Pelican Hill Golf Club (Ocean South)

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 look into the second shot from the left side reveals the large green and left bunker.  Stay out of that.

I enjoyed this look back up the hole to get the scale and see the large ridge in the green.

Hole 2 – 342 yards – Par 4

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.

The approach plays to a narrow green with bunkers to the right.  It is open in front.

Hole 3 – 334 yards – Par 4

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.

The approach plays over two large bunkers that rise up next to the green.  Par will be tough out of those.  Once on the green you can be faced with some long putts depending on pin position.

Hole 4 – 142 yards – Par 3

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.

Hole 5 – 340 yards – Par 4

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.

Hole 6 – 397 yards – Par 4

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.

The green is long with an elevated back section.  The deep bunkers surrounding it are no joke.

Hole 7 – 177 yards – Par 3

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.

There is more slope (below) than you can see from the tee.

Hole 8 – 552 yards – Par 5

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.

The drive should be the main challenge on this hole.  Once you’re in the spot below a simple wedge should do the job.  Then it should be one putt for a 4!

Hole 9 – 435 yards – Par 4

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 green is quite large, but shallow.  Stay away from the runoff area to the left as it sits well below the green making for difficult pitches.

Hole 10 – 441 yards – Par 4

The back side starts off strong with a tee shot to a blind landing area.

Once over the hill you are presented with this view.  Avoid the right bunker and you should be looking at a chance for birdie.

Hole 11 – 350 yards – Par 4

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.

If you venture right you may have some interesting angles into the green.  This large fairway bunker is a definite hazard.

The green is pretty small compared to some others.  As this view from the left shows, you do not want to miss this green right or long.  The closely-mown chipping area is not a bad spot to be.

Hole 12 – 154 yards – Par 3

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.

The contouring is great on this putting surface.

Hole 13 – 125 yards – Par 3

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.

I said it was short!  It felt like you could almost throw your ball to the green.

Hole 14 – 517 yards – Par 5

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.

Below is a look at the approach and green.  Not much to it other than avoiding the sand.

Hole 15 – 383 yards – Par 4

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.

Hole 16 – 208 yards – Par 3

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.

Long putts are definitely a possibility here.

Hole 17 – 557 yards – Par 5

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.

Even if you can get home in two there is no running the ball up onto the green.  The sand provides a sturdy barrier.  You don’t want to miss right here.

Hole 18 – 440 yards – Par 4

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.

A long second shot may await you.  You still have to carry the ravine to a slightly elevated green.  Beware the front bunkers.

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.

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One thought on “Pelican Hill Golf Club (Ocean South)

  1. Jimmy

    Great review. The 4th and 15th greens look crazy! Were most of the greens tough? The layout has a fun edge to it. Not that I travel to SoCal, but one never knows; if I do, this course would have to be on the list.

    Cheers
    Jim

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