Journey at Pechanga golf course - 6th
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Journey at Pechanga golf course - 6th
The sixth hole on the Journey at Pechanga drops 175 feet to the fairway below. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
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Journey at Pechanga golf course - 9th
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Journey at Pechanga golf course - 9th
The clubhouse, called "Journey's End," sits in the background of the ninth green on the Journey at Pechanga. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Journey at Pechanga golf course - 4th
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Journey at Pechanga golf course - 4th
Trees and bunkers pinch the approach to the fourth green on the Journey at Pechanga golf course in Temecula, California. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Journey at Pechanga golf course - 7th
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Journey at Pechanga golf course - 7th
The bridge to the seventh fairway is one of the impressive structures on the Journey at Pechanga golf course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Journey at Pechanga golf course - 8th
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Journey at Pechanga golf course - 8th
Left is dead at the eighth hole on the Journey at Pechanga golf course in Temecula, California. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Journey at Pechanga golf course - 10th
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Journey at Pechanga golf course - 10th
It's tempting to try to drive the 10th green on the Journey at Pechanga. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Journey at Pechanga golf course - 13th
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Journey at Pechanga golf course - 13th
A creek intersects the 13th fairway on the Journey at Pechanga in Temecula, Calif. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Journey at Pechanga golf course - 15th
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Journey at Pechanga golf course - 15th
Huts near the 15th green remind golfers about the heritage of the land used for the Journey at Pechanga golf course in Temecula, California. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Journey at Pechanga GC - no. 17
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Journey at Pechanga GC - no. 17
The par-3 17th hole on the Journey at Pechanga overlooks the casino from an elevated perch. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Journey at Pechanga golf course - 18th hole
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Journey at Pechanga golf course - 18th hole
The brave take on the trees up the left side off the elevated 18th tee on the Journey at Pechanga golf course in Temecula, California. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

It's both a wild and smooth ride on the Journey at Pechanga in Temecula, California

TEMECULA, Calif. -- It's easy to forgive the punishment inflicted by the Journey at Pechanga golf course -- the lost balls, shots blocked by trees in the middle of fairways and three putts on wild greens -- when you're playing one of the mountain holes 300 feet above the Temecula Valley.

The elevated tees of the par-4 sixth and par-3 17th highlight the thrill ride created by architect Arthur Hills and partner Steve Forrest in 2008. Like the nearby casino, you'll probably never hit the jackpot in scoring well, but it is fun trying.

To navigate such rugged terrain on the Pechanga Indian Reservation, golfers drive more than seven miles of cart paths and across some of the most beautiful wooden bridges over ravines and canyons. Decked-out Yamaha carts stocked with GPS and plush seats make the journey as comfortable as possible.

The round concludes at "Journey's End," a restaurant/bar inside a lavish 62,000-square-foot clubhouse. Golfweek ranks The Journey at Pechanga the 25th-best public golf course in California in 2014 and 31st-best casino course in the country in 2013.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

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It's both a wild and smooth ride on the Journey at Pechanga in Temecula, California
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