Temecula Creek Inn

Temecula Creek Inn is a charming wine country resort with a 27-hole golf course on the edge of Riverside and San Diego counties. Temecula Creek Golf Club had fallen into disrepair for many years after earning four stars on Golf Digest’s Places You Can Play list many years ago.

Pechanga recently bought the resort, and it is evident they are pumping money into the golf course. The conditions of the fairways and rough were spectacular, especially for the price. The course had some of the best-conditioned fairways and rough I have seen in the area.

The bent grass fairways and greens are a stark contrast to many of the Kikuyu/poa annua combos you see at many courses in San Diego. There are three distinct nines at Temecula Creek, Stonehouse, Oaks, and Creek. Most people would rank them in that order in terms of difficulty and beauty.

Before the course was sold, Temecula Creek Inn was planning a massive renovation that would have turned this 27-hole course into an 18-hole championship course by removing four holes on Creek, 3 On Oaks, and two on Stonehouse. This is pretty indicative of how every three nines rank at TCI. The new owners said they want to keep things and improve the venue’s quality.

I played the Oaks, and Creek nines for this trip as Stonehouse was closed, so that’s what I will review. I think this course warrants a trip back if you do not play the Stonehouse nine because of how highly other golfers talk about its difficulty and scenery.

The Oaks nine is the longest at Temecula Creek Inn and reasonably challenging. The first hole is a narrow dogleg right, not much of anything but a start, the iron of the tee is all that’s needed on this 372-yard hole. The second is a 498-yard par five that plays straight into the wind; most play a fade down the left-hand side; this hole has beautiful mountain views in the distance.

The third hole is a short but challenging par 3 with two different water hazards on both sides of the green. There is a very narrow landing strip, and anything missed slightly left or right is likely wet.

The fourth is a signature hole at Temecula Creek Inn and the most challenging hole on the Oaks 9. The tee shot is wide open and falls off into a valley. The fairway narrows up to a tiny sliver on the right side. Anything left is faced with a well-placed tree that will block your shot to this elevated green protected by a bunker. Beautiful hole.

Overall, Oaks are tree-lined with a lot of doglegs. Many holes force you to work the ball both ways, and course knowledge is essential here; many spots will tempt you to cut corners, but I found it can be pretty deceiving best to play the course as you see it.

The Creek 9 is the easiest at Temecula Creek Inn and is relatively benign. It is much more open than Oaks Nine, although trees persist throughout the course.  This nine feels the most crammed in, with many holes playing adjacent.

Some very narrow windows and strangely placed trees close to the tee box force a fade or a low ball, which poses most of the challenge on this course. 

This is particularly evident on the 5th hole, the number 1 handicap. The trees are set up to force a fade, but there is a strategically placed tree right in front of the green, meaning a ball in the fairway on the right side. To a right-back, green means you have to go sky-high over the tree. Not the best design.

The greens are not very undulating or challenging on Creek. No other hole stood out to me besides the finishing hole, which can be very confusing as it sets up directly towards the Oaks finishing green. This hole is a slight dogleg right with water surrounding the green. I am positive some people have played the wrong spot here.

Overall, Temecula Creek Inn surprised me. The conditions were excellent, there was an amiable vacation-like atmosphere at Temecula Creek Inn, and the restaurants were also delicious. If it were just the Creek Nine, there wouldn’t be much to talk about, but the Oaks nine was solid, and I am excited to come back and try their signature 9 Stonehouse.

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