In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at some of the best golf courses in Thousand Oaks, California.
This captivating city is nestled in the Conejo Valley of Southern California. The city is separated from the vast Pacific Ocean by the Santa Monica Mountains and Point Mugu State Park.
From downtown Los Angeles, it is less than an hour’s drive, depending upon the traffic of course! You can be in places like Glendale and Pasadena in forty-five minutes.
With the Santa Monica Mountains so close, it won’t surprise you that Thousand Oaks is renowned for its lush parks and stunning hiking trails. The city is literally surrounded by pristine natural beauty.
And if you’re looking to play golf when visiting Thousand Oaks, here is a list of some of the best courses on offer, both public and private.
The best public golf courses in Thousand Oaks
|1||Rustic Canyon Golf Course|
|2||Moorpark Country Club|
|3||Los Robles Greens|
|4||Tierra Rejada Golf Club|
|5||Sterling Hills Golf Club|
|6||Westlake Golf Club|
|7||Camarillo Springs Golf Course|
|Value for money||Los Robles Greens|
|Groups||Los Robles Greens|
|Clubhouse||Sterling Hills Golf Club|
|Views||Tierra Rejada Golf Club|
1. Rustic Canyon Golf Course
We kick off this list of the best public golf courses in Thousand Oaks, with a phenomenal layout located up in Moorpark. From downtown Thousand Oaks, it’s just a twenty minute drive to climb out to Rustic Canyon Golf Course.
This special course was designed by the highly regarded and much sought after architect, Gil Hanse. Hanse’s reputation has grown exponentially in the golfing world, with many high profile projects bearing his name.
These projects include renovations like at Pinehurst N#4, Baltrusol, Fishers Island, Winged Foot, Aronimink, Los Angeles Country Club, The Olympic Club…the list goes on.
They also include new builds, with prominent courses including the Streamsong Black Course, Boston Golf Club, Ohoopee Match Club and many more both at home and abroad.
Hanse has a knack for being able to work seamlessly with the natural terrain, in building courses which seem to complement rather than force themselves into the landscape.
Here at Rustic Canyon, this approach to golf design is perfectly epitomized. So much so, during the build there were no drawings or blueprints. Instead, Hanse was on site constantly to ensure the greens and fairways were sculpted out of the land to create this natural feel.
Ever since opening in 2002, Rustic Canyon has remained one of, if not the best public golf course in Thousand Oaks. It was even ranked as the best public golf course in the Greater Los Angeles area.
This is a strategic course which rewards good positions off the tee. Fairways are generally wide and forgiving. But finding the right spot to approach the large expansive greens is critical.
Sandy canyons and waves upon waves of wispy grass line fairways. As do cactus, brome and sagebrush. This really is a special place and deserving of the top spot on this list.
2. Moorpark Country Club
Another golf course located up in Moorpark, and just a mile or so away from Rustic Canyon, is Moorpark Country Club. This area north of Thousand Oaks is blessed with quality golf.
Moorpark Country Club is a 27-hole golf facility. The three nines are the Canyon Crest Course, Creekside and Ridgeline and all were designed by the hugely talented Peter Jacobsen.
Each of the three nines presents a challenge and this is certainly no golf course for a sub-par golfer. You’ll hear time and time again that this is mountain golf at its best. Not just from a playability perspective but also the fact you are far from anywhere. There is a real feeling of isolation.
It doesn’t really matter which nine you play, all three are immensely fun, exciting and challenging.
Jacobsen has done a fantastic job ensuring the landscape comes into play at the opportune moments. Or integrating strategically placed bunkers, water hazards (of which there are few) and run-offs.
Year after year, Moorpark Country Club gets recognised as one of the best public golf courses in the state. So no wonder it is up there as one of the best in this region.
Post round, make sure you spend some time in Champions Bar, which has some great views and serves good food.
3. Los Robles Greens
Alongside Westlake Golf Course and the private North Ranch Golf Club, Los Robles Greens is as close to central Thousand Oaks as you can get.
The club occupies a stunning tract of land in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Naturally, there is plenty of movement in the land which makes for some interesting course features and gorgeous views.
The layout was designed by William F.Bell, opening for play back in the mid-sixties.
It’s not the longest with from the back tees the course measuring 6,300 yards. But this is another strategic layout where positioning is critical to scoring well.
