A golf explosion has engulfed the Oxnard/Ventura area, and public course golfers are the beneficiaries. The local municipalities have put a great deal of effort into reworking or creating four championship layouts. After the round, many interesting restaurant choices are nearby, and for overnight stays, Marriott’s Residence Inn at River Ridge would be my pick.
In the past couple of months, I have had a good look at River Ridge, Olivas Links, and Buenaventura, and I was pleasantly surprised. They were all in excellent condition, especially Olivas Links, which has an advantage other course operators will want to take note of. They planted paspalum grass at Olivas Links, which allows them to water the course with salty water. This is especially helpful in our current drought conditions. The course was in immaculate condition, the envy any local country club. The layout is links style and perfect for the strong wind they get each afternoon. The wind comes up about 11a.m., so early morning rounds will miss most of it. Not a home in sight here, just pure golf with great mountain panoramas. Olivas Links has a large range, chipping green, and putting green.
River Ridge has two championship courses: the Victoria Lakes and the Vineyard routings. Victoria Lakes is probably the more challenging layout with a hilly stretch early and late. Most of the course is free of homes, which is something I always enjoy. Again we found the conditions to be excellent with a bit less wind here. River Ridge has a huge practice range with two short game areas to boot.
Buenaventura is the shortest course of the bunch but was also in very good condition. This would be a good fit for less experienced players.
The Marriott Residence Inn is right on the Vineyard Course at River Ridge and not more than a five-minute walk to the clubhouse. Primarily serving the local business community, this hotel has been continually upgraded and would be perfect for a golf trip. The rooms are larger than normal and come with a kitchen and sitting area. If you have a larger party, check out the 762-square-foot penthouse suite with queen beds upstairs and down. Granite counter tops and large flat-screen TVs add to the experience. The Hearth Room adjacent to the hotel lobby serves a complementary breakfast each morning and hosts frequent social hours in the evening hours. This area looks out over the 13th fairway on the Vineyards Course.
Whether for a family or golf outing, the Marriott Residence Inn Oxnard River Ridge deserves a good look. This location is ideal for all the golf courses and restaurants mentioned above. Go to Marriott.com to make your travel plans.
If you played early at Olivas Links, it would be a short drive to the Waterside Wine Bar and Restaurant at Channel Islands Harbor. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor dining right on the water with hundreds of ships in view. While the views are great, the food is even better. We dined on the tri-tip sandwich and shrimp Louie salad. Both were expertly prepared and the service was also good. They have a large selection of wines and my sauvignon blanc from Napa was a good fit. Go to TheWatersideRestaurantandWineBar.com for complete information.
If you are looking for a classic-style restaurant after golf at River Ridge, try La Dolce Vita in old Oxnard. This unique eatery features a fusion of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Executive Chef and owner Michelle Kenney comes from a long line of restaurateurs from the San Gabriel Valley, and much of the family lineage is on display. The restaurant sits in a classic multi-level Victorian-style structure in Heritage Square in Oxnard. This setting gives it a very cozy feeling much like the famous restaurants in New Orleans. I dined on the seared ahi tuna and heirloom tomatoes, which were both excellent. There are several rooms here displaying vintage photography of the Oxnard area. Downstairs, the full bar area evokes the old speakeasies. This makes La Dolce Vita ideal for larger functions and weddings. Visit TheLDV.com for more details.