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Courses Impress Couples

Golf: Simi Valley's Lost Canyons could host Los Angeles Women's Championship.

September 03, 2000|TOM LaMARRE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SIMI VALLEY — Fred Couples got his first look at Lost Canyons Golf Club in its nearly completed state and the 36-hole layout in Simi Valley knocked his socks off.

Couples, 1992 Masters champion, is a consultant on the project with famed course designer Pete Dye.

"Pete Dye is a magician," said Couples, who lives in Santa Barbara. "What he's done here is build a remarkable golf course. I've been here a couple of other times and looked around a little, but this time we went over darn near every hole. There isn't a bad hole out there.

"You're going to look at the fairways, look at the greens and then you're going to look at the mountains. The views are incredible. I giggled when I first saw this place. I felt like I was in Montana and it's 45 minutes from Los Angeles.

"I can't wait to come back down here and play it in November."

The Sky Course is scheduled to open Nov. 3, with the Shadow Course opening in December or early next year.

The courses, which will measure about 7,000 yards each from the back tees, are located on a portion of the historic Big Sky Ranch in the hills of the Santa Susana Mountains.

"The Sky Course is wider, but it looks narrow because it's in an open field," Couples said. "The Shadow Course is cut into a basin, so even though it's narrower, some bad shots will be funneled back into play.

"The greens on the Sky Course are big, so you should be able to get on pretty easily. It's a big course. The greens on the Shadow Course are smaller, more traditional.

"The courses will be difficult, but they are playable for everyone if you play the tees that suit your game. There are a lot of elevated tees, some fun shots."

Lost Canyons is in the running to host the Los Angeles Women's Championship, which was played last year at Wood Ranch in Simi Valley.

Meg Mackenzie, director of marketing and sales at Lost Canyons, gave Bob Collins, a tournament official, tour of the courses on Friday.

"We had a pleasant discussion," Mackenzie said. "I think they would really like the Sky Course. We have the venue to host a quality tournament, whether it's the PGA, the Seniors or the LPGA. That's the goal. We're thinking positive."

The Sky Course measures 7,234 yards from the back tees and has large, plateau greens which will give tournament officials several pin placements.

The front nine features back-to-back par fives, the 580-yard fourth and the 540-yard fifth, plus the par-three seventh, which plays between 115 and 255 yards with a huge bunker on the right side.

The drive on the 485-yard, par-four ninth must cross a corner of Sky Lake, and seven traps come into play the closer you get to the green.

The back nine starts with a short par four, 310 yards, and includes two par fives in excess of 600 yards, Nos. 12 and 14.

The 375-yard 15th hole requires a drive over a creek and an approach shot which must carry a barranca to a green guarded by bunkers in front and back.

"There are some elevated tees with clear shots to the fairways," Mackenzie said. "With five sets of tees, they can make it as challenging or technical as they want. It's a spacious course so it should be easy to keep things moving.

"There are good vantage points for fans and camera placements. Nos. 1 and 18, 9 and 10 are all in the same area near the clubhouse. If you're walking up No. 1, you get a good look at Nos. 3, 13, 12 and 4. We have a 100- by 40-yard tee area on the driving range so there is plenty of room to watch the players warm up.

"And where else can you get the kind of scenery we have?"

Montana?

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