Carmel Mountain Ranch
(858) 487-9224 • clubcmr.com
Why you’ll like it: Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club prides itself on offering a private-level experience for the public to enjoy. New management recently made many improvements, including refinements to the clubhouse and beautifying certain elements of the course. The overall condition of the par-71 layout is superb, and an array of trees and pleasant landscaping enhance the aesthetics.
For those interested in special events, Carmel Mountain Ranch has been nationally recognized for its wedding and banquet facilities. Tournaments also are available.
What’s hot: The carts have a new GPS system. There’s now a Sunday brunch — an all-you-can-eat buffet for $9.95 for golfers and $14.95 for others, and the menu varies weekly. On Thursdays and Fridays, there’s a happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m. with specials on beer, well drinks and appetizers. Active military and law enforcement members receive a 20 percent discount on green fees.
A summer membership is available from June through October, where individuals pay $99 per month and couples $149 per month and play for a $15 cart fee on weekdays and a $40 cart fee on weekends (minimum sign-up of two months required). Plus, members get 10 percent off pro shop merchandise and guests of members get $10 off green fees.
The Crossings at Carlsbad
Why you’ll like it: In less than two years, The Crossings at Carlsbad has established itself as one of the premier daily-fee courses in San Diego County. Located less than 30 minutes from most major points of the area, the Greg Nash-designed course is a challenging test with elevation changes, undulating greens and views of the Pacific Ocean. The Canyons Restaurant, located in the clubhouse, has some of the best golf course fare in Southern California.
What’s hot: The Crossings schedules a variety of monthly events. Ladies and community clinics are being offered in June and July, and there’s a Father’s Day Bloody Mary Brunch on June 21. The course also now has men’s and women’s clubs.
Players who sign up for the Crossings Club receive two free rounds, discounts on green fees and access to twilight times an hour early. Seniors can save even more by joining. Call the pro shop to learn more.
The Golf Club of California
Why you’ll like it: What was once one of the top private layouts in San Diego County is now open to the public. Located in Fallbrook, the Golf Club of California reopened as a semi-private facility on May 1. Under the guidance of LMT Management, the course is still accepting memberships and has sought to retain the private ambiance, which is evident in the spectacular clubhouse and a well-manicured fairways.
The par-72 track has a 73.6 rating when played from the tips at 6,828 yards. The round opens with a quartet of par 4s that bend right and left, and the par-3 fifth requires a tee shot over water. Throw in a par 4 with a double fairway (No. 8), a driveable par 4 with water near the green (No. 12) and a finishing par 3 that again plays over water and you’ve got an intriguing test. A course fly-over on the website highlights the details.
What’s hot: Call the pro shop for tee time availability within seven days of when you want to play. Green fees Monday- Thursday are $80 (cart and range privileges included) and $100 Friday-Sunday.
Meadow Lake Golf Club
Why you’ll like it: Escondido’s Meadow Lake Golf Club is a visual treat, featuring views of the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountain ranges. A solid variety of holes will keep all golfers on their toes, and though many holes are framed by trees, the trouble is not encroaching. Meadow Lake is close to activities offered in Escondido, but has managed to retain a secluded feel.
What’s hot: A two-for-one green fee special allows two golfers to play on weekdays after noon for $35 and on weekends after noon for $45 (second player pays cart fee). There’s also a Sunday special where golfers can play any time for $50 and receive a hot dog and fountain soda. Both offers expire on July 31 and players must have the coupon that appears on page 93.
Maderas Golf Club
(858) 451-8100 • maderasgolf.com
Why you’ll like it: According to Zagat, the Poway layout has been ranked as the No. 1 course in San Diego County for the past six years — and with good reason. Maderas has a challenging, scenic layout and multiple amenities. Serious players will appreciate the all-grass practice area — which even has a fairway bunker — while all will enjoy the fare at the Clubhouse Grille. The facility also has plenty of space for group and tournament outings.
