25 Jan GolfPass Grass Guru – Torrey Pines
The Farmers Insurance Open • Torrey Pines Golf Course • by Eric MacPherson
Another week, another event with multiple courses. The biggest difference? We’re swapping deserts for oceans. The illustrious Torrey Pines in San Diego hosts the Farmers Insurance Open. Torrey Pines North and South courses will both be in play, each having been conceived by Billy Bell*. Each course has received the upgrade/redesign treatment in recent times.
Torrey Pines North Course • Hole 13 (4) • Par 4 • 412 yds
Looking for sweet insta pics to flex to your friends that you somehow got a tee time? Deliberately chose not to invite them? Torrey Pines North is the one for you and, in our view, the superior Torrey Pines track. Oh btw, real great friend you are. The bunkering throughout Torrey Pines North keeps the Billy Bell* aesthetic flowing. Rough, unkempt edges highlight much of the bunkers, including this week’s choice, Hole 13 (hole 4 in the new order).
The original bunker on 13, before Tom Weiskopf gave it a face lift, was a nondescript oval-ish shape. Now, the new bunker has curves in all the right places. The bunker is nicely designed on the left side of the fairway. It sits right next to a sloping cliff budding with native shrubs. The shrubbery and bunker on 13/4 have that quintessential Cali vibe that makes Torrey Pines, Torrey Pines. It is, and will always be, a bucket list course. Even if only for the gram and ocean views.
Torrey Pines South Course • Hole 8 • Par 3 • 176 yds
The jewel of Torrey Pines South is the short, little par 3 8th hole, equipped with a backside bunker. I love backside green bunkers and this one, thankfully, remained after the redesign, highlighting the Billy Bell* design motif. The bunker’s position forces a golfer to really moderate ball flight, made more difficult with it being an uphill hole. The South course has numerous picturesque holes, but this little backside bunker has risen above the rest. Throw in a little lacey edging and you have the makings of a classic California bunker.
Although the name of the game is bunkers, hole 4 on the South course is gorgeous. The shrub lined cliff is so much more dramatic than anywhere else on the course. Hit a ball wide left and it’s rolling all the way down to the Pacific.
Lastly, I’d be remiss as a grass guy not to mention the first time we hit Poa annua greens. That’s annual blue grass for the uninitiated. Oh and Tiger’s back!
*I call William F. Bell, Billy because that’s what his friends called him and I’m sure that’s what he’d like me to call him too.