This week I had a trip for work to sunny southern California. Not one to miss an opportunity, I set up a round at Torrey Pines South. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks, and it did not disappoint! If you’ve never been, realize that Torrey Pines is a public course, and if you are a San Diego resident, you can play it for very reasonable rates. Almost enough to make a guy think about moving across the country.
I’m not going to do a full round log here – first off, I played badly – I think it was a combination of being very distracted by scenery, and the fact that we played the blue tees where it’s over 7000 yards. That’s a pretty stout course for a pea-shooter like me. There were a few par 4s that I was hitting 3-wood into, and one or two that I couldn’t even reach (#12!).
I’d say my favorite holes were #3, the downhill par 3, and #13, the par 5 that Tiger eagled with a 50-foot putt across the green.
On #3 the pin was center left, and I hit a really solid 6-iron to the back middle of the green – looked great in the air but flew through that California air a little better than it does in Florida. I was left with a very slippery 30-footer across and down the slope, which I put about 5 feet past the hole, but made the putt coming back for a very satisfying par!
On #13 I hit a decent drive that settled in the first cut of rough about a yard off the fairway right. I had 267 yards to the pin, and at this point in the round had been beaten up very badly hitting woods into many of the par 4s, and thought I’d play safe and lay up. The layup area on this hole is down in a very deep ravine, the further you take it out, it starts climbing up to the green which is protected by a set of tiered bunkers in front, and one in back. I thought I’d lay up to about 100 yards, but hit a weak flare, which was lucky to just stay in the first cut left, about 125 yards out. Pictures don’t show it – but I was left with a severely uphill shot, which I calculated as at least a club and a half uphill, but either I got a flyer, I was jacked up, or I’m a terrible caddy, but I hit a perfect shot, a pure an iron as I can hit, but when I got up to the green, I was in the back bunker, wedged on the side of the back face, short-sided to the back pin location. Dead! Sad that my conservative play, and what felt like a good 3rd shot had left me there, I couldn’t even get the ball out of the bunker. I chunked to the middle of the bunker, hit what felt like a good out from there, that ended up rolling about 15 feet past, and just grazed the lip for a double bogey.
So many other amazing views as we made our way around the course. Our playing partner was an older gentleman who had already walked the North course before lunch, and was walking the South with us. Put me to shame, as I lumbered in and out of my golf cart!
My best run of the day was around the turn, hit some solid shots to par 8, 9, and 10, and just missed getting up and down on the long par 3 11th. As we played the back nine, the breeze off the ocean picked up a little, and definitely made both of the par 3s play challenging. Both #11 and #16 play almost directly toward the ocean, and are over 200 yards each.
#16 was my shot of the day – into a very stiff breeze and slightly uphill, I had to hit 3 wood to a pin that was in the back of the green almost 220 yards. The course had backed up a little at this point, and just before we were about to hit, the group behind us rolled up – and they asked ‘are you guys on the wrong hole’? Our walking partner had departed the group at #15 – and they were confused. So we had to convince them that yes, we were supposed to be here, and we didn’t just cut in from some other part of the course. They were a group of four, with another cart of spectators, so I had a larger audience than I had seen all day. So, it felt great to get up there from the back tees where we probably had no business, and just stripe a perfect draw that cut through the wind to the center of the green. Thank goodness they hadn’t seen the three doubles in the last four holes prior!
Another wait at #17, but who cares! What a view! I was actually glad to be able to just chill and feel the ocean wind, and look at such a magnificent spot for a while, and savor the round at such a magical place.
I finished out the round poorly with a lost ball at the last (first of the day amazingly!) – but really did not care much about the score here. I feel very fortunate that I am able to visit and play places like Torrey Pines, and can’t wait for the next opportunity to visit there!
What are some of your favorite memories of Torrey Pines?