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Did You Know? The Scoop on O.C.'s Best Kept Secret...
by: Debbie L. Sklar
The famed Jack Nicklaus design this recreational hot spot.
The famed Jack Nicklaus design this recreational hot spot.

There is a small and secluded enclave situated within the city limits of eastern Rancho Santa Margarita called Dove Canyon.

Located in the southern most foothills of Orange County, Dove Canyon is considered to be one of Orange County's best kept secrets. This scenic master-planned community of more than 5,000 residents has gated privacy in an intimate golf setting – the 18-hole Dove Canyon Golf Course at the Dove Canyon Country Club – which was designed by famed golfer and master golf course designer Jack Nicklaus opening in 1990.

Nicklaus also known as the “Golden Bear,” is considered to be one of the greatest professional golfers of all time. After decades as a player, Nicklaus played his last competitive tournament in 2005. Today, he is said to still be busy, as he devotes most of his time to golf course design and operates one of perhaps the largest golf course design practices in the world.

As for the Dove Canyon design, the sprawling course is also the only private Nicklaus signature golf course in the county. Nicklaus designed the championship course of almost 7,000 yards featuring rolling fairways that lead to breathtaking views of canyons and waterfalls. The course is managed by American Golf Corp. Membership is separate and not included in home purchases.

In addition to the opportunity to belong to the private golf club, residents of Dove Canyon enjoy—outside of the golf club—gorgeous scenery, views of Sycamore Canyon, multiple horse trails, a wide field, reservoir, a child’s park, shopping center and about 1,200 single-family residences where upper middle class reside. Dove Canyon’s next door neighbor is Coto de Caza.

Debbie L. Sklar is a 20+year journalism veteran residing in Southern California, where she is a writer, columnist and editor for many local, regional and national publications. Sklar may be reached via e-mail at

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