Rancho San Marcos Golf Course

3.8091058824 3.8 stars from 5 (112)
  • Holes: 18
  • Par: 71
  • Length: 6939 yards
  • Slope: 137
  • Rating: 73.9
  • Layout

  • 4600 Hwy 154, Santa Barbara, California 93105, Santa Barbara County
  • (877) 776-1804, (805) 683-6334
  • (805) 692-8805
  • www.rsm1804.com
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Year built: 1998
Type: Public
Golf Season: Year round

Rentals/Services

Carts: Yes
Clubs: Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving range: Yes
Pitching/chipping area: Yes
Putting green: Yes
Teaching pro: Yes
Golf school / academy: Yes

Policies

Walking allowed: Yes
Metal spikes allowed: No
Dress code: Proper golf attire required.
Credit cards accepted: VISA, MasterCard, Amex Welcomed

Tees | Layout | Full Scorecard

Tee Par Length Rating Slope
Black 71 6939 yards 73.9 137
White 71 6278 yards 70.8 131
Red (W) 71 5386 yards 71.3 129

Rating Snapshot

GA Rating Index 3.8 stars from 5
Off-Course Amenities: 3.5 stars from 5
Value: 4.1 stars from 5
Pace of Play: 4.0 stars from 5
Staff Friendliness: 4.8 stars from 5
Course Layout: 4.1 stars from 5
Course Conditions: 3.6 stars from 5
Rating Breakdown 112 Reviews
5 stars:
23
4 stars:
45
3 stars:
16
2 stars:
10
1 stars:
18

recommend this course

76 out of 109 reviews


What Golfers Are Saying

Location is worth the drive   Great for wildlife/ scenic views locals   Challenges include bunkers undulating greens water hazards  

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Reviewer Photos

Reviews


Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender

"Fun in the canyon"


JasonDeeganGA's avatar
Golf Advisor
Age:  45-54
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  10-14

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 10/14/2017
First time playing Used cart Perfect weather

Reviewed on

I'll forever be an advocate for non-traditional routings with more par 3s or par 5s and fewer long and painful par 4s, the bane of hackers and the cause of slow play. Rancho San Marcos delivers the fun big-time with six par 3s and five par 5s.

I'm also a big proponent of 'tee it forward', so those reviewers complaining about wanting a longer set of tees than the whites (6,278 yards) need to get a grip on reality. Unless you're a five handicap or lower, you shouldn't be playing tees any longer than that anyway.

The front nine wanders along the flat lands of the Santa Ynez River Valley before the back nine climbs into the surrounding hills for more scenic and interesting holes. With no civilization in sight, it's a rare treat for such a round in solitude.

I played with two locals who thought the greens were slower than normal, but they putted just fine in my book. The fairways were brown, firm and fast, typical of inland courses recovering from the heat of the summer. Only one fairway (the first) was noticeably bare.

A frost delay tested the patience of the staff, but they handled the stress of a few disgruntled golfers admirably. All in all, a really cool place.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Average

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"Great staff, solid track, so-so conditions"


solowgolfer's avatar
Age:  45-54
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  10-14

3 3.0 stars from 5 Played on 08/05/2017
First time playing Used cart Perfect weather

Reviewed on

Played this course last Saturday as part of an Underpar voucher purchase. The course is out in the middle of nowhere, which I actually like. There is not a house on the course, or even in sight. Nature is all around you (lots of wild turkeys, geese and buzzards). The clubhouse is simple and basic. What you need, but not somewhere you really want to hang out after a round. The staff was great. Started with setting the tee time over the phone. I initially scheduled a tee time, which I later cancelled due to an injury and the staff was extremely helpful in getting me re-scheduled. They were also super friendly and helpful when I arrived. The range is a range, nothing special, but meets the need. The course track is interesting, fun and challenging. The condition of the tee boxes and fairways is not great. Lots of bare areas and brown areas due to years of drought. Also heard they recently were near a big fire that knocked out their electrical which shut down their irrigation/sprinkler systems. The greens were in good condition and definitely the best part of the course. That being said, the rest of the course wasn't so bad, that it was a turn off. In fact I played 27 holes and would go back and play again if the situation was right. All in all, it was a good day on a solid, challenging course that has suffered the fury of Mother Nature.


