Journey at Pechanga: A Southern California wine-country gem

Journey at Pechanga, November 2008
Aidan Bradley/Arthur Hills Design
The Pechanga Creek creates a challenging risk-reward factor at the short par-4 fifth.

Journey at Pechanga
Temecula, Calif.
7,219 yards, par 72
Reservations: 888-732-4264
Cost: $150-$200
Web: journeyatpechanga.com

Unless you prefer wine to golf, Temecula is probably not atop your wish list of places to visit in Southern California. But golfers can reap a nice harvest with a new Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest design in the heart of SoCal's wine country. Journey at Pechanga is located 60 miles north of San Diego and is the newest amenity at the upscale Pechanga Resort & Casino, a venture of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.

Each hole features a Luiseno name, and the course is sprinkled with cultural exhibits that relate the story of the tribe. "I've never worked on a site quite like this one," says Forrest. "Journey sets out at the base of a large mountain, crosses the Pechanga River, a dry wash where I have not yet seen any water, then basically sets off into the sky."

The soaring elevation changes mandate using a cart, but the payoff comes on the 488-yard, par-4 6th, which plunges 175 feet from tee to fairway, then another 100 feet down to the green. "The hang time there is stupendous, between 8 and 10 seconds," says Forrest. "If you hit it just right, you can almost drive the green thanks to the speed slot we created on one side of the landing zone." Driving a 488-yard hole? Now that's one Journey that's worth the trip.

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