5 Must-Stay Southern California Golf Resorts

Torrey Pines in La Jolla California

The Lodge at Torrey Pines overlooks famous Torrey Pines Golf Course. (Image: Lodge at Torrey Pines)

Pack the clubs, rent a car and hit the palm-tree lined highways of SoCal for tee offs at these popular golf resorts.

(Last updated January 2023.)

Southern California offers it all for golfers—acclaimed courses that sit atop ocean-side cliffs and twist through stunning desert landscapes, together with a prize collection of golf resorts. Here, five of my favourite SoCal golf retreats. Pack the clubs, rent a car and hit the palm-tree lined highways for a golf vacation you’ll never forget.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Set on seaside bluffs just north of the tony San Diego suburb of La Jolla, The Lodge at Torrey Pines overlooks the world-famous South and North Courses at municipally owned Torrey Pines Golf Course. It was on the South Course that a hobbled Tiger Woods famously clinched an epic come-from-behind victory over Rocco Mediate in the 2008 U.S. Open.

Doormen wearing Scottish kilts greet visitors at a post-and-beam Craftsman-style resort where the 170 rooms are furnished with antiques. Between rounds, hike the scenic trails leading to nearby Torrey Pines State Beach and Reserve.

Omni La Costa Resort and Spa

Almost as famous as Torrey Pines, Omni La Costa Resort and Spa features two recently renovated parkland-style layouts, Champions and Legends, that together have hosted 37 PGA Tour events.

Nestled in coastal foothills about a 25-minute drive north of downtown San Diego, the 611-room Spanish-colonial style property is home to the fabulously refurbished Spa at La Costa. And offering treatments of a more spiritual nature is the Chopra Center, where wellness guru Deepak Chopra’s body-mind healing techniques point golfers toward enlightenment—and, possibly, a smoother backswing.

(Note: The Champions Course closed in November 2022 for a major renovation by star architect Gil Hanse. In 2024, upon completion of the renovation, the course will start a three-year run as host of the NCAA Championships for both men and women.)

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Inspired by the palaces of Spain, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar is unrestrained in its opulence. Gold, marble and crystal flourishes are seen throughout a 249-room property set in the secluded Sorrento Valley north of San Diego. Foodies flock here to sample the French-influenced artisanal cuisine at Addison, one of California’s premier fine dining restaurants.

But for golfers the prime attraction is Grand Del Mar Golf Club, a brawny 7,160-yard design by the great Tom Fazio punctuated by dramatic shifts in elevation.

Monarch Beach Resort

Built at a cost of $240-million, Tuscan-inspired Monarch Beach Resort overlooks a gorgeous stretch of coastline between Los Angeles and San Diego, in the upscale community of Dana Point. Amenities include stunning artworks, a private beach club and a spa.

Just like at Torrey Pines, the Pacific Ocean views are endless. Architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. deftly positioned the tight fairways and rolling greens at Monarch Beach Golf Links to take full advantage of the magnificent setting.

Rancho Bernardo Inn

A lushly treed and wonderfully comfortable retreat in north San Diego, Rancho Bernardo Inn is an ideal home base for excursions to the San Diego Zoo and other local attractions. The 287 guest rooms at the two-storey adobe-style resort feature fire places and balconies overlooking either the gardens or a parkland-style golf course that has hosted both PGA and LPGA tournaments.

Water hazards and bunkers are constantly in play at this brilliantly renovated course originally designed by William Francis Bell.

Monarch Beach Golf Links

Monarch Beach Golf Links offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. (Image: Monarch Beach Resort)