Singing Hills (Willow Glen)

Singing Hills is a beloved resort in East County, San Diego, tucked away in the beautiful and secluded Dehesa Valley. Singing Hills is a San Diego staple. It hosted the San Diego Open many years ago and is the only 54-hole golf complex in San Diego County.

Willow Glen is known as the best of the three at Singing Hills. The course was initially built in 1956 but was redesigned in 1980 by Ted Robinson Sr., known for his love of lakes and waterfalls. Singing Hills is always in good condition. Overall, it is an excellent full-scale golf facility, and the new hotel at Sycuan adds more appeal.

The layout is relatively flat, as the entire Singing Hills courses generally are, with few exceptions. The fourth hole is typically considered the signature hole, a 325-yard par surrounded by a lake near the green. The lake is designed so you can aim down the left side of the fairway to leave a closer second shot in, but it can be very deceiving to pick the correct yardage from the elevated tee box. 

The fifth is another sound hole at Willow Glen, a 502 par five from the blue tees; the tee shot is a testy one with a long forced carry over a lake left, or you can opt for the fairway to the right, but you have to deal with a tree in the middle of the fairway. Willow Glen’s design gives the player many options, despite its benign length. The course is a more old-school design, nothing too fancy, but an overall system with the locals and visitors alike.

The 12th hole is another signature type hole, a beautiful elevated par 3 with a lake and waterfall to the right. While the front nine certainly has some quirky holes, the back nine has some challenging par 4s to finish the round. The 14th hole is a fun par 4, 358 yards with a sharp dogleg left to a steeply elevated green. A driver is usually not the play here; a draw with a fairway wood or hybrid should leave you safely in the fairway and short of the bunker at the end of the fairway. 

One knock against Willow Glen is that it ends with a relatively flat par 3. With the number of renovations this course is undergoing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a more dramatic finish.

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