My wife and I played Hacienda Golf Club on a beautiful Spring afternoon. Two days earlier So Cal had received over an inch of rain. The course had drained well. The fairways were soft but not spongy. Greens were firm enough and running at about 11.
The key design feature to Hacienda is the small greens that always fit the surrounding terrain. That terrain is also a canyon with an overall slope in the direction of LAX. Green reading must take into account the direction of the canyon with most of the holes following the east/west line of the canyon. Down hill putts can easily get away from you if you don't get the slope of the canyon right.
The second feature that makes Hacienda stand out is the bunkering. Both eye catching and challenging there size and shape is a good fit for most of the greens. That said, for me the bunkering is at times redundant and has caused me to confuse one hole from another.
Most of the Hacienda Golf Club course is in the the valley floor. On either end of the valley the course layout angles out of the canyon. The result is a course shaped like a long C or U.
The six holes that make up the “legs” of the C or U are for me the weakest holes of the eighteen. Two are OK par threes. Two are medium to long par fours with greens squeezed too close to the property boundaries. The final two are short par fours that are again squeezed onto too small a piece of land. These to short par fours are my least liked holes on the course.
On the positive side, hole fifteen is a 380 yard par four featuring the best elevation change of any hole on the course. The drive landing area is guarded by a large bunker on the left. A good drive should result in a short iron down the hill to the trademark small green. Miss the green in any direction and you are faced with a shot that must be hit high and soft. If that wasn't enough, a stream guards the left side for most of the hole and will grab any big miss.
Hacienda Golf Club is ranked 59th in California. My personal ranking of CA courses has it in the mid-sixties. By that I mean, I place courses like Pauma Valley and La Purisima ahead of Hacienda and courses like La Costa Champions and Indian Wells Players behind it. I also have about ten courses on my Personal Best in CA list that are not on The Top 100 in CA list.
A final positive note. Hacienda Golf Club is the type of course that serious golfers want to be a member of. The course gets more interesting the closer you get to the hole. The greens are firm and fast. For a fan of golf courses and serious golfer such as myself, it seldom gets better than that.
Date: April 01, 2022