The Saticoy Club - Somis, CA  (William F. Bell, 1964; Bunker revisions by Thad Layton, Arnold Palmer Design Company, 2018)

Saticoy’s history dates all the way back to 1921 with a 9 hole course designed by the famed George Thomas. In the 1960s though, the club decided that they had outgrown their location and made plans to expand to 18 holes at a new site up in the nearby hills. In keeping with the Thomas lineage, they hired William F. Bell, son of longtime Thomas associate Billy Bell. While the 60s weren’t exactly a revered decade for course design, this is a very good version from that time period. The land movement is very good and interesting, the greens have some serious tilt, and the routing reaches a spectacular crescendo in the middle of the back nine.

Thad Layton of Arnold Palmer Design Company was hired by the club in recent times to put together a master plan and project work. The first major phase was to involve tree work and bunker work, and as such Thad reached out to us to help build the bunkers. Thad also promised an appealing level of autonomy, allowing us to handle the day-to-day operation of the job while also encouraging new ideas and field change suggestions. This, along with good working relationships with Thad, fellow shaper Jeff Bradley, superintendent Tim Paulson, and construction superintendent John Bolasky, made Saticoy one of the more satisfying projects we’ve had the pleasure of working.

The dramatic canyon hole at Saticoy, No. 14. Here we reworked the left greenside bunker, flipped the back bunker short and left, filled in the right greenside bunker and replaced it with short grass, and added the giant canyon bunker feature at the corner of the dogleg.

The 13th hole once had a wall of trees at the rear, blocking the distant views and letting these impressive stone pines get lost in the process. The bunker arrangement is entirely different now too, with the 3 to the right replaced by short grass contouring that will help a running shot find the putting surface. A little bunker was also added on the left to add another tucked pin on that side of the green.

While we shifted the fairway bunkers on the 15th hole to give more room for the shorter hitter and tighten it up for the longer hitter, we wanted to be sure to keep the same sort of “stacked” feel that they had previously, despite having gaps of 40 and 70 yards in between them all. These all had to be built at the same time to make sure they lined up properly, and there were quite a few cart rides back up to the tees to see how they were progressing.

The biggest bunker on the course, the 18th hole fairway bunker was one of the more fun ones to build.

The bunkers on the 5th hole came together quickly and nicely. This image was taken just after shaping was completed.

The reshaped greenside bunker on the 14th at Saticoy.

The second bunker built on the entire project was this practice area bunker.

The pair of greenside bunkers at the 12th