Proof that affordable golf in San Diego is indeed a reality

By Mike BaileySeptember 2, 2010, 6:03 pm


Encinitas Ranch Golf Course
Encinitas Ranch Golf Course is a bargain course with views of the Pacific (JC Golf)

Ask almost any golfer what the ideal climate is for playing golf, and the answer almost always describes the year-round weather in San Diego.

Averaging just 10 inches of rain a year with daytime high temperatures usually in the 60s and 70s, it's like playing in air conditioning. Add that to the fact that there are close to 100 golf courses in San Diego, and it just makes sense to book a tee time and travel to San Diego for a golf vacation.

But like any prime destination, San Diego can be expensive. Many of the premium courses command green fees in the $200 range, and the resorts can run a couple of hundred dollars or more a night as well. But fear not; San Diego can be had on a budget. While there are plenty of premium golf resorts, there are also some hidden gems that may or may not have the conditioning of the high-dollar tracks, but they often make up for it in location and history -- and they are good values.

Look to San Diego's municipal golf courses

When you think municipal golf in San Diego, the first place that comes to mind, of course, is Torrey Pines. The 36-hole venue, which was renovated by Rees Jones, has hosted the U.S. Open (the South Course) as well as a PGA Tour event. These days, if you're an out-of-towner, though, you can expect to pay top dollar to play it, while local residents can still play the North and South courses for a song, relatively speaking.

Torrey Pines, however, isn't the only municipal game in town. And while the system's other two courses can't compare to Torrey Pines, they do have plenty of charm.

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For example, the 18-hole Balboa Park Golf Course is less than $50 for nonresidents. And while it isn't exactly long at just less than 6,300 yards, it is a classic William Bell layout in the heart of the city with great views of the downtown skyline. And it's just minutes from the convention center and Gaslamp District. Constructed in 1921, the course, as you might expect, rewards accuracy and patience.

City-operated Mission Bay Golf Course and Practice Center has only an 18-hole executive course, but its claim to fame will draw many visitors. The Ted Robinson design, which opened in the late 1950s, is where Tiger Woods grew up playing golf. The city also owns five other golf courses such as Mission Trails Golf Course and Presidio Hills Golf Course, which are operated by private companies and are fairly affordable.

Perhaps one of the best values in the San Diego area is another municipal golf course, Coronado Golf Course, which sits right on the San Diego Harbor. Owned and operated by the city of Coronado, you can play it at twilight for as little as $15, with regular green fees topping out at $35 on the weekend.

Stay and play at Barona Resort & Casino

While budget golf certainly has its appeal, finding good value is also an attractive option. One golf destination that might hold appeal for travelers is Barona Resort & Casino, located just outside of San Diego. While rack rates at Barona Creek Golf Club can be as high as $160, it can usually be played for considerably less, especially if you're staying at the hotel or if you're a high roller. At more than 7,000 yards, this very well-maintained golf course has more than 100 bunkers.

Salt Creek Golf Club, which used to be known as the Auld Course, is one of the better public values in the area. The only links-style golf course in San Diego, this Cary Bickler/John Cook design has generous fairways, rolling hills, three lakes, 78 bunkers and acres of lush wetlands as well as distant views of the Pacific Ocean. Also located in Chula Vista, Salt Creek's dynamic pricing means there are some real bargains during the week, although the regular green fees peak at $69 for nonresidents. The price does include rental cart.

More San Diego golf options

Another good option is Encinitas Ranch Golf Course, which also overlooks the Pacific Ocean but doesn't charge an arm and a leg for the view. For $45 to $85, Encinitas Ranch Golf Course features excellent conditions with wider fairways on the front and a little tighter layout on the back. It also has plenty of elevated tees and dramatic elevation changes.

Other quality courses with reasonable rates include Arrowood Golf Course in Oceanside, Twin Oaks Golf Course in San Marcos, and Cottonwood Golf Club in El Cajon.

Arrowood Golf Course is a Ted Robinson design that's always in excellent shape and can be played for less than $100. Twin Oaks Golf Course is also a Robinson layout that measures just more than 6,500 yards. And Cottonwood Golf Club has two 18-hole courses that are very reasonably priced and considered among the better bargains in the area. Both courses were designed by O.W. Moorman and A.C. Sears. The Lakes Course is a tight 6,248-yard par 71, while the Ivanhoe Course stretches out to more than 6,800 yards. Green fees peak at $60.

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Garcia bounced in Austin: 'On to Augusta'

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 6:55 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – For the 16th time in his career, Sergio Garcia’s week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play ended earlier then he would have hoped, but this time he has plenty of distractions to ease the sting.

Garcia lost his Saturday morning match to Kyle Stanley, 3 and 1, marking the 15th time in his Match Play career he’s failed to advance to Sunday, but at least he has plenty to keep him busy with a newborn at home and his return to the Masters looming in two weeks.

“On to Augusta,” said Garcia, who is not playing next week’s Houston Open. “It's exciting. Obviously when we get there, it's going to be interesting to see how we feel and everything. But it is definitely exciting.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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Garcia defeated Justin Rose in a playoff to win last year’s Masters, his first major triumph, so his return to Augusta National will be unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

His duties as defending champion will include hosting Tuesday’s Champions Dinner. No word on Garcia’s menu for the event, but various sources have confirmed it will be something “Spanish.”

