There are American golf destinations with just as many courses near the ocean, such as Pebble Beach and Hawaii.There are others more revered nationally,
like Bandon Dunes or Myrtle Beach, and certainly quite a few locations that are pricier at peak times, like Palm Springs and Phoenix. But for total package and value—quality, location, weather, price and all of the activities away from the golf that make for a winning vacation—it’s tough to beat San Diego.
The roughly 70 public facilities in
San Diego County range from courses with cool ocean breezes to others far inland, perched on boulder-strewn hillsides or surrounded by 100-year-old oak and sycamore trees. There are historic municipal courses,
high-end resorts that offer the finest service and amenities and one very special seaside layout that hosted the U.S. Open. The ma- jority of them are within a 45-minute drive from the airport. And if this still sounds like a few other
places, particularly in California, then con- sider this: The prices to play are as inviting as the 3,000 hours of sun that San Diego receives annually.
The glut of courses has created a players’
market, with some exceptions, and visitors using the Internet or even coupons from the local paper can find sweet deals. A look at the myriad of possibilities for a trip to San Diego, on and off the course:
TORREY PINES The South and North courses at Tor-
rey Pines ($100-$229, torreypinesgolf.com) are San Diego’s municipal jewels. They are regular hosts to the PGA Tour, with the South owning the royal pedigree after the 2008 U.S. Open. People natu- rally want to walk the fairways to relive Tiger Woods’ dramatic victory over Rocco Mediate—a playoff fans will be talking about for decades. That’s wonderful, but understand
that the South is a beast that will systematically break down all but the most stout golf games. There are breathtaking holes, of course, especially the third, fourth and 14th, where the greens hug the edge of the cliffs. For a far more fun and leisurely experi-
ence, try the North Course, which is cheap- er, equally beautiful and far less painful.