GOLF SD – The Vineyard at Escondido Golf Club
Location: Escondido, across the street from San Pasqual High School.
The back nine holes of the Vineyard are carved out of the side of hill. This makes for some difficult elevation changes. On several of these back holes you hit at a marker and can’t see the flag until you get up to your first shot. But the fairways are pretty wide and forgiving. The front nine have no notable elevation changes but the fairways seem narrower with tall reeds and trees populating the out-of-bounds areas.
*Scale of 1-10 where 1=Miniature golf and 10=Augusta National
- Mon-Fri – $55
- After 2pm – $40
- After 4pm – $20
- Weekends/Holidays – $75
- After 2pm – $45
- After 4pm – $25
Like Eagle Crest, the Vineyard employs a lot of high school students. But somehow, at the Vineyard, they seem more enthusiastic about their work and more knowledgeable. I think this has to do with the proximity of San Pasqual High School and the fact that the Vineyard lets the high school’s golf team practice there. A lot of the team’s golfers work there and know what they’re talking about. In the pro shop, they have extremely friendly and helpful staff.
There’s a driving range (mats weekdays, grass on weekends) and two putting/chipping greens. The clubhouse is nicely decorated, comfortable and affordable. There’s a bar if you want to have a post-game cocktail, beer or meal.
If you golf in the morning at the Vineyard, definitely get one of their breakfast burritos. They make them from scratch just like you would at home. They’re around $4 or $5, big and really tasty. I only saw the beverage cart twice during my round so stock up when you see them.
The Vineyard is built on a wet-land nature preserve. Apparently, gnats thrive in this environment and they are really annoying—especially in the middle of the afternoon. Go in the morning to avoid them.
Hole 12 is a par 3 over water. Be careful of the wind on this hole. From the tee box you face a hill and the wind swoops down it against your shot. I’ve left it short and in the drink because the ball got hung up in the air.
Hole 9 is a par 5 that is flat, straight and a good eagle opportunity if you can get your fairway metal or long irons working.
Lastly, there are 5 lakes on the course that are inhabited by a few mallard ducks, but mostly by flocks of another strange aquatic bird. These other birds, I don’t know what kind they are, defecate all around the lakes. I wouldn’t mention it except that there is definitely a lot of poop on the fairways and greens for these holes. It gets on your ball, on your clubs, in your spikes and possibly into your car. So be aware of it.
A lot of golfers in San Diego compare Eagle Crest and the Vineyard. They cost about the same and golfers of similar skill levels can negotiate them both. I think this is an unfair comparison.
The Vineyard is of a much higher caliber than Eagle Crest. It actually is worth the price they charge. The clubhouse is nicer (Vineyard actually has a bar and a bartender), the staff is friendlier, the driving range at the Vineyard is far superior (there’s actually grass) and the course is maintained to a higher standard.
I’ve paid the $75 rate and the $20 rate at the Vineyard. When I paid full-price I didn’t feel as though I had paid too much. The bird poop and the gnats are what keep me from wanting to pay full-price and from golfing there more often than once every other month.