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.”
The Saticoy Club is a wonderful golf course. A good blend of short, medium, and long holes. To my way of thinking, Saticoy is a fine 17 ½ hole golf course. More on that later.
A true highlight to this golf course is the condition. The fairways are near perfect for hitting golf shots of all kinds and at the same time a pleasure to walk. Near perfectly flat on almost every hole.
The greens are fast and almost firm. The many false fronts test a golfers distance control. On more than one hole Marlene and I saw what we thought to be a good shot come rolling back to us!
Bunkers are well placed and strategic. To my eye it is the bunkering that makes Saticoy a beautiful golf course.
Each nine at Saticoy Club has a number of fine golf holes.
On the first nine the third is a straight forward par four requiring a good drive and a mid to long iron to a green designed to hold such the shot. The green on the long par three fourth has enough back to front slope to receive the fairway metal most of use need to hit. Hole nine is a gem of a par three. I prefer the tee at 157. At 189 the true angle into the green seems to be lost. For me the back tee on nine is an example of an attempt to lengthen a golf hole and not having good land to do so.
On the back nine the eleventh is a wow of a par four. The drive is hit to the first fairway with any real slope. For me a left to right fade resulted in extra roll and a short iron to the green. The green is just enough up hill to demand certain distance control. Twelve is another par four requiring a fade off the tee that is rewarded with a wedge to the green. The par three thirteenth is a classic long iron shot with a fantastic vista. The inward nine continues with good hole after good hole, draw one drive, fade the next. The climax may be the second shot on the par five eighteenth. With a drive on the left side of the fairway a well hit fade just might reach the front of the green.
Earlier I said that Saticoy Club was a 17 ½ hole golf course. Elevation change can make or break the routing of a golf course. Get elevation change right and the golf course is a star. Get it wrong and the golf course is a disappointment. For me, two holes stick out. The par three tenth is too much of a down hill drop to be a good hole. The other is the tee shot on the first. Once in the fairway the shot to the green is a match for any of the approach shots at Saticoy. The getting to the fairway was not a match for the rest of this fine course.
Saticoy Club is a fine golf course and I look forward to playing it again. Many golf courses are one or two holes short of being great.
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!