Orange County, California: One of Arizona’s favorite summertime golf getaways

Trade the heat for cool off-shore breezes at Monarch Beach and Tijeras Creek

A glimpse of the spectacular ocean and golf course view from the Monarch Beach Resort.

The imminent inferno we locals call “summer” has reared its ugly head. And although the Valley’s many golf clubs drop their rates to comfortable levels financially, playing golf in 110-degree heat is anything but comfortable physically. That said, it’s no wonder why droves of Arizonans make a break for the Pacific Coast every year to enjoy the beach, and of course, play a little golf. To that end, Monarch Beach Golf Links and Tijeras Creek Golf Club offer two of the best experiences in the OC.

Monarch Beach Golf Links and its accompanying seaside resort are located in Dana Point, blessed with commanding cliff-top ocean views.  It’s truly a one-of-a-kind golf vacation destination that embodies a unique blend of luxury lodging and exceptional golf, highlighted by the crashing Pacific and views of Catalina Island.

Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed the golf course to maximize the location as well as the spectacular views from this 6,600-yard, Scottish links-style golf course. In fact, if the third hole didn’t dogleg hard to the left, the green would be on the beach. The routing then turns back inland to the difficult, slit-fairway, par-5 7th.  At a healthy 612 yards from the Championship tees, it’s the No. 1 handicapped hole on the golf course. The only par 5 on the back nine of this par-70 track, No. 12, weighs in at 542 yards, but still earns the fifth spot on the handicap totem pole.

Jones sprinkled in five par 3s and a handful of interesting par 4s that all feature the same smooth and fast greens and abundant bunkering.

Although the high value of seaside real estate can lead to tight fairways, Jones succeeded in creating a layout that feels roomy enough to draw the driver.

“The golf course is just a pleasure to play with a setting that is truly special,” said Eric Lohman, PGA General Manager of Monarch Beach Golf Links. “This is especially true when you add in the beach and our incredible resort with all of its wonderful amenities such as our Miraval Spa, private Beach Club and Michael Mina’s Stone Hill Tavern that are perfect for family vacations or romantic getaways.”

As Lohman mentioned, the recently reimagined Monarch Beach Resort offers one of the most rewarding stays on the California coastline. It overlooks a wide swath of the ocean with its own private beach to explore a multitude of water-borne sports or just relax and let the “Surf Butler” handle the details. As a five-star, five-diamond resort, it features all the indulgent amenities one might expect from luxurious suites to shimmering pools, full-service spa to an extraordinary collection of dining and special event venues. Succinctly put:  it’s one of those places where only the best makes the cut.

Located a bit inland from Dana Point in Rancho Santa Margarita, the Ted Robinson-designed Tijeras Creek Golf Club is the tale of two nines.  The front is characterized by open spaces, shimmering lakes and gently rolling terrain, while the back side weaves its way up, around and through dramatic chaparral canyons filled with old-growth sycamore and oak trees.

“The golf course begins with a more open feel with tree-lined fairways and water hazards,” said Rob Heslar, Director of Golf. “The back is characterized by elevation changes and thickly vegetated out-of-play areas. The views from some of the higher points are simply spectacular.”

The golf experience starts out with a couple manageable holes before turning up the heat on the 477-yard, par-4 3rd. Water comes into play on the next two, and then it’s on to an attention-grabbing stretch from 7 to 10. The par-3 14th plays anywhere from 129 to 195 yards with a dramatic drop in elevation. The 16th sets up similarly: the 172-yard, par-3 plays downhill with a gnarly hazard to the left. Careful consideration to wind direction and yardage is a must on these two memorable holes.  Indeed, No. 16 was voted as one of Orange County’s Best 18 Holes by members of the Southern California PGA Section.

“We definitely have four strong par 3s at Tijeras Creek,” said General Manager Rick Convertini. “Whether it’s 5 and 7 hugging the water hazards or the thick native chaparral guarding 14 and 16, the only way to come out unscathed is to hit good shots.”

After a round of golf in the warm summer sunshine, nothing tastes better than a cold brew or the salty, lime tang of a Margarita. TJ’s Cantina is the perfect place for both. And after a recent renovation, it truly offers a unique indoor/outdoor experience with outdoor seating at the bar; sliding windows to let in the fresh air; an expanded selection of beer and wine; and most importantly, a 100-inch video wall that makes you feel like you’re part of the action. It’s a vibrant place where locals and vacationers alike gather to tip a few cold ones while they enjoy exceptional Southwestern-inspired fare.

Now that the mercury has risen, it’s time to map out your summertime getaway. And although you’ll be miles from home, Scottsdale-based OB Sports Golf Management provides a useful tie to the Valley of the Sun.  The firm manages both clubs and offers specialized travel programs good for preferred pampering at Tijeras Creek Golf Club and Monarch Beach Golf Links, among others nationwide. To learn more, visit, 949.589.9793, or, 949.248.3001.