Brian

About Brian

I am married with two beautiful children and loving life. I’m pretty sure my head size is literally getting larger every year I go past 30, is that normal? I love my job & hometown of SD and if you ever visit you’ll understand why my city is better than the rest.

What would you do on your ideal San Diego day?

Golf in the morning. Then head to La Jolla shores with friends. Wrap it up with dinner at a great sushi restaurant and then finish watching the Padres beat the Dodgers.

If you were invisible, where would you go?

Behind the scenes just about anywhere. I always want to know what’s making it all tick, at a theme park, a ballpark, or a concert. I love seeing what's happening behind the curtain.

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

Hanging at the beach and playing volleyball with friends. I also really love going to dog beach & now that I’m a new dad, anywhere that makes the little guy laugh.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

Burgers and beer for sure!

Latest music purchases for my iPod/MP3 player are…

The Fray - The Fray, Bless His Name - Jeremy Riddle, New Radicals - You Only Get What you Give, and Bobby Brown - On Our Own. No more, I got in trouble from IT for downloading at work!
Brian

We Asked Golf Course Managers – What Course Do you Recommend?

Sycuan Golf Resort - Pine Golf Course #4

In some cities finding a great public golf course can be more challenging than the round itself. You’ll never have that problem in San Diego. The majority of our 90+ golf courses are open to public play.

To help you navigate the choices, I  went right to the source, and asked the professionals from some of the best San Diego courses a simple question – What course would you recommend to a visitor and why?

Here is what they had to say.

Lew Millburn Suggests Maderas Golf Club

Golf Course Manager, Torrey Pines & Balboa Park Golf Courses

Maderas Golf Course #4 Green

Maderas Golf Course #4 Green

For a complete golf experience, be sure to put Maderas on your golf bucket list. From the moment you arrive at the expansive clubhouse and are greeted with first class service, to dropping the last putt after 18 holes of manicured conditions over challenging topography, you will be glad you visited Maderas.

Blake Dodson Suggests Torrey Pines Golf Course

Director of Golf, Rancho Bernardo Inn

Farmers Insurance Open San Diego 2013 Torrey Pines Golf Course

It’s hard to beat the beauty of the Torrey Pines Golf Course (photo: Paul Rode)

Torrey Pines South consistently challenges the abilities of the PGA Professionals during the Farmers Insurance Open. It allows professional and amateur golfers the opportunity to test their skills on one of the most demanding tracks in San Diego County.

Michael Tabor Suggests Steele Canyon Golf Club

Director of Marketing, Sycuan Golf Resort & Sycuan Casino

Steele Canyon Golf Club

Escape to Steele Canyon for a round of 18

I love Steele Canyon because of its scenery and seclusion – particularly the Canyon to Ranch route. It is the perfect “escape” from the hustle and bustle of my everyday life. It’s not an easy course and you have to think on most of your drives and approach shots. My favorite hole is Ranch Hole #4. A reachable Par-5, even for shorter hitters, but you have to be very accurate with your tee shot! There is a huge elevation drop and big trouble left and right.

Brendan Cronin Suggests Sycuan Golf Resort

Assistant General Manager, Riverwalk Golf Club

Sycuan Golf Resort - Pine Golf Course #4

Sycuan Golf Resort’s Par 3 Pine Glen is great for golfers of all abilities

Sycuan Golf Resort is always in great shape and the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. Their Pine Glen 18 hole course is one of the best par three courses in the state! Perfect for golfers of all skill levels and abilities.

Colin Radchenko Suggests Rancho Bernardo Inn

PGA, General Manager, Steele Canyon Golf Club

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Inn offers an challenging yet picturesque course

At Rancho Bernardo Inn, visitors can enjoy a round of golf on a traditional style golf course that winds its way through the valley with tree lined fairways and several bunkers and water features to navigate. The finish on number 18 is memorable as you play an uphill par 5 with a picturesque water feature to an elevated green. After the round enjoy the scenic view of the course in the valley from the outdoor patio dining area. It’s a great way to finish the day.

