Los Robles Greens GC, Thousand Oaks. Bob Baldock (1964) with renovation by Fry/Straka (2016).
The 6,300 yard number on the scorecard belies the difficulty of this course, which gives credence to the name Thousand Oaks. This course is not long, but it does not tolerate wayward golf balls.
And yet it used to be even narrower and had more trees!
From what I’ve read, Fry/Straka didn’t change the routing but widened fairways and removed some turf in the rough, converting it to native area to help drought sustainability. They also modernized the bunkering and removed some water features. So, yes, it’s still a short course and a little tree-choked in spots, but there’s quite a bit of fun here with just a few clunkers mixed in.
The Fun: The 12th is an uphill par 5 that can be reached in two if you get aggressive with your drive and are willing to challenge a huge oak with your second shot.
Clunkers: The sixth and 16th are par 3s that, due to the severity of the downhill grade plus a couple strangely placed oaks, are virtually blind from large portions of the tee box.
Fun: The 13th is a par 4 that looks short on the card but plays straight uphill. An oak tree in the middle of the fairway dominates your view off the tee but your drive needs to stay well left of it. The second shot is uphill to a dramatically sloped green. If you end up above the hole, well, you won’t be for long.
Bit of both: The fifth tee sits next to a screen that is meant to protect homes down the left side, but the screen is so tight to the tee box that it makes it difficult to even aim at or hit the left side of the fairway without playing a draw. This is especially unfortunate given that the slope of the fairway is dramatically left to right. On the other hand if you do find the fairway, the second shot is an attractive one over an oak tree down in a valley to an elevated green framed by some beautiful bunkers. Unfortunately, I suspect many players are playing from the trees on the right, or even from the fourth fairway.
More Good: The ninth is a good renovation. A short par 4 with plenty of options, the hole is only 290 even from the back tees and just slightly uphill so a good drive can make the hole reachable, or you can lay up to the yardage of your choice and take your chances with a wedge. The hole previously had a pond to the front left of the green but the renovation replaced this with a sandy waste area and a series of bunkers. It’s a nice hole, the downside is simply that it borders the 101 to the left and is framed by a huge driving range net behind.
The biggest downside is that while the renovation spruced the place up a lot, the course frankly looks a lot better than it plays. You have some flashy bunkers and cool trees but many of the holes are too narrow or too canted along a hill, or both to really make this a good golf course. It’s not the worst option for a place to sneak out after work if you’re looking for a game in that area … but on the other hand if you’re in the area, you’re probably close enough to get to Rustic Canyon instead …
California 5th Quintile