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Adjacent courses - who wore it best?
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roarksown1
Adjacent courses - who wore it best?
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Wednesday July 5, 2017 10:35 PM
So earlier this week I wrote a review on Harding Golf Course at Griffith Park. It was so much easier to get a tee time at Harding while its sister course, Wilson, was backed up for hours. Personally, I don't find one superior to the other, but I hear many say as much. I'm curious to know what people think is superior about Wilson to Harding.

And of course, I'd like to open it up to discussions on other similar set-ups with adjacent 18s, such as Balboa/Encino and Mile Square's Classic and Players 18s. As far as those two go, I find Encino to be slightly more engaging and fun than Balboa, but less so after my last visit. And I've played both the Classic and Players at Mile Square and I can see why many would prefer the Players course, but I think I like the Classic better as it feels less gimmicky.

So what other adjoined 18s are there out there, which one has the 'superior' reputation, and do you agree? If not, why? And I'd love to hear opinions on the three combinations mentioned above to see your thoughts. I can't for the life of me understand the Wilson/Harding conundrum!

[[Edited by roarksown1 on Wednesday July 5, 2017 10:36 PM]]
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 Message #84571
Itslikeimsayin
RE: Adjacent courses - who wore it best?
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Wednesday July 5, 2017 11:47 PM
El Prado: Chino Creek rules, Butterfield Stage drools.
Los Serranos: South is preferred, North is also great.
Industry Hills: I like Ike (actually, I love it); Babe scares the crap out of me.

What's gimmicky about Mile Square Players? I just played it for the first time and really enjoyed it. Better than what I remember of Classic.

I still need to play Wilson, so I can't yet comment on Griffith Park.
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1PLUS1
RE: Adjacent courses - who wore it best?

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Thursday July 6, 2017 1:07 AM
Hello Rob...

Can't comment on the LA area courses you mentioned since I haven't played any of them but I'll throw out Industry Hills to get the ball rolling. The Ike and Babe couldn't be more different in their design yet I found both offered challenges from different perspectives. If I had to choose one over the other, I'd go with the Ike as the stiffer test but still view the Babe as a "wolf in sheep's clothing".

Los Serranos has a couple of courses that complement each other quite nicely but I'll always opt for the South over the North. I just feel it has a better mix of holes and doesn't feel as cramped as the North design. And if you happen to post a solid score on the South, you can rest assured your game is in good shape.

The combination that makes it just about impossible to choose which course to play, at least for me, resides at Pelican Hill. Both courses will test all aspects of your game while providing a great assortment of dramatic holes and stunning views, but the North Course will always come out ahead on the South on my list.

Here in San Diego, the first "adjacent" pairing that comes to mind, obviously, is Torrey Pines. Have no idea what the reconfigured North Course looks and plays like these days but the South Course was always my preferred choice while a member of the Mens Club some 25 years ago. The North had its' share of interesting holes and charm but the South always provided the superior challenge.

Admiral Baker also features two layouts but there's no comparison between the two. The North Course is much longer and a better layout than the South, which I would classify as fairly benign. The diversity between the two courses does provide a nice option, however, so that golfers can choose the layout that best suits their game and ability.

Cottonwood in Rancho San Diego offers the Ivanhoe and Lakes Courses and as far as I'm concerned, Ivanhoe would be the only choice for me. Prior to a redesign, the Lakes was known as Monte Vista, presented a sportier challenge vs. the longer Ivanhoe layout, and was fun to play. In my view, the remodel was a butcher job...holes 1 and 2 were combined into a single hole while new ones that were out of character with the rest of the course were added on the back nine...and the course lost its' appeal.

Just down the road apiece (quick nod to Chuck Berry) is the Sycuan Resort. In addition to the Par-3 Pine Glen course, there are two regulation 18-hole layouts to choose from: Willow Glen and Oak Glen. Although a redesign some years ago added a little bite to the Oak Glen layout, the Willow routing is generally regarded as the better of the two with a bit more character and variety.

Without getting into much detail, a quick jaunt to the Palm Desert area brings Desert Willow's Firecliff and Mountain View courses into the discussion. Keeping in mind that I think it's somewhat overrated, the Firecliff wins this decision, hands down. I found the Mountain View layout to be pretty bland and not all that much fun to play.

