Rustic Canyon Golf Course Page II
California, United States of America
Green Keeper: Jeff Hicks
Fifth hole, 535 yards; Like the original 8th on the North Course of the Los Angeles Country Club, the golfer must decide how daring he wishes to be in crossing the wash with his second shot. Also, in common with several other situations (e.g. 1st tee/ 9th hole location), the golfer needs to pay attention to where the hole is located as he plays the 2nd hole. The green extends out from a ridge, and if the hole is located toward the front, the golfer is better served by playing his second shot well to the right to avoid having to carry this ridge. Thanks should be paid to the owners for allowing the architects the freedom of having 2nd and 5th holes share a common area; without this additional width, the option to play away from the hole for the sake of a better angle into the green would not exist.
Sixth hole, 215 yards; Pete Dye is a great fan of figure eight routings as evidenced at Whistling Straits and The Ocean Course at Kiawah. The same loose routing applies at Rustic Canyon with the 5th through the 13th holes in general heading northeast up the floor of the canyon with the primary wash being crossed a total of five times. In a nice break of direction, the 6th and 12th holes reverse directions. A benefit in doing so at the 6th is that a stunning hole was created thanks to the backdrop of the canyon wall. The green sweeps up at the rear, to help brake an aggressive attacking shot.
Seventh hole, 330 yards; C.B. Macdonald considered the Channel Hole at Lido Golf Club as the finest hole in golf, thanks to its optional routes. On the west coast, George Thomas perfected the optional fairway concept at such nearby holes as the 8th at Riviera and the 11th and 17th holes at Bel-Air. And after witnessing the work that has recently been done to the 8th at Riviera, getting such holes strategically correct is perhaps more difficult than one might imagine. Nonetheless, Hanse and crew got it right here, as the golfer who successfully carries the ball 220 yards over the wash is rewarded with a simple pitch to almost any hole location. Conversely, those that bump their tee ball a couple of hundred yards down the fairway are left with an oblique angle into the green.
Eighth hole, 125 yards; Golfers delight in playing holes that appear to have always been there. When man’s hand becomes too evident, there is a disconnect between the golfer and nature. Of course, the art of architecture as practised at the highest levels is to make all holes look natural, even those that are indeed manufactured. Such is the case here.
Ninth hole, 560 yards; The design team is very proud of how little was done in the creation of this hole, right down to the green contours. The green site was carefully staked during construction so that the green contours represent exactly how the ground was when they found the site. Upper hole locations reward play from well right of the green while lower hole locations are best approached head on via the ground game.
Tenth hole, 570 yards; Fine tuning is an important part in the evolution of any great course. Tom Doak at Wilderness Valley never got to refine several features, and thus the design fails to generate the following that it otherwise deserves. In the case of the 10th at Rustic Canyon, the hole is of interest thanks to a rectangular green that is parallel to a series of bunkers down its right hand side. If one last bunker on a large scale is added to this string, the golfer will have to decide at what point does he wish to cross this bunker array with his second shot. The more he flirts with these bunkers, the better his angle down the length of the rectangular green. Should he carry well past the bunkers, he has assured himself of an awkward angle back toward this green, dubbed the lap pool.
Eleventh hole, 435 yards; As the player works his way up the canyon, the solitude increases and the holes become even more visually striking, starting here at the 11th. The golfer who can hug the wash with his tee ball is rewarded with a much shorter iron into the green. Though a ridge in the middle of the green divides it into two sectors, this is probably the most conventional hole on the course, reflective of the terrain the hole sits upon.
12th hole, 340 yards; Confusion (then perhaps self doubt) is created off this tee by, ironically, the absence of any hazards – all the golfer sees is a short hole to a huge fairway with the green (which is open in front) off to the left. Golfers often look for signals from the architect to guide them but such comfort is not provided on the 12th tee. Only after trial and error through personal experience will the golfer develop an attack plan that he truly believes in.