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Another Saturday round at the home course and conditions remain good at Rancho Park. Played the blue tees with a rented push cart for $55, paired with a good guy named Tony - told him all about GK and hopeful he joins up.

Greens are definitely recovering from the aeration last month but are still a bit shaggy and medium speed roughly. You can leave plenty of putts short if you're too respectful. A few bumps here and there but not too bad for the amount of traffic these greens get daily.

Fairways have plenty of good spots, but there are also some thin lies to be found where you don't want them. A little bit of everything - same with the rough. You can find some problem areas for sure but overall it's still playable for sure. Bunkers looked okay but did not land in any all round. And the tee boxes were mostly okay with some a bit uneven but they're very large and allow some room to move.

Usual POP that's gotten quite good at Rancho Park was not today as we were a twosome sandwiched between two foursomes. Not ideal but also not the end of the world. So overall, Rancho is still a good option right now for a quality round.
Twilight round at Alondra today to work on the swing changes on a relatively forgiving course that only really challenges you with its length. Played the blue tees walking with a push cart for $27 - totally reasonable. Would not pay more though with current conditions.

Ringworld's recent review pretty much covers it. Fairways are very thin in most areas, with the occasional 'scorched earth' areas that remind me of a Pangolin's armor, only in dirt form. Occasionally your ball will land on actual green grass. Dilly dilly! Rough? Not sure what that means out here - everything is pretty much the same in terms of coverage.

Greens are as slow as the first two hours of Dunkirk. Can't remember leaving so many putts short in a long time, even on the down slope. Sure, they held shots well - they're a sponge. Really thick and shaggy, probably haven't been rolled in quite a while. But luckily they're bumpy as well, so there's that. Not ideal.

Bunkers thin like Manut Bol after a juice cleanse. Tee boxes were okay for the most part - not great coverage but you could always find a flat place to tee off from. Pretty sad when tee boxes are the best part of a course.

And yet, like Vic, I'll always come back. POP was definitely good - just under four hours. No cart service but a well-run, speedy snack shop en route from the 9th green to the 10th tee box. All good there.

Alondra fits the bill when you need to work on some mechanics and anticipate spraying the ball around a bit. It's not exactly Woodley Lakes, but you get the idea. But currently, break glass only in case of emergency.
Unfortunately the weather did not wish to play along today as I took on San Dimas Canyon for the first time ever. Had an 8am tee time this Sunday and the course was pretty clear with ominous skies overhead. By the third hole, the rain started coming down and the cold got colder so it was pretty miserable that we waited in the clubhouse for it to clear up after the front nine, but it never did, so we went back out anyway because we're nutso golfers. Luckily it started to break up by the last 4-5 holes so it made it much more enjoyable.

I had heard that this was a rather quirky, somewhat gimmicky course from others, and while I can 100% understand why some would feel that way, I actually really thought it was a fun and interesting layout, with the exception of a few holes of course, like the non-existent fairway and lake on the right side from the 11th tee box. That's just 'hit and hope' golf which is not the best. And what's up with the metal utility box right in the middle of the fairway on the 4th hole?

Lots of very tight fairways and interesting tee shots on the par 5s, along with elevations, nice water features (even an entire lake pretending to be part of the fairway on the 14th), and some tricky, tiered greens make San Dimas Canyon a fun ride, but one that can also be very frustrating and challenging.

Conditions were tough to gauge in an honest way due to the rough conditions, but I would say that the course looked pretty green in the fairways and rough, the greens were in good condition overall (hard to rate speed based on the wetness, and of course that goes for the bunkers as well), but the tee boxes were a bit of a mess - chewed up and plenty where finding a level spot was nigh impossible. That's the trouble area they should really focus on.

You'll find a quaint little old-school clubhouse that has a great view of the first and ninth holes as well. POP was fast besides our hiatus to wait out the weather, but of course I gather a lot of people saw the clouds and decided to bail. The carts also had a great looking GPS system but we found their distances to be way off!

Anyway, despite a poor round with my new swing tweaks and the terrible weather, I came away with a very warm feeling towards SDCGC and am really looking forward to getting back there on a picture perfect So Cal day to test myself again.
Spent Sunday at the home course for a solo round and was paired up with three singles with a 12:08 tee time to get out just ahead of a tournament. Paid $59.50 with a cart which may be slightly overpriced at this time but nothing too bad to complain about.

Course is in pretty good condition still, but certainly not as optimal as my last visit. The fairways have dried out a little bit since last time and you are more likely to catch some thin lies than on the previous trip. The tee boxes are mostly okay but hard to maintain I'm sure with all of the traffic here. Bunkers were also in okay shape after landing in two early and not again until the 17th hole. Rough cut just a bit higher than the fairways and healthy.

