The Takeaway: Players who skip the North course in favor of playing the widely acclaimed South course, may actually miss the better track. While the South is long, difficult, and a host of the U.S. Open, the North is sporty, fun, and much more scenic. Grade B
Designer: William F. Bell in 1957
Cost: $45 - $168 plus $30 - $45 advance booking fee ($27 - $42 for a cart) Click for current rates
Phone Number: 877-581-7171
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Torrey Pines Golf Course (North)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: Talk to the casual golfer and they may not even realize Torrey Pines has two courses, despite the fact that they are both used for the PGA Tour event when the pros are in town. Renovated by Tom Weiskopf in 2016, the less famous North course is fairly underwhelming on the front nine other than the "undertow" (challenging stretch of holes 2-4) which will certainly keep players’ interest and test their game. The back nine really cranks things up with several great holes and a flat out incredible three hole stretch going from 14-16. In fact, our threesome was paired up with a single from Finland that had been golfing along the west coast of the U.S. the past two weeks including all of the courses at Bandon. He said 14-16 at the North course was easily the best three hole stretch he saw during his trip. It's hard to disagree. While the 3rd hole on the South course gets all the type, it doesn't hold a stick to the dramatic jaw-dropping 15th on the North course that should have you reaching for your camera; but it should already be out on 14 anyway. Torrey Pines is blessed with an impressive parcel of property for two courses to sit on with the ocean and coastline in view at all times, but the North incorporates the terrain features into the hole designs a bit better than the South. The majority of players at Torrey Pines will walk the course given the mostly tame terrain, but carts are available. From a bucket list standpoint your fellow golfers will only care if you’ve played the South course given its history with the U.S. Open, but the more enjoyable experience is waiting for you on the North.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 15th Hole – 202 Yard Par 3 – A hole that would be praised far and wide if it were on the South course, the gorgeous 15th on the North is one of the most visually impressive holes in all of California. The expansive view down the coastline is highlighted by rolling waves, sandy beaches, and the town of La Jolla. The tee shot drops 70 feet to provide extra hangtime and drama as your balls descends toward the green that features a unique tier that begs you to get on the proper level of. The front of the green is unobstructed so bouncing a ball onto the putting surface is a play that can be employed for players wanting to eliminate some of the aerial aspect of the hole. It is holes like this where players should be grateful that their phone is equipped with a camera.
Best Par 3: 12th Hole – 203 Yards – While your back may be to the ocean, the 12th still delivers with a dramatic one-shotter. Fronted by a deep ravine, it is all carry to reach the green unless you bail out to the right and take your chances getting up and done on the bunker side of the hole. With the prevailing wind at your back it can help you ease your concerns of carrying the ravine, but that is countered by the challenge of getting the ball to sit down on the green in a position you'll be happy with. It is a solid hole to contend with before going on to the challenging stretch of holes that await.
Best Par 4: 14th Hole – 451 Yards – A beautiful hole that plays out towards the ocean, the 14th also features the critically endangered species of Torrey pine along the left side of the fairway. A slight dogleg left, 275 yards is required to reach the bend in the fairway so if you feel like juicing one you'll want to favor the left side where you can catch some downslope and kick the ball forward. Don't go too far left though because the large ravine framing that side of the hole awaits to gobble your ball indefinitely. The approach shot features a single bunker on the right side that sits further off the putting surface than meets the eye and the green boasts an infinity edge to the ocean backdrop. Playing into the prevailing wind, this is a strong hole that is as satisfying to par as it is to enjoy visually.
Best Par 5: 10th Hole – 536 Yards – The back nine starts much more inspiring than the front does with this par five that plays directly out towards the ocean. 230 yards from the green on the right side rests a large fairway bunker that can quickly eliminate your opportunity to reach the putting surface in two, so balls that favor the left side will be rewarded with more options; as long as the trees are avoided. The front-to-back tiered green is most accessible on the right while pins tucked back left will have a bunker to carry enroute to the hole. There aren't any gimmicks to deal with here, you just have to step up and rip some long, straight shots into the prevailing wind and hopefully kick off the back nine with a birdie.
Birdie Time: 11th Hole – 339 Yard Par 4 – With the prevailing wind at your back and only 339 yards to cover, the 11th falls as closely into the seemingly obligatory "Weiskopf driveable par four" category as anything on Torrey Pines' North course. Players can take a rip with their driver to get as close to the green as possible, or they can take all of the bunkers out of play on their tee shot by laying up to 100 yards and wedging in from there. During the annual PGA Tour stop at Torrey Pines, this hole generally yields more birdies than any other non-par five hole so it is a great opportunity for you to take advantage of it.
Bogey Beware: 2nd Hole – 495 Yard Par 4 – Nearly 500 yards long, a ravine flanking the left side, and just four strokes to get down with par. Sounds like a Bogey Beware hole to me! The flat terrain helps ease some of the burden of navigating this hole but you'll need a pair of top shelf shots to reach this green in regulation. The lone bunker found on this hole protects the left side of the green so approaching from the right side of the fairway is ideal. With as few of GIRs as will be yielded here, it is imperative to have your short game dialed in if you are going to avoid bogey.