Here’s an all too familiar scenario in SoCal: You’re jonesin’ to surf, but the waves are dead flat. You’d go skate, but you remember that falling on concrete is a son of a bitch. The gym is smelly and crowded, and you just can’t quite commit to yoga. The truth is, there’s perhaps no substitute to acquire the same physical and mental stimulation surfing provides. However, golf is a fantastic way to keep that mental game sharp as a tack. It also serves as a reminder that technique is key. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend all your lunch money on a single round of golf. In no particular order, here are the eight best-bet golf courses in SoCal for your average surfer looking to avoid breaking the bank.
Torrey Pines is a 36-hole (north and south course) municipal public golf course located in the beautiful community of La Jolla, San Diego. If you’re a holder of a City of San Diego Resident I.D. Card, green fees are only $25 on the weekdays. Non-card-holding San Diego residents are looking at $61. Broke non-residents, stay away. The course is well-kept and definitely a good choice if you live in San Diego, not to mention it has one of the most beautiful atmospheres in SoCal. Plus, it’s on the PGA Tour… and you can play it!
At $21 for San Clemente residents and $36 for non-resident (weekdays), this municipal 18-hole course with an ocean view is a great choice for the price. It can get backed up, but the greens and teeboxes are fairly well-kept. The fairways are forgiving, but the greens can be tough. Overall, it’s a straight forward course without a ton of difficulty. Hole 19 is a great time.
This 18-hole course ranges from $15 per person on the weekdays to $50 per person on the weekends. Tee boxes, fairways, and greens are decent. Bring some extra balls; the fairways are narrow.
San Juan is a great course if you get it at the right time. Green fees range anywhere from $30 to $80, depending on the time and day. Tee boxes, fairways, and greens are always in great condition. All-around great course for the price.
Here’s a great place if you’re a beginner and don’t want to spend a ton of money. Although the course is not in the greatest condition, tee boxes are actually mats, which provides a little help for those who need it. Green fees: you’re looking at around $23 for weekdays and $27 for weekends. Newport Beach is also a great place for the more experienced player to practice their short game. Night golf is a plus.
The municipal course is maintained very well. Views of the mountains and the Channel Islands are an added bonus. It’s flat and wide open, so you can use the big dog on the tee box and not be too scared. Green fees are $51 for non-residents and $36 for residents (weekday). Definitely a good bet if you get skunked at Rincon.
Anywhere from $18 on the weekday to $50 on the weekend, this 18-hole is fun and affordable when Surf City, USA isn’t living up to its name. Tee boxes, fairways, and greens are average. Watch your head for random shanked balls.
This fun executive course is great for beginners or for those looking to work on their short game. There are a few chances to drive the ball, too. It’s fairly maintained for the price you pay ($28 to walk on the weekends). Night golfing is a plus.