The greens were recently aerated and are still showing the effects of that in many areas of the greens. They are putting at medium speed at best, but medium-slow is a more common feeling around the greens. They do currently hold shots very well, but the lines are wobbly with the aeration and just a general lack of ball mark attention from players who see the punches and don't bother. That's a shame.

POP was fantastic for Rancho Park on a Sunday - we barely waited on a single hole the entire round and finished in four hours flat - how 'bout them apples? The usual three-deep wait on the 12th hole never materialized and we weren't pushed by any groups all afternoon ... Knollwood can learn a lot from this place!

Can definitely recommend Rancho right now but understand that it's not at its very best but should be in the coming weeks in terms of the greens. The fairways? That's up to nature.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...

Talk about a love-hate ... the honest truth is that I absolutely love the layout at Knollwood and you can absolutely tell within the routing how this used to be a very high-end private course in LA. It has such a unique feel to it and that's even better when it's as green and in such nice shape all around as now.

The fairways are very green and so playable (with the notable exception of the always tough to get enough light 6th hole). The coverage is outstanding to be fair and the tee boxes, bunkers and rough are also in very good shape.

Even the greens are very receptive to good shots and have nice coverage to them. There may be one or two too many ball marks from some lazy guests (and plenty of those guys obviously not raking their bunkers either), but for the most part the greens are very nice, roll medium fast speed and hold their lines well.

But the usual culprit at Knollwood is of course the POP, which is such a shame. Stacks of players lined up on every hole, did not manage to finish the front nine in less than three hours. Two of my playing partners up and quit. Others quit well before that. Front office said there was no marshall available. Well, maybe there should be?

Luckily the POP improved slightly on the back nine after around the 14th hole, but by that time the damage had been done. It's an absolute shame that such a great course is not taking the time to address its horrible POP. But clearly it's still full so no one will care until people stop showing up. And maybe that's just what they should do. All I know is that Rancho Park had this reputation before, made changes, and now I have not played a round there that took longer than five hours in at least a year. Have to start somewhere ...

Only saving grace is the twilight fee is just like $21 and you get a snack and drink at the turn with that as well. But please, KCC, it's such a fun layout and looks beautiful right now ... get your act together. Do us all the favor.
I was lucky enough yesterday to finally play the newly re-designed Rolling Hills Country Club, and it was quite a treat indeed. This completely renovated gem is the brainchild of David McLay Kidd of Bandon Dunes fame. It's a links style course that rolls up and down the hills, has immense bunker systems of the most aesthetic variety, generous fairways but immensely difficult and enormous green complexes and minimal forced carries so that the average golfer can still play the course and not get too depressed. Of course, even if you're good, managing those greens and playing all of the crazy angles required to get close to the pin, you're in for a superior challenge.

I have no doubt that once the course 'matures,' it will be one of the top 25 or better in the state of California. Yes, it's that good, and more importantly, unique. It's simply unlike any other course I've played here before, and I've played quite a few. Is it perfect right now though? No, not quite. The course is only six months old so you can tell that it's going to need a few years to be in optimum condition. The tee boxes are still very hard and it's often quite difficult to get your tee in the ground, and of course the grass itself is just a bit on the light side, if that's the best description I can come up with. The trees around the course (and there are not many - it's a very open design to maximize light for healthy fairways and greens) are still very young and barely play any role at all, but they will more and more as time goes by. The other factor that will likely bring this place down a few points in the future is the fact that there's a ton of unsold real estate on the property. Right now it's wide open, but within the coming years there will be more and more homes to take away from that beauty. But hey, that's the price you have to pay to create a brand new piece of Heaven.

As for the course itself, what a challenge! There are so few flat lies to be had that you have to work incredibly hard to get the ball on line, and then you have to deal with sloping mounds surrounding the already insane green complexes that birdie opportunities are really hard to come by. And there are also plenty of elevations to contend with all day. If you ever played the old design, there are very few areas of the course that will remind you of it. It's just an entirely new experience.

Fun fact: The green on 18 is so big that the sprinklers couldn't reach the center, so they put a bunker in the middle of it instead!

On that note, huge greens that are so difficult. You will not get out of this place without a three-putt or two unless you're the world's best putter. They are fast, glassy, and hold lines if you can ever settle on one. There are some crazy ones too, including the green on the par 5 10th hole that pretty much looks like a skate park in the middle of it. But yeah, you get the point - it's nuts. That's the course's main defense again as the fairways are pretty generous and good fun.

Fairway coverage was definitely very good, but again, you can tell it's 'new.' The rough is in great shape for sure, but there are any number of trouble areas off the fairways where you'll be in a real scrap to find your ball amongst the fescue. Off-target shots are real trouble here, but that's also why you get plenty of room to get it right. Bunkers are incredible in design, and playability is also very good right now, but again - needs some time to figure itself out. Most were great, but a few had some thin spots to them still.

