The Clubhouse

Best golf courses in San Diego

Tee off in paradise: unveiling the finest golf courses in San Diego's golfer's haven.

Elena Hall
Elena Hall
5 mins read
AmericasBucket listGolf for allGolf & city

San Diego is a fantastic vacation destination with beaches, entertainment, and nightlife, but not many people know how good the golf scene is in this Southern California region. The area offers multiple golf resorts and scenic courses that make up a golf destination that should be on your list.

With so much quality golf in the area, our travel experts have compiled a list of the best golf courses in San Diego, perfect for your next US golf trip itinerary!

Torrey Pines

Located 15 miles north of the city of San Diego, you will find the incredible Torrey Pines. Situated atop the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean, this fantastic golf resort offers an incredible stay & play experience for golfers with a five-star Lodge and 36 holes of golf with stunning views and impeccable conditions. Torrey Pines is one of the top municipal (owned by the city) courses in the country and golfers who have played it can tell you why.

The South Course is the gem of the two at Torrey Pines and has hosted two US Opens (08 and 21) as well as the annual site of the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA TOUR. From the tips, the course plays a staggering 7,802 yards which includes daring holes like a 615-yard par-5 (9th), and a 227-yard par-3 (16th).

North Course, Torrey Pines.

The fairways are narrow and the rough is plush yet punishing so accuracy and finesse are key to playing well. The sister course on the property, the North Course, is roughly 600 yards shorter than the South Course and offers unique hole layouts, scenic views, and playable conditions. When heading to San Diego for golf, play both layouts on your trip, which make up one of our favorite resorts in Southern California.

South Course facts

  • Length: - Back tees: 7802 yards - Front tees: 5373 yards
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: William F. Bell, Rees Jones, Greg Muirhead, Rees Jones, David Rainville, Stephen Halsey, and Jack Daray, Jr.
  • Founded: 1957
  • Course type: Parkland

Aviara Golf Club

Further up the road in Carlsbad is where you will find the luscious Aviara Golf Course. This Arnold Palmer design is tucked amongst the rolling hillsides providing elevation changes and scenic views of the Batiquitos Lagoon.

The course is just over 7,000 yards and offers four sets of tee boxes to accommodate golfers of all abilities. On the course, accuracy is essential here with testing bunkers and water hazards strategically placed to test your game.

Aviara Golf Club

Aviara Golf Course facts

  • Length: - Back tees: 7007 yards - Front tees: 5007 yards
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: Arnold Palmer, Ed Seay and Robert Walker
  • Founded: 1991
  • Course type: Parkland style

Steele Canyon Golf Club

Situated 18 miles east of San Diego is one of the best courses in Southern California, Steele Canyon Golf Club. This 27-hole property was built in 1991 by Gary Player with each 9-hole course offering a variety of landscapes for a unique round of golf.

The Ranch Course winds its way through the rural California terrain offering elevation changes, unique hole shaping, and strategic bunkering. The Canyon Course plays up into the mountains before turning around and coming back down which provides scenic views, challenging shots, and dramatic elevation changes.

The Vineyard Course is more of a resort course with flat terrain with some holes surrounded by homes and others surrounded by streams and working vineyards. A round at Steele Canyon is certainly one of the more unique golf experiences you will find in California.

Steele Canyon Golf Club

Steele Canyon facts

  • Length: - Back tees: 6561 yards - Front tees: 4592 yards
  • Par: 70
  • Architect: Gary Player
  • Founded: 1991
  • Course type: Parkland style

Omni La Costa - Champions & Legends

Right around the corner from Aviara is the superb Omni La Costa Resort, one of the best golf resorts in California, which is home to two fantastic golf courses: the Champions Course and the Legends Course.

The Champions Course previously hosted over 30 PGA TOUR events including the Tournament of Champions before it moved to Hawaii in 1999. Renovated in 2011, the course has great conditions year-round with wide fairways, and elevated greens. This picturesque course will not disappoint you with its’ features of wetlands, rolling hills, and exposed terrain giving a links-feel.

Omni La Costa Resort

The Legends Course is the sister layout at Omni La Costa and is a narrow parkland style that plays 7077 yards from the tips. Water hazards come into play on most of the holes on the course with the San Marcos Creek winding its way throughout and multiple large ponds strategically placed to swallow errant shots. On your next trip to Omni La Costa, make sure to play both courses for a great golf experience.

The Champions Course facts

  • Length: - Back tees: 7151 yards - Front tees: 4356 yards
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: Joe Lee Dick Wilson, Damian Pascuzzo, Steve Pate and Jeff Brauer
  • Founded: 1965
  • Course type: Parkland style

The Grand Golf Club

Located roughly 8 miles from Torrey Pines is the Tom Fazio-designed Grand Golf Club. Attached to the five-star Fairmont Grand Del Mar, this course is in a prime location for a golf itinerary in San Diego. The award-winning course has elevation changes, distinct bunkers, and lavish fairways soaked in California sunshine and gentle Pacific breezes. Measuring 7160 yards, the course offers six sets of tees, making the experience enjoyable for golfers of all abilities.

Golf course photography

Grand Golf Club facts

  • Length: - Back tees: 7160 yards - Front tees: 4838 yards
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: Tom Fazio, Beau Welling, and Dennis Wise
  • Founded: 1999
  • Course type: Links style

Crossings at Carlsbad

Right up the road from Aviara, is where you will find the Crossings at Carlsbad. This 18-hole championship course stretches across 400 acres of land with varying topography providing natural beauty and luscious wildlife. The course plays over 6800 yards from the farthest tees and offers spacious fairways, vibrant greens, and many forced carry shots over the natural terrain. Water hazards come into play on a handful of holes, but the elevation changes and undulations are what will challenge golfers the most.

Golf course photography

Crossings at Carlsbad

  • Length: - Back tees: 6835 yards - Front tees: 5030 yards
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: Greg Nash
  • Founded: 2007
  • Course type: Links style
Feeling inspired?
Discover California's premier golf destination, not only with stunning coastal views but also a plethora of golf’s most notable architects' top course designs and Parkland layouts.


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Elena Hall

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