Bill O’Brien Suggests Riverwalk Golf Club

General Manager, Maderas Golf Club

Riverwalk Golf Club - Mission Course #3

Riverwalk offers a course in the heart of San Diego

Riverwalk does a remarkable job at connecting with its guests. Their presence on the web, on social sites and their commitment to programming great golf, catering and social experiences put it on a short list of favorite courses for locals and travelers alike! The course is always in good shape and offers up a great test of golf to all skill levels. And adding to the experience is its commitment to player development and growing the game.

Where’s your favorite place to golf in San Diego?

Brian

Football Paradise: 2013 College Football Bowl Games in San Diego

College football bowl seasons is one of America’s great holiday traditions. San Diego hosts to two games each December: ‘America’s Most Exciting Bowl Game’, the National University Holiday Bowl, and the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl both call QUALCOMM Stadium home.

The Holiday Bowl pregame festivities include a 100-yd flag

The Holiday Bowl pregame festivities include a 100-yd flag

This year, the games are separated by just 4 days. The Poinsettia Bowl will be played at 6:30 on Dec. 26, and the Holiday Bowl kicks off at 7:15 on Dec. 30. That means a college football junkie could have an ultimate getaway in San Diego.

The burning question now is which teams will be invited to enjoy the legendary hospitality rolled out by the San Diego Bowl Game Association, and televised nationally on ESPN. Here’s a preview.

UCLA vs Baylor in the 2012 Holiday Bowl

UCLA vs Baylor in the 2012 Holiday Bowl

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

This is the most uncertain of all potential matchups. The Poinsettia Bowl will feature teams from the Mountain West Conference, and the Mid-American Conference. The Mountain West’s most likely teams are Utah State, San Diego State, or Boise State.

The big question mark is with the MAC, where Northern Illinois, Toledo, Ohio, Buffalo, Ball State, or Bowling Green are all possibilities. If Northern Illinois can win their final two games, they’ll be unbeaten and headed to the BCS. Should the Huskies happen to trip and suffer their first loss, the Poinsettia Bowl would love to welcome them.

National University Holiday Bowl

The Holiday Bowl is in the final year of a contract welcoming Big 12 squads against a Pac-12 foe. Starting in 2014, the Pac-12 will square off against a Big 10 opponent. For the 2013 game, the Big 12’s most likely teams are Texas, Texas Tech, or Kansas State. The Pac-12 would likely be represented by USC, Arizona State, or Stanford.

The Baylor Bears won in '12, who will hold the Holiday Bowl trophy in '13?

The Baylor Bears won in ’12, who will hold the Holiday Bowl trophy in ’13?

Regardless of who is selected, San Diego promises a first-rate pair of games as well as the best series of events anywhere in the bowl landscape.

The streets of downtown San Diego will come alive with “America’s Largest Balloon Parade.” The Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade features marching bands, floats, entertaining drill teams and more giant character balloons than any parade in the country. That’s right, even more than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

More than 100,000 streetside spectators will line the one-mile bayfront parade route and join a national television audience.

After you open your gifts, load up the football fans, and make your way to San Diego for Bowl Season!

Brian

Farmers Insurance Open 2014 Comes to San Diego

Farmers Insurance Open San Diego 2013 Torrey Pines Golf Course

Mark your calendars now, because one of golf’s biggest events of the year, the Farmers Insurance Open, returns to San Diego in 2014. San Diego’s leg of the annual PGA TOUR will take place Jan. 23-26, 2014, at the iconic Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Farmers Insurance Open San Diego 2013 Torrey Pines Golf Course

Fans line up to see world-class golf at the 2013 Farmers Insurance Open (photo: Chris Keeney)

The 2013 champion, Tiger Woods, will be among the prestigious PGA TOUR pros vying for the 2014 title. The defending champion has won the tournament seven times, including in 2013 when he received the Farmers Insurance Open title with a 14-under score of 274 and a four-shot win over 2012 champion Brandt Snedeker.

