The Community of Rancho Santa Fe is located four miles inland from the Pacific Ocean in northern San Diego County, twenty miles north of Downtown San Diego. The gentle rolling hills, eucalyptus trees, citrus groves, and meandering streets provide the enchanted setting for one of the wealthiest and most prestigious communities in America. Rancho Santa Fe’s median house price is 2.5 million, and amenities of the community include a world class golf course, tennis center, riding trails, superb restaurants, small shops, superior schools, ideal weather conditions, community center, and much more!It lies east of the City of Solana Beach, between the San Dieguito River and Escondido Creek. The Covenant and its neighboring San Dieguito River Valley environs are within the unincorporated areas governed by the County of San Diego.
The Rancho Santa Fe Covenant encompasses a rough hexagon of about 6,200 acres. This land area has been subdivided and resubdivided into its current inventory of about 1,930 separate parcels. New subdivisions rarely add more than a handful of parcels to this inventory annually. While there exist Covenant parcels ranging in size from 5,000 square feet to over 30 acres, most parcels are in the size range of two to four acres.
The Covenant features a variety of topographic forms. Dissected sandstone upland ridges form the main spine of the community, and extend along the length of Linea del Cielo from the Village to the Covenant’s western boundary. Other steep slopes form ramparts above the San Dieguito River at the southeastern edge of the community. The remainder of the community is composed of gently rolling hills and drainages. This diversity of slope and site orientation has led to an equally diverse pattern of site use and the spectacular residential settings for which Rancho Santa Fe is noted.
Planning and respect for the environment have been hallmarks of the “covenant” from the beginning. Lillian Rice, a local architect, planned the subdivision, and her vision and meticulous design continue to guide it today. The winding roads were laid out to slow down drivers and ensure that they would enjoy the scenery. The Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture was standard for all the public buildings.The school, library, the Inn, and the civic center were designed by Rice. She also designed a number of private residences in this style.
Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club
In the early 1900’s Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company purchased 8,796 acres on which to cultivate more than one million Australian eucalyptus seedlings for the manufacture of railroad ties. Severe drought in 1912, followed by the worst freeze in 40 years killed approximately 70% of the trees. The railway company abandoned the project after new chemicals were produced to protect railway ties from decay.
The railway company then secured rights to a water supply and through its subsidiary, the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company, financed the development of a master planned community, which would be named Rancho Santa Fe.
In August of 1927, the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company donated 219.1 acres suitable for a golf course. The Rancho Santa Fe Country Club was incorporated September 26, 1927. Golf course architect Max Behr (a disciple of Dr. Alister Mackenzie) was hired to design and implement the construction of the golf course. Behr molded the natural contours and beauty of the terrain into a 6,700 – yard, par-72 golf course. The golf course opened June 5, 1929.
Entertainer Bing Crosby began hosting the pro-am “clambake” in 1937. The golf event paired celebrities and businessmen with professionals for a 36-hole weekend event. The “clambake” was held annually through 1942. The tournament moved to Pebble Beach in 1947 where it is now called the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Other prestigious events held at the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club include the San Diego Open held in 1954 and won by Gene Littler, the 101st Edition of the SCGA Amateur held in 2000 and won by Scott McGihon, and the 2006 US Junior Amateur Championship won by Philip Fancis.In 2010 Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club will co-host the 99th California Amateur Championship with La Jolla Country Club.This will mark just the second time that the nation’s most prestigious state amateur golf championship will have been held in Southern California. (This year’s California Amateur will be played June 16-21 at Lakeside GC in Toluca Lake and Oakmont CC in Glendale; both of which are also Max Behr designs).
The Rancho Santa Fe Association took over operation of the golf course in 1934 and operated it for 25 years as a public facility. In 1960 the golf membership asked the Association to restrict the use of the golf course to Association members only and to lease the golf course operations from the Association. The Association agreed to restrict the golf club to Association members and in 1978 added the ownership of covenant property as a condition of membership, but it was not until 1987, that the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club was established as a division of the Rancho Santa Fe Association with managerial, operational and financial responsibility for all golf activities.
Most recently, the golf club completed a 3.4 million dollar renovation of the golf course. Redesigned by David Fleming, the newly renovated course reopened November 1, 2002 to accolades from the membership and the professional golf community.This world-class course is an eighteen hole, 7,073 yard par 72, with a course rating of 74 from the back tees.The course condition is second to none with greens running regularly at 10, and the Bermuda fairways are always finely manicured.The greens are smaller with many false fronts and sides which require the player to hit precise iron shots, and have a delicate touch to save an up and down.The timeless design of the course, combined with immaculate conditions, create a layout full of variety, challenge, and character.The course design is exceptional for walking and most members prefer it to riding.Walking the course is also the best way to experience the subtlety, beauty, and tranquility of this masterpiece.A full service pro shop features bag storage, club repair, merchandise sales and cart rentals. The 13,000 square foot golf clubhouse was extensively remodeled in 1995. Its dining room and lounge are available for use by all Rancho Santa Fe Association members.It is truly a course that is always a pleasure to play time and time again.