Southern California has the perfect climate year round to enjoy golf, sand and surf. From San Diego’s Sea World to Anaheim’s Disneyland, popular attractions draw millions of visitors but here are destinations where long lines are never an issue starting with the Anza Borrego State Park, in the California desert. Tom Fazio’s Rams Hill overlooks the expansive valley. Fazio created a picturesque flow of up and down routing along ponds, streams and waterfalls with mountains circling the horizon. Every tee box evokes a “wow.” La Casa del Zorro
in Borrego Springs has been resurrected to the serene retreat of old with new luxury rooms and fine dining. Stay and play packages start at $190/night/pp at www.lacasadelzorro.com. Drive or hike around the State Park to see 130 life-size sculptures by Ricardo Breceda for an otherworldly experience.
The 90-minute drive between Borrego Springs and the coast traverses valleys and Roadrunner cartoon canyons. Trade the desert sand for surf at Oceanside’s Spring Hill Marriott across the street from the longest pier in California. It’s a nice stroll over the water to chat with fishermen and watch waves with a 40’s diner at the end. Brand spanking new for dining is Hellooo Betty Fish House, named for how surfers in the 50s and 60s greeted cute chicks on the beach. Adjoining the hotel, it
brings surfing upscale with live surfer action from the 2 way open air bar, upstairs deck or videoed from around the world on indoor screens. Chef Nick’s diverse menu from deep-fried to grilled morsels from the deep is delicious. The open nautical décor and fun staff will rope you in.
Aviara Golf Club is 10 minutes south where the LPGA KIA classic is played. This Arnold Palmer design is in pristine condition for the gals and all golfers. Starter Joe describes it as, “A botanical garden where they just happened to drop in a beautiful golf course.” It is stunning and truly the most colorful course we ever played.
Oceanside Harbor is a short walk from Spring Hill Marriott. Rentals are available to sail the sea, kayak or SUP among the yachts. We were up for SUP (stand up paddle boarding), a great way to work muscles you never knew you had while communing with sea lions and pelicans, which brings us to the piece de resistance in Southern California:
The Resort at Pelican Hill Newport Beach has invented a new form of B&B – Bentleys and Butlers. Reserve a Villa and those options are yours along with a courtyard and exquisite 2-4 bedroom accommodations for a family or group to retreat together Tuscan style.
Bungalows perched on the hillside below are not too shabby either. Homey single bedrooms are plush with cushy balcony lounges to laze the day away watching golfers play or vessels sail the ocean blue. By night, cruise lights or those of Avalon sparkle on Catalina Island. Gastronomical diversity abounds in the restaurants. Situated next to the golf course, Pelican Grill’s Chef Luke Turpin is introducing new seafood flare to match the ocean view. It is popular with locals, tourists or golfers after the round.
Before the round, the practice range aims up the hill to where Glenn Deck instructs golfers hitting down toward the ocean. Tell him about your game, get ready for stroke reduction and get golfing.
Rated the number one golf resort in the world, Pelican Hill’s Tom Fazio courses are perhaps his most fabulous, laid out so that every one of the 36 holes (like almost every resort angle) has at least a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean in one of the most affluent zip codes of southern California. From the moment you enter Pelican Hill, grandiosity is balanced with serenity in the genius of architecture and décor.
After golf, relax and tan by the largest circular pool in the world, take the complimentary shuttle to the beach at Crystal Cove or indulge at The Spa at Pelican Hill.
Prices reflect the opulence of Pelican Hill and are worth it. The Fazio
Unlimited Package includes Bungalow or Villa accommodations with a two-night minimum stay, unlimited golf for one guest on three of Tom Fazio’s designed and re-perfected courses, the Ocean North, Ocean South, and Oak Creek, complimentary forecaddie (at Pelican Hill Ocean courses), golf cart and golf club rentals. All stays at Pelican Hill include complimentary parking, Internet access and use of pools, fitness centers and spa amenities. Starting from $835 per night, excluding tax and gratuity, based on double occupancy. www.pelicanhill.com