post by Terry Smith, contributor
1000 Wildcat Canyon Rd
Lakeside, CA, 92040
This course is located on the Barona Indian reservation approximately 40 minutes from downtown San Diego.
Barona is a “links” style layout with very few trees and has native grasses between holes that can eat errant shots quickly. In our opinion, this is one of only a few courses in San Diego that can be considered as being able to hold a PGA Tour event. Indeed, the Nationwide Tour finals was held here in 2007. At over 7000 yards from the tips, sand everywhere, no adjacent holes, and multiple water hazards, this is an absolute brute of a course. For the less than accomplished golfer, there are 5 sets of tees to shorten things up a bit. Don’t let pride get in your way here, choose the proper tee box for your abilities and you will enjoy the day much more.
Because the layout is located on an Indian reservation, it doesn’t suffer from houses crowding the course at every turn. Indeed, there isn’t one located on the course. The scenery is outstanding with nearby mountains surrounding the entire area. The course itself is moderately flat with some elevation changes thrown in to make things interesting. About the only reason we don’t play here more often is the price. Saturday rates can be as high as $150 with weekday rates running about $100. Play in the afternoon and the price is more moderate. For the money, you get an outstanding experience. Service is excellent, the course is almost always in good condition and management throws in those special extras like range balls, a bag of tees, a divot tool and a ball marker that make you feel special.
Other options at the course include a full size hotel, a large casino and a day spa. You truly can make a long weekend out of this resort and not be bored. If you’re looking for a golf experience that isn’t often found in Southern California (wide open spaces, no residential encroachment, quiet scenery) and don’t mind paying for it, you should treat yourself to this course.
Update (4/5/2009): We played this course today and yes, it’s still in great shape. However, since it’s not mentioned above, I felt compelled to mention the green’s. In a word: Brutial. The greens are so fast and so hard, keeping a shot on them is almost impossible. Pair that with pin placements near slopes and humps and these greens are almost unplayable. Several very easy putts had the ball rolling 40 feet past the hole (and no, that’s not something we do often). The green conditions easily added 10 strokes on to each score (if not more). We’re not saying don’t play the course…just saying to take the greens with a grain of salt.