The Takeaway: While the weather is almost always perfect in San Diego, The Farms layout isn’t. Crammed into a residential development, the overly tight layout needed a chance to spread its wings rather than being confined to a nest. That being said, there are some fun elevations and unique holes to enjoy. Grade B-
Designer: Pete Dye and Perry Dye in 1988; softening by John Fought and Tom Lehman 2000
Phone Number: (858) 756-5585
Course Website: Official Website - Visit The Farms Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 8500 St Andrews Rd, Rancho Santa Fe, California 92067 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: The Farms is a classic example of a course being shoehorned into too tight of a property while giving way to the surrounding residential development that was the clear priority. Despite the acreage challenges, the course has some enjoyable holes and combats the tight fairways with funneling hills that often feed balls back into play since a lost ball is often the result of leaving the fairway. Interest in the layout is offered through enjoyable elevation changes throughout which sets up for some fun shots to execute. The highlight of the layout is found in the one-shotters which can be expected in a property with such dramatic elevations and not an extensive amount of land to work with. The turf conditions are solid but not exceptional which can partially be attributed to the size and closeness of the homes that cast an abundance of shade on the grass during significant portions of the day. In the end, The Farms can be a fun course to play with an invite, but would be difficult to enjoy on a daily basis.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 14th Hole – 178 Yard Par 3 – The scenic 14th often plays downwind with the ocean breeze coming to your back and eliminating some yardage off the effective playing distance of this one-shotter. The slightly bowled sides of the green will help players stay out of the bunker on the right or creek on the left, but they can't save you from a severe miss.
Best Par 3: 5th Hole – 207 Yards – A quartet of bunkers protect the 5th green but the pits on the left are much more severe to try and save par from than the ones on the right. The tee shot plays slightly downhill and downwind so taking a club that flies to the front right third of the green provides the greatest amount of safety and best opportunity to yield a birdie putt.
Best Par 4: 13th Hole – 427 Yards – The dogleg right 13th hole features a tee shot that needs to reach the crest of the hill to be as effective as possible in setting up the approach shot. The fairway narrows down to 20 yards wide between the fairway bunkers so hitting a fairway wood can be the encouraged play if you have more control over it. The second shot plays over a pond to a green that is twice as wide as it is deep and has a trio of bunkers encircling the back. This demanding approach shot will test your nerves so hopefully you are up to the task.
Best Par 5: 12th Hole – 569 Yards – The undulated terrain at The Farms is on fine display on the 12th hole that will likely take three shots to get home. The narrow fairway has o.b. running up the right side and a fairway bunker on each side of the short grass. Getting your tee ball in the fairway is critical and the downhill nature of the drive will allow you to hit less than driver to find the best spot. The ascension up to the green requires a 40 foot climb to get home while avoiding three more fairway bunkers and two greenside pits. The spine in the putting surface delivers a final challenge to conquer on this hole that will require every part of your game.
Birdie Time: 9th Hole – 475 Yard Par 5 – A hole that measures out shorter than a stern par four, the par five 9th is like manna from heaven. The fairway begins doglegging right after the driving zone that features a quartet of bunkers, but a fade that starts at the bunkers on the left is the ideal play. A severe hill is found on the left side and can be used to bound balls onto the putting surface as long as the two greenside bunkers are avoided. If you finish right of the green don't fret as a straight forward chip back into the slope of the green will afford the opportunity to hit it close to the hole.
Bogey Beware: 17th Hole – 472 Yard Par 4 – Measuring nearly as long as the par five 9th, the two-shot 17th derails plenty of scorecards late in the round. Trouble rains on the right side of the hole and culminates with a pond hugging tight to that side of the green while the fairway kicks balls toward the water. Players that take their tee shot up the right side in hopes of cutting yardage off the hole may find themselves blocked out on the second shot by the overhanging trees. The best approach works the ball off the hill on the left while the careless player will find themselves in trouble with par slipping through their grasp.