Farmers Insurance Open San Diego 2013 Torrey Pines Golf Course Tiger Woods

Can Tiger Woods repeat last year’s victory at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego? (photo: Getty Images_

In addition to world-class golf, guests at the Farmers Insurance Open will have the opportunity to enjoy premium hospitality suites and attractions. The Tilted Kilt Terrace will offer a high energy, sports bar environment on the 15th green where fans can watch live golf, eat from a Kilt-themed menu, and order drinks from premium cash bars. At the Michelob Ultra 19th Hole, guests get to enjoy 30,000 square feet of interactive fan activities, themed concession stands, Mega LED screen with live golf coverage, and a beer garden. The under-21 crowd can visit our Birdies for Charity Zone to learn more about the Farmers Insurance Open’s beneficiaries, or stop by our brand new Farmers Social Zone to get connected and enter to win cool prizes.

Farmers Insurance Open San Diego 2013 Torrey Pines Golf Course

It’s hard to beat the beauty of the Torrey Pines Golf Course (photo: Paul Rode)

Tournament play begins Thursday, January 23 and will conclude Sunday, January 26, followed by the Awards Ceremony on the 18th Green to complete the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open. Make your plans now to attend this elite sporting event!

 Do you have a favorite sporting event to attend in San Diego? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Brian

Beer, BBQ and modern amenties in new Terminal 2 at San Diego Airport

Terminal 2, complete with a Stone Brewing Co location

Terminal 2, complete with a Stone Brewing Co. location

 

San Diego International Airport received a major upgrade with the expansion of Terminal 2, completed in 2013. The new terminal incorporates countless thoughtful touches for travelers, modern amenities, and great ways to pass the time and get in those last few minutes of San Diego before heading back home.

San Diego Airport Terminal 2 State-of-the-Art Amenities

Practical and Tactical

Expanded security checkpoint inside Terminal 2

Expanded security checkpoint inside Terminal 2

We’ll drool over the new food items and eye candy in a bit, but first the nuts-and-bolts. For a traveler, a great airport is one that is functional and gets you on your way promptly with your sanity intact.

Brand new seats inside Terminal 2 with easy access to power

Brand new seats inside Terminal 2 with easy access to power

Terminal 2 has incorporated loads of features to get you one step closer to home, though let’s be honest: we know you’d love just one more day in San Diego!

  • 10 new gates to handle more aircraft. More gates make for faster and smoother transitions for inbound and outbound planes.
  • A dual level roadway splitting arrivals and departures. This is far from a new concept, but it is done beautifully and will make the process much quicker for travelers.
  • Curbside check-in. The airport realizes more and more travelers want to skip the ticketing lobby and its long lines. You can now check bags and print boarding passes right on the curb.
  • A expanded security checkpoint. The most agonizing part of the airport experience for many should at least be a little faster when leaving San Diego. There are loads of lanes that can expand quickly to meet demand and keep the line moving.
  • New lobby seating that is comfortable and practical. The rows of seats have conveniently located on-board power to juice up the devices that will help you pass the hours until you arrive safely at home.
  • The terminal is LEED Silver Certified by the Green Building Council. In fact, the Airport Authority called the whole project the Green Build, and there are countless ways that the facility is environmentally responsible.
  • Six water bottle filling stations are set up to let you stay hydrated with nature’s most abundant natural resource after clearing security.

The Fun Stuff

Four-legged restroom in Terminal 2

Four-legged restroom in Terminal 2

 

The design of Terminal 2 is reflective of San Diego; open, airy, with lots of nods and winks to the culture and natural beauty of your favorite destination. Look for the animated LED lighting installation complete with animated birds flying overhead. The flooring throughout is a nod to the surf splashing along the San Diego coast.

We now have a bathroom just for dogs! Whether or not you’ll ever need it, it’s likely to be the most Instagram-worthy spot in the whole airport.

BEER! Oh, yeah, and food too.

Ribs, Tri Tip and Chicken await!

Ribs, tri tip and chicken await!

The airport folks wanted to offer local flavors to travelers, so they turned to some of San Diego’s best to make sure the airport represents the city’s flavor.

New food offerings include a local favorite, Phil’s BBQ, where you can get that last taste of their amazing cuts and sauce. San Diego’s famous Stone Brewing Co. also offers a very cool bar and dining locale. You can also try Saffron, the go-to Thai restaurant in town for many residents.

