How Can I Play Torrey Pines?

There are two courses at the San Diego location, and experiencing either is pleasingly straightforward

The fifth hole at Torrey Pines
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On the west coast of the US overlooking the Pacific and close to the Californian city of San Diego is Torrey Pines.

After opening in 1957, Torrey Pines now has such a stellar reputation that it is up there with some of the best public courses in the US. The land had been used for other notable reasons before it became a golf course, though. In 1941 the site was known as Camp Callan - an anti-aircraft artillery replacement training centre that housed 15,000 people. After World War Two, the land was sold back to the city of San Diego and later became a grand prix racecourse. Finally, after hosting its final race in 1956, Torrey Pines opened a year later.

There are, in fact, two courses at the site – the North Course and South Course. Each was designed by William F Bell. However, Rees Jones redesigned each significantly as part of a five-year program that began in 1999. He added more length to the South Course and moved four of the greens, before making more tweaks in 2019. As for the shorter North Course, it was redesigned by the late Tom Weiskopf in 2016, which included enlarging the greens.

The third hole at the South Course at Torrey Pines

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Of the two, the South Course is considered the more difficult, and it is that which has hosted two US Opens – in 2008 where Tiger Woods famously beat Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff, and 2021, where Jon Rahm picked up his maiden Major victory. Meanwhile, both courses host the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open over the first two rounds, before attention turns solely to the South Course for the final two rounds.

Both the North Course and South Course benefit from beautiful clifftop views over the Pacific. Meanwhile, the rare tree after which Torrey Pines takes its name is present on both - and it is also featured in the design of the Farmers Insurance Open trophy. Each course is also long and narrow, with difficult rough. Generally, the terrain is gentle, but don't be fooled its easy to play - there are also deep bunkers and small greens, meaning accuracy with approach shots is crucial. 

The South Course's par-5 18th is responsible for some memorable finishes to tournaments in recent years. As well as being the scene where Woods finally saw off the challenge of Mediate in 2008, it's where Rahm holed an eagle on the 72nd hole of the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open to be crowned champion, and where the Spaniard finished with a birdie to clinch his US Open win four years later.

A view of the 18th green at Torrey Pines

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While the courses were already highly regarded, those famous US Opens have helped make Torrey Pines one of the most sought after venues in the US. It's easy to arrange a round at either course, too. You can book tee times up to 90 days in advance. Prices range between $135 and $278 to play the South Course, depending on the time of day and and the time of week you play, with weekdays and twilight hours offering the cheapest fees. Meanwhile, green fees for the North Course are between $84 and $176. 

San Diego residents can enjoy discounts, with green fees between $40 and $83. The North Course is even cheaper, with prices between $30 and $62. Cart fees are $45.

Torrey Pines Green Fees

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South CourseMon-Thu (res/non-res)Fri-Sun/Hols (res/non-res)
Senior (+62)$47/$223n/a
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North CourseMon-Thu (res/non-res)Fri-Sun/Hols (res/non-res)
Senior (+62)$34/$141n/a

Torrey Pines Location

How Much Does It Cost To Play At Torrey Pines?

Green fees for the South Course are between $128 and $265, while they are between $80 and $168 on the North Course. San Diego residents can play the South Course for fees between $39 and $80, while fees are between $29 and $60 on the North Course.

Which Torrey Pines Course Is Famous?

Both courses are used in the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open. However, the South Course was used both times Torrey Pines hosted the US Open, in 2008 and 2021. 

Which Is The Easier Course At Torrey Pines?

The North Course is considered the easier of the two courses with larger greens and more straightforward approach shots. The par-72 course is also regarded as slightly the more scenic, featuring more ocean views. 

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.