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Pauma Valley Country Club Is Second to None

By Jamie Reno | Photography by Sergio Hernandez

While Palomar looks to the heavens, golfing heaven can be found closer to Earth at the Pauma Valley Country Club, which quietly boasts one of the finest golf courses not only in San Diego County but the entire nation. The course, designed and built by the dean of classic golf-course architecture, Robert Trent Jones Sr., is every bit as fine as Torrey Pines, Aviara, or La Costa.

It also has a colorful history of visitors and members, from A-list celebrities to legendary golfers. Evangelist Billy Graham, a resident of the country club, was asked once what he thought heaven looked like. He replied that he hoped “it looks a lot like Pauma Valley, California.”

Rocker Huey Lewis plays there regularly and boasts a 7 handicap. Phil Mickelson, the San Diego product who’s won three times at The Masters, would hone his game—as if it needed honing—at Pauma for the Bob Hope Classic.

The club has hosted Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, been listed as a top 100 club in the U.S. and top 10 club in California by Golf Digest, and hosted the US Open qualifier many times, as well as many other high-profile golf events.

Despite the impressive pedigree, the club, also home to an upscale residential area, has somehow retained a sense of quiet solitude. This place almost transcends the game of golf.

The Pauma course is so deeply connected to its surroundings that from the moment you walk onto the first tee, you feel an almost Zen-like attachment to the place. Here’s the best part: You’ll remain blissed out even after missing a 3-foot putt to save par.

“We think Pauma Valley Country Club is one of the hidden gems of this region,” says Paul Devine, who was named the club’s general manager in June. “Our members never tire of hanging out with each other and playing classic golf. It’s golf heaven.”

Carolyn Clark, a well-known philanthropist and accomplished sculptor and clay worker, also lives in the club’s residential area. She moved here after residing in La Jolla for many years, and finds that living beneath 49 oaks in Pauma is a “creative catalyst to my art.”

Devine says the country club and the valley enjoy a “definite connection. The original developers researched the Luiseño language and named 20 of the community streets using authentic Luiseño names. The country club has had a rich heritage since 1962, and we’re still going strong.”

Pauma Valley Country Club Is Second to None

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