Golf is a game that will have you occasionally pondering putting your clubs on Craiglist and retiring to a more simple and stress free existence. It’s the nature of the beast. There are however, a few courses, that no matter how bad you play, you will always crave more.

The Valley Club of Montecito is one of those places.In 1929 Dr. Alister Mackenzie with Robert Hunter designed Valley. This was the same year Mackenzie did Augusta National and one year after Cypress Point.  To say he was at the top of his game would be an understatement. A restoration by Tom Doak brought back the integrity of the original design and it presently may be the best representation of a Mackenzie original around. Most of the rough around the greens was eliminated and the closely mown chipping areas bring shot options back that deep rough doesn’t allow.

The course is now regularly firm and fast which accentuates the very subtle and nuanced design. The slick greens melt into green side bunkers in spots, very similar to Royal Melbourne, which is very unique element in Southern California golf. The whole experience starts and ends with one of the most beautiful clubhouse settings in the world (not to mention one of the greatest locker rooms on the planet).

In the peaceful enclave of Montecito, in between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, you can’t help but be grateful to be here.

Valley has stood the test of time for many reasons, fantastic design that never gets old, phenomenal location and historic vibe that brings you back in a relaxed but not stuffy way, but most importantly it’s just a fun course to play over and over. Every time you walk off the 18th you will ask yourself why don’t they make them like this anymore!?