Orange County: California's Golf Coast

By David R. Holland, Senior Writer

It seems there has never been a lack of things to do in Orange County.

Have Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm really been around for more than four decades?

The new attraction at SeaWorld is Shipwreck Rapids, but lots of extreme sports advocates are eagerly awaiting the 2002 opening of Gotcha Glacier in Anaheim. It's America's first indoor snowboard and surf park and will be an amazing 600,000-square foot amusement attraction where you can snowboard, ice skate and jump in a wave pool. Developers said it will have "perfect" real snow around the clock, everyday of the year.

And there's always a trip to the beach for surfing, sport fishing, boating, yachting, whale watching, the must-do trip to Catalina Island and walking miles and miles on the sandy beaches of Dana Point, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach with cool Pacific breezes making you forget the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.

For frustrated baseball fans you always have the Angels.

Orange County is a year-around vacation destination, but it is much more for the vacation golfer. Orange County is a golfing destination and recently nine classy golf courses banned together to promote the world-class experience. They call it: Orange County, California's Golf Coast.

"Golf has a way of fitting into both business and vacation plans and the nine courses of Orange County are encouraging golfers to play multiple courses when they visit, " said Mike Hurd, president of Orange County, California's Golf Coast. "Our courses are some of the most recognized and prestigious public courses and are representative of an ambiance which is truly reflective of the finest private clubs."

The nine courses offer diverse scenery with dramatic ocean views at Pelican Hill Golf Club and Monarch Beach Golf Links.

The Golf Courses

Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point is a Robert Trent Jones II design in the classic Scottish-links tradition. It overlooks the bluffs of California's "Rivera" and was built in 1983. Telephone: 949-240-8247. Address: 33033 Niguel Road. Internet address: www.monarchbeach.com.

Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Coast was the site of the 1999 Diners Club Matches. Folks here say your biggest decision is picking which course, the North or South, to play first. Both are highly rated since opening in 1991 on land that was once the historic Irvine Ranch. Tom Fazio designed these classics. Telephone: 888-898-6290 or 949-760-0707. Address: 22651 Pelican Hill Road South. Internet address: www.pelicanhill.com.

Oak Creek Golf Club in Irvine was born from the remnants of Southern California's citrus groves and has lush undulating fairways lined by eucalyptus trees and oaks. This Tom Fazio design was opened in 1996 and features bentgrass greens. Telephone: 949-653-5300. Address: One Golf Club Drive. Internet address: www.oakcreekgolfclub.com.

Coyote Hills Golf Course in Fullerton is only five minutes from Disneyland, and you can climb to the 7th tee box and see the LA skyline and the Newport Beach coastline. Finished in 1996, it is a Cal Olson and Payne Stewart design featuring bentgrass greens. Address: 1440 Bastanchury Road. Telephone: 714-672-6800. Internet address: www.CoyoteHillsGC.com.

Aliso Viejo Golf Club in Aliso Viejo just opened in 1999 and is a Jack Nicklaus design classic with 27 holes. The nines are named The Ridge, Creek and Valley and features bentgrass greens and rolling terrain. Address: 25002 Golf Drive. Telephone: 949-598-9200. Internet address: www.alisogolf.com.

Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine meanders along the old San Canyon Creek and was actually a working strawberry farm in the past. This Jim Lipe design opened in 1997 and has bentgrass greens. It also features a lighted natural grass driving range and practice area. Address: 11 Strawberry Farms Road. Telephone: 949-551-1811. Internet: www.strawberryfarmsgolf.com.

Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita is surrounded by rugged hillsides and old-growth sycamores, oaks and native chaparral. Opened in 1990, it also has bentgrass greens on this Ted Robinson design. Address: 29082 Tijeras Creek Road. Telephone: 949-589-9793. Internet: www.tijerascreek.com.

Tustin Ranch Golf Club in Tustin, offers more than palm trees, waterfalls and cascading lakes -- you can hire single and double caddies or a forecaddie. It's another Ted Robinson design. Address: 12442 Tustin Ranch Road. Telephone: 714-730-1611. Internet: www.tustinranchgolf.com.

Talega Golf Club in San Clemente, is spectacular and awe-inspiring, according to Fred Couples, who collaborated on the design with architects Schmidt and Curley. The course won't open until November, but it is set in the scenic hills a few miles inland from the Pacific. Call 877-4TALEGA for more info.

Where to Stay

Eight Orange County upscale hotels will help you build your own package.

These luxury hotels include the Four Seasons in Newport Beach, Hyatt Regency of Irvine, the Marriott's Newport Coast Villas, the Dana Point Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort, The Ritz-Carlton of Laguna Niguel, The Sutton Place Hotel in Newport Beach and the Doubletree Hotels of Costa Mesa and Irvine.

Where to Dine

California cuisine? You can get it in Orange County. Also find places for Cajun, Chinese, Mediterranean, Persian, Mexican and others. Check out: http://www.orangecounty.com/dining/index.htm.

More Internet Sites

The folks at Orange County: California's Golf Coast have their own internet address at www.occgolf.com or call 800-555-1982.

Gotcha Glacier: www.glaciersports.com

Disneyland: http://disney.go.com/Disneyland/

Knott's Berry Farm: www.knotts.com

SeaWorld: www.seaworld.com

Orange County: www.orangecounty.com

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Senior Writer

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter at @David_R_Holland.


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