Pace of Play: Average

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Fair

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Average

Off-Course Amenities: Fair

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course



"Rancho San Marcos"


nickesquire's avatar
Top 1 Contributor
California Advisor
Age:  55-64
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 06/25/2017
Previously played Used cart Perfect weather

Reviewed on

Played the Whites (6278/70.8/131) with Pat, Mike & Mark in breezy, mid 70's and sunny weather conditions. The POP was around 4 1/2 hours.

As was noted by a previous reviewer, this course sorely needs a tee alternative between the Whites (6278) and the Blacks (6939). The par 4's in particular are beasts from the Blacks and fairly tame from the Whites. 2-3 club average difference on the par 3's between the two tee boxes. Black par 5's almost 50 yards on average longer than the Whites. The Whites were definitely the more manageable of the two tee boxes for me.

The tees had good coverage, some were even lush. However, way too many tees here are unlevel for me to consider them good overall.

The fairways were generally good to play from. Mostly lush with patches of hardpan in every fairway right beside the lush areas.

The rough was also decent but more hit & miss than the fairways. You need to at least find the primary rough, because the native rough is lost ball central.

The sand traps are abundant on this layout. They had decent sand but the depths were inconsistent.

The greens had an abundance of pitch and ball marks. However, once you repaired the ones in your line, they putted well, medium fast & very firm. They were really challenging to chip on because of their firmness. You needed to be able to spin the ball to chip effectively on these greens.

The customer service was excellent in the pro shop and with the cart attendant out front. No drink cart or Marshall, but there were plenty of water stations on the course. I really liked the layout, ZERO houses nearby, just surrounded by mountains and open space. Well worth the drive. Recommended if you get a deal.


Pace of Play: Average

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"Rancho San Marcos"


nickesquire's avatar
Top 1 Contributor
California Advisor
Age:  55-64
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 06/24/2017
Previously played Used cart Windy weather

Reviewed on

Played the Whites (6278/70.8/131) with Pat, Mike & Mark in breezy, mid 70's and sunny weather conditions. The POP was around 4 1/2 hours. As was noted by a previous reviewer, this course sorely needs a tee alternative between the Whites (6278) and the Blacks (6939). The par 4's in particular are beasts from the Blacks and fairly tame from the Whites. 2-3 club average difference on the par 3's between the two tee boxes. Black par 5's almost 50 yards on average longer than the Whites. The Whites were definitely the more manageable of the two tee boxes for me. The tees had good coverage, some were even lush. However, way too many tees here are unlevel for me to consider them good overall. The fairways were generally good to play from. Mostly lush with patches of hardpan in every fairway right beside the lush areas. The rough was also decent but more hit & miss than the fairways. You need to at least find the primary rough, because the native rough is lost ball central. The sand traps are abundant on this layout. They had decent sand but the depths were inconsistent. The greens had an abundance of pitch and ball marks. However, once you repaired the ones in your line, they putted well, medium fast & very firm. They were really challenging to chip on because of their firmness. You needed to be able to spin the ball to chip effectively on these greens. The customer service was excellent in the pro shop and with the cart attendant out front. No drink cart or Marshall, but there were plenty of water stations on the course. I really liked the layout, ZERO houses nearby, just surrounded by mountains and open space. Well worth the drive. Recommended if you get a deal.


Pace of Play: Average

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Average

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Extremely Challenging


I recommend this course


"Enjoyed the Course"


FlyingChief's avatar
Top 500 Contributor
Age:  55-64
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 06/22/2017
First time playing Used cart Hot weather

Reviewed on

Played here on a weekday at about noon. It was warm and breezy....not many folks on the course. We flew through our round as a twosome - less than three hours. Greens were in excellent condition. Tees and fairways are still suffering from the effects of the drought. Lots of bare spots and iffy lies....even in the middle of the fairway. Having said that, we really enjoyed the layout. It was challenging, but not penal. Beautiful views. Prices reasonable. Staff friendly and helpful. Definitely rcommend.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Average

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"It's back"


Pooshdaddy's avatar
Age:  35-44
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/14/2017
Previously played

Reviewed on

Course has been dead/dormant for years because of the drought. Thanks to the early rains this year they've been able to overseed and water tees and fairways. The greens are always some of the best in the county. It's a fun layout with some wonky holes but otherwise a good test of golf and a surprisingly easy walk. Go check it!


