Miramar Memorial Golf Course
I like Miramar Memorial Golf Course. I shouldn’t like it — it’s flat, runs alongside a major road, and has views of strip malls. But this is the land of Top Gun, and the more I play it, the more the course grows on me.
Very rarely can I confidently say it has a course with no bad holes? I can confidently say this about Miramar. The greens are some of the best in the city and are constantly rolling consistently well. The greens alone are worth the price at Miramar. The course might be ugly from the outside, but it has an entirely different look and feel when you are actually on the course. The isolation of being on a military base helps a bit, almost like you’re at a private course. You are a street over but a world away. You might hate me for this review, though, and not see what I see, and that’s ok; I think it takes some time to appreciate this track.
Miramar certainly has some exciting features. A massive bunker stretches the width of the green on 16th, forcing a nice high shot that lands on a ridge and jumps forward to the hole. Hole 18 is the longest par 5 in Southern California, topping 641 yards from the back tees. Driver-Driver-Wedge is not uncommon on this hole. It’s not often a course that requires you to use every single club in your bag, and Miramar does just that.
One of the highlights is the par 3s; every single one is a solid hole, including the 6th hole, which runs along Miramar road. It is a straightforward 195 shot that usually plays with a varying wind making club selection nearly every round. 17th is another notable par 4; it plays from an elevated tee to an elevated green over a lake with a high retaining wall.
Better players may unknowingly knock Miramar for its relatively easy stature. Still, the greens are tricky to read, and the myriad of strategic and tree placements force you to work the ball both ways off the tee. This, to me, makes it a great course to practice on. It’s also an excellent course to work on fairway woods with its massive long runway fairways.
It gets pretty busy sometimes, and play can get slow on the weekends, as there are a lot of beginners out there, but I have generally found people to be very willing to let faster players play through here. It is a much more relaxed environment here than in other courses.
The course is also fulfilling a strategic need in the area. In recent years, we have lost five courses in the immediate area, and Miramar still flies under the radar. It takes some commitment as a civilian to get on, you have to fill out some paperwork, but after two rounds, they will likely issue you a 90-day pass to get on base, no problem.
Twilight rates run around $50 with a cart.
Hole 6 is a beautiful straight-away par 5 with some strategically placed trees that force your drive to split the uprights. A long drive should put you in position to go for it in two, but a lake runs up to the green protecting mishit long irons.
Hole 10 is a deceivingly challenging par 4. The hole favors a cut into a tight fairway. Drive must be placed well, or you will face a tree on the right and a massive bunker in front that often protects the pin.
Hole 16 is a relatively short par four that feels wide open but has strategically placed trees and bunkers. A massive green width bunker protects the entire green, so you have to loft a high shot to have a chance at birdie—a great betting hole.
Hole 18 is the longest par 5 in southern California. You rarely will see a hole this long on the PGA Tour, for that matter. The back tees are a whopping 90 yards behind the white. The drive from the back tee also forces a cut or slice as trees heavily protect the teeing ground as you launch onto a literal runway. The longest fairway you have ever seen in your life. Watch your ball takeoff on this runway of a fairway that plays along a literal runway. If you make the fairway, you still have to hit a long straight ball to avoid bushes on the right and trees on the left to give yourself a good approach into the green in regulation. That is impressive if you can get anywhere near this hole in two.