Postcard From Rustic Canyon

imagesAbout 40 miles north of L.A. set in an arroyo between foothills covered with arid vegetation Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner, and Geoff Shackelford built a minimalist municipal golf course that screams brown is beautiful. The vistas are straight out of Bonanza. Standing at the bag drop you fully expect Ben Cartright, Hoss, and Little Joe to come hurtling down the hillside on horseback in a cloud of dust to welcome you to the Ponderosa.

ClubhouseThe understated clubhouse sets the theme for your day

Range 1The range and short game area leave little doubt this is a municipal facility……

Short Game Area…….but what you need to prepare for what’s ahead is all there

Practice Putting Shares With 18 GreenA generous practice green shares space with the flag awaiting play coming down to the 18th green

The design trio was determined to do little to disrupt the natural appearance of the ground planning to “place the course onto the site instead of erecting a course there”. Very little dirt was moved and a dry wash that runs down the heart of this valley full of sage, scrub brush, and a kind of nasty desert broom was used as the primary hazard feature in creating this theater for a rustic golf experience.

RC Backdrop on Back SideThe high end of the property you can see the source that feeds the wash

RC #1 FaultA dry sandy fault bisects the playing area the last 140 yards in on the first hole

RC #11 Wash Approach From GreenThe wash consistently presents itself as the primary obstacle to negotiate through the day

RC #6 Tee ViewThey achieved their goal as holes meld into the natural flow of the land

In his book “Grounds For Golf” Shackelford says of the design, “the emphasis will be on strategy that uses natural features as a priority, with bunkers added to compliment the unique contours”.
RC #13 Approach ViewYou can see a few bunkers were raised to augment the challenge when necessary
Bunker PlayThey may not seem that difficult…….
RC #12 Greenside Bunker…but some of them will exact a serious toll for wayward approaches
RC #9 GreenSprawling, undulating putting surfaces bleed into the surround fringes…they would feel at home on any links course across the pond

RC #11 Short Game ApproachErgo the ground game is often the better approach for getting close

RC #12 Greenside GateIn keeping with the theme the trimmings are right out of a dude ranch

Sand Cart Path and RailingCarts follow paths on which horses would feel comfortable to tread

RC #10 Cactus BedNatural features were left to adorn the playing area

RC #10 Cactus Kathy BallThis one had an attraction for an NXT Tour ball

RC #10 Cactus Kathy Play
A stroke, a drop, and play on….,,,,

RC #10 Green Back View….to a 50 yard long lap pool of a green that looks straight out of the Golden Age of Design

RC #16 Approach View 1Coming down valley on #16…. it is all natural, no artificial ingredients

RC #3 Tee View
This place is worth the trek it takes to get here.  Set against the foothills, the combination of the flowing fairways, natural wash, and a few punitive extras make Rustic Canyon a simple yet surreal golf challenge.

September, 2014

For more course detail click to see the Rustic Canyon Golf Course Review

2 thoughts on “Postcard From Rustic Canyon

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