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Good


I recommend this course


"Drought!"


u000004144952's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week

2 2.0 stars from 5 Played on 05/28/2016
First time playing Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

Unfortunately the California drought has taken a toll to this course. The fairways were for the most part dead and the greens were like concrete. I realize the course has to make money, but it was not worth $85!


Pace of Play: Good

Course Layout: Average

Course Conditions: Poor

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Poor

Off-Course Amenities: Good


I don't recommend this course


"j.Waters"


everly's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  20-24

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 05/11/2016
Previously played Used cart Played 18 holes Excellent weather Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

Course still in good shape but will brown out soon.

Keep the ball in the fairway as the tall brown grass hides the buzz-tail snakes.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Great course but no marshal = slow pace"


jeanmeynet's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  15-19

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 05/10/2016
Previously played Used cart Played 18 holes Excellent weather Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

90% great golf experience other than a 5 group of lady walkers destroying pace/rhythm of play. Why was this allowed and if not, why no marshaling? Course was not too busy, otherwise I would understand slow play.


Pace of Play: Fair

Course Layout: Excellent

Course Conditions: Excellent

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Very cool scenery"


WIlliam1434294's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 05/10/2016
First time playing Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

Course has a cool layout. Greens are quick. Also a lot of blind shots


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Layout: Good

Course Conditions: Average

Staff Friendliness: Average

Value for the Money: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Average


I recommend this course


"You are going to love this course!"


Tom6522810's avatar
Age:  55-64
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  10-14

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 05/22/2015
Previously played Played with a group Used cart Played 18 holes Excellent weather

Reviewed on

If you are in town you must go play this course. Beauty and wildlife abound as you are surrounded by national forest land. The course is a great track, plenty challenging for the advanced player. The greens are always in great shape and fast. The southern California drought has taken its toll on the fairways so call ahead to ask about condition. It the fairway grass is dead then you might want to pass it up. I've played it several times without green fairway grass and it's still lots of fun, especially the drives that roll out over 300 yards. That's how much I love this course. Pray for rain in So Cal!


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Quality of food & beverage: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course



"One of the best golf experiences around"


SantaBarbaraBirdies's avatar
Age:  45-54
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  5-9

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 05/10/2015
Previously played Played with a group Used cart Played 18 holes Good weather

Reviewed on

We're in a severe drought and RSM gets hit the hardest as they pull their water from wells which are pretty much dry.... So until the rains return the course is at the mercy of the weather. They do keep the greens in perfect condition though and with little play, you probably wont find better greens anywhere.

Upside: Its gorgeous. One of the prettiest courses in the state. There are NO HOUSES. Just views for miles and miles and lots of oak trees and wildlife.

The layout is pretty good except for the finish. There are three par 3's in three holes here for some unknown or stupid reason. Back to back ones and then another one just a hole later - what the heck were they thinking on that? There is plenty of room but for some reason they made it a par 71 with 3 par 3's in 3 holes...

Play it if you can but if you're playing past now (may) you will have brown fairways until the rains return. The good side is that its like your own private course, the bad side is you're going to have hard pan lies.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Good

Quality of food & beverage: Average

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Rancho San Marcos"


nickesquire's avatar
Top 1 Contributor
California Advisor
Age:  55-64
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Advanced
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

3 3.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/27/2015
Previously played Played with a group Walked Played 18 holes Good weather

Reviewed on

Played the blacks (6939/73.9/137) with RGM2525 in beautiful, breezy, mid 70's conditions. POP was excellent, slightly under 4 hours.

Normally, I do not care for par 71 courses. This Robert Trent Jones, Jr. designed layout is really unique in many ways. Five par 5's, six par 3's and only seven par 4's. There are three par 3's in a four hole stretch on the back. Any of the above I would normally view as a negative, but it flows and works well here. There were a couple of holes I thought were tricked up or mediocre, but this course overall is nice hole after nice hole from a design standpoint.

The greens were definitely the best part of the course, very firm and medium fast. They putted well but were challenging to chip on in the wind unless you could put some spin on the ball because of their firmness.

