The Takeaway: The design on this course is absolutely enough to give it an "A" but the location, dustiness, and its inconsistent playing conditions keep it from being regarded as an elite course. This course is extremely fun for players of all levels and it should be considered one of the top courses in Southern California, especially for its value. Grade A-
Designer: Gil Hanse in 2002
Cost: $28.00 - $66.00 (cart is extra) Click for current rates
Phone Number: (858) 452-3226
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Rustic Canyon Golf Course's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Accolades: Ranked #1 best value by Golf magazine. Ranked 4th best public course in California by Golfweek magazine. Ranked best course in Ventura County.
What to Expect: This course is an absolute blast to play. The fairways are tightly mown and the ball will run forever on every hole. Most fairways are extremely wide and forgiving, but all greens are severely sloped and tricky. The bunkers are bountiful and difficult to hit out of. The design of the course is absolutely superb and so is the course maintenance. Prices are rarely over $50, making it an affordable round as well. This course is highly suggested to players of all skill levels.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 16th Hole – 479 Yard Par 4 – This behemoth of a par four is always the toughest hole on the course. The tee shot plays straight downhill, but it is into the wind on an average day. Out of bounds awaits players on the right and left off the tee. From the tee box to behind the green, the fairway on this hole is sloped steeply away from the tee box. The ball runs for an incredible distance on this hole, as it does on many others at Rustic Canyon. The green is sloped from front to back, making it impossible to stop the ball on the green after landing it there. The approach must be played along the ground and it must roll up to the front of the green. There is also a fairly severe drop off behind the green, making an up and down nearly impossible. This hole is the signature hole because of the breathtaking views of the entire valley that the course lies in.
Best Par 3: 6th Hole – 216 Yards – This par three demands decent accuracy but impeccable distance control. Short of this heavily sloped green lies a "Hell's half acre-like" waste bunker. To carry the bunker, the player must fly it about 180 yards. Once on the green, golfers must recognize the severe right to left slope that affects all putts. The feature that makes this hole the best par three is the tall backstop in the back of the green. Shots that find this backstop will always spin back and run right by the hole, especially, when it is in the back portion of the enormous putting surface. I have seen more hole-in-ones on this hole than any other hole in my life time.
Best Par 4: 3rd Hole – 315 Yards – It is often said that every great course has a drivable par four. This tricky little par four is accessible to long hitters who can hit a right-handed fade. There is a long bunker that covers a lot of acreage in the middle of this fairway that must be flown over. For a more conservative golfer, a hybrid or long iron can be played out to the right, leaving a tough angle into the green. The aforementioned green is extremely long and relatively flat compared to many on this track. The fairway blends into the putting surface beautifully, further tempting golfers to take dead aim off the tee.
Best Par 5: 1st Hole – 540 Yards – An eagle chance is a rare opportunity on the first hole on most courses. On this first hole, a sore and tired golfer can swing as hard as he can because this fairway is wide enough to land an airplane. If struck well, the players' drives can find a flat area about 250 yards away from the green. Taking on the green is a risky pursuit, but any golfer who can fly their second shot 220 yards over a lengthy fairway bunker is able to land their shot just in front and the ball will run toward the hole. The green is surrounded by tightly mown fairway mounds, which often provide some entertainment on approach shots.
Birdie Time: 12th Hole – 336 Yard Par 4 – Even with quick-running fairways, this par four is almost never reachable off the tee, but that does not mean it isn't easy. There is literally no trouble (within reason) of the tee shot on this short par four. A decent drive leaves golfers with a mere sand wedge into the expansive green. The only miss around this green is on the right side. The green slopes into a tightly mown collection area. Overall, this is one of the few par fours on the course that has no major bunkers and waste areas to contend with and it is also extremely short.
Bogey Beware: 11th Hole – 452 Yard Par 4 – This tough two-shotter is the hardest hole on the course because of the incredibly difficult drive. All along the left side lies a steep drop off that sucks in tons of golf balls. The second shot is played into a marginally elevated green that is difficult to hold, yet the entrance is also very narrow. The green is severely sloped toward the drop off on the left side of the green, further making the green complex challenging. Pars are tough to make on this hole, but the easiest hole on the course precedes it.