What is the Torrey Pines Golf Course?
Torrey Pines Golf Course is a famous city golf course, which is open to the public during the year. The course is located in La Jolla and touches part of the UCSD campus. It overlooks the beach and ocean, sometimes getting a lot of wind, making it difficult to golf. Residents of San Diego may golf at a significantly discounted price. For San Diego residents the cost is between $61 and $76 to play the South course and $40 to $50 to play the North course. For non-residents the cost is tripled for the South course and more than doubled for the North course. Also worth mentioning is that even though the course is open to the public, because it is so popular, you may need to reserve a time to play several weeks in advance.
The Farmers Insurance Open
The Famers Insurance Open is a well-known golf tournament, which is being held at Torrey Pines this year. This tournament features 156 golfers from more than 20 nationalities. They will play on two courses for the first two days, the North and South course, and the final two rounds will take place on the South course. Each course is a par 72. “Par” means the average amount of stokes a reasonably good golfer would take to finish the hole if that golfer does not make any mistakes. The player who finishes their round with the least amount of strokes will be the winner, since putting the ball in the whole with the fewest attempts is hard. The tournament offers $6,300,000 to its contestants with the winner to get $1,134,000.
Adult tickets for the tournament are $40 per day, although discounts are available. Youth ages 13-17 pay $10 per day and children younger than 13 have free admission. Active, Reserve, or Retired military have complimentary tickets available for download or E-ticket.
If you go to the event, I recommend arriving early to watch the golfers warm up before their round. There tends to be less people, and it’s a rare experience to see all of the contestants golfing close to each other, practicing similar shots. Normally, you see them in small groups on separate holes. While the golfers are warming up, you see their similarities, differences, and how they carry themselves. They are happy and they tend to joke with each other. Additionally, while they are walking between practice areas they are more likely to sign autographs and take pictures.
Pro Ams are where professional golfers play with amateurs before the tournament. The amateurs range from all skill levels and some of them are public figures like George Lopez or some of the Chargers’ management.
The Pro Am is a great opportunity to meet and watch the pros before their actual tournament. This is because there are a lot less people, making the golfers extremely approachable. Even Tiger Woods, who is normally encircled by fans and media, has relatively easy access and will sign autographs. Again, the pro am is not as crowded as the main tournament, so you can get very close to the best professionals and watch them practice, talk to them, take photos, and take photos with the pros.
Caddying at the Pro AM
Caddying at the Pro Am is very popular. I for one was in attendance on February 4th trying to be a caddy, but a priority system, lots of other caddies, a semi-late arrival, plus possibly my constantly leaving the caddy area to watch the pros practice, kept me from walking with the greats. But I still got to see some of the best practice, and it’s kind of cool to hear the pros talk with their different accents.
The people lucky enough to caddy at the event get to caddy for an amateur, but a pro will be in their group. You don’t get a salary but its common knowledge that these caddies can get tipped hundreds of dollars for 9 holes of caddying. Additionally, you do not need to be a golfer to be a caddy. Many caddies have not played golf before and are not expected to give advice because the pros will give everyone in the group advice. In addition, if the bag is to heavy then they will provide you a wheelbarrow type device to push their bag.
All in all, the golfers and the public figure amateurs are very approachable at the Pro Am.
Photographs by Deon Chen