The Indian Wells Golf Resort features two strong layouts that can make choosing which course to play a difficult one. While I'd most likely elect to play four or five other desert courses ahead of it, I prefer the Celebrity Course over the Players Course due to its' target-oriented character, changes in elevation, and flow of the back nine.

La Quinta Resort's Dunes and Mountain layouts provide different challenges in their own unique fashion but the latter is the obvious preferred choice. Although someone made the mistake of dulling its' teeth in order to soften up the course after I initially played it in the 1980s, I still regard the Mountain Course as my favorite Pete Dye design...one that hasn't lost its' appeal after all these years.

And finally...just for you Rob...Ventana Canyon. As good a tandem of courses you could hope for, the Mountain is my #1 pick each and every day of the week. Mind you, it's not an easy choice...and I know how much you enjoyed the Canyon Course...but trust me, you'll see for yourself when you return.
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mpisarski01
RE: Adjacent courses - who wore it best?
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Thursday July 6, 2017 7:44 AM
Costa Mesa CC has two course and they are quite different.

Mesa Linda is a short course that makes you think of the tee but the greens can be diabolical at times if the greenskeeper found his wife cheating on him the night before.

Los Lagos is much longer and is a bombers paradise. there seems to be more sand on Lagos but the greens are much easier than Mesa Linda. I believe lagos is in better shape most of the time and is the reason why its $10 more to play
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sixpez
RE: Adjacent courses - who wore it best?
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Thursday July 6, 2017 8:30 AM
Interesting post. For the most part, I tend to agree with the masses as to which course at any given 36+ hole facility is better. I do go against the grain on a few, though. Here is the entire SoCal list:

Wilson a slight edge over Harding. I agree it's not a huge difference, though.

I honestly don't remember much about Balboa or Encino, and I could care less about either : )

River Ridge Lakes over Vineyard (though the finishing stretch on Vineyard is the best part of either course, if you ask me).

I actually go with Babe over Ike, but it really is a 1A and 1B kind of situation. Absolutely love both courses, but Babe fits my game a bit better.

I also go with Mesa Linda over Los Lagos at Costa Mesa CC. ML is just so much fun!

Mile Square Players over Classic. Neither excite me much.

Indian Wells Celebrity over Players

Desert Willow Firecliff over Mountain View

Palm vs. Valley at JW Marriott Desert Springs is a coin toss

Tahquitz Creek Resort over Legend by a country mile

Terra Lago North over South

PGA West Nicklaus over Stadium over Norman (third place is by a wide margin)

La Quinta Mountain over Dunes, easy.

Indian Canyons South over North

Westin Mission Hills Player over Dye

Mountain Vista Santa Rosa over San Gorgonio

Shadow Hills North over South, though a bit like apples and oranges. The par-3 course left a better impression on me, though.

Morongo Legends over Champions

Menifee Lakes - Lakes or Palms, who the heck cares?

Los Serranos South over North

El Prado Chino Creek over Butterfield, duh

Primm Valley Lakes over Desert (yes, technically in San Bernardino County, so SoCal courses in my opinion)

Torrey Pines South over North, but actually pretty close. Again, kind of a 1A and 1B situation, though I haven't played the "new" North yet.

Sycuan Willow Glen over Oak Glen

Cottonwood Ivanhoe over Lakes

La Costa Legends over Champions. I guess I am against the grain on this one, too.

Admiral Baker North over South, by a ton

I purposely didn't included some facilities that have a short course in addition to a regulation (Rec Park, Balboa Park, Monarch Dunes, etc.) Otherwise, I think that's all in Southern California, unless we're talking about closed courses. Just for fun...

Robinson Ranch Valley over Mountain

Lost Canyons Sky over Shadow (almost equal, both were sad to lose)

Green River Riverside over Orange, and both way over the mish-mashed version we have now.

[[Edited by sixpez on Thursday July 6, 2017 8:32 AM]]

[[Edited by sixpez on Thursday July 6, 2017 10:30 AM]]
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Nickesquire
RE: Adjacent courses - who wore it best?
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Thursday July 6, 2017 9:47 AM
Excellent & interesting topic. Of the ones I have played enough to form definite opinions...