The condition of the rest of the course does not match the layout & greens however.

The fairways were thin, much of the coverage was more weeds than turf. I had many tight lies, which was fine for full iron shots, much less desirable for the many 50-100 yard wedge shots that I had today.

The rough was mostly weeds. Primary cut around the fairways was hit & miss, could range from hardpan to not too penal to having to step on your ball to find it within a few feet. Miss the primary cut and it's likely lost ballville, they do not maintain the native rough here.

The large beautiful traps looked much better than they played. Most had a decent amount of sand, but the outer edges were crusty. Only the inner parts of the traps had been maintained recently.

The tees were about as long as the maintained rough, some kind of rye or poa annua mixture. They were unlevel, had pot holes and were generally poor.

I personally though RSM from the blacks was more difficult than La Purisima from the blues, Ron disagrees. I loved the layout and can see why this was a $$$ course back when they actually had good grass on the fairways and tees. Challenging diverse, fun layout with plenty of elevation changes complete with great mountain and wildlife views. Windy, not overly crowded kinda out in the middle of nowhere 20 miles east of Santa Barbara, but well worth the drive.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Fair

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Average

Quality of food & beverage: Average

Off-Course Amenities: Average

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Santa Barbara Gem"


jlpepper22's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  15-19

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 12/08/2014
Previously played Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

Beautiful course, hardly a soul in sight. Like being on your own private golf course


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Average

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Moderate


I recommend this course


"The wild life"


u000001340691's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a month
Handicap:  10-14

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/24/2014
First time playing Played with a group Used cart Played 18 holes Good weather Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

The wild life was worth the price to play coarse, dear,turkey, turtles and they could all be seen from one of the many 500+ yard tees a great place to spend any day of the week. Thanks for a great experience my wife my self a good friend had a great afternoon.


Pace of Play: Average

Course Conditions: Average

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"No Grass...Over Priced"


smoitoza's avatar
Age:  25-34
Gender:  Male
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  20-24

1 1.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/22/2014
First time playing Played with a group Used cart Played 18 holes Excellent weather

Reviewed on

The title should say it all, there was no grass and the rates are way to high for playing in the dirt and rocks


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Poor

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Poor

Quality of food & beverage: Average

Off-Course Amenities: Average

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I don't recommend this course


"beautiful course"


john4par's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Once a week
Handicap:  10-14

5 5.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/21/2014
Previously played Played with a group Used cart Played 18 holes Excellent weather Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

Because of the DROUGHT in this area the fairways are very thin, but the greens are in excellent condition. This is one of the most beautiful courses I've ever played.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Fair

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Quality of food & beverage: Average

Off-Course Amenities: Excellent

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"I prefer to golf on green grass"


u988564988's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week

1 1.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/18/2014
First time playing Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

Calif. Has been in a drought but Dont they have sprinklers? And it still doesn't account for a six hour golf round. At the prices they charge-hire a Marshall.


Pace of Play: Poor

Course Conditions: Poor

Staff Friendliness: Good

Value for the Money: Poor

Quality of food & beverage: Good

Off-Course Amenities: Average


I don't recommend this course


"Great golf course!"


binhtran's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  10-14

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/14/2014
First time playing Paired up at course Used cart Played 18 holes Excellent weather Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

The layout is excellent! it is a bit challenging for first timers because the greens are fast and difficult to read. Luckly, I was paired up with local golfers. they gave me a lot of good instructions. Definitely will play this golf course again.


Pace of Play: Excellent

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Somewhat Challenging


I recommend this course


"Fun day at the golf course"


U000001928395's avatar
Skill:  Intermediate
Plays:  Few times a week
Handicap:  20-24

4 4.0 stars from 5 Played on 03/10/2014
First time playing Played with a group Used cart Played 18 holes Excellent weather Verified Purchaser

Reviewed on

Beautiful day, very good conditions, a great bargain through Golfnow, and I would recommend this cours to all golfers.


Pace of Play: Good

Course Conditions: Good

Staff Friendliness: Excellent

Value for the Money: Excellent

Quality of food & beverage: Average

Off-Course Amenities: Good

Course Difficulty:  Moderate


I recommend this course



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