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Rams Hills Golf Club | Borrego Springs, California | 13th hole / 455 yards / Par-4 | ARCHITECT: Tom Fazio

 

 

Rams Hill Golf Club is actually a twofold story. Opened originally as a 27-hole layout designed by Ted Robinson, Sr., the facility went through a complete makeover — a true resurrection that just reopened just a few years ago — with acclaimed architect Tom Fazio transforming the course into a stunning 18-hole layout. Located in the desert community of Borrego Springs — situated adjacent to the Anza Borrego State Park — California’s largest — Rams Hill provides a golf oasis of tremendous stature.

The most compelling features of Rams Hill is it complete blending into the desert landscape. There are homes on the property but they are isolated — occupying only a tiny fraction of the off-course views when playing the course.

Fazio has always excelled in creating a visual dynamic but the majesty of Rams Hill comes from being its connection to the native landscape — the course stands with — not apart — from it.

 

Rams Hill Golf Club 13 looking West

Rams Hills Golf Club – #13 looking West

The 13th is one of a number of top tier holes at Rams Hill. What separates the 13th? The two preceding holes — #11 and #12 — provide clear birdie opportunities. The 13th begins a trio of long par-4 holes — forcing the golfer to really step up one’s game in order to maintain earlier momentum.

The tee shot is where matters begin. The hole slides uphill but not in an abrupt manner. When you stand on the tee you see two large fairway bunkers rigorously guarding the inside corner of this dog-leg right hole. Staying away from those bunkers is imperative and Fazio does provide ample open area to the left of them.

However, the more daring tee shot that can either run by or fly the fairway bunkers will receive a huge dividend in being left with a far shorter approach to the green. 

The putting surface sits above the fairway and the approach distance needs to be carefully calculated — 1-2 additional clubs is the norm — sometimes even more if faced with a headwind. The green is strongly defended by a solitary bunker cutting into the middle portion of the target. It pays to avoid the bunker but going long provides no free pass because of the vexing contours the green provides.

Successfully playing the 13th requires a marrying of both sufficient distance,  proper positioning and ever present awareness to the conditions encountered. Walking off the green with a par can set the needed momentum for the round as two strong yet equally different par-4 holes follow. At the 13th — you don’t receive anything — you must earn it– the mark of a great golf hole.

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