It's a resort. So they wait on you. They give you rides, carry your bags, make sure you have range balls. After a while you begin to wonder if they've mistaken you for someone important.
The course was built in 1923, and the front nine is fairly wide-open, with the resort always in sight to remind you of where you are. They are kind enough to supply drinking water at every hole. Unfortunately, they have forgotten the restrooms.
The back nine is another world. Paradise would look like this. No buildings, no traffic, nothing. Everything is green and quiet and built around the natural surroundings of majestic oak trees and rolling hills. It's a challenge, so scoring well is a task. But it is also forgiving enough that golfers can attain their handicaps.
The course's beauty is maintained by an army of people wearing brown dickeys and carrying rakes. They're everywhere. After a while you begin to wonder if they are course hazards. If so, do you have to take a penalty stroke if you hit one?
This is the site of the GTE West Classic, a stop on the Senior PGA Tour, which was won this year by Chi Chi Rodriguez. The course also made a cameo appearance in the movie "The Two Jakes."
* Seabee Golf Club, \o7 U.S. Naval Construction Battalion Center, Port Hueneme 93041. The course is open to military personnel (active or retired), their dependents and guests. Green fees are $8 weekdays, $10 weekends for the military (but prices vary depending on rank) $11/$14 for non-military. (805) 982-2620.\f7
From 1957 until last April, the Seabees had only a nine-hole course. Now they have the complete set, a full-fledged 18-hole championship course. And while it may be the Seabees' job to build things, the course was built by a civilian group. Apparently the military forbids them to construct anything on the base unless there is a natural disaster.
The military spends billions of dollars on intricate high-tech machines. Too bad they can't shell out a few bucks for a better designed and maintained golf course.
The old nine is ragged and rough with numerous pointless sand bunkers. The new new nine may be in better shape--with the exception of a few holes where the waterlines were put in incorrectly--but it is barren and aesthetically unpleasing.
As an added military touch, the 574-yard par-five 12th hole makes you tee off over a barbed-wire fence that surrounds an old ammunitions bunker.
And if you don't like Sinead O'Connor's haircut, then you'd better stay away, because every guy on the course has the same stylist.
We ran into golfer Art Kroell of Camarillo, retired from the Air Force, and asked him what he thought of Sinead's hairstyle.
"I'm not sure who she is," he said. "I don't keep up with the young stuff anymore. I have a hard enough time keeping up with breathing. I'd play golf with her, though. I'd play golf with anybody."
* Las Posas Country Club, \o7 955 Fairway Drive, Camarillo 93010. Full membership costs $35,000\f7 ,\o7 with dues of $225 per month. (805) 482-4518.\f7
The course was built in 1958. Now it's the home course for touring pro Corey Pavin, so there is always hope that some of his big-money shots will rub off. But don't count on it.
Or maybe you will become a faster player. On April Fool's Day a massive group of golfers intent on breaking a world record tried to play the fastest round of golf ever played by a team. The record is 9 minutes and 51 seconds. They didn't come close.
It's not a good course to try such a record. Out-of-bounds stakes are on every hole. A good round of golf can quickly go bad because the course is narrow.
All the holes wind around the Las Posas Estates and are part of someone's back yard. Keep this in mind while looking for a lost ball.
* North Ranch Country Club, \o7 4761 Valley Spring Drive, Westlake Village 91362. A full membership will set you back $68,000 in addition to monthly dues of $350. (805) 496-1995 or (818) 889-9421.\f7
If there is truth in the old cliche saying "Variety is the spice of life," this course gives its members the whole spice rack.
It's a collection of three nine-hole courses called the Valley, Oaks and Lakes. The Valley and Oaks courses were built in 1976 and the Lakes nine was added three years ago. A golfer couldn't ask for much more.
The Valley nine has a couple of the most brutal par-fours in the county. And the course designer thought it would be a kick to leave a stray oak tree or two smack-dab in the middle of a few fairways.
The Oaks course winds its way around a barranca. The holes are narrow and tricky. While some courses look as if they were dug out of the earth, this one appears to have been built right into its contours. The 1988 NCAA National Golf Championships were held at North Ranch. Nobody broke par.