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Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Sweet 16

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 24, 2018, 5:40 pm

Here is how things played out in the Round of 16 on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The week began with 64 players taking on Austin Country Club,but the field is dwindling. Click here for Day 3 match results:

Match 97: Bubba Watson (35) def. Brian Harman (18), 2 and 1. Watson was 1 down going to the eighth hole, but he won four of the next five holes to turn around this battle of lefties. A 12-foot putt for eagle at the 12th dropped, giving him a 3 up lead coming home. It was Watson’s second eagle of the day. He looks as if he’s still riding the confidence from that Genesis Open victory last month. Watson will advance to play Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the quarterfinals.

Match 98: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28) def. Charles Howell III (59), 1 up. Aphibarnrat won in a late comeback, winning the final two holes. He holed a 9-foot putt for birdie at the 17th to square the match and won with an 8-foot birdie at the last. He had not led all day, not until that last birdie putt dropped. The 28-year-old Thai improved to 4-0 on this world stage after sweeping his group in the round-robin play. A four-time European Tour winner, Aphibarnrat is looking for his first PGA Tour victory. He will meet Bubba Watson in the quarterfinals.

Match 99: Kyle Stanley (45) def. Sergio Garcia (7), 3 and 1. Stanley birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th holes to go 3 up, and then he held off Garcia’s run at him, eliminating the world No. 10 with birdies at the 16th and 17th holes. With the victory, Stanley has a chance at a nice Texas two-step, a chance to eliminate the two highest ranked players left in the field, the only players left among the top 10 in the world ranking. But, there’s hard work to do in the quarterfinals, where Stanley will meet world No. 2 Justin Thomas.

Match 100: Justin Thomas (2) def. Si Woo Kim (50), 6 and 5. Thomas remains on fire in this format, steamrolling Kim a day after completing a round-robin sweep of his group by blowing away Francesco Molinari, 7 and 5. The Kim match felt like it was over shortly after it started, with Thomas making the turn 5 up. Thomas will advance to play Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals.

Match 101: Cameron Smith (46) def. Tyrell Hatton (12), 2 and 1. Smith found himself behind early, falling 2 down after Hatton opened with back-to-back birdies, but Smith quickly rallied to win one of the best matches of the day. He birdied four of the next five holes to go 1 up. Hatton lost despite making seven birdies on the round. He lost despite making birdies at the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to the red-hot Smith, who made eight birdies. Smith will meet Alex Noren in the quarterfinals.

Match 102: Alex Noren (13) def. Patrick Reed (19), 5 and 3. In this Fire vs. Ice match, Ice won, with Noren making easy work of Reed. Really, though, Reed never got a flame going, and Noren wasn’t going to help him the way Jordan Spieth did a day before. Reed was 2-over on his card before finally making his first and only birdie of the day at the 13th. Somewhere, European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn must have been smiling, watching Noren easily take down the formidable American match-play dynamo. Noren will meet Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals.

Match 103: Ian Poulter (58) def. Louis Oosthuizen (25), 2 and 1. Poulter’s match-play mojo is going strong again, with the Englishman summoning the intensity that has made him so formidable in the Ryder Cup over the years. He was on fire Saturday, making eight birdies over the first 15 holes, if you count the concession he received hitting a wedge to 18 inches at the 13th hole. Poulter put a special putter in the bag this week, using the same flat stick that helped him lead the Euros to their historic comeback victory against the Americans at Medinah in 2012. Though Oosthuizen made four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, he still couldn’t make it close. Poulter will meet Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals.

Match 104: Kevin Kisner (32) def. Matt Kuchar (16), 1 up. Kuchar applied all kinds of pressure on Kisner on the back nine, but he couldn’t get Kisner to fold in the best match of the day. Kuchar was 2 down with four to go but managed to pull all square going to the last. After missing a 15-footer for birdie at the 18th, Kuchar watched Kisner sink a 12-footer for his birdie to win. Kisner will meet Ian Poulter in the quarterfinals.

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JT advances to quarters, closing in on No. 1 ranking

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 5:40 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Justin Thomas continued his impressive run at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and finds himself another step closer to overtaking Dustin Johnson in the World Golf Ranking.

Thomas rolled past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the first knockout stage and will face Kyle Stanley in the Elite Eight. He must advance to Sunday’s championship match to overtake Johnson as the new world No. 1.

“It wasn't anything crazy or special. Just played solid golf tee to green. And it was forcing him to make a lot of putts,” said Thomas, who has played 61 holes this week, won 24, lost six and hasn’t trailed in four matches.

Stanley, who needed a playoff victory over Paul Casey on Friday to advance to the weekend, defeated Sergio Garcia, 3 and 1.

Bubba Watson also continued his solid play, rallying from an early deficit to beat Brian Harman, 2 and 1. He will play Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who defeated Charles Howell III, closing with back-to-back birdies for a 1-up victory.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

But as impressive as Thomas has been, Sweden’s Alex Noren has quietly continued to impress, going undefeated in pool play and closing out Patrick Reed on the 15th hole for a 5-and-3 victory.

“He's such a tough competitor,” said Noren, who will face Australian Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals. “I managed to hole a few birdie putts. When we both had good chances, he just missed and I managed to make those.”

Former Match Play champion Ian Poulter also advanced with a 2-and-1 victory over Louis Oosthuizen. He will play Kevin Kisner, who converted a 10-foot putt at the 18th hole to defeat Matt Kuchar, 1 up.

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”