There you have it, another great reason to choose San Diego! Cheers to Terminal 2.

Grab your ice-cold Stone before boarding

Grab a refreshing Stone Brewing Co. craft beer before boarding

Brian

Golf at 5:00 PM – San Diego’s Best Tee Shots

Riverwalk Golf Club - Mission Hole 3, Par 4

We asked a few of San Diego’s golf courses to snap a photo from their favorite tee at 5:00 PM Pacific time on Wednesday February 27th, 2013. Check out the what they came up with and hear from the experts why these are their favorite tee shots on the course.

Maderas Golf Club – Hole 1, Par 4

Maderas Golf Club - Hole 1, Par 4

Maderas Golf Club – Hole 1, Par 4

“Wood or driver? This hole sets the tone in a truly unique canyon setting. Better players will position the shot near the 150 yard marker to leave a mid to short iron shot in the green.” – Bill O’Brien, General Manager

Torrey Pines Golf Course – North Course Hole 7, Par 4

Torrey Pines Golf Course - North Course Hole 7, Par 4

Torrey Pines Golf Course – North Course Hole 7, Par 4

“A ‘must play hole’ when you’re in San Diego.  This panoramic view can be yours from the back tees on hole #7 on Torrey Pines’ North Course.  It’s a challenging uphill 399 Par 4 with endless scenes of the coastline bluffs, La Jolla Cove and playful dolphins off in the distance.  Try not to be distracted with the hang-gliders overhead and the sounds of crashing ocean below as you prepare for your approach.  Tip: Pull an extra club for your second shot.   So after you play our famous South Course make time for this gem and create another memory.” – Lew Millburn, Golf Course Manager

San Vicente Golf Resort – Hole 12, Par 3

San Vicente Golf Resort - Hole 12, Par 3

San Vicente Golf Resort – Hole 12, Par 3

“Thousands of golf balls are removed from Pond 12 every couple of months. That says it all – it’s not as easy as it looks.” – John Rathbun, Head Golf Pro PGA

Riverwalk Golf Club – Mission Hole 3, Par 4

Riverwalk Golf Club - Mission Hole 3, Par 4

Riverwalk Golf Club – Mission Hole 3, Par 4

“I love teeing off on Mission #3 because it makes me feel like I’m on center stage. It can be a humbling experience for golfers if they can’t navigate this scenic par 4 over the water correctly. One bad swing and it becomes the hardest hole on the course!” – Brendan Cronin, Assistant General Manager

Sycuan Golf & Tennis Resort – Willow Glen, Hole 4, Par 4

Sycuan Golf & Tennis Resort - Willow Glen, Hole 4, Par 4

Sycuan Golf & Tennis Resort – Willow Glen, Hole 4, Par 4

“I selected hole number four of Willow Glen because it is our signature hole. It captures the essence of our resort because of the terrain and seclusion of the property. From the tee you are required to hit an accurate shot to a fairway below. Big hitters can go for the risk reward and attempt to drive the green. It requires an accurate shot to a green complex that is protected by water and sand traps.” – Clinton Higgins, Director of Golf – PGA

Welk Resort – Hole 9, Par 4

Welk Resort - Hole 9, Par 4

Welk Resort – Hole 9, Par 4

“We love this tee shot because it is a picturesque hole and the elevated tee gives us a beautiful view of our amazing resort.” – Mark Delaney, Golf Shop Attendant

Rancho Bernardo Inn – Hole 18, Par 5

Rancho Bernardo Inn - Hole 18, Par 5

Rancho Bernardo Inn – Hole 18, Par 5

“My favorite hole at RBI is 18, because it’s a challenging Par 5 with multiple water hazards and a great view of the resort and water fountain. The best part about the 18th hole is that you’re one step closer to the 19th hole! Cheers!” – Lana Ybarra, Marketing Manager.

> Schedule at tee time at one of San Diego’s 90 golf courses

Have a favorite tee at one of San Diego’s golf courses? Tell us in the comments below.

