San Juan Hills GC in San Juan Capistrano, CA is a public course located near the I5 freeway. Built into the hills overlooking the ocean, the par 71 course is fairly short at 6327 yards from the back tees. Quite a number of holes have elevation changes and the greens are tricky to read due to the slopes as well. The recently updated clubhouse and driving range add to the amenities here.
The front side begins with five short par 4s under 400 yards before the sweeping downhill 563 yard par-5 6th. The front nine finishes with a par 3, a short, downwind par 5, and the 193 yard par-3 9th. The key to the front is to keep the ball in play and locate the pin placements on some of the larger greens. Get as far under par as you can on this front side.
The back nine begins with a quirky par 4 with a tree in the middle of the fairway, then the stern 445 yard par-4 11th. The short par-5 12th gives the player an opportunity to "get one back" before beginning "the loop" from holes 13-15. The 15th is probably the toughest hole on the course with a lake skirting the driving area left and hills to the right of the fairway. The 436 yard hole ends with a large, undulating green protected by bunkers right and deep swale left. The round closes again with a par 3-5-3 combination playing into the prevailing wind.
San Juan Hills is a course that requires a bit of "local knowledge" and a lot of patience. When you first look at the scorecard you figure that you should shoot lights-out, but suddenly you realize that even though you've got wedges into a lot of holes you need to be in the correct place to have legitimate birdie attempts. Check with the locals to see how the greens are rolling before you venture out -- it will keep your frustration down and your chance to scoring up!