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San Diego Golf Course Review | Riverwalk Golf Course | Riverwalk Golf Club

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Riverwalk Golf Course

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Riverwalk: A River Runs Through It by Martin Olivera

The word "strategic" is widely used in golf architecture to indicate the smart placement of bunkers, trees or hazards, which are a golf course defense against the world of titanium and hi-tech golf equipment ... ah, yes, and the golfer. But here I'll use this same word to describe the location of the Riverwalk Golf Course: in the heart of Mission Valley and its hotel and restaurant "alley" along Interstate-8, just a few yards away from Fashion Valley shopping mall, and just a few minutes drive from downtown and many centrally located tourist attractions like SeaWorld and Balboa Park. It's the nearest regulation length golf course to the airport. You can play a round of golf and be at Qualcomm Stadium in a jiffy to watch a Chargers game. That's probably why you may see Ladanian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis along some of these fairways. Need I say more? How is that for "strategic location"?

The land upon which this Ted Robinson Sr and Jr 27-hole complex was built is already a proven golf ground. The old, history-rich Stardust Country Club was there first, hosting ten San Diego Open championships between 1955 and 1967, crowning champions like Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Billy Casper among others. This new track includes more water hazards, more undulations --unlike flat old Stardust--, a better drainage system, magnificent landscaping and a stylish clubhouse. It opened to public play in March 1998.

Not an extremely long course, but with sharp teeth that can eat your lunch if you're too bold or get too cocky. Thirteen of the 27 holes are protected by water hazards -- four lakes, water falls and a river. Three distinctive 9-hole courses comprise this attractive layout. The Mission nine is almost everyone's favorite. A lot of water come into play, a lot of risk-reward situations are available. Two of the first three holes are drivable par-4's. It's the shortest of the three nines, however, at just 3,100 yards from the back. Tight but highly rewarding to an accurate driver. Its finishing hole is a three-shot, 540-yard par-5 with the San Diego river running across the fairway right in front of the green --thus forcing a second shot lay-up. As you cross the bridge to reach the green, a swimming turtle down below may catch your attention. Play this nine carefully. The emphasis is on the approach. The Presidio nine is the longest of the three (3,400 yards). Less water, long holes, wide fairways and small greens are its main features. You can "let it go" off the tee here. No water to speak of, but watch for those elongated fairway bunkers. Finally, the Friars nine presents greens with severe slopes. They are toughest greens on the course during the summer, dry months. You need to be below the hole to be able to putt agressively. And then there is the trolley which, like the San Diego river, also appears to "run through it". It shows up as a sudden bright-red contour, separating Friars from Mission and Presidio.

This Larry Cushman-owned property also includes a two-sided, night-lighted driving range with a Nike Golf Learning Center run by some of the best instructors in San Diego. A banquet facility that can hold events for over 200 people, and whose walls are covered with historical back-and-white photos of Mission Valley at the beginning of the last century, is part of the sumptuous clubhouse. Outstanding service on and off the course with remarkable attention to detail makes a golf outing at Riverwalk and absolute pleasure.

For more information about Riverwood visit, or call the Pro-Shop at 619-296-4653. For all your golf information and outing needs in the San Diego area, visit San Diego Golf at

Click tobook tee times, corporate golf events or read more information about Riverwalk Golf Course or any of "The 20 Best Golf Courses" in San Diego."

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