TORREY PINES – SOUTH COURSE – La Jolla, CA
B – Playability & Challenge
A – Quality of Course
A+ – Memorability
A – Service Levels
A+ – Pro Shop
A – 19th Hole Experience
A – OVERALL EXPERIENCE
(11/23/14 – By Jim Allen) … After much hype, and even a bigger wait, a dozen of Golfest’s’ most enthusiastic golfers managed to get on and play the famed South Course at Torrey Pines. It’s always nice when all of the stars align for a darn near perfect day of golf – especially when our tee times had to be booked 90-days in advance to lock in our reservations. While that may sound a little risky, we are talking San Diego here, not Buffalo. In reality, we would’ve played Torrey Pines naked in a Buffalo snow storm, but instead we were forced to rough it when Mother Nature served up 72 degrees, sunny skies, and a mild ocean breeze just a few days before Thanksgiving. Even if you hate California for everything else, you’ve got to love the Golden State for its weather.
To really give credit where it’s really due, Torrey Pines is one of a few destinations that actually lives up to the touristy and golf brochure hype in both playability and scenic-ability – assuming that’s a word (it is now!). Many of us had already spent a few quality days walking Torrey Pines for a special VIP Experience event during the 2008 U.S. Open; and a few others have stood behind the ropes spectating at one of the annual Farmer’s Insurance PGA events held here. But – once you remove the grandstands, television towers and tell the 40,000 fans to go home,
Playing Torrey PInes is a completely different experience. It’s one that commands your utmost respect, because it toughness is disguised by it’s beauty – and let me tell you – this place looks awesome. The first thing you’ll figure out is you don’t want to be in the rough – EVER. Most of the tree-lined fairways are fairly forgiving, unless you assume the tree line is the actual line of the fairway – which is not the case. Although we were not playing in deep U.S. Open quality rough, any wayward ball off the fairway pretty much ended up as a bogey (or worse) because it’s was so hard to advance. The grass is wet and sticky and your golf ball tends to settle to the bottom of it. Many a ball had to be gouged out! And, when you consider we were playing the whites at 6,650- yards, there was little, if any, margin for error. Most of us were playing for bogey off the tee box the occasional cuss words could be heard echoing loudly in the distance. And to go on record, not just from our group. There is also a rumor that one Golfestian had a meltdown that caused a Cobra 5-Hybrid to meet an untimely wild helicopter-spin death to the bottom of a ravine.
Of the 12 Golfestian’s that played, six traveled a considerable distance including Bob Potts (Utah), Jim Dee, Spanky Hayes, Clyde Hayes, Vander Brown (Arizona), and Todd Baltzley (flying in from Sacramento.) The Hayes Brothers and Mr. Brown also managed to squeeze in rounds at Desert Dunes (Thursday in Desert Hot Springs, CA) and the Pelican Hill Resort’s South Course (Newport Coast, CA) on Friday. While the others rode in carts, Spanky, Clyde, Vander and Todd walked the South Course for the full effect.
The only real drawback of Torrey Pines is it’s popularity. We had to book our outing three months in advance due to the South Course’s popularity. The North Course, which can best be described as a scenic muni course doesn’t have that problem. That required a $43 booking fee, on top of our $229 green fee and $40 for a cart. Here’s the stinger … San Diego County residents get to play here for only $79 – and most do a “walk-on.” Since we know we are going back, It may be time to secure a fake ID? Just saying!