As a golf writer, I’m sometimes asked to share my favorite holes in San Diego. The 18th hole at Torrey Pines South is on the list of course. So are the finishing holes at Coronado Golf Course.
Now that I’ve been writing the JC Golf blog for nearly a year now, a golf buddy recently asked to name my favorites specifically at JC Golf courses.
Here they are:
No. 18, 544 yards, par 5
This is one of my favorite holes in all of San Diego County. The dogleg right requires strategic thinking with every shot. Your drive needs to set up your layup shot that will be between the lake to the left and the trees to the right. Then you have your approach shot over a creek. It’s a seemingly simple wedge shot uphill, but for whatever reason, it rarely turns out that way. Maybe it’s the narrow, three-tiered green that’s fronted by a flowing creek. Nothing says risk-reward quite like this hole. As head pro Bryon Penfield says, “this hole has a lot of character.”
No. 9, 555 yards, par 5
All 27 holes at TCI are memorable, but the last hole on Stonehouse stands out the most. Beware as there is a sizeable pond that fronts the green making this a three-shot hole for average hitters. Stonehouse is clearly the most scenic of the three nines, with elevation changes throughout and plenty of teeth. If you like holes with risk-reward, the Stonehouse is for you.
No. 10, 384 yards, par 4
The Valley Center track is known for its two distinct nines. The front side lays out almost links style while the back nine transforms into a tighter course as it winds through oak and sycamore trees. Bunkers come more into play on the back, starting with a well-guarded green at No. 10. Play the right side on your tee shot as it will leave you with a better angle into the green. Left is trouble.
No. 15, 350 yards, par 4
There are a number of holes that require some thinking and 15 is no exception. The hole turns left, starting with a downhill tee shot that likely will end up in the water if your ball tails only slightly left. But if you split the fairway with precision you will have a short pitch to the green. It’s a funky – and fun – risk-reward hole.
No. 9, 337 yards, par 4
Easily the most memorable hole on the golf course, the ninth stands out for its majestic water feature and elevated views. The longest hole on the Fountains, the dogleg right begins from an elevated tee box. Be mindful of the lake to the right, which also comes into play on your approach shot. The hole is the most picturesque, but can also hurt if you’re not careful. Maneuver with caution.
No. 7, 365 yards par 4
This journey begins with a blind uphill tee shot. A solid drive that works slightly right to left will pay dividends as the hole finishes with a scenic downhill approach shot. Play this one conservatively since left is trouble the whole way. It is marked as the second-toughest hole on the course so secure your 4 and get out of there.
No. 5, 498 yards, par 5
After an aggressive turf reduction initiative eliminated 52 acres of grass and more than 600 trees, CMR is a definitively more targeted experience. That is evident on the fifth hole, a sharp dogleg left that requires a well-placed tee shot if you expect to make par. Shorter hitters will have to negotiate a creek on the approach to the green. This hole is a shotmaker’s paradise. All others beware.
That’s my list. What’s yours?
Marc Figueroa is a freelance writer who has been covering golf in San Diego for more than 20 years.