Lost Canyons Golf Club in Simi Valley: A brand new golfing utopia
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. -- Sliced into the rolling Santa Susana Mountain Range, Lost Canyons Golf Club provides southern California golfers with a unique escape from the hustle and bustle of life in Los Angeles.
"You feel like you could be in Montana, Wyoming or Oregon," said Lost Canyons Head Professional John McCook.
After driving through the pristine hills of Northern Simi Valley, located 40 miles Northwest of Los Angeles, a huge log cabin-like clubhouse stands tall and proud overlooking the brand new course.
Capped with a rustic feel and a gorgeous view off the balcony, the clubhouse sets the mood of the course. The pro shop opens up to the spacious lounge where visitors can enjoy a drink at the bar or lunch at the restaurant which has reasonable prices. The restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch, but serves appetizers throughout the day.
Pete Dye designed the Sky Course at Lost Canyons Golf Club, which is 7,250 yards, with golf consultant Fred Couples.
Dye built the course right into the golden mountains without disturbing the natural undulation of the terrain. Each hole captivates a new feel, and delivers new challenges. Mountain folds reach toward the sparkling new course, rippling though the canyons. Elevated tees and greens provide diversity in the layout, keeping golfers on their toes. Dye designed the course with large, surging greens with breaks at every turn. The greens roll fast and take some time getting used to.
Each hole bares a different name, all symbolizing the outdoor characteristics of the land and capturing the heritage of the area originally inhabited by the Chumash Indians.
Pot bunkers lurk throughout the course but water only comes into play on one hole, number nine. Hole nine wraps players back towards the clubhouse overlooking a mammoth lake that appears to be the heart of this new golf paradise.
Forecaddie at Lost Canyons Golf Club
Much like a lavish country club, Lost Canyons provides forecaddies for golfers. At the beginning of every round, the forecaddie for each group will greet guests and provide an explanation for having such an amenity. Lost Canyons really tries to give players that country club feel without having to pay the high membership prices. "We've really had a great response from players about the forecaddies," McCook said. "They really seem to like them."
A forecaddie at Lost Canyons, runs ahead of the group before tee off and will signal out-of-bounds shots. They will clean your clubs and ball at each hole, tend the pin, and give yardage from every shot.
Forecaddies come equipped with special binoculars that decipher the yardage from any distance on the course, using a magnetic strip on each flag. Their job is also to read greens, since so many sloping hills create difficult putts. This can be extremely helpful as the forecaddies become very familiar with the roll of the greens.
Forecaddies might intimidate beginning players who have never had the experience of playing with one, if they offer too much instruction. However, "Players can tell the forecaddies exactly how much or how little they want them to do," McCook said. "Whatever makes the person most comfortable."
Lost Canyons really favors regulars. On such a hilly course, golfers will often find themselves hitting blindly off the tee box. Forecaddies come with a yardage book which will instruct the player where to hit.
Rocky arroyos and whiskered hills surround the fairways and greens. To make par, a player must really be familiar with the layout and break of the greens. The Par 5s do not hand big hitters the birdie on a silver platter like some flat courses do. Accuracy and knowledge are a players biggest advantage.
While the course might be deep within the hills of Simi Valley, there are many restaurants nearby. Off Cochran Street, just West of Tapo Canyon, hungry golfers will find everything from Ken of Japan, to a delicious diner called Hudson's Grill, to Mavericks, serving barbecue, seafood and sandwiches, to Chili's Bar and Grill. Simi Valley has a population of over 100,000, including three golf courses, over 30 different parks, several movie theaters and a performing arts center. In January the average high temp is 63 degrees and in August 94 degrees. While the weather is very typical of southern California, higher up in the surrounding hills of Lost Canyons, the wind can pick up quite a bit.
The Santa Susana Mountains of Simi Valley are exactly what Lost Canyons offers, an escape into a tranquil golfing utopia.