River Ridge: Lakes & Vineyard are both above average courses. Edge to Lakes, especially since Lakes holes 1,2,17 & 18 were taken from the original Vineyard. The holes the Vineyard gained up on top of the hill (current holes 3-6) are not as good as the 4 it lost to the Lakes IMO. Both courses usually have some of the better playing conditions for the immediate area and are above average to excellent layouts. For the daily fee compared to the others on this list, HARD to beat!

Indian Wells: After playing them both a couple of times, I preferred the Celebrity. However, I am liking the Players more and more after every round played there. Both are picturesque, fun courses. Both are usually in excellent playing condition and are above average to excellent layouts. Because the Celebrity has so few par 3/5's, slight edge to the Players based on layout.

Desert Willow: Edge to Firecliff, but IMO, not that much. I really enjoy Mountain View, especially the stretch of holes around the lake. Both are usually in very good shape and are above average to excellent layouts.

Morongo: Enjoy both the Champions & Legends very much. Both are usually in above average playing condition and are fun layouts. Slight edge to Champions, like the risk/reward par 4's.

Sycuan: Agree that Willow Glen is better than Oak Glen. Willow has more holes that turn and more interesting holes overall IMO. Like the par 3's better on Willow. Oak has too many straight, tree lines holes but is still a decent course. Playing conditions have been above average to very good the times I have played there.

Terra Lago: I enjoyed both courses about equally, maybe a slight edge to the North. Love the stretch on the North that is a long par 3 followed by the holes around the lake(s). You cannot get crooked on either or your ball is gone. Both layouts have some excellent holes with elevated shots and great views. Both courses have some very mediocre holes. Playing conditions MUCH spottier than most other comparable P.S. area courses the times I have played there.

El Prado: Chino Creek over Butterfield by a wide margin in every category... layout, playing conditions, difficulty, more fun golf holes etc. Butterfield is at best okay and is clearly the step child.

Los Serranos: South is unique, six par 5's and par 74. You would think being a grip it and rip it kind of guy that would be my preference. However, I really like the North course. It would get my vote by a slight margin.

Tahquitz Creek: Resort over Legends by a wide margin. Legends has too many straight, tight holes lined by houses on both sides. Both are budget alternatives in Palm Springs that do not fare favorably with most of the courses that are much newer and more modern within 20 miles.



A few worth mentioning that are not technically on the same property, but are either run by the same group, under the same umbrella or are very close together...

PGA West: Of the three public courses, The Nicklaus Tournament is my favorite by a fairly wide margin. I know I am in the minority, but I would play the Norman over Stadium. Norman is such a unique visual with no rough and the holes surrounded by hard packed dirt. Stadium was designed to beat up even PGA Tour pros, and even with advances in technology, it is still marginally unplayable for the average golfer. Layouts will all challenge any golfer and the playing conditions are rarely below very good, usually excellent.

Westin Mission Hills: Originally, I would have said Player by a wide margin. I still prefer the Player, but the Dye has grown on me with each visit. Playing conditions have been more spotty than most of the other twin layouts. Neither is super taxing from a difficulty perspective.

Skylinks and El Dorado: Both were in decent condition when I played there, although the local golfers did not repair enough ball/pitch marks. El Dorado was a good course/fun layout. Skylinks I thought was an excellent layout and the better of the two courses overall.

Olivas & Buenaventura: Great contrast. Buena is Parkland style, shorter and tighter, Olivas is Links style, longer and more wide open. Both offer challenging green complexes & the usual ocean breezes. Definitely Olivas is the better of the two, but Buena is one of the funner, more challenging shorter courses I have ever played. I have shot around par there and also played bogey golf there.

Shadow Hills: Tough to compare since one is regulation and the other a par 3. Shadow Hills is a solid golf course, not great but very solid. Shadow Hills North is the best 18 hole par 3 course I have ever played by a WIDE margin. Depends on what you want, coffee or tea... but either is a good test of golf.


I have played the Griffith Park courses, the Menifee Lakes courses, the San Fernando Valley courses and the Mile Square courses... but either too long ago or not enough of a sampling to clearly rate one over the other.

Have never played the redesigns on LQ Dunes or Torrey North, so cannot venture opinions on the current layouts compared to their sister courses.

Played Cottonwood once each. Ivanhoe was better than Lakes in layout and especially condition. However, that's like a beauty contest where there were no pretty girls to pick from, so you pick the one that is less ugly.

