On May 7, 2001, construction began
on Rustic Canyon Golf Course, an 18-hole affordable public layout
in Moorpark, California designed by Gil Hanse with his associate
Jim Wagner and Geoff Shackelford. Set at the base of Happy Camp
Canyon near the 118 Freeway and Moorpark College, the sandy,
gently rolling site is bisected by an environmentally sensitive
habitat area filled with sage scrub, rare cactus, oak trees
and other native plants.
After nearly three years of planning, routing
and construction, Rustic Canyon opened on April 25, 2002.
The course is one of a kind. Hand woven into
the terrain and as unique a round of golf you will find anywhere
in Southern California. It’s always kept in fantastic
shape despite the massive amount of play and the customer service
It’s not everyday a new course enters
a market to create such a stir. Yet it’s been approximately
two years since its opening and it’s still the talk of
the town. If you haven’t experienced Rustic Canyon Golf
Course, make a point to. You won’t regret it. One more
thing, bring your “A” game and a keen eye for reading
greens. This course is a tremendous test of golf.
Rustic Canyon, located in a hiker's paradise
called Happy Camp Canyon Regional Park, is a Moorpark gem that
the purists of golf architecture drool over. It measures 6,906
from the back tees at par of 72 and hosted qualifying this spring
for the Southern California Amateur Championship, to be played
later this summer at Torrey Pines South.
Strategically intense is how lead architect
Hanse described this instant classic. "It gives players
various options and has plenty of width. The better player,
who is really trying to score low, will see a much tighter course
because he wants to be in the correct fairway position to have
a good angle to the hole."
Rustic Canyon is characterized by huge tightly
mown areas encircling the greens. "This gives the average
player more opportunity to score because he can putt, chip or
play bump-and-run shots from off the green. It also creates
indecision for the better players," Hanse said.
The front nine plays fairly flat and is very
walkable. Then the back nine climbs into the hillside and its
canyons. There's a major-league forced carry from the back tees
on No. 14, a 480-yard, downhill par-4. A lot of wannabe single-digit
types will leave this hole with a six.
The course hosted 36,000 rounds in its first
year, but national publicity could increase that to more than
60,000 rounds in its second year of operation. Call way in advance
for tee times, it's popular and affordable, but very busy.