6 Stunning San Diego Golf Courses Every Golfer Should Play

Feeling the itch to blaze your own golf trail? The halcyon days of early fall in Southern California will do that to you. Get to playing these six stunning San Diego golf courses: Chula Vista, Lomas Santa Fe, Mission Trails, National City, Tecolote Canyon, and The Vineyard at Escondido.

This six pack of courses will treat you to classic layouts designed by renowned architects Billy Casper, William P. Bell, John Muir, Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Sam Snead, and David Rainville. Old school is the new cool for players who appreciate straightforward tracks without gimmicks. And that’s how the Scots intended it – a stick and ball game of 18 holes over rustic land, right?

What the Scots didn’t have was nearly year-round sunshine. So really, there’s no excuse not to tee it up at these six stunning San Diego golf courses:

Chula Vista Golf Course

Chula Vista Golf Course

Hole #18 at Chula Vista Golf Course.

Designed by Billy Casper, this track located just south of San Diego in the city of Bonita lives up to its “great view” Spanish moniker. It sits within Rohr Park with the Sweetwater River running through it. Either the river or one of three lakes comes into play on nearly every hole. Low-handicappers thirsty for a challenge will find it when taking on all of the course’s 6,759 yards from the back tees. Bogey golfers will enjoy a more relaxing but still satisfying round from the other three sets of tees.

Lomas Santa Fe Executive Course

Lomas Santa Fe Executive

Lomas Santa Fe Executive Course in Solano Beach, CA.

This Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed executive course in Solana Beach is known as a hidden gem with delightful ocean views. Though it’s a compact 2,431 yards over 18 holes, Lomas Santa Fe puts your short game to the test with multi-tiered greens, 20 deep bunkers, and two water hazards. The shorter length and ocean breezes will inspire you to eschew a cart and enjoy a walk through the rolling landscape. For players who want to squeeze in a round every chance they get, a three-hour window is all you’ll need.

 Mission Trails Golf Course

Mission Trails Golf Course

Hole #17 at Mission Trails Golf Course.

William P. Bell authored “The Tale of Two Courses” when he designed this 5,940-yard layout. The first nine holes take you through a valley while the second nine winds the shores of San Diego’s Lake Murray. Elevation changes, a few blind tee shots, and the 9th and 18th holes’ uphill fairways require strong course-management skills. Mission Trails’ quirks are the challenge – and the fun. Savor the knowledge that you’re walking in the footsteps of Tiger Woods, who in 1990 launched his legacy at Mission Trails when he won the Optimist Junior World Championship.

 National City Golf Course

National City Golf Course

National City Golf Course in National City, CA.

Sometimes nine holes is all you need, especially when you can pull out driver on at least one of them. This executive course designed by John Muir calls out to beginners, thanks to short par 4s of 300 yards or less. But experienced players who are looking to fine-tune aspects of their game will appreciate the chance to use every club in their bag during a quick round. The National City location makes it convenient to sneak in some holes during lunch or right after work. Casual golfers and junior, can invest valuable practice time on the 5,000-square-foot putting green or the night-lit driving range.

 Tecolote Canyon Golf Course

Tecolote Canyon Golf Course

Tecolote Canyon Golf Course in San Diego.

Of course this layout is narrow – it’s a canyon! The creek that runs pretty much the course’s full length makes it narrower still. Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Sam Snead co-designed what’s known as one of the most unique layouts in San Diego. Though it’s an executive course of mostly par 3s and a few par 4s, you will need just about every club in your bag (including a driver) to navigate a testy layout with nary a sliver of room for error – especially on its deviously undulating (and small) greens. Players with steely nerves will enjoy making strategic approach shots and sharpening their short game. Beginners will get schooled on making shots that keep the ball in play.

 The Vineyard at Escondido

Vineyards at Escondido Golf Club

Hole # 3 at Vineyards at Escondido Golf Club.

David Rainville captured the northeast county area’s gorgeous mountain scenery with his challenging par-70 layout. The 2nd hole – a short, dogleg, par-4 with a pond in front of the green – and the 9th – a par-5 with water on the right – are the standouts on the front. Players with good shot-making skills will be rewarded. The hilly terrain of the back nine offers more variety. Course management is key, given the elevation changes, water on some holes and well-placed bunkers.

Before you play golf in San Diego at one of these gorgeous courses, you might want to check here for discount tee times. Now all you have to his bring your A Game!

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