[[Edited by Nickesquire on Thursday July 6, 2017 10:25 AM]]
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The goal is long and straight! But on the many times I cannot seem to hit them straight, I at least want to hit them long!
 Message #84578 - This was a reply to message #84575
noeldaof
RE: Adjacent courses - who wore it best?

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Thursday July 6, 2017 10:04 AM
Wilson is longer than Harding.
Wilson's greens are more undulated than Harding.
When and if they are both in good shape, I would always prefer Wilson as the course to be on. Basically Wilson is the tougher course of the two in my opinion.

In the last 3-4 years, although I've only played both wil/har a few times but not worth reviewing over, Harding has a slightly better maintenance or conditions. Was it just timing- maybe, but that's what I found. This by no means is saying that Harding was in a shape I would desire.

Lost Canyons in Simi was a pair... but then I've never been on either.
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Play from a position!
 Message #84579 - This was a reply to message #84571
t8fish
RE: Adjacent courses - who wore it best?
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Thursday July 6, 2017 10:05 AM
As to Wilson and Harding specifically, this is totally speculation. I had played Harding a few times over the years and only finally played Wilson a couple of years ago for the first time, and a few time since. Wilson is a little longer than Harding, about 300 yds or so total but that is not a huge difference and Harding isn't really a short course. But my impression of Wilson is that of being the bigger shouldered, slightly more muscular of the two. It seems to challenge more with it's length and feels broader. My unscientific guess as to why it is more popular is tied to the same dynamic that dictates players marching right back to the blue or even black tees when they have no business being back there. When in doubt, one must play what is perceived to be the more manly challenge. I'm guessing Wilson is perceived as the big boy course and so the more desirable to play. Certainly the opening whole sets the tone for this impression with the expansive par five and a tee shot in full view of the clubhouse and first tee crowd.

In general, I think Harding creates a few more angles and tighter shots and it could be argued it is actually the slightly more interesting course in terms of shotmaking. Also, the 16th will certainly give you all the challenge of a long par four that you'll find on either course. How you finish tends to leave an aftertaste for the round, and I think Wilson's 18th is just not a good finishing hole with it's inevitably awkward uphill sidehill lie second shot, while Harding's uphill par five is a nice finishing opportunity.

Wilson draws me in because it has my number. I haven't shot what I feel is a decent score for the conditions and there is a frustration/challenge factor. I play Harding because sometimes it's easier to access and, for me, is actually more enjoyable to play.

I go back and forth between the two, and while it is not high in the rotation, I like to get over there every once in a while for either course because of the classic, old school, muni vibe. As part of the Griffith Park complex, it gives it a very Los Angeles-specific and somewhat historic feel to hang out there.

[[Edited by t8fish on Thursday July 6, 2017 10:05 AM]]
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sbarajasjr
RE: Adjacent courses - who wore it best?
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Thursday July 6, 2017 10:16 AM
From the ones I have played but have not been mentioned:

Coyote Creek GC (Morgan Hill, CA): Tournament over Valley and it's really not even close. Tournament has amazing views, better hole variety, and conditions were far better.

Bayonet/Black Horse (Seaside, CA): Bayonet over Black Horse, though this one is far closer. I felt Bayonet was harder and the hole variation made it more enjoyable, though you can't go wrong with either. Both courses are highly recommended.

I know this doesn't quite fit the original inquiry, but seeing as both courses are only divided by a meager fence at one point, if you had a choice of properties to play, take Steele Canyon over Cottonwood. One has three amazing 9 hole options, while the other usually has terrible conditions, 6 hour rounds, and just doesn't measure up.
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kevbig
RE: Adjacent courses - who wore it best?
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Thursday July 6, 2017 11:23 AM
Industry Hills- I've been lucky enough to play both courses many many times and while the general consensus is that the Ike is the better course I tend to lean toward the Babe. Granted, if you're only going to play occasionally I can see how the Ike gets it's reputation. But the more you play the Babe, the more you'll learn to love (ok maybe more like respect) it's layout and it'll grow on you more and more each time. It's much more of a thinker's course and quite a bit tighter off the tee than the Ike. I personally feel that the Par 3's on the Babe are MUCH stronger than the Ike and it's not even close. Better variety of holes overall as well.

[[Edited by kevbig on Thursday July 6, 2017 11:25 AM]]
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