Get the Scoop on Torrey Pines Golf Course’s Signature Hole

Get the Scoop on Torrey Pines’ Signature Hole

According to Joe DeBock, Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) director of golf and head golf professional at Torrey Pines Golf Course, the South Course’s third hole, a 198-yard par-3, is “one of the most photographed holes in the world.”

Torrey Pines Hole #3

“It’s on everybody’s bucket list to play the South Course, and this is the course’s signature hole,” he continues. “Three hundred days a year, you’ll have a para-sailer or hang glider overhead.”

Located just minutes from the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, Torrey Pines Golf Course is a premier municipal golf course named after the Torrey pine, a rare tree that grows along this local stretch of the coastline in San Diego County and on Santa Rosa Island. Home to the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open event, Torrey Pines features two championship 18-hole golf courses.

“This signature hole is a beautiful, downhill par-3 looking straight into the ocean and the town of La Jolla,” DeBock says. “It’s a beautiful setting with the canyon around it to the left and the ocean off to the right.”

How do those seeking to check the course off their bucket list approach the third hole?

“There is a drop in elevation a little more than most holes,” he says. “It’s a half a club shorter on choosing your club. You usually get the wind coming right off the ocean, so it’s kind of a crosswind coming from the west blowing toward the east. It takes a lot of balls into the canyon to the left because people just don’t play the wind. It’s a hard green to club to get the right distance because it is downhill, there is some wind and too many other things that come into play.”

Advanced players and beginners will approach the hole differently.

“If you’re an advanced player, you can go right at it, center of the green,” DeBock says. “Most beginners are best to hit sort of to the right side of the hole to get a safer landing. You take less danger if you play it right side of the green versus the center or the left side.”

Torrey Pines Golf Course is perhaps most famous for the 2008 U.S. Open Championship, when an injured Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate during their sudden death playoff after 90 grueling holes of exciting golf. It’s also home to one of the largest on-course golf shops, as well as expert instructors. To learn more, visit