Location: Moorpark, Calif.
Course Architects: Gil Hanse, Geoff Shackelford and Jim Wagner
From the Tips: 7,044 yards
Saturday Morning Green Fee: $$ ($50-$99)
Caddie Service: No
Walker Friendly: Yes
Starter: When golf course architect Gil Hanse was tasked with designing Rustic Canyon, he was asked to build a course that would be good for public golf in Southern California and maximize the playing experience. The course, which has an Old West look and feel, sits in a valley, on land that is part of Happy Camp Canyon Regional Park. The best part about the links-style course may be that in its creation very little dirt was moved relative to projects of similar magnitude.
Play because … : Golf is often more fun when a club ranging from a putter to a 7-iron can be played around the green, and that is what Rustic promotes. In fact, there are ample opportunities to exhibit shot creativity from tee to green. Rustic Canyon is a blank canvas, which allows a golfer to paint a different picture every time.
Takeaway: Rustic Canyon is neither Augusta National nor a mistreated muny. Instead, it’s a high-end, daily-fee course without the prices often associated with such a course. It presents a pleasant walk with scenic views and the opportunity to play imaginative shots — which is all that can be asked of any course. Rustic Canyon’s hard and fast nature makes play challenging, but fun. The walk from greens to tees can, at times, seem long, but only because of the surrounding environmental areas. It is California, after all.
RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 7.5
Pro Shop: 4
Course Difficulty: 7
Pace of Play: 8.5
Best Par 3: 15th hole (147 yards). This picturesque hole features a raised green over a native area. Depending on the hole hole location, this is a short-yardage challenge.
Best Par 4: 3rd hole (315 yards). Technically a drivable par 4, the hole provides various options and as it doglegs slightly from right to left. The bunker complex in the middle of the dogleg is an interesting visual.
Best Par 5: 1st hole (540 yards). The course’s grandeur grabs a golfer on the first teeing ground as mountains are situated to the right and native grasses are all about.