In our expat’s guide to the best golf courses in San Diego's East County, we cover 5 top-class courses that are worth a day out in the sun and fresh air.
By Jordan Fuller
November 24, 2021 (San Diego) - Who wouldn’t want to move to sunny San Diego? With just a month’s worth of rainy days year-round, the climate is ideal for golf lovers.
If you’ve recently found yourself settling into a new life in San Diego's East County and you’re looking for somewhere to swing your clubs, here are the best golf courses in San Diego East County that we highly recommend spending a few hours at.
Located in Santee, this 7,200-yard championship golf course should definitely be on your list to play if you’re in San Diego.
With 6 sets of tees, golfers will find that there’s something to suit every skill level. The course winds through the natural terrain, leaving golfers to play around a creek, beautiful trees, and various water hazards.
The fairways are sparse and bouncy, and the peninsula greens are friendly and pose just enough of a challenge to be exciting without being intimidating.
You can arrive at the course early and spend some time on the driving range, putting green and chipping green to prepare yourself for the course.
The par-72 championship Oak Glen course at the Singing Hills Golf Resort at Sycuan offers excellent game play, while surrounded by natural beauty, including Sweetwater River.
The course features lush fairways that demand accuracy, as they’re narrow and unforgiving. On the greens, golfers will find that wayward putts are subjected to undulating curves and will roll away if the shots are not precise.
The river runs through the course and golfers will have to carry over it on the tricky 5th hole, which is rated one of the best holes to play in the county.
They also have an extensive practice facility, which includes a driving range, putting greens, chipping greens and an electronic Swing Studio with a launch monitor for training.
The Loma Club offers just 9 holes and 1,023 yards of golf, but it’s worth a visit if you only have a few hours to spare. It’s an excellent way of practising your short game and having some fun, and it's also a well-known landmark in the area.
Each par-3 hole offers something different and a few dramatic changes in elevation not only make the golf interesting, but also provide some panoramic views of the San Diego harbor.
Lush fairways and forgiving greens make it a fun play, but the elevation changes do provide some challenge.
This public golf course is located just 10 miles from downtown San Diego. It’s a 6,004-yard course that offers relaxing views of Lake Murray on the back nine. It famously hosted Tiger Woods’ winning of the Optimist Junior World Championship in 1990.
The fairways are straight and true and beginners won’t be intimidated. But a number of hazards scattered across the holes still present a challenge to more experienced golfers. The greens are well-kept and are fairly slow and steady.
Number 17 is the signature hole, a 237-yard par 3 that requires accuracy off the tee to make par. If you have a golf GPS, this is a great place to use it as their golf carts aren’t equipped with GPS devices.
This 27-hole club is semi-private. We recommend playing the Canyon Course if you only have time for one, as it features exciting elevations and challenging shots that require strategic thinking.
Golfers will be challenged on every hole. The par-5 4th, known as Goosebumps, has an elevated tee which faces a narrow and intimidating fairway. The green is tiered, sloping, and fast so take care when putting.
Barona Golf Course presents a challenge from hole one. With a slope rating of 140 and exceptional routing through the native land, the course is a tough one from start to finish.
It’s important to note that the course at Barona is currently operating as a 9-hole course, due to drought conditions and an attempt to conserve water. However, golfers do have the option to play the nine twice for a full 18-hole game.
Golfers will find wide, generous fairways that aren’t intimidating, but they do favor one side for a smoother transition from tee to green.
The fairways are undulating and golfers will need to be strategic in order to make the most of the rolling curves and carry their ball closer to the green. Large but sloping greens require precision and patience.
It begins with a par-5, which features an oak tree dead in the center of the fairway that golfers will need to play around. As the course progresses, you’ll encounter close to 100 bunkers, and many exciting natural obstacles.
Rams Hill is a top-notch desert golf course and has previously been rated #1 in the country by Golf Advisor. Situated on a hilltop, the course overlooks the town of Borrego Springs, providing wonderful views in all directions.
For a desert golf course, there are more water hazards than one may expect, as the natural springs are abundant in the area. However, it’s important to note that Rams Hill closes for the summer, in order to preserve precious water resources.
The par five 11th hole offers a spectacular view and exciting golf, being a true risk/reward hole. Playing downhill, the green can be reached in 2 shots if the wind is in your favor. However, the left side of the fairway is covered by a water hazard, and the right features a sizable sand trap.
About the Author
Jordan Fuller is a golfer and blogger who’s played on top courses around the world. He shares his experience, knowledge and tips on all things golf-related on his website, Golf Influence.