San Clemente Municipal Golf Course

The view is worth the price of admission at the San Clemente Municipal golf course.

Overshadowed by its oceanfront municipal neighbor to the south, San Clemente Municipal Golf Course is a relatively straightforward local course suitable for golfers of all skill levels. 

San Clemente muni hosts around 90,000 rounds yearly, so don’t expect to play too fast. The value of the course is undoubtedly one of its best aspects, the course is covered in Kikuyu fairways and rough, and the greens were not the best and punched, but for $20 to walk, that is a no-brainer. The fairways and rough were in pretty decent shape. The par 5s are very reachable.  Overall the course plays short, just over 6400 yards from the back tees.  

The course starts relatively flat, and the first few holes indicate the stereotypical municipal golf course, but the vibes are pretty good here and unique.  Unsurprisingly nearly everything breaks toward the ocean.  The course was not stuffy, very laid back, and an enjoyable unique golf experience where the culture is part of the draw. Nothing like Torrey Pines and not trying to be.  The clubhouse was also pretty nice for a municipal course. 

San Clemente starts to show its character on the back nine, as holes 13 and 14 climb up the hill to the signature 15th hole, an elevated par 3 with beautiful views of the ocean and the Channel Islands in the background.   The course changes quite a bit around this stretch, with more canyons and hazards in play.

Local legend has it that Tiger Woods drove the green here, which I’m not sure seems possible with the way the tees were set.  The hole plays to a nearly 90-degree dogleg; I hit a dead-straight drive and was two fairways over.  Tiger likely drove the green from the legendary 16th tee box that was infamously removed due to a huge government snafu.  

Overall, I thought it was worth checking this course out; it is very scoreable and just a more laid-back golf experience. It was rated #2 on The Inertia’s particular yet crucial Best Golf Course For Surfers In Southern California,  highlighted in the recent video below. Also, Kelly Slater plays here.

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