Review: Torrey Pines South Course, San Diego, CA

San Diego's Tournament Course
There are only a handful of courses that perennially host PGA events, and only a couple are public.  One course that almost always hosts an event or two is Torrey Pines South course. 

What makes this course unique is that San Diego county owns and operates Torrey Pines.  This means locals can play either Torrey Pines course for a low price while out-of-towners will have to pay a high green fee.  Even as a visitor it is worth paying the high price.  A championship course on the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean with near perfect weather year round makes it a great destination.
Remember this is a muni course and kind of acts like one too, even though the price and course won’t feel like a muni.  Don’t expect a greeter to kindly welcome you and take care of your clubs or other such amenities, it is more about business than service.  You can also expect slow rounds because of the difficulty, sometimes cart path only and scenery that makes for regular 5 + hour rounds.

Since most golfers have seen this course on TV, I’ll just highlight a couple of the stunning holes.  The opening hole is straight forward but a tough way to head out toward the ocean.  The most stunning hole on the property has to be hole number 3.  This par three green is just perched out on a cliff making for an intimidating shot.  The next hole plays along the cliffs and basically screams “don’t pull it left into ocean.”  As you weave your way back inland, the 6th hole is a great par 5 that plays along a jagged ravine.

The turn isn’t right next to the clubhouse, but there is a snack shop to get you some food for the back 9 push.  Holes 12-14 are a really great collection of holes that take you out toward the ocean again with great vistas.  A long par 3′ a long par 4 and a short par 5 make up a great trio.  After a couple more holes along the ravine, the final hole is a letdown in terms of scenery and design.  As a tournament closing hole I guess it has some drama if a pro goes for it in 2 and drops it in the pond.  But from a design standpoint, really weird.  Seems out of place with it playing so flat and has an odd pond in front of the green.  Other than 18, the course is really fun, challenging and scenic.  The green have plenty of movement and were running at a good pace when I was there.

If you are in San Diego, you must play Torrey Pines South, the host of the Farmers Championship.  Don’t expect a deal or stellar service, but the course was in near perfect shape, and it is worth the cost as you can follow in the footsteps of the many championships held in San Diego.

For more information:

Quick Hits
+Perennial PGA tournament venue
+Excellent conditions
+Scenic setting
+Challenging layout
+Open to the public

–Run like a muni