With an abundance of public, semi-private and resort golf courses available for public play, San Diego County ranks as one of the premier golf destinations in the US. Celebrating 50 years of operation this coming January, one area favorite is the former Singing Hills Golf Resort, now known as Sycuan Resort and Casino following its purchase in 2001 by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.
In the past 50 years, nearly four million rounds have been played on Sycuan’s two par 72 championship courses, Oak Glen and Willow Glen, and Pine Glen, its par 54 executive course. Located just 20 miles east of downtown San Diego, all three courses are known for their park like settings.
As for length and difficulty, Oak Glen, is a pleasant 6,489 yards from the tips with a 128 slope. Willow Glen is 6,605 yards with a 129 slope, and Pine Glen, which does not have a slope rating, is 2508 yards. No matter which of the two championship courses you play, good course management is important as dog legs, over water shots, elevation changes, and an abundance of mature trees all must be considered. Both courses, which were redesigned in 1980 by noted golf architect Ted Robinson, provide challenging golf for players of all levels.
When you play Sycuan, prior to teeing off warm up on the expansive driving range, practice your putting skills on one of the five practice putting greens, and be sure and check out the large and extremely well stocked pro shop for the latest in golf equipment and attire.
When I play Sycuan, my favorite holes are all water holes. They are lovely to look at, require correct club selection, and a good putting touch once on the green. I particularly enjoy the scenic view from the elevated tees on Willow Glen’s Par 4, 328-yard 4 th hole. With the hills of San Diego’s East County in the background, you look out over a grouping of tall prickly cactus and large boulders to a small valley floor sitting in front of a ball-gobbling lake. Once safely in the fairway in front of the lake, I find an accurate second shot is imperative as you must be below the hole on the two-tiered green or a three putt is a distinct possibility.
Another favorite water hole, also on Willow Glen, is the 169-yard Par 3, 12 th with a splashing and gurgling waterfall cascading water into the lake in front and to the right of the green. To have a good chance at birdie, you must hit the correct tier on the undulating green and be able to negotiate the not so subtle breaks.
My third favorite hole is Oak Glen’s 4 th hole, a short 149-yard Par 3 with water from tee to green. A well-placed tee shot makes it an easy hole. However, be forewarned, a short shot will have your fellow competitors yelling… “Reload !”
Pine Glen, Sycuan’s executive course, consists of eighteen par three holes ranging in distance from 94-206 yards. It’s a great course for beginners or those wishing to practice their short game skills. As youngsters, San Diego area PGA pros Phil Mickelsen, Chris Riley and Scott Simpson, who all played at Singing Hills, now Sycuan Resort, undoubtedly sharpened their short games on Pine Glen. In addition to Mickelsen, Riley and Simpson, young golfers from a number of countries have played Sycuan as it has been a host course for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championships, and for the past 15 years, the Junior World Golf Championships.
Sycuan Resort is known throughout the U. S. for outstanding golf instruction including a 4-Day Golf Academy, half, one and two day clinics, and for its nationally acclaimed School of Golf For Women, celebrating over 20 years of service to women golfers of all levels. Director of Golf Johnny Gonzales, and PGA Professional John Kennedy, head a staff of seven Class A Pros, eight PGA Apprentices and two LPGA Pros who offer lessons on a regular basis.
When you want to enjoy relaxed yet challenging golf, take lessons from top teaching pros, enjoy a family golfing vacation, or schedule a business conference, Sycuan Resort and Casino is a great choice. Awaiting your arrival will be three fun courses, fifty years of history, and excellent restaurants, tennis courts, swimming pools, conference rooms, banquet facilities and recently remodeled resort rooms.
For more information about Sycuan Resort and Casino, its 50th Anniversary celebrations, tees times and/or lodge reservations, call 619-442-3425 or visit www.sycuanresort.com.