The Best golf courses in San Diego 2024

Best golf courses in San Diego 2023
San Diego has some of America's best coastal scenery. Credit: MontyLov 

San Diego, with its stunning coastal scenery, perfect weather and rich golfing heritage, has so much to offer.

This vibrant coastal metropolis, located in Southern California, embodies a unique blend of laid-back charm and urban sophistication. With a population of over 1.4 million residents, it is California’s second-largest city and serves as a major economic and cultural hub in the region.

The history of San Diego is rich and diverse, dating back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by the Kumeyaay people, who thrived in the region’s abundant natural resources and mild climate. In 1542, Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo became the first European to set foot in what is now San Diego Bay. The city’s modern history began in 1769 when Spanish missionaries established the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the first of 21 missions built along the California coast. 

San Diego
San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Credit: Stephen Leonardi

The city experienced significant growth with the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad in the late 19th century, connecting San Diego to the rest of the country. The construction of the Panama Canal in the early 20th century further contributed to the city’s growth, solidifying its position as a strategic naval and commercial hub on the West Coast. And San Diego’s military presence played a crucial role in shaping its history and is home to the Naval Base San Diego, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

The city also boasts world-class attractions such as the historic Gaslamp Quarter and Balboa Park’s renowned museums as well as San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld and the impressive array of golf courses just add to its allure. Here is our list of the best golf courses in San Diego.

  1. Torrey Pines  (South Course)
    Torrey Pines, located in La Jolla, is undoubtedly one of the crown jewels of San Diego’s golfing scene. This iconic course has played host to numerous prestigious tournaments, including the 2021 US Open as well as the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open. With its breathtaking coastal views and challenging layout, Torrey Pines is a must-play for any golfer visiting San Diego. While the South Course is the more celebrate, the club offers  two 18-hole championship courses, the South and North courses, both meticulously maintained to provide an exceptional golfing experience.

    Torrey Pines is one of the best golf courses in San Diego. Credit: Mark Degnan
  2. Aviara Golf Club:
    Nestled amidst lush rolling hills and picturesque valleys in Carlsbad, Aviara Golf Club is a championship course that promises golfers an unforgettable round. Designed by the renowned Arnold Palmer, this meticulously landscaped course features pristine fairways, challenging bunkers, and stunning water features. The course’s natural beauty and impeccable playing conditions have earned it a place among Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play” in San Diego.

    Aviara Golf Club scorecard
    The scorecard for Aviara Golf Club
  3. Maderas Golf Club
    For those seeking a serene and challenging golfing experience, Maderas Golf Club in Poway is a hidden gem worth exploring. Surrounded by majestic cliffs and ancient oaks, this breathtaking course offers a truly unique ambiance. Designed by Johnny Miller and Robert Muir Graves, Maderas boasts a challenging layout that demands precision and strategy. Immaculate fairways, scenic vistas, and exceptional service make it one of the best golf courses in San Diego.

  4. The Grand Golf Club
    Nestled within the pristine hills of Del Mar, The Grand Golf Club offers an exclusive and luxurious golfing experience. Designed by the legendary Tom Fazio, this private course features meticulously groomed fairways, challenging greens, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Golfers seeking an unparalleled blend of elegance and world-class golf will find it at The Grand Golf Club.

  5. Steele Canyon Golf Club
    Located in Jamul, Steele Canyon Golf Club presents three distinct nine-hole courses that provide a variety of playing experiences. The rugged Canyon, breathtaking Vineyard, and picturesque Ranch courses offer unique challenges and stunning vistas. With its well-maintained grounds and exceptional customer service, Steele Canyon Golf Club consistently ranks among the top public golf courses in San Diego.

    Steele Canyon Golf Club scorecard
    The scorecard for the three loops at Steele Canyon Golf Club, San Diego

San Diego has so much to offer even before you start to look at golf but when you do, you find it offers a wealth of exceptional courses from the world-renowned Torrey Pines to lesser known gems such  Maderas Golf Club. Each course presents a unique blend of natural beauty and originality, so grab your clubs, soak in the breathtaking views, and tee off at the best golf courses in San Diego for what is sure to be an unforgettable golfing adventure.

Late to the game, Ray is more than making up for lost time. There are not enough hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a year. He plays in all weathers - snow included. His other great passion in life is wine, which is why Ray is the owner of The Ripponden Wine Co.

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