Rams Hill Golf Course Review, Borrego Springs, CA
The Destination is Worth the Journey
Independent Golf Reviews traveled to Rams Hill in the winter of 2021. I stayed on property for 2 days. I played 4 rounds of golf and enjoyed my stay at House on the Hill with some fellow golfers and took in all that Rams Hill had to offer.
These are my insights and notes about the trip.
Many of the great golf courses in the world are found in out of the way locations. Most are not in the heart of an urban setting, not even in the suburbs. Many of the best courses are hard to get to and require a drive. Rams Hill is one of those courses that is out in the middle of desert nowhere CA. It is a couple hours from the major CA cities of San Diego and LA. It is worth the drive to enjoy this desert oasis.
Rams Hill has a long and torrid history: it used to be 27 holes, it had a different original designers, and it went bankrupt more than once. All of that led to investors bringing in Tom Fazio to redesign and create the 18 holes which are today known as Rams Hill Golf Course. Fazio is one of the world’s best course designers. His layouts offer plenty of eye candy as well as very playable experience for all skill levels. I was able to play Rams Hill with modern clubs as well as 100 year old hickory sticks. It was enjoyable from different tees and was very playable for all skill levels. There are only a few forced carried, but nothing extreme. The use of the natural land, the desert plants and water make this a beautiful and playable golf course.
2. Excellent Conditions:
Rams Hill offers outstanding course conditions. One of the benefits of their management group is the fact that they actually close down in the heat of summer. As an AZ golfer I would be bummed if all the courses in Tucson shut down during the summer months, but I can see from a course conditioning aspect how beneficial that is. There is virtually no wear and tear on the course during the heat (other than the sun) which allows them to get the course in perfect shape for, fall, winter and spring golf. That doesn’t mean you are going to get 14 on the stimp while you are there, but from tee to green you will have lush, tight, and consistent conditions.
3. Top 5 California:
I have played many of the top courses in CA. Certainly not all of the privates, but as far as public courses go, Rams Hill is in the top 5. The variety of holes, the playablity, the beauty, the green complexes, and the overall experience makes this a top course in CA. While it doesn’t have ocean views like some of its competitors, there are miles of desert views on a number of holes.
4. House on the Hill:
If you are making the trek to Rams Hill golf course, I highly recommend the House on the Hill for your stay. It is owned by Rams Hill and offers amazing views of the course as well as a luxurious stay for you and a group of golfers. It is the perfect spot for a buddies or couples trip with the large entertaining area as well as the 4 bedrooms in the house. It has 4 carts for getting around the property as well as golfing. Your group can enjoy multiple TVs, a huge kitchen, outdoor patio as well as a grassy overlook.
5. Special Snacks:
One of the unique and well done treats of Rams Hill is the Ram Shack tacos and the end of the round cookie. There is a full service bar at the clubhouse, there is a beverage cart that makes the rounds, but it is the Ram Shack that offers a couple complimentary street tacos that really hit the spot. You can purchase drinks and other snacks to go with them, but the street tacos are the perfect amount of food to sustain your energy for the rest of the round. That is until you reach 18 green and receive the complimentary cookie upon completion of your round. I enjoy a good cookie, and while I am partial to chocolate chip cookies, this Apple Carmel one is amazing. (It was so good I didn’t even take a picture)
6. Borrego Springs, CA:
“Who knew?” –Lee Abbamonte. The little resort town of Borrego Springs is a few miles from Rams Hill, but offers some additional dining and lodging options when the clubhouse isn’t open or if the Hill on the House is already booked. There are multiple dining options from Mexican to pizza, bar to café; the ones I sampled were all really good. There is also a grocery store in town to stock the fridge for meals and snack if you are more DIY for meals.
7. Golf In Your State/Puttz:
While you are playing at Rams Hill you might see Matt of Golf In Your State, his RV, or his metal dog: Puttz. It is another part of the experience if you can meet up with the course ambassador. As part of the opening of the course each fall, Matt is on-site doing all different tasks around the property while sharing great pictures of Rams Hill on social media.
As a former Midwest boy, living in the Southwest is awesome. I don’t even mind the hot summer. But from September to May the weather is divine at Rams Hill. If you want to get away from the cold and enjoy great golf and weather, Rams Hill is perfect. Just look at the weather report for Borrego Springs and you’ll see why it is a perfect winter golf destination. While the course is exposed to some wind potential, it is rarely breezy for multiple days. You are likely to sunshine while playing Rams Hill as well as some amazing sunrises and sunsets.
9. Future Expansion:
Nothing is official, but the buzz around Rams Hill is the expansion of the resort to include more golf and more lodging. Potentially a short course, another 18 holes, a lodge/hotel and more food and drink options. This would really complete the property for longer stays and more variety. I got 4 rounds in over my couple days there so the course is that enjoyable you want to play it multiple times since you made the trek out there, but the future looks even brighter for this desert oasis.
Rams Hill might be out of the way from any major metro, but the journey is worth the destination. There is a reason it keep moving up the rankings in CA and the country. It is very well designed, conditioned and enjoyed. The little touches make it great and if you got a bunch of buddies or couples, the House on the Hill is spectacular. Midwesterners, pack your bags and get on a flight to the Southwest. If you already live in the Southwest, plug in Rams Hill, Borrego Springs, CA into your GPS and check it out; you will be glad you did.
For more information: https://www.ramshill.com/
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