Host of the Buick Invitation forever and ever and ever (I’m too lazy to do any real research…but seriously, do you really care how long it’s been hosting this event? It’s here. Deal with it.), Torrey Pines is one of the legendary public courses in the country, and one of the most outrageous deals in golfdom if you’re a San Diego resident. Perched right on the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean, there are vistas aplenty and, overall, is a fantastic layout with well designed holes on both courses.
Of the two, the North is the far easier. Measuring aroung 6,600 yards from the tips and having a slope rating of 129, usually the players make their money here, putting up a low number so they can play more conservatively and not be forced to have to make up strokes on the harder South. There have been some great rounds on the North, with Brandt Snedeker’s 60 in 2007 being really memorable and Tiger usually shoots something ridiculous here and sets the tone for his usual romp.
While the North is cool, the South is where it’s at.
If you’re reading a golf blog, you saw last year’s US Open here…you just have, so I’m sure you’re at least a little bit familiar with the layout here. There are some holes with fantastic views like the par 3, 3rd, and, more dramatic, risk-reward holes that force the player to weigh their options like the short par 4, 7th, and the now-famous par 5, 18th. While we won’t have the crazy tees that the USGA’s Mike Davis put into place, nor the graduated rough with the nutty kikyuyu grass (because it’s not fully grown in at this time of the year), we will have a long, ass course with rollercoaster greens.
I’d consider Torrey Pines a course on the rise, a new classic. Because this is Tiger’s playground, and because Phil is from the San Diego area and loves playing here as well, and also due to the fact that a huge number of pros live within a decent drive, the Buick will always have a great field. After the USGA came through with their fancy lawnmowers and rolling green thingees, the somewhat beat up muni has now become a beautiful, well-conditioned public course that is most definitely on every golf nut’s “must play” list. And check out the greens fees for San Diegans, you’ll consider moving there just to take advantage of the outrageous rates.
As a true public course, Torrey has a group of van-sleeping stalwarts, making sure that Torrey’s public history remains pure and doesn’t become a rich-man’s clubhouse (there was an article in Golf Magazine about it before the US Open…I can’t find the link…if you can find it, please leave it in the comments). There’s a Bethpage-West feel to it, with guys sleeping in their cars overnight, just to get the few spots open first thing in the morning, and a 90 day advance for a tee time. I’d love to get out there sometime, but I’m young, so I’m sure I will at some point.
Anyways, you’ve all seen this course before. It’s great, it’s gorgeous, and you know it’s gonna be fun, Tiger or no Tiger.