Nine Hole at Balboa Park Municipal Golf Club
|White M: 60.2/94 W: 65.2/102||150||130||395||175||350||238||218||198||321||2175||4350|
|Red M: 58.8/90 W: 64.8/101||150||130||395||135||350||238||218||198||321||2135||4270|
Food & BeverageHalfway House
Pretty much the ideal 9 hole course
It seems like there's some cross talk on this review page for the 9 and 18 hole course... this review is for the 9 hole.
This is pretty much the perfect length for a 9 hole course. Most holes play 180-220 with a couple 300 yarders thrown in. You tee off with drivers or hybrids and then end up by the green for short game work... it plays like a full length course with all the long-iron approach shots cut out. As far as executive courses go, it's the rare one that lets you have your cake and eat it too - short enough to play fast and remain walkable, but long enough for you to break out your driver nearly half the time.
The course is consistently well maintained... the tee boxes are always beat, but fairways and greens are great.
Layout is a little blah... hole 3 and 4 are interesting, but 6/7/8 are like playing the same hole 3 times in a row. Track is flat with very few traps and no water hazards, which is good for hacks but may be boring for pros.
The price is cheap and the course plays through at a good speed... 2 to 2 1/2 hour weekend rounds are the norm.
You get in and out quickly, no cart needed, plays cheap, great shape, ideal size for an executive. Highly recommended.
I was vacation visiting my brother and his wife and we decided on Balboa after playing several courses in SD area. We just wanted to play nine holes and enjoy the weather. That lasted to the as long as it took us to get to the counter. "Michael" who I can only assume is a relative of someone that runs the park system greeted us like the Germans in Poland. He could not have been more argumentative or disinterested in going his job. He got nasty with my brother as Michael struggled with the concept of advanced mathematics required to calculate greens fees. We finally made it out of there regretting our choice of courses of which there are many in the area. Then we had the treat of having to get the guy to bring carts around after waiting 10 minutes with a no show. The guy was on his phone like a teenage girl waiting for a text from her new BFF. Pace of play was like waiting for Elvis to get out of the bathroom. No rangers on the course , with 1 to 1.5 holes open between groups ahead of us. To bad, I like the old course but won't play it again. I am 62 and have golf at many places around the US and this round will always stand our as a total disappointment.
Great Value Course
Balboa is a tremendous value for a public course, especially if you're a San Diego resident. Greens were in fantastic condition when we played and had very difficult pin positions. Awesome location in the city. Make sure you eat at Tobey's either before or after the round. One of the best views in all of San Diego.
very good course to walk
Live in San Diego so very reasonable. Flat course so easy to walk. SD resident rates very low.. Easy to walk in less than 2 hours. Never gets too crowded and course is always in good shape. Clubhouse and restaurant very old but thha helps keep the costs down.
Challenging course - narrow fairways / great greens
Tough course for rightys. A lot of hole go left. Narrow windows for fairways. Some of the best greens in town.
Definitely a course to play if in San Diego. Tough course good layout. Recommended great breakfast at course too
Good layout, good greens, fairways and tee boxes could use some water
Fun layout. Some easy holes and some hard holes playing the blue tees. Some very long par 4s, for example the 450 yard 10th. Long par 3s as well.
Fairways and tee boxes not in good shape. Many bare spots.
Course has great potential.
Avoid at all costs!
We booked this thinking it was 9 holes at the real course, but we quickly realized that that was not the case. We were not aware that this course existed. It probably shouldn't exist. The tee boxes are so hard that you are afraid to take a divot out of them! You can barely tell the difference between the fairways and the rough! The only good thing about this place is the greens because the people that play out there aren't hitting any, so they are easy to keep in shape. The course should probably be paved over to be completely honest. Give the real course a shot, it's a nice layout.
Excellent condition, tough & kinda funky
Haven't played here over 15 years and I was not disappointed. Course was in excellent condition. A few bare spots but almost not worth mentioning in terms of how much turf covers the property. Forgot how tight some of the holes are, No.4 in particular - a funky layout to say the least. Fair number of wide open holes as well. Greens were in superb condition. A fair test for anyones game. Clubhouse definitely outdated but in a historical and reverent way, but I'd prefer they pour their budget on maintaining the course.
Play it Again!!
A great Municipal Course. An Awesome 99 yr. old course. Great Layout & very good greens.
Worth the $$ to play & would play again & again.
Staff were very friendly from Pro Shop, On Course & in Pub.
A Hard Course to walk
I really enjoyed playing here. However it was a REALLY hard course to walk. Nearly every hole is Uphill except for 1 and 17. You catch a break on the par 5's but I just didn't enjoy walking it at all. This is a challenging course that will punish you for a poor Tee shot. The clubhouse restaurant is a nice little diner with a little above average food at good prices.
Good value for this gem!