What’s hot: To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Maderas has two summer promotions — twilight rates of $85 Monday-Thursday and $105 Friday and Saturday (cart included); and players who pay the regular rate from now until the end of September will receive one adult ticket to SeaWorld (a $65 value).
Morgan Run Club & Resort
(858) 756-2471 • morganrun.com
Why you’ll like it: Early summer is a great time to check out one of the most quaint golf destinations in San Diego County. The semi-private Rancho Santa Fe resort has 27 holes, all of which remain in great shape after the property hosted the San Diego Celebrity Classic in late April. In addition to the golf, the resort offers tennis and top-notch amenities at the Spa & Sports Retreat Center — including exercise equipment, steam rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and a Jacuzzi.
What’s hot: Morgan Run is near the Del Mar Fairgrounds, which means easy access to two of the area’s most popular summer attractions at the Del Mar Fairgrounds — the San Diego County Fair and horseracing. Morgan Run has many stay-and-play packages, including the Suite Spa Escape for $459 per night, where guests get a suite, dinner for two in the Rancho Grill, choice of two spa services, breakfast in bed, daily entry into the Spa & Sports Retreat Center and a round of golf for two.
Mt. Woodson Golf Club
(760) 788-3555 • mtwoodsongc.com
Why you’ll like it: A par-70 course with a rustic setting in northeastern San Diego County, Mt. Woodson in Ramona challenges players to use precision rather than power. Boulder-dotted mountains and a secluded setting provide a sensory treat, but don’t let the surroundings distract you from the task at hand.
What’s hot: Monday is military day, where active members can play for $30; seniors can tee it up for $35 on Tuesday; couples can play for $50 after noon on Thursday; and, in an effort to encourage junior golf, youngsters can play for free with a paying parent any time on Sunday. There’s also a $35 early-bird green fee Monday-Thursday for players who tee off before 8 a.m. All rates include a cart.
Pala Mesa Resort
(760) 728-5881 • palamesa.com
Why you’ll like it: Pala Mesa, located just off the 15 Freeway in Fallbrook, features a tree-lined layout and mountain views. The resort has three types of rooms, including the executive king with a king-size bed, walk-in closet, outdoor patio/balcony and marble wet bar.
What’s hot: For daily-fee players, a twilight golf package includes a round of golf after 1 p.m. and dinner at Aqua Terra Restaurant for $59. A golf stay-and-play package, which runs through June 30, includes deluxe accommodations, unlimited golf per night stay and free parking for $99 Sunday-Thursday and $149 Friday-Sunday.
Those interested in booking a group or tournament outing can take advantage of the Tournament Stimulus Plan, where the event organizer can play golf for free depending on when the tournament is booked and how many players sign up. Call the pro shop for information on these discounts and membership opportunities.
Rancho Bernardo Inn
Why you’ll like it: The course, designed by William F. Bell, is a tranquil delight that’s perfect for players of all skills. The resort features amenities commensurate with a destination of its caliber, including rooms with custom furnishing, 42-inch plasma-screen TVs and an iPod-ready stereo, in addition to a relaxing spa and the acclaimed El Bizcocho restaurant.
What’s hot: The resort’s “Two for Free” package includes a choice of unlimited golf for two or dinner for two at Veranda, which features French cuisine. Packages, which cost $259 per night through June 30, can be upgraded to include spa treatments. Through the end of the year, book a group golf outing and each player gets one round and a night’s stay (based on double occupancy) starting at $149. There’s also a “Sunday Nine & Dine” package available each Sunday in June, where guests can play unlimited golf after 4:30 p.m. and enjoy a three-course plated meal at Veranda for $50 a person.
Salt Creek Golf Club
(619) 482-4666 • saltcreekgc.com
Why you’ll like it: Chula Vista’s Salt Creek is a links-inspired track with modern touches, such as scenic water features and elevation changes. There are many memorable holes with panoramic views, including the par-4 14th, which shoots uphill from the tee and can play as long as 462 yards.
