The golf trip. We all have our wish list, full of destinations to visit and premier places to play. But many times, these excursions get pushed further and further back on the calendar, due to busy schedules and tighter purse strings. Luckily, we’re fortunate to live in a part of the world with dream golf destination aplenty. Los Angeles, San Diego and Palm Springs boast tourism numbers to prove it. But what about those hidden gems? In this newest feature, FORE will help you plan a weekend golf getaway that requires nothing more than a few hours in the car, clubs in the trunk, a hearty appetite, thirst and an adventurous spirit. Temecula is first on that list.
There’s no shortage of golf in Temecula. We narrowed it down to these great facilities for you to play on your weekend getaway.
Journey At Pechanga
Check your ego at the door when playing this course. Elevation changes, stunning views and a variety of terrain is what you’ll find when playing 18 holes at Journey at Pechanga.
The fun really starts at the fifth hole, as you begin to work your way up the mountainside on this short par-4. This leads you right into the stunning, 435-yard par-4 sixth hole, where an intimidating 175-yard drop may make your knees quiver a bit during your tee shot.
The course’s signature hole is No. 17, though. Leaving you with one last breathtaking view before you head in for the day, this 200-yard par-3 requires solid club selection to keep your ball from flying into oblivion. Aim for an early tee time to avoid those late afternoon gusts, too.
Temecula Creek Inn
Temecula Creek Inn boats 27 holes of golf, split up into three nine-hole tracks. The Oaks Course and Creeks Course are the most straightforward, with the Creeks providing the best opportunity for a low score, though at the same time giving you a bit of additional length. The well-bunkered Oaks is known for its tree-lined beauty and playability.
You’ll definitely be most challenged by Stonehouse, which has some of the dramatic elevation seen at neighbor Journey and truly demands precision off the tee.
A stop in at Cork | Fire Kitchen is a must for a post-round meal.
Crosscreek Golf Club
You can enjoy a secluded round of golf at Crosscreek. Groves of old oak and sycamore trees and rippling creeks provide intriguing scenery, and you’ll certainly feel like you’re far removed from the hubbub of nearby cities. The track can be sneakily challenging, with subtly difficult greens and a variety of looks off the tee.
Eat & Drink
You’ll find nearly 40 wineries in this ever-growing wine country, with each facility situated just close enough to one another to make your wine country tour a breeze.
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Bigger doesn’t always mean better, but in the case of South Coast, it just might. There’s a reason this resort has won numerous awards, including 2013 California Winery of the Year, an honor that was also bestowed on the winery in 2008 and 2009. The wine menu is huge, and you certainly won’t be able to make your way through half of it without falling over. We’d suggest any one of the many reds. Stay a night in one of the resort’s luxurious villas and enjoy the beautiful views this 39-acre resort has to offer.
This family owned winery is making its mark in the region. Sure, you’ve heard of it because of the award-winning Almond Champagne and Decadencia® Chocolate Port, which is served in an edible chocolate shot glass, but don’t sleep on the other pours. The 2013 White Cabernet Sauvignon is one of Wilson’s most popular. Weekend nights transform the grounds into live entertainment for all.
Wiens Family Cellars
If you like big reds, stop by the Wiens tasting room and try their Syrah or Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. But don’t miss out on the White Port. The nutty flavor pairs perfectly with roasted almonds or over a scoop of sorbet. Visiting with friends? Make sure to experience the exclusive Cellar Room tasting, providing wine enthusiasts with a look inside a working production environment.
For those who prefer beer to wine, Temecula is quickly becoming a small hub for microbreweries as well. Wiens Brewing Company (yes, they are related to the winery) and Black Market Brewery are can’t-miss spots, but if beer is your thing, you might as well take the full brewery tour (brewerytoursoftemecula.com).
At Wiens, there’s a large assortment of IPAs, including the very popular Front Street Lager (4.9% ABV) and the more aggressive Insomnia IPA (7.5% ABV). Black Market has a constant rotation on tap, but their most popular beer is the Hefeweizen. We’d suggest the Rye IPA, but it’s worth noting they also have a heavy-hitting 11% Belgian Style Quad Ale called Quadrophenia that’s to be considered.
We can guarantee you won’t leave Temecula hungry or thirsty. Make your way around town and you’ll stumble across a variety of wonderful eateries. One you must stop by for breakfast, and it’s a bit off the beaten path, is Mo’s Egg House. This old-timey, diner-style restaurant can get crowded on weekend mornings, but complimentary coffeecake delivered to your table right as you sit down more than makes up for the wait. And Public House in Old Town can be your dinner stop for a fantastic burger and a beer. They’ve got most of the local breweries on tap, and a burger that includes Kobe Beef on toasted sour dough topped with wild mushroom duxelle, leeks, wilted spinach & melted fontina cheddar. Hungry yet?
While a day of golf followed by a day of winery tours doesn’t leave much time for exploring, these less time-consuming activities are a must if you want to make sure you’re truly getting the Temecula experience.
Old Town Temecula
With shops like the Old Town Root Beer Company, which has the largest soda selection we’ve ever seen and includes three homemade root beers you won’t want to miss, you can spend an hour or two leisurely walking down Old Town Front Street, sampling all the goods along the way. Other must-stops include the tasting room at the Temecula Olive Oil Company, Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants, Temecula Lavender Company and the Old Town Sweet Shop, where you can sample a piece of chocolate-covered bacon (seriously, it’s not bad!) as well as purchase all the old candy from your childhood. Also, try to stop by the Saturday Farmers Market during your visit, which is also right there on the main drag.
Hot Air Balloons
Temecula is known for hot air balloons rides, which are highlighted during the annual Balloon & Wine Festival, which will this year take place May 30-June 1. There are multiple companies that provide jaw-dropping balloon ride experiences, including A Grape Escape Balloon Adventure, where your flight begins at sunrise and provides a beautiful morning view of the sun rising over the mountains.
Pechanga Resort & Casino
Significant renovations have turned the casino at Pechanga into one of the best in California. The Vegas-like feel is apparent on the casino floor, as well as in the variety of restaurants and solid accommodations. With a Vegas-quality poker room and buffet, you can ease your gambling addiction in a single evening, rather than make the multiple-day trip to Nevada. With on-site entertainment (make sure to check the concert and comedy schedule) and a spa, you should consider staying a Pechanga during your trip to Temecula.