Lost Canyons Golf Club presents a pair of beautiful, exacting tests where smart play can pay off.
By Eli Miller
There is perhaps no better combination of calm and chaos at a Southern California golf facility than Simi Valley’s Lost Canyons Golf Club.
As one of the only 36-hole daily-fee venues in the Los Angeles area, Lost Canyons distinguishes itself with two challenging 18-hole layouts co-designed by Fred Couples and Pete Dye, who is widely regarded as one of the most decorated and demanding golf course architects ever. It’s set amidst the statuesque Santa Susana Mountains and part of an amazingly tranquil environment that’s shielded from freeways and the denser metropolitan area.
A relaxed aura permeates throughout the facility, which includes a full-turf practice range, spacious pro shop and cozy dining space in the Oak Tree Room. And while the two layouts present certain challenges in the form of intimidating tee shots, plentiful bunkering and quick, wavy greens, that aura remains once on the course to help players stay calm and composed for an entire round.
Last month, I teed it up with a few friends on the Sky Course from the 6,740-yard gold markers. Although I was quickly reminded I am indeed not one of the most skilled golfers out there, I thoroughly enjoyed the ambiance and found myself thirsting for a return trip — provided I keep my game warm during the winter months and employ a smarter strategy on the course.
Early on, the 545-yard, par-5 fourth hole presents an interesting test. Initial challenge off the tee includes a large oak tree guarding the left side of the fairway and a deep bunker on the right. Then, the fairway doglegs sharply to the right around a large hill, making the last 150 yards of the hole invisible off the tee. Like other par 5s on Sky — especially Nos. 12 and 14 — hitting driver isn’t mandatory since reaching the green in two shots is a pipe dream for most. Take a fairway wood or hybrid and keep the ball in play. Otherwise, you’re making yourself more vulnerable with unnecessary risk.
SHORT HOLES, BIG GREENS
The Sky Course at Lost Canyons boasts a stellar collection of par-3 tests, each of which is framed by majestic mountain views. And while three of the four short holes play close to 200 yards from the gold tees, their expansive, undulating green complexes present more demand. A tee shot to the center of the putting surface is still the prudent play, but since the pins are usually set on green edges, a two-putt is not a sure thing.
The 17th hole, my choice for most scenic on the course, presents a birdie chance if the flag is set in front of the segmented green — it’s listed at 160 yards on the scorecard but plays about 130 yards when the pin is short. If the pin is set on the precarious perch at the far-back-left corner of the green, good luck.
SOAK IN THE SCENERY
The intricate, bumpy faces on the Santa Susana Mountains and the flowing grasses covering them are truly sights to behold. Don’t just admire them for their beauty — putts break away from the mountains, so when you’re reading the greens, be sure to factor them in when determining your line.
To make a tee time at Lost Canyons Golf Club, call (805) 522-4653 or visit lostcanyons.com and facebook.com/lostcanyons.