What’s hot: Check out Salt Creek’s “Funky Fridays,” a new spin on the traditional round of golf. On one Friday a month, players can participate in a public shotgun beginning in the afternoon (usually 1:30) for $30. The round has a set of rules designed to make the day more fun, such as two holes on every green and the ability to tee up your ball in a fairway bunker. After the round, there’s happy hour pricing on food and drinks (including $1 tacos) and a live band provides entertainment. The next Funky Friday is June 26. Call the pro shop or visit the website for more details. Also, call the pro shop to learn more about a tournament linked with final round of the British Open on July 19.
Steele Canyon Golf Club
(619) 441-6900 • steelecanyon.com
Why you’ll like it: Located in Jamul, the semi-private course designed by Gary Player is consistently rated as one of the top venues in San Diego County. Each of Steele Canyon’s three nines offers a challenge: the Canyon has dramatic elevation changes, the Ranch is aptly named since it plays through a working ranch, and the Meadow winds through a picturesque valley.
What’s hot: Steele Canyon offers a variety of membership packages. Be a “guest for the day” at the course by presenting the ad on page 57 and play for $49 Monday-Thursday and $69 Friday-Sunday (cart included). Plus, San Diego residents are encouraged to call the facility within seven days of when they’d like to make a tee time to see if any specials are available. On Saturday, June 27, the course is hosting one of 15 semifinals for the Executive Women’s Golf Association Championship.
(800) 457-5568 • sycuanresort.com
Why you’ll like it: Sycuan features 54 holes amid a tranquil setting in the mountains of eastern San Diego County. There’s also the Academy, which offers an array of programs, lessons and clinics for players of all ages and skills. The El Cajon resort is conveniently located next to Sycuan Casino.
What’s hot: Fans of morning golf will love two of Sycuan’s newest deals. Tee off weekdays before 7 a.m. on either course (Willow Glen or Oak Glen) and enjoy an early-bird green fee of $35 (cart not included). There’s also the Back Nine and Breakfast special on Oak Glen, where golfers can play the back nine and enjoy a breakfast burrito or breakfast croissant sandwich for $25 Monday-Thursday, $30 on Friday and $35 on weekends and holidays. Sycuan also offers a variety of stay-and-play packages, including a savings of 40 percent on stays longer than five days.
Warner Springs Ranch
(760) 782-4200 • warnersprings.com
Why you’ll like it: Warner Springs Ranch has been a tranquil getaway since 1844. The golf course, which winds its way through the Cuyamaca Mountains, is a par-72 layout dotted by mature oak trees and cottonwoods. If you’re looking for a secluded experience, Warner Springs — located about 90 minutes from San Diego and two hours from Los Angeles — is ideal because there are no phones or TVs in any of the resort’s rooms.
What’s hot: Stay-and-play deals are available, and the course is open to non-resort guests Monday-Thursday, with green fees (including cart) of $40 before 1 p.m. There are plenty of outdoor activities in which to partake, including horseback riding and sky sailing. Those looking for a more relaxing indoor experience can enjoy a massage at the Ranch Spa.
Woods Valley Golf Club
Why you’ll like it: Nestled in Valley Center in northern San Diego County, Woods Valley will challenge the best players while being friendly to less-experienced golfers thanks to five sets of tees. The par-71 layout has one of the most fun transformations of any course in the region — as soon as you finish the par-4 12th hole, the open atmosphere turns to a tree-lined setting that lasts for three holes.
What’s hot: Woods Valley is one of many courses participating in Play Golf America’s “Get Golf Ready” program. PGA Director of Golf David Mowery is heading group lessons for the program throughout the summer, with a package of five for $99. To find a schedule of Get Golf Ready offerings, visit playgolfamerica.com and find Woods Valley’s page by searching in California or entering your Zip code.
Green fees at Woods Valley — with cart — top out at $60 on weekends.