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There’s no such thing as a sure thing! If you’re any­thing like me who likes to throw down a few bucks on a black­jack ta­ble or the roulette wheel from time to time, you’ll know full well that the only sure things are death and taxes. But, there may be a loop­hole to that rule of thumb at the Pechanga Re­sort & Casino, lo­cated in the beau­ti­ful Southern Cal­i­for­nia wine coun­try of Te­mec­ula Val­ley. Pechanga of­fers the lux­ury and com­fort guests ex­pect and de­serve from a AAA Four Di­a­mond Award-win­ning property, some­thing Pechanga has won ev­ery year since open­ing in 2002. And, com­ing soon, the Pechanga Tribe will em­bark on a $285 mil­lion ad­di­tion to its cur­rent re­sort ameni­ties that in­cludes a new 568-room ho­tel wing, a two-story spa, re­sort-style pool com­plex, two new restau­rants and ad­di­tional meet­ing and event space. So, what is al­ready the nicest casino in the en­tire state might be­come the finest in the na­tion. Of course, it takes more than a casino and a good steak (we’ll get to that in a bit) to make for a per­fect va­ca­tion and The Jour­ney at Pechanga may well be one of the finest golf ex­pe­ri­ences you’ll ever have. De­signed by Arthur Hills and Steve For­rest, The Jour­ney is just that, tak­ing you on a fab­u­lous trip into the na­tive canyons and ravines with 18 holes that are as aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing as one can find that doesn’t in­clude ocean views. Set at 7,219 yards, this Par 72 lay­out rises and falls more than 300 feet over the 18 holes, in­clud­ing the Sig­na­ture Par 4, 6th hole in which golfers have to tee off to a fair­way 175 feet be­low. Af­ter you ease into things on the nice Par 5, 1st hole, you’re greeted by a beast of a Par 4 at 483 yards on the 2nd hole. A dou­ble fair­way off the tee seems spa­cious enough, but the bunkers along the cen­tral di­ag­o­nal face are me­nac­ing. Choose the fair­way on the right to set up an un­ob­structed ap­proach an­gle. A safe drive to the el­e­vated fair­way on the left means car­ry­ing the bunkers and avoid­ing the oak grove if the putting sur­face is to be reached in two. The long green wel­comes long straight ap­proach shots with a gen­tle in­vi­ta­tion for a hard-earned par. If you’ve nav­i­gated the Sig­na­ture 6th hole suc­cess­fully, a dose of tar­get golf is of­fered up on the short, dog­leg left 7th hole. Get­ting the ball air­borne is no prob­lem from the tee on the high ridge above the ravine. The chal­lenge comes in find­ing the proper ap­proach lo­ca­tion on the broad fair­way. Long and right will avoid the fair­way oak and leave a fa­vor­able an­gle into the small­ish green com­plex on the 330-yard Par 4. The back nine is blessed with some stun­ning holes as well, in­clud­ing the beau­ti­ful Par 5, 13th hole that re­quires a fairly de­mand­ing tee shot over the cor­ner of Lit­tle Pechanga. A drive to the left pro­vides a bet­ter an­gle around the sy­camore and into the sec­ond land­ing area. The cas­cad­ing stream be­comes more of a fac­tor the closer one gets to the putting sur­face on the 590-yard hole. Play­ing close to the stream al­lows a bet­ter view and safer an­gle into the mod­er­ately con­toured green. The clos­ing stretch of holes is high­lighted by the 16th and 18th holes. A long, con­trolled draw will serve play­ers well on this strong Par 4 that swings around a long lake. A cen­tral fair­way bunker will give pause to many on

the tee. It is best to play left of the bunker or else one faces a really long and dif­fi­cult hole even though it only mea­sures 416 yards from the back tees. The green is nes­tled be­tween a great oak and a sand bunker at the end of the lake. Miss short and right or else go long to avoid a big num­ber. Par is a very good score here. The fin­ish­ing hole pro­vides a feel­ing of be­ing on top of the world as the tee sits high atop the fair­way. Stay right of the large out­crop at the edge of the chasm to re­main safe off the tee and a tar­get bunker down the fair­way pro­vides a great line. Once safely on flat land, a mid-iron ap­proach to an el­e­vated, multi-tiered green, guarded by a for­mi­da­ble bunker on the left, pro­vides the fi­nal chal­lenge. Miss the cor­rect tier and you’ll prob­a­bly miss the chance at par. Of course, when your jour­ney ends, the Jour­ney’s End, Pechanga’s 62,000-square foot club­house awaits you. An award-win­ning Pro Shop, restau­rant and bar, a great out­door pa­tio and pris­tine locker rooms for the men and women make this one hel­luva 19th hole. If your round of golf put a lit­tle too much stress on the bones, Spa Pechanga of­fers up an in­ti­mate in­dul­gence that will pam­per your mind and body, al­low­ing you to un­wind and es­cape that triple bo­gey you might have carded ear­lier in the day. Ev­ery­thing from Mas­sage Ther­apy to Body Treat­ments to Skin Care to Salon Ser­vices are avail­able at Spa Pechanga. It might have been the best mas­sage I had in a long, long time. Now that you’re re­laxed and all cleaned up, that steak din­ner with your name on it is just a few feet away at the Great Oak Steak­house, win­ner of the AAA Four Di­a­mond Award and Wine Spec­ta­tor’s Award of Ex­cel­lence. Whether it’s a big Rib­eye on the Bone or the most ten­der of Filets, this place has it all. Not a meat eater? No wor­ries. The es­tab­lish­ment has a di­ver­si­fied menu for the most dis­cern­ing palates. And, if Surf & Turf is not your thing, Pechanga of­fers up a to­tal of 11 restau­rants to choose from, in­clud­ing Paisano’s Ital­ian, Umi Sushi & Oys­ter Bar, Blaz­ing Noo­dles, Kelsey’s Bar & Grill and the al­ways-ready Pechanga Buf­fet, to name a few. Okay, so you’ve played a beau­ti­ful round of golf, re­laxed at the spa, re­fu­eled with a hearty din­ner and now you’re ready to liven up the night with a lit­tle wager or two. Well, the Pechanga Casino is the largest in Cal­i­for­nia with more than 200,000 square feet of gam­ing op­tions, in­clud­ing 3,400 slot ma­chines, 130 Ta­ble Games, a 43-ta­ble, non-smok­ing, state-of-the-art, 24hour Poker Room, a 700-seat Bingo par­lor and, for those look­ing to take it up an­other notch, The Club at Pechanga play­ers’ club is all that and more. Not much of a gamer? Pechanga once again has the an­swers. Whether it’s the Pechanga Theater with a host of A-List per­form­ers ap­pear­ing reg­u­larly, the Com­edy Club with stand-up comics making you dou­ble over in your seat or Ea­gle’s Nest with a live DJ ev­ery Fri­day and Satur­day nights, Pechanga is sure to en­ter­tain you. Plus, the 2,000 seat Grand Ball­room broad­casts Live Cham­pi­onship Box­ing, MMA and other events as they oc­cur. So, while you might not break 80 and you might not walk away with a life-chang­ing for­tune, the Pechanga Re­sort & Casino will be as close to a sure-thing va­ca­tion as you could ask for. Or, do as I did on the sec­ond day of our visit… play an­other round of golf and go back to the casino and make back some of your money!

Con­tact Info

Phone: (877) 711-2946 Web­site: Email: Face­book: www.Face­ Twit­ter: @PechangaCasino In­sta­gram: @PechangaCasino

Hole #5

Hole 6 tee box

Jour­ney Club­house

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