Pelican Hill Golf Club (Ocean South) – Played July 2017
- Rankings: Golf Digest Public #68
- Location: 2000 Busted Rock Road, Newport Coast, California
- Year: 2007
- Architect: Tom Fazio
- Course Access: Resort
- Walking Rules: Carts Available
Score Card Information:
- Black: 6,580 yards, Par 70, 71.9 Rating/134 Slope
- Blue: 6,323 yards, Par 70, 70.5 Rating/131 Slope
- White: 5,929 yards, Par 70, 69.1 Rating/126 Slope (Men’s), 75.5 Rating/137 Slope (Women’s)
- Red: 5,393 yards, Par 70, 66.7 Rating/119 Slope (Men’s), 72.7 Rating/131 Slope (Women’s)
- Yellow: 4,723 yards, Par 70, 64.0 Rating/114 Slope (Men’s), 68.2 Rating/119 Slope (Women’s)
Sometimes in this quest you don’t know when opportunities to play another course on the list will come up. Pelican Hill is a prime example of that. My brother-in-law was getting married in Orange County this past July so my first thought was to take a look at my Top 100 map to see what was close. Of course there are private options in LA, but I stuck to the public tracks as my connections in SoCal are limited.
All of that led me to Pelican Hill, which ended up being about 20 minutes from our hotel. A quick Friday morning round was scheduled around sightseeing, the rehearsal dinner, and the wedding. I ended up getting paired with a really nice guy from New Orleans who had gone to college with some guys I knew in high school. Small world!
Let’s get into some info on this place. The courses here were done by Tom Fazio, but not without some arm twisting. According to the website, Fazio didn’t want to head to California with 6 young kids at home on the East Coast. He also had plenty of work there to keep him busy. Former MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth brought him out and convinced the family to agree to the project. It was quite a sales job that resulted in 36 holes along the PCH. Fazio seemed to quite enjoy the project as he was provided a great piece of land.
One last thing, the bridge you drive over to get to the first tee is quite special. I’ll let you visit to experience it. All distances are from the blue tees.
Hole 1 – 429 yards – Par 4
The first hole is no easy start. It plays more downhill than the picture below makes it look. You’ll want to challenge the right side for the best angle.
The second is a much shorter affair, but a lot tighter. Three wood may be the smart play here to stay in the short stuff.
I liked the openness of this short hole. For long hitters I am sure it is tempting to go for the green. For me the decision was much easier to poke one 200+ yards into the fairway.
This little devil is all about distance control. With a green split into tiers you won’t want to be putting downhill. Finding the proper level is the name of the game.
Tough hole here if you miss right. This one is a poor man’s version of the 7th at Cal Club. There is more room to the left here and you can choose almost anything off the tee.
Due to the elevation change this hole plays much longer than the stated yardage. Stay away from the fairway bunkers and you should be in good shape.
This one of the more scenic holes on the South course. I was sure I was in California. Short and right is dead and the water comes up quite close to the putting surface. Overall the green is not very big and requires precision.
Most people won’t be getting home in two on this one. The landing area is blind, but swing freely to hit a big drive.
This hole is fine, but didn’t wow me. It’s long and straight. Not too much strategy off the tee other than hit it solid.
The back side starts off strong with a tee shot to a blind landing area.
There aren’t a ton of ocean views on this course, but we are getting into the meat of them here. This straightaway hole that plays slightly downhill doesn’t require driver.
I like this hole for its quaintness. It felt like it was a stage. The green is bigger than it looks from the first photo and the bunkers are plentiful. Specifically, the front left bunker has some cool rock formations. You definitely want to hit the green here.
This hole has the best views on the course. I like the fact that those come on a short par 3. The short one-shot hole is one of my favorite types in golf. Check out the ocean views below.
After the two short holes it is back to grown up golf. This felt like one of the most constricted tee shots of the day. The overhanging tree on the right can wreak havoc on draw players.
Forgot to get a photo of the tee shot here, but from what I remember it is an uphill dogleg right. Below is the look at the approach. The second photo shows the large green with a large ridge dissecting it.
This is a pretty, but dangerous hole. The yardage is no joke here and will require executing a difficult shot. The beauty though is the infinity green that sits so nicely.
The penultimate hole is a brute. For mere mortals it will take three shots to reach the green. Thankfully the fairway is quite wide. Pound away on the driver.
The 18th may be the toughest hole on this course. The deep ravine that runs along the left side is intimidating. If you can work a tiny draw off the right rough you will be in good shape, but the challenge doesn’t stop there.
The putting surface sits right near the resort and pool area. You can hear all the commotion and are reminded that this is a resort course. That’s not a bad thing, but concentrate extra hard when holing out.
Overall this was a solid resort course. It seemed overpriced in my opinion, but a lot of that is driven by it’s location. If you have the means it is certainly worthy of a trip. If budget is a concern I would suggest other venues.
Having said that, I enjoyed the ocean views and the overall solid conditioning. The pace of play was pretty good for a Friday afternoon so that was a bonus. Of course in California the weather was also a strong point.