The American Express

La Quinta, Calif.


Course Rankings

Sherwood Country Club

Thousand Oaks, Calif. / 7,098 yards, Par 72 / Points: 59.1242

Martin Miller

May 03, 2021

180. Sherwood Country Club

Jack Nicklaus (1989)

When Jack Nicklaus completed Sherwood Country Club for industrialist David Murdock in the late 1980s, critics immediately compared it to No. 26 Shadow Creek, which Nicklaus felt was unfair, since his land—a river valley with homesites on high surrounding hills—was far more natural than the barren Vegas desert. But critics were comparing ledger books. They spent lots of money at Sherwood. Several hundred mature oaks were transplanted at an estimated cost of $6 million. The massive boulders edging some fairways were trucked in as well, and the ponds and streams guarding landing areas and greens were manufactured by experts in that business. In the end, it added up to producing one of the best courses money could buy, until the drought of 2014. Nicklaus returned in 2016 to approve agronomic improvements that reduce water use by 25 percent. Sherwood remains a great layout, but more austere in presentation.

100 Greatest/Second 100 Greatest History: Ranked on America's 100 Greatest: 1993-1996. Ranked on America's Second 100 Greatest: 2013 to 2016 and 2019 to current. Highest ranking: No. 79, 1993-1994. Previous ranking: No. 195.

Watch Golf Digest’s latest “Every Hole At” course videos below:

Panelist comments, Sherwood Country Club:

"The aesthetics were extraordinary and among the best I've seen, particularly for a parkland course. It's just a gorgeous property and experience."

"Sherwood possesses one of the better closing holes in all of golf, in addition to strong shot values and conditioning. This Nicklaus design has a lot of truly outstanding holes and has five par 3s and five par 5s."

"The course is well designed with a strong variety of par 3s, 4s, and 5s though does slightly favor the golfer who can work the ball left to right. While all five of the par 5's are similar in length on paper (between 520-560), they play much differently in length in reality because of the elevation changes and strategic placement of trees and hazards from tee to green sometimes forcing a mid iron 2nd shot. Going for the green in two on most of the par 5s is penalizing because shots offline usually result in a 3rd shot punch out with no easy up-and-down."

"The course name was derived from the 1939 Academy Award winning film: The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn, where some of the scenes were shot on and near the present-day course."

"I teed off a couple groups behind Wayne Gretzky and Dustin Johnson. I was also on the range with Bruce Jenner. This is definitely a course full of celebrities!"

"Excellent remodel a few years back. Course has been tweaked quite a bit. Some greens flattened, some greens have contours added. Bunkers changed to pinch in a fairway. Bunker added to increase some decision-making."

"The first thing you notice about Sherwood is the fantastic elevation changes, huge trees and beautiful scenery. Conditioning is very nice with PGA Tour speed greens and vast water features. Fair off the tee but landing your approach shot on the right part of the green is crucial and tests putting and short game."

Courtesy of the club

Courtesy of the club

Courtesy of the club

Courtesy of the club