaks North in Rancho Bernardo and Lomas St. Fe, both executive courses, were among the first adapters. Oaks North dedicated its nine-hole east course to the new game while Lomas St. Fe committed all 18 holes, hosting a 15-inch cup and a regulation hole on each green.

The new game has especially been a hit with kids, juniors and couples, say course managers in the area.

“The holes are here to stay,” says Lloyd Porter, Head Professional at Oaks North. “This is for the next generation of golfers.”
Players on the “hack” courses also get the benefit of forward tees.

The following list of top courses for kids in San Diego starts with those two courses and includes others known for being particularly hospitable to kids, juniors and beginners.

1. Lomas Santa Fe Executive Course – Course architect William Bell is best known for designing Torrey Pines, but he also built this 2,431-yard gem in Solona 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 the 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. Lomas also offers Glow Ball night golf on a semi-monthly basis, giving beginners, kids and juniors another way to enjoy the game.

2. Oaks North – Nine of Oaks North’s 27 holes are set up for “hack” rounds, but all three executive nines are terrific for beginners.

The east course hosts the 15-inch cups, but even played with the forward tees, the new game hardly reduces the course to pitch and putt. Three of the tee shots are more than 200 yards, giving younger players ample room to swing away and hit clubs all the way through their bag.

The 15-inch holes are donated by flags with the number “15” and orange balls with the same number on the tee boxes.

JC Golf originally had an introductory offer of nine holes for $15 for the east course (cart not included), but visitors will find all three nines affordable, playable and walkable and the practice facility, which includes a 15-inch cup as well, a great place to learn and be taught.

3. St. Mark Golf Club/Lake San Marcos – 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 tournament. 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.
Lake San Marcos’ recent renovation included new cart paths, but the course is plenty walkable and a pleasurable stroll while honing your iron and short-game play. A new clubhouse is also in the works.

4. Reidy Creek – Even if you’ve experienced a number of executive 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 executive courses.
Sometimes-severe bunkering and heavily sloping greens make scoring a challenging even though the course is played entirely with irons.
Reidy Creek is an aesthetically enjoyable and challenging way to learn the game.

5. Mission Bay – Located just minutes from downtown, Mission Bay 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.

Shop Adizero Golf Shoes Now Only $69.99 + Free Shipping at the TaylorMade Outlet Site!

SD Tourism: The U.S. Open Returns To Torrey Pines in 2021

USGA Names Torrey Pines Golf Course As 2021 U.S. Open Championship SiteTP3

Left: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and USGA Vice President Dan Burton at the March press event to announce the Open’s return to Torrey. Photo courtesy of the USGA.

Editor’s Note: The following is the first post of an occasional series I’m doing for the San Diego Tourism Authority to promote golf in San Diego. You can also find this post at http://www.sandiego.org/articles/golf/us-open-2021-torrey-pines.aspx

Shop SKLZ Golf – Game Improvement Tools to Improve Distance, Accuracy, Putting and Fitness

An iconic champion at the height of his game. A saavy veteran challenger having the week of his life. A major championship golf event, the first in San Diego, played at recently renovated Torrey Pines.

A clutch putt. An 18-hole Monday playoff. A victory for the ages to add to the sports record chase of our lifetimes, secured on what we’d find out later was a broken leg, only enhancing the legacy of perhaps Tiger Woods’ greatest major championship performance.

Yes, the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines had it all. And now it will have a sequel. The United States Golf Association awarded Torrey Pines its long-awaited second U.S. Open, slated for 2021.

We’ll continue to update this information as it becomes available but for now is just a future reminder of the return of one of the PGA Tour’s four major championships to the sunny shores of San Diego.

Total attendance for the 2008 Open was 295,000. The 2021 event should see similar attendance so plan your trip to the Open early.

“Just as San Diego served as home to one of the greatest championships in golf history in 2008, we’re confident that we will once again provide and exciting and dynamic venue for 2021,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer said at the press event to announce the tournament’s return.

Woods will be 45 when the U.S. Open returns to Torrey. His win in 2008 turned Torrey Pines into hallowed ground for golfers. Thousands now annually make the trek to San Diego to play the South Course and experience the mystique of walking in the footsteps of greatness.

hat

Buy 1 SLDR S Driver & Get a Fairway or Rescue Free! Ends November 6, 2014

Torrey Pines Head Pro Joe DeBock says the boost the 2008 Open gave the course’s legacy and reputation can’t be overstated.

“You can actually play the course where they played the U.S. Open,” DeBock says. “Torrey Pines became very popular just for that fact. The course brings back those memories in a way that just going back to a stadium doesn’t.

“And it was one of the greatest championships ever.”

City officials used words like “passion,” “excitement” and “electricity” to describe the atmosphere they’re hoping to recapture in 2021. That’s a tall order but certainly fun to think about not only for San Diego golfers, but golf fans worldwide.

As is standard for Opens, the course will be closed during the tournament and the week of preparation prior. Fortunately for visiting golfers who want to squeeze in a few rounds during those two weeks, San Diego has abundant options, with nearly 90 courses in the county.

Golfers staying downtown are likely to gravitate to Riverwalk and its 27 holes, harbor-side Coronado Golf Course on Coronado Island, or Balboa Park Golf Course, one of Torrey Pines’ sister San Diego public courses.

Those willing to drive a little can discover Maderas Golf Club in Poway, one of the country’s two courses rated top 100 by Golf Digest, or Barona Creek in Lakeside, another course consistently rated among California’s best as is the Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.

TP13

Until 2021, we have the annual Farmers Insurance Open to look forward to and Phil Mickelson’s renovation of the North Course at Torrey Pines in 2015. Yes, golfers have it good in San Diego.