Golfing Orange County 
 


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By Cost 

 Less than $25 

      Birch Hills Golf Course 
      Casta del Sol Public Golf Course 
      Costa Mesa Golf & Country Club 
      Dad Miller Golf Course 
      David Baker Memorial Golf Center 
      Fullerton Golf Course 
      Green River Golf Course 
      Imperial Golf Course 
      Mile Square Golf Club 
      Newport Beach Golf Course 
      San Clemente Municipal Golf Course 

 $25 to $50 

      Anaheim Hills Golf Course 
      Meadowlark Golf Course 
      Rancho San Joaquin Golf Club 
      River View Golf Course 
      San Juan Hills Country Club 
      Shorecliffs Golf Club 

 $50 to $100 

      Coyote Hills Golf Course 
      Cypress Golf Club 
      Monarch Beach Golf Links 
      Oak Creek Golf Club 
      Temecula Creek Inn 
      Tijeras Creek Golf Course 
      Tustin Ranch Golf Club 
      Willowick Municipal Golf Course 

 More than $100 

      Pelican Hill Golf Club 
      Pelican Hill Golf Club 

 Private Membership 

      Alta Vista Country Club 
      Big Canyon Country Club 
      Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club (North Course) 
      Dove Canyon Country Club 
      El Niguel Country Club 
      La Costa Resort and Spa 
      Los Coyotes Country Club 
      Marbella Golf & Country Club 
      Mesa Verde Country Club 
      Mission Viejo Country Club 
      Newport Beach Country Club 
      Old Ranch Country Club 
      Pacific Golf and Country Club 
      Santa Ana Country Club 
      Seacliff Country Cliff 
      Western Hills Country Club 
      Yorba Linda Country Club 
 

  The Best 18 Holes in
 Orange County

 A few years ago, OC Metro published its favorite 18
 Orange County public holes, as experienced by writer
 Patrick Mott. 

 Since that time, new courses have sprouted, built with
 imagination. Here is the challenge to the new playing
 courses: Can you match this? 

 The answer may be yes, after a few thousand more rounds
 create a buzz about what constitutes a great hole. (Mott's
 definition for the following

 "I chose these holes because they make me happy.") 

 True, many great holes have been left out, and should we
 get enough calls about what we missed, we might revisit this
 list at some point, and certainly that will happen when the
 new courses mature into tales of which holes are can't miss
 challenges. 

 Note that the yardages are from white, or regular, tees. 
 
 

 No. 1

 Green River Golf Club 
 (Riverside Course)
 1st hole, par-4, 362 yards

 The elevated tee, which is way, way up in the air, overlooks
 a fine expanse of tree-lined fairway marked on the left by a
 very tall tree about 250 yards out. Stay to the right of this
 tree and you'll have a clear shot straight onto the green. 

 With luck, that shot can be a short one. The prevailing
 winds, which often howl through the canyon, are at your
 back. Really slug it out and you can be John Daly for a day.
 
 

 No. 2

 Cypress Golf Club
 18th hole, par-4, 403 yards

 This is called "the thinking man's golf course," and this hole
 ought to get you thinking about that decent score you're
 about to ruin. 

 A startlingly beautiful hole, this requires the golfer to drive
 over one lake on his first shot and around the edge of
 another on his second. Short shots in either case will end up
 in Davy Jones' locker. 

 Cypress was designed by Perry Dye, son of Pete, who built
 his reputation by designing courses that make pros wake up
 screaming in the night. 
 
 

 No. 3

 Tijeras Creek Golf Club
 14th hole, par-3, 142 yards

 A real Southern California hole. You hit from a raised tee
 through a heavily wooded gap down into a hollow where
 the green is beautifully framed in low trees and brush. There
 are bunkers to the left, right and back of the green. Hit the
 green and feel all warm and cozy in the wooded embrace of
 the trees. Miss and your ball will go where no ball has gone
 before. 
 
 

 No. 4

 Tustin Ranch Golf Club
 9th hole, par-5, 487 yards

 Nothing fancy, just a pretty walk to the clubhouse and a
 chance to drown in yet another lake. 

 This hole is fairly accommodating through the gently
 undulating fairway and not much trouble appears until the
 lake in front of the palm-framed green. If you're a big hitter,
 you can be tempted to get home in two. 

 Resist the urge. 
 
 

 No. 5

 Willowick Golf Course
 16th hole, par-4, 286 yards

 What is doughty little Willowick doing on this list? 

 It's my home track, it's mature and well-tended for a
 municipal course, I enjoy playing it, and No. 16 ought to be
 subtitled, "Hope of the Hopeless." 

 Try this:
 Pull a lofted wood -- maybe a 4 -- and try to bend the ball
 around the trees. It effectively reduces the yardage to about
 230. Do it right and the ball will roll between the two traps
 guarding the green and you'll be putting for eagle. 
 
 

 No. 6

 Green River Golf Club 
 (Riverside Course)
 14th hole, par-4, 350 yards

 This spiffy little hole has the actual heavily wooded Green
 River running along its right side for the length of the
 fairway, and a stand of fairly tangled trees guarding the left
 side. The approach shot to the tiny green over the river is
 tricky, particularly when the Santa Anas are up. 
 
 

 No. 7

 San Clemente Golf Course
 15th hole, par-3, 172 yards

 This muni course has a handful of forbidding holes, and this
 is one of the most dramatic. Set on a high plateau with a
 commanding view of the ocean and the surrounding hills, the
 tee shot is all carry over a yawning gully. Anything short of
 near-perfection rolls several miles down to where old
 Titleists are tortured for all eternity. 
 