Brian

Cavalia – An Equestrian Spectacular in San Diego through December 30, 2012

Horses - Cavalia
Horses - Cavalia

Cavalia – An Equestrian Spectacular

The equestrian spectacular Cavalia has taken up residency in downtown San Diego this winter.

Human and Horse - Cavalia

Cavalia chronicles the historical relationship between humans and horses.

The nightly performance combines equestrian arts, acrobatics and theatrics (the creative team actually has roots with Cirque), a live music, special effects and lots of big production to take you on a journey through the historic and powerful relationship between horses and humans.

Banner Man - Cavalia

Plenty of excitement and fun!

In between the thrilling acrobatics are plenty of lighthearted and comical moments that will definitely make you laugh. One scene in particular plays up the vanity of a certain rider and his reluctance to do a thrilling trick, which he of course ultimately did.

Big Top - Cavalia

Look for the White Big Top right next to Petco Park in San Diego’s East Village.

The producers recently announced that the show continue in San Diego through Christmas season. Tickets to a shows during a chilly December evening are the perfect gift for the horse enthusiast in your family.

Cavalia Information

Location: 1020 Imperial Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: Through December 30, 2012
Cost: $39.50 – $229.50
> Find out more about Cavalia

Win Tickets to Cavalia – Contest has Ended

Enter for your chance to win a Family 4 Pack to see Cavalia during this magical Holiday season! Win 2 Adult and 2 Child tickets for Cavalia’s December 26th show at 7:00 PM, playing under the White Big Top at Petco Park.

The rules:

  • Leave a comment below on why you want to see Cavalia. Duplicate entries will be filtered out and discarded, so adding additional comments won’t increase your likelihood of winning.
  • Contest is open to all residents of the 50 States.
  • Winners will be chosen randomly. One winner will receive a Family 4 Pack (2 Adult and 2 Child tickets) for Cavalia’s December 26th show at 7:00 PM.
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen.
  • The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
  • Entries (comments) can be submitted until December 7, 2012 at 10:00 AM PST. Good luck!
Brian

4 Reasons Why It’s Easy to Love Padres Baseball in San Diego

Major League Baseball returns to San Diego today when the Padres host the L.A. Dodgers in the season opener for both clubs.

An Entire Family of Padres Fans

An Entire Family of Padres Fans

That means the start of 81 home games in the East Village between April and September. With San Diego’s perfect weather, PETCO Park is the place I want to spend my summer evenings. Since I couldn’t wait for the season opener, I took my family for a preseason contest on Tuesday to get my baseball fix a little early. It reminded me why we love baseball so much as a great family experience.

Here are four reasons to get excited and book a San Diego baseball trip this spring:

Petco Park's Park at the Park

Catch the exciting Padres' Action from the Family Friendly Park at the Park

1. Park at the Park

Only in San Diego do you have a park within the stadium. For as little as $5, you can get into the game, throw down a blanket on the raised lawn and watch the game. There is a whiffle ball park where kids can play a game of their own, as they hit, run and throw until they tire themselves for bed. And with a prime view of the game on the jumbo screen, you won’t miss a minute of the action.

TaylorMade Simulator at PETCO Park

TaylorMade Simulator at PETCO Park

2. Two Sports, One Location

The new TaylorMade golf demo area allows visitors to swing golf clubs and try out their latest clubs. That’s like bacon dipped in chocolate; two of my favorite things combined.

San Diego's East Village

PETCO Park in the Heart of San Diego's East Village

3. East Village

The area around PETCO Park, known as East Village, really sprouted up since the park opened in 2004. That means most everything around the ballpark- restaurants, bars and hotels – is new and fresh. Be sure to check out great hotels like the Omni, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, San Diego Marriott Gaslamp, Hotel Solamar and Hotel Indigo. They’re all great spots to enjoy pregame and postgame drinking and dining.

4. Get to know the Rookies

I’m a die-hard baseball fan, so I always look forward to April and a new season. ESPN.com says the Padres have the #1 ranked farm system in baseball, so I’m excited to see the young guns make their way this season.

What to know:

Parking
There are scores of lots around the park that range between $10-$20 depending on proximity. The trolley is also a great option if your hotel is near the line or if you don’t have a vehicle.

