Other than Tiger Woods's much-awaited return to the PGA Tour this week, there's been little good news in the golf world of late. Iconic destinations such as Sea Island Resorts and TheGreenbrier have been undergoing well-documented struggles in the failing economy. A rare bright spot is the recent opening of the Resort at Pelican Hill, a spectacular cliff-side property in Southern California.
The 500-acre resort in Newport Coast, about an hour south of L.A., is designed in the style of an old Italian hill town. Terracotta-roofed villas and bungalows are terraced into the slopes high above the Pacific, shaded by imported olive trees. The bungalows feature limestone fireplaces, hand-hewn wood-beam ceilings and private terraces. Even more lavish are the two-, three- and four-bedroom villas that are as large as 3,000 square feet and situated in a gated enclave. Villa guests can avail themselves of butler service and access to a private clubhouse and pool. Refreshingly, this is purely a vacationer's resort--there are no home sites for sale.
The golf at Pelican Hill predates the now-encompassing resort by a decade and a half. It consists of two eighteen-hole Tom Fazio layouts that overlook the ocean. Originally designed in the early '90s--and sometimes criticized for failing to make the most of the natural setting--they were renovated by the architect two years ago to improve playability and better expose the seaside views.