Journey at the Pechanga Resort & Casino may be one of the state's best kept secrets.

Aidan Bradley

Journey at the Pechanga Resort & Casino may be one of the state's best kept secrets.

Pechanga Resort in Temecula Valley

Warm Weather and Immaculate Course Make Great Golf

The Temecula Valley is home to great golf, wineries, and some of the best weather Southern California has to offer. Temperatures are generally 10 degrees warmer than Santa Barbara County, making for ideal golf conditions year round. The Pechanga Resort and Casino is home to one of the southland’s highest rated golf courses and well worth a detour.

The Golf

The Journey at Pechanga may be the best kept secret in California. This is a first-class golf facility on par with Pelican Hill, The Grand Del Mar, and CordeValle. The golf course is built on ancestral land and weaves its way from riverbed flatland up into the adjacent hills. Famed golf architect Arthur Hills is well-known for creating great golf courses with spectacular vistas from many tees, and Pechanga is no exception. The golf course was in immaculate condition upon our recent inspection, and several of the elevated tees offer views of the Temecula wine country.

If you were more in the mood for practice you might think you had arrived in golf heaven at The Journey. The practice range again was top of the line and set right up against the foothills. Just below are multiple chipping and putting greens in perfect condition. The Journey at Pechanga is kept “tournament ready” year round according to Director of Golf Scott Mallory. The golf course and practice areas are just across a dramatic drawbridge from the clubhouse area. Make sure you take some time to stop for lunch at Journey’s End, which is the golf clubhouse restaurant. The food and service were exceptional as was the view out to the golf course and mountains.

The Journey at Pechanga would be ideal for both a couples golf outing or a boys golf trip. Journey’s End is also a perfect spot to unwind after a round and watch your favorite sporting event. The whole feel here is very upscale and equivalent to an elite country club but much more inviting.

The Resort

Pechanga is the most upscale Indian gaming facility that I have ever visited. The hotel lobby area which also leads into the casino gives the guest the feel of an elegant resort with many options. One does not really even have to gamble to make good use of all the Pechanga has to offer.

Our room on one of the higher floors included views of the golf course and its rolling terrain. State-of-the-art electronics and oversized bathrooms enhanced the experience. The bedding was also very comfortable, ensuring a good night’s rest regardless of what time you call it a night. For complete details visit

The Dining

After the long journey in, we were looking forward to dining at The Great Oak Steakhouse our first night and were not disappointed. My heirloom tomato salad was a perfect starter for the 20-ounce bone-in ribeye that I chose. I am having visions of how good this tasted now as I write these lines. This venue has been awarded the AAA Four Diamond Award and is also very popular with local residents. The level of service throughout Pechanga is similar to one of the best hotels in Las Vegas. Very good!

Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar
Click to enlarge photo


Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar

On the second night we dined at the Umi Sushi and Oyster Bar. A wonderful array of Japanese seafood awaited. Chef Ikeda grew up in the business, spending his early years at the finest sushi restaurants in Tokyo. He is known for his live spiny sea urchin and scallop creations. We tried a little of everything, including sushi and oysters, with excellent results. The atmosphere is electric here as you are surrounded by glass fixtures with the busy bar area clearly in view.

The Trip

Navigating the Los Angeles area can be challenging as you head south. For a more relaxing ride, I would avoid the Ventura Freeway thru the San Fernando Valley. Instead, make your way to the 210 East one of two ways. Either take the 126 from Ventura to Valencia, then the I-5 south to the 210 Pasadena. Or you can go from Thousand Oaks via the 23 to the 118 East, and then pick up the 210 east. The former would be my choice.

If you depart in the morning you can probably make it all the way to Temecula without much traffic. On the way home you should be good also unless it is a Sunday afternoon.

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