Tickets
The Padres have tickets that start at just $5. There is a new dynamic pricing model in place this year, so be sure to check out padres.com/tickets.

Follow this link for more details and upcoming Padres’ home games

Brian

Burgers and Golf at Carlton Oaks

Teeing Off at Hole 9

Now that spring has fully sprung in San Diego I’ve been trying to make good on my resolution for more golf in 2011. Easier said than done, but I had a great reason recently when a good friend came to visit from Phoenix.

As is our custom, we took our usual foursome out for a round, and decided to play Carlton Oaks Golf Club in Santee, a residential neighborhood about 20 minutes from Downtown.

Carlton Oaks has real golf history and is regarded as on of San Diego’s best golf courses. They’ve recently hosted the 2008 and 2009 PGA Tour School; the 2007, 2008, and 2009 Canadian Tour School; 2008 Callaway Junior World; and The American Junior Golf Association (AJGA).

The course is very friendly for visitors, and even has their website translated into Japanese and Korean for Asian golfers coming to San Diego.

It is the only public Pete Dye course in town, and boasts water-clearing approach shots, pot bunkers and wide fairways. In addition to the course there is a small hotel, ample practice facilities, pro shop and a great restaurant.

In our foursome there were handicaps from 15 to 30, and the five tee placements helped keep it challenging for all. The Par 4 18th is a great finishing hole. There is an extremely wide fairway, which you’ll need to attack the guarded green, protected on two sides by water. I managed a par, which helped to redeem the rest of my scorecard.

After the round we sat down in the newly renovated Oaks Bar & Grill for some much-needed burgers. We were all pleasantly surprised by the quality, portions and price. I opted for the Hawaiian burger and it was amazing. Huge patty, big thick chunk of grilled pineapple, and oozing with Teriyaki – all the elements of an awesome Hawaiian burger and all for under $10.

Brian

Ice skating begins tonight at Viejas

The Viejas Outlets officially kick off the holiday season this weekend with a holiday tree lighting ceremony, the premiere of the Legend of the Ice Princess show and public skating on southern California’s largest outdoor ice rink.

The annual lighting of the Viejas Holiday Tree – one of the largest in San Diego County – takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 12 in the park area of the Viejas Outlets. Then, the season premiere of the popular Legend of the Ice Princess Show (which is complimentary) takes place at 7:30 in the Show Court area of the Outlets.

The Viejas ice rink will be open to the public daily through Sunday, January 2.  For $12, skaters will enjoy 90 minutes of skating, which includes skate rental.

For all of you shoppers, Viejas offers Midnight Madness shopping on November 26, featuring super holiday savings at all retail stores. Viejas Outlet stores will open their doors at 12:01 a.m. for the Midnight Madness Sale. All your favorite brand name stores will offer discounts up to 70%.

For more information, visit www.ViejasOutletCenter.com or call 619-659-2070.

Brian

Callaway Golf custom fittings

A pair of coworkers and I took a trip to the Callaway Golf world headquarters in Carlsbad, a scenic seaside community about 30 minutes north of downtown San Diego, to experience their custom club fitting process.

Right away I was caught up by the excitement that buzzes through the air there. It’s hard to quantify, but it is like walking into a new ballpark for the first time, you just know that this is where the pros are outfitted.

Callaway’s biggest pro is our own Phil Mickelson, and lefty was actually in the building just a few days before we were.
For the modest price of $150, you go through a complete fitting session for every club in the bag, all the way down to a putter.

The fitting bay is an amazing collection of the very latest in golf technology. They use a combination of high speed cameras and sensors to give you unbelievable feedback about your swing. Technology has really advanced the game, and after the fitting you’ll never second guess your equipment again.

Every club Callaway produces line the the walls and you get to use anything you like.

Beyond the technology, the most impressive facet of the session is the attention and time the fitting pros give each client. They are students of the game as well as technology gurus, and you feel like you’ve shaved 5 strokes off your game just by being there.

To schedule your fitting give our friends at Callaway a call (888) 223-7842, or visit their website to learn more .