SAN DIEGO -- America's Finest City. It's a title that leaves little to the imagination when it comes to describing San Diego. And with an ideal climate fit for the most discerning traveler and ocean-drowned sunsets that rival any in California, the area is, well, just about perfect.
It's not just the scenery that makes this southern California coastal locale an iconic one, though.
The food, the people and the diversity of landscape across not just the region, but its golf courses, keep visitors coming back and the locals staying put.
In a nutshell, it's good to be a golfer in San Diego, and there are (at least) seven reasons why San Diego continues to attract golfers from near and far.
The San Diego area is no stranger to hosting some of the sport's most notable golf events -- for more than three decades, at that -- on courses that are much loved by locals and visitors alike. As such, players of all skill levels can literally walk the same paths as the professionals they channel during a round.
Relive the 2008 U.S. Open -- or any one of the Farmers Insurance Open tournaments -- with a round at Torrey Pines South, cruising down the 18th hole en route to victory like Tiger Woods.
Or, over at the legendary La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, channel the LPGA's Kia Classic and putt for dough like 2012 winner Yani Tseng, or one of the many PGA Tour World Golf Championship Accenture Match Play events that took place there. La Costa has hosted legendary Hollywood golf-aholics like Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope, as well. To tee off on the same playing ground that they did is almost -- almost -- as good as being in their famous foursomes.
"Wintertime, what's that?" "Not in season? Not familiar." Pick a day to play and don't count on your round getting cancelled due to weather. While the rest of the country is suffering through the cold, those in San Diego are teeing it up in shorts. Likewise, heat waves across the nation are no match for San Diego, which sports coastal temperatures in the 70s and ocean breezes that refresh and rejuvenate.
In a matter of 30 minutes, golfers in San Diego can go from sweeping ocean views to rocky mountain panoramas. A coastal round at longtime local favorite municipal Coronado Golf Course -- or newer muni The Crossings at Carlsbad -- can be followed shortly after by teeing it up in avocado-growing country at courses like Woods Valley Golf Club in Valley Center.
Ever wondered where your favorite golf gear was born? San Diego -- North County in particular -- is the base station to dozens of golf equipment, apparel and accessories companies that are trusted by the world's best golf athletes. TaylorMade-adidas Golf, Cobra, Callaway and Titleist are just a few that call Carlsbad and neighboring cities home.
Equally, if not more so, than its golf, San Diego is known for its breweries, restaurants and activities for days.
Grab a Stone Pale Ale in the rock garden at renowned Stone Brewery in Escondido, before heading out to a San Diego Padres or Chargers game.
Peruse the quaint shops and eateries on Prospect Street in La Jolla, and after a quick surf or paddleboard on the Pacific's calm waters, settle in with a sunset beach bonfire and s'mores at Carlsbad's Ponto Beach or Ocean Beach further south. It's a truly Californian way to cap off a day.
Whether you want to be treated like royalty or left to your own devices, San Diego is home to many golf resorts that will have golfers wanting to extend their stay.
A suite at the incredibly opulent The Grand Del Mar -- complete with gold-accent wallpaper and a dining experience at Addison that rivals any five-star wine restaurant -- also provides access to the only Tom Fazio layout in San Diego. Pala Mesa Resort, on the other hand, features championship golf with cozy rooms tucked in the hills of east-county Fallbrook. Many other properties including Rancho Bernardo Inn, Pauma Valley Country Club, La Costa Resort & Spa, Park Hyatt Aviara Resort and The Lodge at Torrey Pines attract new visitors and staycationers throughout the year.
Golf and gambling go hand in hand whether betting on holes at the course or cards at the table. Lucky for the gaming golf aficionados, San Diego offers several of California's most beloved casinos for before or after the round. Viejas, Sycuan, Valley View, Harrah's Rincon, Barona, Pala, and nearby Pechanga are just some of the destinations to which golfers flock for spectacular dining, concerts and entertainment, and -- of course -- to test lady luck.
Barona Creek Golf Club in Lakeside, a Todd Eckenrode layout via Gary Roger Baird Design, was named one of the top casino courses in the country by Golf Digest.
Pechanga, which has the largest casino floor in the western United States, is home to The Journey, one of the newest golf offerings in San Diego featuring more than 7,200 yards by architect Arthur Hill.
All of the above offer championship golf, the comforts of the course and a little slice of Vegas.
November 27, 2012