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San Diego Golf Course Review | Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Course | Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort

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This classic design by prolific golf architect William F. Bell has stood the test of time and still is one of the "must-play"...

Classic Golf in Rancho Bernardo - by Martin Olivera

Just 25 minutes north of downtown San Diego the renovated Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort and a beautiful championship golf course opened to play in San Pasqual valley, the heart of Rancho Bernardo, in 1962. This classic design by prolific golf architect William F. Bell has stood the test of time and still is one of the "must-play" San Diego golf courses to those visiting San Diego on a golf vacation. This San Diego golf resort is currently managed by JC Resorts which also oversees the operation of six other courses in the area. In 1998 it added a new set of tees and upgraded its bunkering to accommodate modern play, thus making the course more challenging, yet keeping it pleasantly playable for the average golfer.

Known as RBI by the locals, its proud heritage can boast that it is the only San Diego golf courses to have hosted both, PGA TOUR and LPGA events. Legendary golfer Art Wall won the San Diego Open here in 1964, and the LPGA played the Honda Classic on these greens from 1978 through 1980. But being the venue of high-level professional golf should not intimidate you if you are not an experienced player. Four sets of tees create four distinct golf courses ranging from 4,949 to 6,631 yards. Rest assured one of them will fit your game. The beauty of this classic tree-lined design is that regardless of your golf ability you still have to think your way along the course, sometimes over creeks, brooks and fountains, and quite often around, under, over and through pines and eucalypti. But once you realize the lack of trickery and hidden hazards of this meticulously maintained San Diego golf course all you really have to do to score well is execute a simple golf shot. No crocodiles in the water hazards, no buried elephants on the greens.

Elevated tees and undulations on the fairways give the visual impression that the course is tight, with little room for error. However, once you walk a hole you get the feeling of "it wasn't THAT tight after all." The risk-reward situations are still there, though, on the "short" par-4 9th you feel like you almost can drive the green (thank you titanium and Pro-V1), but you still have to be careful and accurate so the pond on the right doesn't gobble up your ball. A safe 200-yard shot off the tee will set up the approach to the small green. The par-5 18th hole is a chess game in its own right. The tee shot demands accuracy and placement, not length. There are water problems ahead and right. The second shot could be a do-or-die situation if you decided to go for the elongated green. The option is a middle-iron-but-still-nervous lay up second shot, and then an "I'd better hit a good wedge here or I'm toast" third shot! Every time I see a par-5 hole that gives me options and makes me think upon every shot I see a great golf hole. The 18th at RBI is one of them.

I don't know about you, but I've always been a bit apprehensive about playing golf on a course meandering through a housing complex. There you are, standing on the tee. You study the picture to figure out your shot... trees on the right, bunkers protecting the fairway and, ah yes, million dollar houses on the left... Ugh! Excuse me?! Million what?! For most mortals, losing a golf ball in a pond, or up in a tree is a minor expense and, at most, embarrassing. But hooking one up into a house... Wow! Waittasec! That may be getting into legal territory. In situations like this, most people don't know whether they'll be responsible for replacing a multi-hundred dollar broken window of a multi-million dollar house, or whether jumping over the fence to retrieve a four-dollar Titleist ("Hey! It's a NEW Titleist") would be deemed as trespassing. Enter "The Pressure." What seemed to be an innocent 350-yard par-4 hole, now happens to be a hole that maybe requires a call to a lawyer before teeing it up. But I digress... This San Diego Golf Resort Course at Rancho Bernardo Inn - winner of awards like AAA Four Diamond and GOLF Magazine's Silver Medal â?? yes, meanders through a valley of Spanish-style houses in an architecturally mature and beautiful part of San Diego, but it was carefully designed to - in most cases - to keep some pretty nice and expensive San Diego golf real estate out of play. Of course every now and then you'll see protecting structures on the patios and yards to guard windows (and people, I suppose) against bad slices and nasty hooks ... but who can blame the homeowners for wanting to live on such a beautiful piece of San Diego golf real estate? And you can't blame the golfers either, really, with all this titanium and graphite technology producing equipment that makes a 30-handicapper hit as long as a 15-handicapper. If you live in a house bordering a golf course you really should expect that every now and again a 300-yard tee shot will hit your cereal bowl in the middle of your breakfast before you can get to the newspaper's sports section. And here I am, still digressing.

In addition to providing a fabulous San Diego golf experience, Rancho Bernardo Inn has a fully stocked Pro Shop managed by PGA professionals. This San Diego Golf Resort features a 287-room building of European-style, exquisitely developed with the help of garden designer James Yoch to convey the flair of an Italian villa. Vine covered pavilions, pools, and fountains decorate this visually attractive property. Dining options include the award-winning restaurant El Bizcocho, the Veranda Grille, the Sports Grille, and La Taberna Lounge. Equally famous as an up-scale tennis resort , Rancho Bernardo Inn has lighted tennis courts that have hosted Senior ATP events and a full array of "Stay & Play" tennis programs too. A full service spa with exercise room, steam and sauna baths are part of the many additional facilities that make this San Diego golf resort a favorite for those looking for a quiet and peaceful golf vacation in San Diego, or a little golf with their business meetings!

Click to book tee times, corporate golf events or read more information about Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Course or any of "The 20 Best Golf Courses" in San Diego."

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