The Farms Golf Club (SCGA photo)
There is no shortage of quality golf in the Rancho
Santa Fe area. However, if you are looking for the
true test, The Farms Golf Club has to be at the top
of your list. This original Pete, Perry, and Alice Dye
track will challenge even the most skilled golfers.
The par 72 course stretches to 6,947 yards
from the tips, but length is not the main challenge.
The Farms is a true shot-makers golf course. Many
holes offer no bail-out and you simply must hit a
quality golf shot, or suffer the consequences.
The Farms eases you in on the fairly short par-
4 to start. Don’t get too comfortable though,
the test just started. After the par-3 second, you are
immediately faced with the number one handicapped
hole on the course -- A par-5 with trouble lurking the
entire way. If you're playing the tips, just getting to
the back tee box can be a bit daunting. As you walk
across the street to the tee -- you'll do this several
times at the Farms if you're playing all the way back
-- the fairway starts to look tighter. It's time to buck
up and hit a solid drive, avoiding the bunker on the
left and a heavily vegetated slope on the right.
This downhill par-5 gets exponentially harder
the closer you get to the hole. The presence of a
large pond on the right forces you to play left, but
missing left isn't very good either, since two difficult
bunkers and a steep hillside will leave you with a
terrifying shot back toward the same pond you were
trying to avoid.
The Farms continues to impress with its course
layout. Holes like the short par-4 sixth offer a
risk/reward opportunity, and the par-5 ninth is
reachable but requires two well struck shots. It's
the best chance for birdie on the front nine.
Schniederjans tees off at The Farms during the 2015
NCAA Southwest Regional
This course will not only test every club in your
bag, but your mental and short games as well.
The brilliance of The Farms lies in the variety of
challenges it presents. Deep bunkers surround every
green, undulation changes challenge club selections,
and fast greens complicate the process. The beauty
of The Farms is interrupted occasionally by a lack of
space. The course seems a bit cramped at times
and on holes 6 and 10 the upscale homes are bit too
close for my liking.
The back nine is truly spectacular, and is
highlighted by the postcard 16th. This par-3 can
range from 114 to 220 yards or more depending on
the tees you are playing and the hole location. You
are also required to navigate a large pond on the
left and a deep bunker on the right. Number 16 can
swing any bet in either direction.
The Farms Golf club also offers the possibility
of hobnobbing with some of golf’s major
icons. The membership includes Phil Mickelson, Tom
Lehman, Annika Sorenstam, and Liselotte
Neumann. So, if you are in Rancho Santa Fe, and are
truly looking to test your game, I cannot think of a
better place. If you are fortunate enough to have a
friend invite you to The Farms you should definitely
take he or she up on it. You'll find a top drawer
practice area, perfect greens, immaculate playing
conditions, friendly staff, excellent service, and a
really tough golf course.