River Ridge Golf Club: Vineyard Course (Oxnard, CA on 11/23/15)

Our third So Cal round was at River Ridge’s Vineyard course. Because of the short days this time of year, the location of the facility was important so that we could still finish our afternoon round elsewhere. There are 36 holes at River Ridge and we just took the earliest time either course offered so that we could be on our way. The other course is named Victoria Lakes and I’ve never played that one. From what I’ve gathered the consensus is that Victoria Lakes is the better course, but you might want to get the opinion of someone who has played both if you are looking to golf here!

River Ridge is located on the Santa Clara River only a couple of miles from the Pacific Ocean. It’s in a scenic spot and if you asked me the one positive thing that stood out to me about the course, I’d respond by saying that I loved the views from a couple holes on the Vineyard’s front nine. I could see the ocean, mountains, and outline of the coast from a few spots early on in the round! Make sure you take all that in because the 6th hole starts the trek inland and the back nine plays through some homes.

On the flip side, if you ask me the one negative thing that stood out about the Vineyard course I’d say that it was the course’s layout. The thing that came to my mind after finishing up is that the routing features a hodgepodge of holes. The first few holes are my favorites as they make their way out to a ridgeline with all the nice views! These holes almost have a linksy feel to them. Then the course starts to get a little strange. The next group of holes are ones that felt like they could be found anywhere in the Central Valley and weren’t anything special. The final six holes play through some homes and have plenty of water in play. These holes had a Palm Springs feel to me. As a whole, I thought the design was disjointed! I posted a condensed version of this review on a golf site that I’m a member at and found out that the course has been tinkered with over time. Apparently, holes 3 through 6 were new additions which seems to have weakened the design in the eyes of some. That’s not to say that there weren’t a couple memorable holes though. The 5th, a risk reward par 5 on the ridgeline was my favorite hole on the front nine while the 18th, a par 3 with an island green, was my favorite on the back nine.

We played the blue tees (72.6/129/6730) and the main challenge was navigating the large, sloping greens. I don’t think I had a straight putt all day and struggled to lag my putts close! We also had to deal with uneven lies, a few deeper than average bunkers, and a couple blind shots. The fairways are wide and there is plenty of rough on each side so you can find a wayward tee shot. If you hit it far enough offline you can even find an adjacent hole’s wide fairway! Typically I’m good for a banana ball or two during my rounds and I wasn’t worried on my drives. Another thing that allows for the easier ratings is that there are five par 5’s. Three of them are reachable so make sure to take advantage of the par 5’s here! There is a nice mix of yardages besides the par 3’s so there is a good chance that you will use a bunch of different clubs on the approaches. I always enjoy that!

The conditions on the Vineyard course were average, except for the greens which were great! The fairways and tees were cut short, but they had a mix of different grasses. There were quite a few brown areas throughout the course that were affected by the drought. These areas weren’t in play, but they just didn’t look very pretty. Me noticing that might have something to do with living in an area where there is plenty of greenery! The greens were quick and rolled well even though a few were being vented by the maintenance crew in front of us as we played. I’ve never golfed the day that type of maintenance was being done and it was distracting. They used the small tines so it didn’t affect the rolls at all, just odd that management wouldn’t block some tee times for the process.

I didn’t have River Ridge pegged as a destination course, and it’s not. But, that’s OK because it was convenient which was the most important thing to us. We paid $51 to ride on a Monday morning which isn’t even that great of a deal considering that Rustic Canyon would have been $58 to ride. Thankfully the wind died down and it was a great morning weather-wise! We played in about 4 hours which is longer than I like so early on a weekday morning, but we made it to our afternoon course right on time. My final verdict is that you can do better than River Ridge, but I’m probably not telling you anything that you couldn’t gather by spending a short time online. If you are a course nut like me and pressed for time, there are 36 holes here which is nice!

#1: (554 yard par 5):

1-1

#2 (393 yard par 4):

2-1 2-2

#3 (170 yard par 3):

3-1 3-2

#4 (377 yard par 4):

4-1 4-2

#5 (502 yard par 5):

5-1 5-2

#6 (310 yard par 4):

6-1

#7 (186 yard par 3):

7-1 7-2

#8 (454 yard par 4):

8-1

#9 (187 yard par 3):

9-1 9-2

#10 (465 yard par 4):

10-1

#11 (489 yard par 5):

11-1

#12 (182 yard par 3):

12-1

#13 (513 yard par 5):

13-1

13-2

#14 (444 yard par 4):

14-1

#15 (538 yard par 5):

15-1 15-2

#16 (383 yard par 4):

16-1

#17 (392 yard par 4):

17-1

#18 (191 yard par 3):

18-1 18-2

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