This being my first time playing Balboa, and knowing it's a muni course, my expectations were low upon arrival at the course. The parking lot is funky, the range is funky, but the practice green is well taken care of, and gave a pretty good indicator of the greens on the course. The Clubhouse staff were business like, but not overly friendly. I gave the off-course ammenities a low score because I went into the "restaurant" prior to teeing off to ask if I could buy a cup of ice. I was told no, that the ice was for the restaurant patrons. So, don't expect the restaurant to cater to the golfers. However, the restaurant patio looked like a nice place to get a burger and enjoy the view of downtown San Diego. The course was in good shape, escpecially for a muni course. The greens were well taken care of for the most part and rolled fairly true. For whatever reason, all in my foursome had issues reading them. But, that was probably more about us not knowing the greens than the greens themselves. We played from the tips (Blues), to get all of our money's worth. That puts the course at a little over 6300 yards. Short, but challenging enough. The layout is very up and down, with fairly narrow fairways througout. If you missed a fairway, there was a 50/50 chance of getting yourself into some trouble. Canyons and roads line the course, with canyons being the primary hazard. Many greens also had a steep drop off behind and to the sides. I missed a couple of greens long, where my ball SHOULD have been maybe 5-10 yards off, only to find that my ball had rolled into oblivion. The next time I play here, I will play to miss my approach shots short if anything. I played just about right to my handicap. Overall, a very enjoyable, if not beautiful day of golf! Take time to enjoy the views on the back 9!
Beautiful day on the course
I play here often, my home course. Great condition, greens were great, fairways decent. 16th hole is always super tough, and the 4th. Great muni golf course, tougher than Coronado. This is a classic, old gem.
Decent course, great views of skyline and Coronado bridge
This is the course I play the most, best to play early in the morning because-right now-there's a ton of high school tournaments going after 3:00 PM.
The par 3 17th is classic, down hill par 3 with a great view of downtown San Diego.
Not bad, not great but decent track.
Enjoyable Round of Golf at a Great Muni
Balboa is one of the best old Municipal Courses in the country. Heavy previous rains made the fairways tough, but the greens were perfect and the views of the city are great. Played with a couple from Atlanta and it went really well. I like the course.
The Devil's Liar
Balboa Park is centrally located in the heart of San Diego. The Balboa Park Golf Course is located within the 1400 acres of Balboa Park, as are the San Diego Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Spanish Village Art Center, San Diego Old Globe Theatre Complex, and the Morley Sport Complex, which includes the golf course.
The Balboa Park GC is a traditional links style golf course, with tall and rolling grass. The primary vegetation is chaparral, and coastal sage. There are also several clusters of trees to add to the course beauty and wickedness as well as a wide assortment of wildlife including mule deer, bobcats, and Red Diamond Rattlesnakes. The bird species are too many to mention, however I did see a very impressive large hawk. This is where things start to get interesting.
The Devil's Liar : the course is quite hilly, with visually intimidating tight fairways and postage stamp greens which are undulating and fast. I checked the course slope rating and yardage, which showed the Blue tees (the tips) at 72.1/127 and 6347 yards. This devilish little course will deceive you, because the yardage and slope rating does not accurately reflect the difficulty of the course. If ignored, the course demons will take your golf game straight to the Devil. Trust me, there will be a few times when you will shout "Jesus", and look for some form of devine intervention. Standing on the first tee box and looking down at a steep sloping fairway, which drops about 75 feet, you wonder should I hit driver. The hole yardage is 344 yards from the Blue tees. The fairway is wide, but if you spray the ball left or right you will find yourself on a side sloping hill in deep rolling grass or foliage. If you play by the rules of golf for a lost ball, then it's back to the tee box and a uphill climb. I used a 2 hybrid off the Blue tee and found the fairway. My next shot was uphill to a quasi peninsula green, with deep rough front and back, and a steep dropoff on the left side of green. My second shot was short, but I chipped it close and one putted for par. By the time I reached the second tee box I was ready mentally to challenge the course, but my game was not. I had to make some adjustments to stay in the game.
The guilding light through the valley of evil: First, leave the driver in the bag, if you can't hit it staight. This course was designed for not so long hitters, who are virtuous iron players, with the putting touch of an angel. Second, good course management is a must. Aggressive play is a medieval curse that will lead your game down a path of disastrous consequences. Play smart and be prepared to lay up short of the green. Finally, swallow your pride, move up to the White tees, and by all means "Do Not Walk This Course".
You will have a better understanding of what I am talking about when you reach some of the signature holes. My favorite hole is hole #6, a 210 yard (Blue tees), par 3 with a peninsula green. The day I played this hole the pin was in the back and the hole measured 225 yards. I purposely layed up, chipped it close and one putted for par. The course is really challenging from the Blue tees and more relaxing from the White tees. If you are a low handicap player, then this course is devine. Higher handicap golfers playing the White tees will find enjoyment and heaven right here on earth. Which path will you take? Good or Evil?
The course layout is impressive as is the difficulty of play. Pace of play was good most of the time, with only a couple of spots where it slowed down.
I like this course and recommend it to all golfers except beginners.
H.Bell (Golf Enthusiast/ Writer)
18 holes before a flight
I chose Balboa due to quick ride to airport for return home. Course is short with some really quirky holes especially on the front 9. Front nine plays in low area with climb gradually to back nine. Really nice sight lines to downtown. I walked but I'd suggest a cart , it's a climb. Practice range is not good, driving into a clay canyon? Staff was friendly I had ubered over and was carrying my luggage so man in pro shop held my stuff in back office during play. Highlight of course is 16. A par 5 over a canyon to a thin fairway with a big drop to right. Really neat to stand on that tee and plan strategy. Restaurant in clubhouse had super friendly people and cold beer!! That's a 5 star!! Back patio overlooking #1 and #18. Was a good day. If my plans permit it I'd play again.