When Saticoy Country Club, as it was then called, moved to its present location in 1964, Billy Bell Jr. was called in to design the new layout, which sits on top of a low mountain ridge.
“Saticoy is a surprisingly good layout,” commented
Tom Doak in
The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, “from an era that
provided relatively few examples. The hilly site gives the routing character,
and necessitated some significant tilt to the greens, which are the making of
the course; you’d better not get on the wrong side of the hole here.”
John Harbottle III recently drew up a master plan for course improvements, all of which have now been implemented.
In 2018, five Brentwood Country Club members acquired Saticoy Country Club and renamed it The Saticoy Club. One of the first things they did was hire Thad Layton of Arnold Palmer Design to oversee a renovation of the course; remodelling bunkers, removing trees and expanding fairways.
“We’re honored to have been selected to restore the best parts of the original design, while adding layers of strategic interest to increase the playability and enjoyment of the course,” said Layton.
“The expansive vistas gained through the initial tree removal lend a sense of context and scale that had been covered up through years of unchecked growth. While some bunkers were removed, and others added, the net result was a more beautiful, more playable, and easier to maintain collection of bunkers.”
When one thinks of "golden age" courses in Los Angeles, the list seems to start and stop with LACC, Riviera and Bel-Air. However, do not sleep on Saticoy, which takes design elements from all of those courses in a fantastic package.
The front 9 has a great flow to it as it wends its way downhill on the first hole and then with fantastic mounding on the second hole. The next few holes zig zag along the property and eventually you make your way to the backside.
The back nine is the superstar of this course. Most of it is played along ridge lines and next to canyons which give you impressive views of the Ventura County landscape. There is an all-time great stretch of 13-15 which starts off with a great par 3 leading you up to the high point on the property to a tremendous par 5 with a canyon of doom all the way on the left hand side. Finishing up the stretch is a downhill par 4 with fantastic fairway bunkers.
The course has been refreshed with renovation work on the bunkers and re-sodding on the front 9 (back 9 will happen later in 2019) and a "classic" track feels modern and fun. The club also has a low key vibe which ticks it up a notch in my book.
When I played the course, the rough was a bit too hairy so shots off the fairway were apt to nestle down and potentially becoming lost but otherwise the course is a real gem!