 

 No. 8

 Monarch Beach Golf Links
 16th hole, par-5, 517 yards

 They call this one the double cross, although you might refer
 to it as "the mugger" after trying to attack it. It involves
 hitting your tee shot across a very pretty, heavily wooded
 creek and then hitting across the creek a second time on
 your appraoch. 

 Is the fairway tight? In a swing, yes. 
 
 

 No. 9

 Cypress Golf Club
 13th hole, par-4, 322 yards

 Faily short, but fairly deadly. Not one, but two hazards lie
 directly in front of your tee shot -- a long skinny bunker and
 a really long and skinny lake that runs the length of the
 fairway and even the length of the green down the left side. 
 
 

 No. 10

 Tijeras Creek Golf Club
 17th hole, par-4, 376 yards

 Hit your tee shot from a little hill with scrub on the right and
 left, past a gathering bunker on the left of the fairway,
 around the dogleg left and into the clear, if you can. 

 This will set up an approach that must clear a walled creek
 that runs in front of the elevated green. 
 
 

 No. 11

 Monarch Beach Golf Links
 12th hole, par-4, 293 yards

 One of the most beautiful golf holes in the county is also at
 the edge of the ocean. You'll be tempted to cut the dogleg,
 avoiding the part of the fairway that runs from an elevated
 tee down to the edge of the sand. But be warned that there
 are four bunkers on the left, two of which you can't see
 from the tee. They would be happy to eat up your shot. 
 
 

 No. 12

 Pelican Hill Golf Club 
 (Ocean Course)
 12th hole, par-3, 174 yards

 This is the Ocean Course's signature hole, called Pelican's
 Nest, and it's part Walt Disney, part Stephen King. 

 You'll be hitting over a thick stand of coastal brush,
 followed closely by an immense bunker that runs the length
 of the fairway on the left. A second bunker on the right
 squats to gather in slices. 

 Situated right on the beach, this hole also is surrounded by
 picturesque-looking sandstone rock outcroppings that
 frame the green gorgeously and make you believe that this
 must have been the perfect place to build such a hole. And
 it is. But hit it straight, beat the wind, die happy. 
 
 

 No. 13

 Anaheim Hills Country Club
 12th hole, par-5, 497 yards

 Pure, exquisite torture. Remember the anthill hole at the
 miniature golf course? This is worse. You'll love it. 

 Your first shot is slightly uphill toward a directional flag
 placed in the center of the fairway. If the shot rolls too long,
 however, it can skid past the flag, down a slope and into a
 lake. 

 The second and third shots are up a steep hill to a postage
 stamp green only 18 yards wide that is invisible from the
 bottom of the hill. The elevation from tee to green is 250
 feet. 
 
 

 No. 14

 Fullerton Golf Course
 17th hole, par-4, 294 yards

 OK, you've suffered enough. Time for a bit of comic relief.
 Fullerton is a scruffy but amiable little track, and this hole is
 the most amiable of all, though you might curse it before you
 see it all. It's downhill, and notice the little round pond
 plunked down artfully right in front of the green. 
 
 

 No. 15

 Tustin Ranch Golf Club
 11th hole, par-3, 133 yards

 Tustin Ranch's signature hole, a Robert Trent Jones Jr.
 creation, is all carry over a lovely lake with a fountain in the
 center to a green that is diabolically tricked up by a pair of
 waterfalls bracketing it. The green also is two-tiered,
 making precise shot-making imperative depending on the
 pin placement. 
 
 

 No. 16

 Tustin Ranch Golf Club
 14th hole, par-4, 339 yards

 Looks short on the card, plays longer in real life. Like many
 holes on this course, this fairway undulates like crazy, and
 it's difficult to find a flat lie, even after a good tee shot. The
 fairway is on the thin side, bunkers are strategically placed,
 and the green is two-tiered. 
 
 

 No. 17

 Pelican Hill Golf Club 
 (Links Course)
 17th hole, par-5, 506 yards

 Designer Tom Fazio decided to call this one Gut Check.
 Yep. You can get home in 2 -- I saw a pro do it once --
 but why rush this ex-perience? This is one of the most
 breathtaking golf holes anywhere, with its masterful view of
 the ocean and the gentle rolling of the fairways and the
 wonderful single tree guarding the left side of the green.

 The bad part:
 To get to that marvelous green, you have to skirt your way
 around gathering bunkers and a lake on the right and, for
 the big hitters off the tee, a canyon on the right. Bunkers
 and a steep slope on the right of the green make your
 ap-proach shot an Alka-Seltzer moment, but the reward is
 to stand on the green and marvel at the view, all the way
 back to Huntington Beach. 

 This hole is why people play golf. 
 
 

 No. 18

 Pelican Hill Golf Club
 (Ocean Course)
 18th hole, par-4, 395 yards

 One of the best finishing holes I've ever played. First
 reaction: "The card's wrong. This is a par-5 and it's about
 1,000 yards long." 

 Well, no. But it does look that way from the tee. Your tee
 shot must cross a wide canyon to make it to the sloping
 fairway opposite, which is bunkered. And your second shot
 to the green must cross the same canyon a second time. If
 you're long off the tee, you may think you can shave some
 distance by cutting the dogleg. Don't even think about it.
 Take your par and go quietly. Or maybe a bogey. 

 Score well here and all's well that ends well.