Review: Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course)

Iconic Torrey Pines Golf Course is located in La Jolla (pronounced “La Hoya”), California and is home to two courses — the South Course and the North Course. It is a municipal golf course owned and operated by The City of San Diego. It is open to the public year-round except when it is hosting events; most notably the PGA Tour’s annual Farmers Insurance Open at the beginning of February…OK, and that little tournament called the US Open back in 2008, where someone named Tiger Woods was victorious on a broken leg.

To get a tee time as a non-resident of San Diego, you either have to pony up an extra $45 per player for an advanced tee time, or show up before dawn to put your bag in line at the starters shack to try and get a walk-on time.

We opted for the latter and showed up at 5:50am on a Friday (sunrise was at 6:53am) to find out we were about 8th in line. Their reservations that day started at 7am, so we missed the pre-reservation walk-on. However, we were called back to the starters shack by about 7:30am and informed we were next on the tee. They try very hard to get everyone who shows up early out on the course — eventually.

We ponied up the $229 per player (Fri-Sun non-resident rate) and headed to the first tee.

The South Course is a real brute. From the tournament tees it stretches out to 7628 yards. Anyone from the public wanting to play these tees is required to get special permission. From the blue tees where we played, it’s not exactly short, measuring 7051 yards and boasting a course rating of 75.3 (and a slope of 137).

The 450 yard uphill dogleg right par 4 1st hole is a tough start on any day, but especially on the brisk morning we had (about 5 degrees Celsius).

The 1st tee shot:

Although there aren’t any “easy” holes at Torrey South, you’re given a brief reprieve on the short par 4 2nd hole before reaching the iconic, and difficult, par 3 3rd hole:


Torrey South’s length, long rough, strategic bunkering, difficult approach shots and tough-to-read greens are punishing, exhilarating, humbling and rewarding all at the same time.

The tee shot on the long par 4 4th hole along the ocean:

The 4th green:

Approach to the long and difficult 7th hole:

The approach to the long par 4 12th hole:

Second shot on the par 5 13th hole:

Approach to the 18th hole. Looks much different without the grandstands!

The experience you get at Torrey Pines South is worth every penny. The challenge, the history, and the incredible setting make it a unique golfing experience.

The routing and lay of the land make it a fantastic walking course, and I highly recommend taking that option if you’re physically able.

If you want to save a bit of money, non-residents can play for $183 Monday thru Thursday, which in my opinion is great value for what you get. There are a lot of lesser courses without the history and charm of Torrey Pines that charge that.

I just hope the San Diego residents continue to appreciate having this iconic course in their backyard for $61!

Happy golfing!


14 thoughts on “Review: Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course)

  1. sounds great – looks fabulous – awesome pix – will put on list – just a drive down south from san jose. gas light district in downtown san diego would be a nice way to cap it all off. Thx GolfIM

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