Aside from the constant movement in the terrain, most of the fairways are flanked by towering oaks and other elegant trees. There are doglegs, narrow approach zones and occasional water hazards.
Where Los Robles Greens really does stand out from the crowd is the focus on conditioning. Regardless of the time of year, you’ll inevitably find well manicured greens and well-trimmed fairways.
4. Tierra Rejada Golf Club
There are golf courses with views. And then there are golf courses like Tierra Rejada Golf Club with panoramas.
On the road heading out of Thousand Oaks up towards Moorpark, you’ll find Tierra Rejada just off the freeway in a desolate location. There are no houses or industrial buildings to contend with. This is pure unadulterated golf and rugged nature.
The course was designed by the hugely respected Bob Cupp, who literally carved the routing into the foothills in eastern Ventura County.
From the back tees, it is as challenging as it will get. Over 7,000 yards aiming for narrow snaking fairways, often with scrub and vegetation to carry.
Naturally there is ample movement in the land. And although there aren’t a litany of bunkers, they’re used sparsely but strategically.
There are four sets of tees but with enough distance between them to really minimize the challenge on offer.
Regardless of how you play, you can’t help but be impressed with the views. Likewise, the clubhouse, called The Ranch Restaurant and Bar is a great place to chill out and enjoy a cold one.
5. Sterling Hills Golf Club
Out of Thousand Oaks towards Camarillo, is the fantastic Sterling Hills Golf Club.
Granted, this is out of Thousand Oaks and closer to Oxnard. But it is still only a twenty-five minute drive from downtown. So easily accessible.
This fun championship course opened in 1999, and was designed by Damian Pascuzzo and the late Robert Muir Graves. The two architects worked busily together for over a decade, with Sterling Hills one of Graves’ last projects before his passing in 2003.
And when it comes to creating fun, exciting routings, they’ve achieved that successfully at Sterling Hills.
These are the fertile fields stretching out of Ventura County up into the surrounding hills. It’s certainly easy on the eye and you’ll occasionally enjoy some pristine views.
Playing here is fun but tricky, although this is mitigated by having multiple sets of tees. There is the occasional dogleg and plenty of water.
Generous fairways are a welcome relief although despite that, it is still easy to lose your ball. This is no doubt due to the ever-present contouring and natural movement in the land. If you get an unlucky bounce, your ball could be careering off into the scrub.
6. Westlake Golf Course
Ok, let’s get it out of the way right from the off. This is not a championship course. Quite the opposite. It is a very short course, just 5,005 yards from the back tees and a par 67.
But what it lacks in length, it makes up for in playability. But don’t expect to come here and post a low-score. It is certainly no ‘walk in the park’.
On occasion there are some really tight fairways. You won’t lose your ball if you spread it. But you’ll no doubt have trees blocking your route back to the fairway or green.
Likewise, you’ll encounter a good handful of water hazards. Whilst the greens can be really fast and tricky.
And this public golf course in Thousand Oaks has designer pedigree. It was the work of Ted Robinson Sr., who took charge of the project in 1967.
Easy to walk, playable, quick to get round and a great central location. It ticks many boxes.
7. Camarillo Springs Golf Course
Rounding things off for our best golf courses near Thousand Oaks, is Camarillo Springs Golf Course.
Located up in the Conejo Mountains, the course is conveniently located on the road between Thousand Oaks and Camarillo.
Coincidently, this is another Ted Robinson Sr. design, one which he completed in 1970.
Tucked away in the foothills of the surrounding mountain range, there are some mighty impressive views. At times you’d be forgiven for being intimidated by the imposing peaks.
In many ways, Camarillo Springs is similar to some of the other courses on this list. Mountain course, with plenty of elevation changes and strategic play required.
But where it differs is the amount of water. There is a stretch of six holes where not losing a ball in the wet stuff would be considered success.
Affordable rates and a course to come and play when you’re looking to get back into the swing of things.
What is the best public golf course in Thousand Oaks, California?
The best public golf course in Thousand Oaks, is the superb Rustic Canyon Golf Course. Having opened in 2002, it was designed by the world-famous architect Gil Hanse. It is regularly ranked as not just one of the best public courses in the city, but in the whole of California.