This is the second in a two-part series focusing on the two golf courses in Ramona. Last week’s article was about the Mount Woodson Golf Course.
By Bill Tamburrino
San Vicente Golf Resort (also known as San Vicente Golf Course on some internet sites) has been owned and operated by the San Diego Country Estates Association homeowners and property owners since it opened.
The head golf professional is John Rathbun, a PGA certified professional. Rathbun also coaches the Ramona High School girls golf team.
Rathbun is assisted by golf professionals Lorne Smith and Fred Arcaina. All three give lessons. Johnny LaFata, who grew up playing at San Vicente and has worked there for several years, is preparing to take the Players Ability Test and hopes to also be giving lessons soon.
The three pros are experienced and considered excellent teachers. They always have friendly dispositions and smiles on their faces. Why shouldn’t they? They love their jobs and it shows.
San Vicente is a full-service golf resort. It has a driving range, a short game practice area with a sand trap and a putting green. The Ted Robinson-designed golf course is just a part of the San Vicente Resort, which has a complete pro shop, lighted tennis courts, Olympic-sized pool and Jacuzzi, jogging and hiking trails, two equestrian centers, a snack bar after the ninth hole, Oaks Grille Restaurant and full indoor and outdoor banquet facilities that cater to tournaments, weddings, parties and meetings of all sorts.
San Vicente Golf Resort has 302 members. It has memberships for residents and non-residents and is introducing a Golf Participation Program that includes unlimited golf, preferred tee times and tournament participation for $199 a month for single players and $299 a month for dual players.
“This is an awesome deal,” said Rathbun. “The facts speak for themselves. This is the best golf value in San Diego — if not Southern California.”
The green fees are considered reasonable. There are SDCEA owners’ fees, public fees and junior fees. There are late rates (after 1 p.m.) and super twilight rates (after 2 p.m.).
Non-residents can golf for $57, $47 late rate and $27 super twilight. Juniors golf for $15, $10 late rate and $5 super twilight Monday through Thursday. Owners’ fees are $44, $34 and $22. Rates are slightly higher on weekends.
Fees include a golf cart, but walking is allowed. Residents can drive their own carts. One sees a motley assortment of golf carts at San Vicente. One cart has a full-service margarita machine that gets constant use.
The Summer Junior Golf Program has three four-day sessions with three one-hour sessions a day for beginners, intermediate and advanced junior golfers. A tournament is scheduled for Sept. 3.
Participation in the summer program for juniors and the tournament costs $30 and includes a golf shirt, prizes and a barbecue after the tournament. The campers get professional instruction in putting, chipping, pitch shots, full swing, etiquette and sportsmanship. If campers do not have golf equipment, it is available. There is also an advanced four-day clinic that is three hours a day from Aug. 23-26 for $150.
San Vicente is a traditional tree-lined (giant oaks and cottonwoods) golf course.
“There is a lot of variety,” said Rathbun. “Every hole has its own special challenges and characteristics.”
The course is in a valley with views of the Cuyamaca Mountains and the Cleveland National Forrest. It offers challenges for golfers of all skills levels. A recently remodeled lake is on the first and 18th fairways.
There are over 40 golf tournaments a year at San Vicente. The biggest events are the Member/Guest Tournament and the Members Tournament. There is a Ladies Day and a Men’s Day every week.
San Vicente is the home course for the Ramona High School boys and girls golf teams.
The course opens at dawn and closes at dusk. There is a friendly, family atmosphere, and, if one spends more than 15 minutes in the pro shop, one will see very young and very experienced golfers getting ready to tee up.
San Vicente Golf Resort is at 24157 San Vicente Road. For more information or to make tee times, call 760-789-3477. To schedule a tournament, ask for Fred Arcaina or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.