Rancho Santa Fe - California - USA

Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club,
5827 Via De La Cumbre,
Rancho Santa Fe,
California (CA) 92067,

  • +1 858 756 1182

  • Shanon McCarthy

  • Max Behr

  • Steve Nordstrom

Architect Max Howell Behr’s Scottish grandfather and father were founders of the St Andrews Golf Club in Yonkers, New York, and Max was the first Yale graduate to become a golf course architect following a five-year period as editor of Golf Illustrated magazine during World War I.

Aged 34, he moved to California after the untimely death of his young wife and turned his hand to golf course design with a degree of success, fashioning around a dozen courses in the Golden State during the 1920s.

Alister MacKenzie is said to have recommended him for the Rancho Santa Fe job as he was too busy with the design of Cypress Point, completing the work started by Seth Raynor who died unexpectedly after producing a routing plan. Interestingly, Behr is reputed to have received a fee of $9,000, a thousand dollars more than MacKenzie received for Cypress Point.

Behr said of his work here: “A new principle of golf course design has been put into effect at Rancho Santa Fe which permits the average golfer, even the beginner, to enjoy the round without con­stantly being in trouble and yet at the same time offers the expert a serious and exciting test of golf. Not a single hazard has been constructed with the idea of penalizing errors of skill. On the contrary, the hazards are located with the sole object of defending the hole.”

The course at Rancho Santa Fe was the site of the first Bing Crosby “Clambake” Pro-Am tournament from 1937 to 1942, an event that grew in stature to become the PGA Tour’s AT& T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The 1954 San Diego Open was also held here, as was the 2006 USGA Junior Amateur championship.

DMK Golf Design is currently retained at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club to advise on restorations and other architectural changes the club wishes to make.

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Description: Laid out on a long, narrow tract of land, the 18 holes at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club were set out by Max Behr in 1929. The routing has remained the same for over eighty years. Rating: 8 out of 10 Reviews: 2
Trey Buchanan

For the choice few who get to play, Rancho Santa Fe lives long in our memories after we play. I've had the pleasure of playing it 25+ times as the home course to my highschool team and as a guest of some friends who were members.

Architecturally it's a very interesting design without it being gimmicky or overly challenging. I've played all the privates in the Rancho Santa Fe area and I would be hard pressed to find one I would want to play more every single day.

Tee shots are challenging but not overly demanding. You can find tree trouble but there are only a few places where you can't go. Green complexes are great and interesting where if the greens are average speed you can see some develish pin posistions but they can also crank up the speed as well if they would want to.

Super walkable and I would recommend walking to get the best feel for the course.

In order to be a member, you need to live in the community of Rancho Santa Fe. If you live in a neighboring area you cannot even ask to be a member there as they will say no since you don't live in the town.

Rancho Santa Fe is a excellent golf experience and if you ever get the opportunity, do not turn it down.

November 27, 2021
8 / 10
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David Spinelli

I only played the very private course once as a guest. It is VERY good. But then again, I like 'old school' golf.

Phil Michelson is a member and practices here. That should say something.

January 05, 2018
8 / 10
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