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Play Away: So Cal, So Good

When Moorpark Country Club opened its first two nines at the end of 2002 in the coastal foothills of Ventura County, it marked the latest jewel in a rapidly expanding crown of quality public courses ringing the greater Los Angeles area. Routed through equestrian, citrus and avocado country, this Peter Jacobsen/Jim Hardy layout offered distant vistas of the Pacific Ocean—as well as enough elevation to deliver summer temperatures often twenty degrees cooler than the heat that bakes the neighboring Simi Valley.

With a third nine opened this summer, there's now more Moorpark to love. Each of the three routings—Ridgeline, Creekside and the new Canyon Crest—play to slightly more than 3,500 yards from the tips, mixing the sharp-edged cliffs and dogleg turns of a parkland course with the serpentine bends of links-style fairways. Like a cubist canvas, this disparate topography of intersecting angles and planes achieves a harmonious gestalt.

"We had to work the land by cutting holes into the sides of hills and so forth, but we've created three nines that express Jim Hardy's and my belief that a great golf course must have a variety of holes," Jacobsen told T+L GOLF.

The bent-grass greens are PGA Tour quality, but general manager Mike Nix also boasts of Moorpark's imminent status as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, citing the layout's three "game guzzlers"—actual watering holes for Moorpark's resident coyotes, bobcats and other wildlife, which venture from the hills at night for moonlit libations. Golfers might prefer their post-round drinks at Moorpark's stately 20,000-square-foot clubhouse.

Greens Fees: $75-$95. Tee Times: 805-532-2834 or visit moorparkcountryclub.com.

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