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The right direction

Torrey Pines North renovation means South is no longer lone star

The right direction

The par-3 15th hole at Torrey Pines North used to be No. 6 but was changed because of the nines being flipped during a renovation by Tom Weiskopf.
Courtesy Torrey Pines

An overlooked and sometimes ignored sibling has emerged from the shadow of her more famous and photographed sister.

Get the camera. It’s time for Torrey Pines North’s coming-out party. After the makeover, her new look is stunning.

Though it’s a 36-hole public facility owned by the city of San Diego, Torrey Pines Golf Course is best known for its challenging South Course, which became a must-play for many golfers around the country after Tiger Woods won the 2008 U.S. Open in a 19-hole playoff against Rocco Mediate. The South Course also has been chosen to host the 2021 U.S. Open.

But now it’s the North Course’s turn to bask in the La Jolla sunlight and media spotlight. The North recently reopened to the public after a nine-month, $12.6 million renovation under the guidance of architect Tom Weiskopf.

Both the South and North courses will again be used during the Farmers Insurance Open (Jan. 26-29), a PGA Tour event at the site for nearly five decades, and Torrey Pines operators hope the public will now want to play all 36 holes as well.

Herman Parker, the City of San Diego’s director of parks and recreation, said the goal of the North Course renovation was “to create a course that was not quite as difficult and challenging as the South, but actually complement it” with a design appealing to golfers of all abilities while capitalizing on the scenery of a property on the coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

“We believe we have achieved that,” Parker said, adding he hopes that golfers who play the North for the first time after the renovation will tell their friends: “Play both courses; they’re both spectacular.”

After a project led by Phil Mickelson fell through because of state fair practices regulations, the city of San Diego chose a bid presented by Weiskopf Design Group and Wadsworth Golf Construction to upgrade and update a classic William F. Bell design that opened in 1957.

“It’s a special piece of property, and I tried to bring the North Course into the 21st century,” said Weiskopf, 73, a former tour star whose firm has designed and renovated more than 60 courses since he ended his playing career in the early 1980s. “My job was to protect and enhance it. I think everybody is going to enjoy this golf course. It’s playable; it’s maintainable; it’s memorable.

“Is it a redesign? Is it a restoration? Is it a refurbishment? I like to think with what we did, it’s a redesign. Every tee was redesigned. Every green was redesigned. … Everything we did in the redesign was to bring it up to current standards. It’s now a top-of-the-line golf course.”

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