Roundup: GK Review Guru Visit Rancho San Marcos Golf Course Santa Barbara California
Roundup: GK Review Guru Visit Rancho San Marcos Golf Course Santa Barbara California … see below … “Know Before You Go”® with Greenskeeper.Org (and our coming iPhone app). Roundup: #GKReviewGuru Visit @RanchoSanMarcos #Golf #SantaBarbara #California
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Reviewed by: roarksown1, Playa del Rey
Another GK Guru here who had the pleasure of joining the gang at Rancho San Marcos. I was completely blown away by this gem of a course and it automatically jumps into my Top Ten public courses I’ve played. Yes, it’s that good.
Also had an absolute gas playing with abbacat, sixpez and kvisner in our foursome. It’s always wonderful to play with good folks who love the game and appreciate that type of environment.
Even the drive up Hwy 154 is mesmerizing and as you get a glimpse of the gorgeous, green countryside dominating the views, you can simply tell that something special is down there. Like others have said, there’s a very Wild West feeling to the facilities at RSM, and it’s great. There’s everything that you need and none of what you don’t. All the staff are incredibly friendly and receptive to any and all of your needs.
The course layout is just so much fun. It challenges every single aspect of your game in some form or another. It will also test you mentally – not just dealing with all of the unique challenges thrown your way, but also with the distraction of the surroundings. It plays like this: Risk/reward, accuracy, reachable par 4, fade it, water, bombs away, distance control, thread the needle, positioning vital – and that’s just the front nine! The back is also its own drama, but while very challenging and mentally taxing, it’s also supremely fun and simply makes you realize this is pretty much how golf was meant to be played.
I heard about the course’s glory days, and I heard about its recent woes. Well, perhaps the current conditions are somewhere in the middle, but most heavily swaying in the direction of glory. The fairways are in great shape and have a cool two-tone cut down the middle of them to show you the middle of the fairways. Balls got excellent roll and only the tiniest amount of thin lies to be found – almost all of them perfect. Sand in the bunkers was in very nice shape, but there were a few crusty and damaged ones greenside on 15. Tee boxes were all in fine shape to my eye. And the rough was cut to a playable length, but there was no shortage of tall grasses just waiting on the outskirts to eat your misses.
The greens were absolutely stellar despite the semi-recent small punch. I thought they would be heavily affected by the punch with their fast speeds, but they rolled absolutely true and were incredibly receptive to good shots. But if you hit low, hard drives onto them you may be in for an adventure. But overall, really great, which must be a tough job to do out there.
I certainly look forward to making a trip up to the Santa Ynez Valley in the near future and doing the La Purisima, Alisal (River) and Rancho San Marcos trifecta. I’ve heard great things about LP in the past, but it’s going to take quite a bit to top RSM for me anytime soon. Keep doing what you’re doing out there and let it rain some more if that’s what it takes to keep this amazing diamond shining. Go. Now.
Santa Barbara, CA
Reviewed by: Itslikeimsayin, Aliso Viejo
Joined the Guru group out here yesterday, playing the blacks with JohnnyGK, rgm2525 and GDR23. Really fun round on a magnificent course. Thank you Johnny for setting it up and thank you to RSM for accommodating us. Teed off on time and pace wasn’t an issue with not many people out on the course. We let a single through at the turn and otherwise dictated our own pace, and finished in about 4:30.
The course is in really nice condition, highlighted by excellent greens. They were smooth, fast and accepted full shots very well. Fairways were good overall. They weren’t super pure, but they had good coverage except for a few spots here and there. The 15th hole had some bare spots. The rough also had good coverage with a few bare spots here and there. Most of the rough was about two inches deep, but then farther off line are really deep grasses where you’ll be lucky to find your ball. These provide a nice aesthetic. The bunkers I was in were a little inconsistent, but decent/good overall. The black tee boxes had nearly immaculate grass, but several of them seemed to have channels underneath the surface that sometimes made finding a flat spot difficult, so I knocked my rating down a point for that.
This was my first time here and I absolutely loved the the course. Talk about pure golf! The modest little pro shop/snack bar shows that golf is the main emphasis here. Great practice facilities with a really good chipping/sand area, a big putting green and a nice all grass range. The views are phenomenal and the course feels like it sprawls over a lot of land and includes lots of great elevation changes. I’d estimate it immediately ranks among the top 15-20% of my favorite courses I’ve ever played.
I posted 50 photos to a Flickr photo album that can be viewed by copying and pasting this URL: https://goo.gl/mh4kro
Reviewed by: sixpez, Irvine
What a great time yesterday at Rancho San Marcos with the GK Review Gurus. We had 8 players and it was a wonderful afternoon for golf. Thanks Johnny for setting up these killer deals and to the course for having us out.
As others have already noted, the course is in very good overall condition. I purposely avoided playing here (or even driving past it) over the past several years. This is one of my favorite Central Coast courses and it hurt me to know how much it struggled during the drought. The only other time I played it, the course was spectacular. I was eager to go out there and play again hearing it was now green again, but I still had reservations.
Well, the conditions exceeded my expectations and it made me happy to see the course looking great and playing well. Tee boxes were nice, though the whites had some unlevel spots. The fairways were fantastic, providing plenty of roll-out but still offering a nice pad of turf to hit from. The only fairway I noticed still had some major issues was the 15th down toward the green, but otherwise I was very impressed with the fairways. The rough was cut tight and easy to play from. However, I wouldn’t mind them letting it grow a little bit to keep balls from rolling into hazards, bunkers and the super thick rough around the edges of most holes. I was only in two bunkers and I’d say they were both good, but not great. As GDR23 mentioned, the greens were the highlight. The small punches they didn’t affect putts at all. The surfaces were very receptive, smooth and rolling at medium speeds.
Worth the wait for a return visit. I was reminded why I fell in love with the course before and I hope they are able to continue making strides, especially once we start getting less rainfall again. Now is a great time to get out there and rediscover RSM or experience it for the first time!