In terms of facilities, the new club house is ridiculously ornate and cool. It's got all the amenities and is a great place to hang out after a round. The practice facilities are also top-notch. You start at the driving range which actually has a laser finder in each station! From there you flow down to the chipping area, which then funnels down to the awesome practice green it shares, and from there you're right at the first tee. It's got great flow for sure.

In terms of the course itself, it's a par 72 but there are only three par 3s and three par 5s, but all of them are very fun and challenging (except maybe the par 5 15th which I actually overshot in two). The signature hole is the par 4 16th which has a generous fairway but the green to the right side is guarded by a beautiful lake that's still 200+ yards out even if you bomb the drive pretty well (I was delighted to make par here). But in truth, there seem to be about 5-6 signature holes here, and they're only going to look better within a year or two.

In short, the new Rolling Hills Country Club is destination golf pure. It's easily now one of the top courses in LA County that I believe will soon be rivaling the LACCs and Rivieras of the world in terms of reputation. I just can't wait to play it again soon and many more times in the coming years as it's close to home and I have a few friends who happen to be members - too rich for my blood!

I also took pictures of EVERY hole so you can get an idea of how awesome the new facility and course is. Enjoy them. And if you get the chance, yeah, I don't need to tell you. And its' only going to get better.
Played an early morning round at CW last week and was absolutely thrilled with the organizational aspect of a course that often has plenty of trouble getting this right. Not only did we get out right on time with our carts at a great rate of just $31, but also finished in exactly four hours, which, if you've played here often, is nothing short of amazing. Long may it continue.

Unfortunately the course conditions did not match the results of the course management. The fairways are very dried out so 80% of the time you're going to find thin lies, and the rough is not much better. There's an occasional green patch out there to make you happy, but this track could definitely use some watering and greenery. The bunkers remain in good shape as usual though, so that's nice. Tee boxes are just okay.

Greens were a bumpy mess throughout the day. I believe they were aerated about a month ago but this past week they were in dire need of a roll. The outer edges especially had a very bizarre bumpiness to them that made putting an adventure to the extreme. Not enough people here fix their ball marks, either. Speeds were pretty slow overall but they did hold shots very well due to their sponginess. A far cry from the fast greens I'd found here in prior visits.

In terms of layout, the course is pretty flat and non-descript with the exception of its main teeth from holes six through nine. No par 5s on the front nine so keep that in mind. Back nine to me seems much easier than the front, but wouldn't you know it my only blowup hole was on the back. Go figure. Anyway, good marks to the staff and all for the behind the scenes business, but the course itself could definitely use some improvement right now.
Sunday round at Los Amigos, walking with a push cart and playing from the back tees. Course is still a little rough around the edges but could easily get back into good playing shape with just a little more precipitation.

Fairways are mostly dry with the occasional lush area, and the rough is essentially the same. Frustrating to land perfect drives and be met with thin, dried out lies. But on the flip side, the greens are in pretty good shape right now. Not overly fast but had good coverage, seem recovered from aeration and hold lines and shots well. And the sand is in great shape. Tee boxes are varied from good to needs a lot of TLC.

Pretty straightforward, parkland style front nine, then things get interesting on the back nine and finish with three very tough holes. Many a great score have been humbled on that treacherous finish. But we keep coming back because Los Amigos is still pretty fun, and even better when the POP on a Sunday is just around four and a half hours. Wasn't expecting that at all and was very pleasantly surprised by that.
Got out to Balboa this week in need of a confidence round and it did the trick. Got out there past noon so it was $21 + $5 for the push cart. Pretty great value if you ask me. We had some initial confusion at the tee box, but then went out after another group and moved well pretty much all day, finishing in just under four hours, which was great and unexpected.

Conditions are currently good enough to justify that greens fee without a doubt. No, the fairways aren't lush and green, but they're grass in most areas and a dull beige. There are some good areas to find, but the fairways could definitely use some more rain. Rough is just slightly longer but not generally a problem to play out of if you find your ball there.

Greens were a little slow and bumpy after recent aeration, but nothing too terrible. They actually looked in better shape than they rolled, but it was at least easy to keep balls on the greens for the most part. Still, any line was an adventure but I imagine they'll be better in the coming weeks. Sand was avoided all day but looked pretty good. Tee boxes fair at best.

No cart service anywhere to be found which is probably a good idea on a course where the ninth hole is pretty far away from the main snack shop by the starter. If there was a snack bar out there, I didn't notice it this time. Played as a single and was paired up with three interesting older gentlemen who were all very unique characters. It was a good time.

Layout at Balboa is of course nothing to write home about, but it's a very serviceable 18 holes of golf which is a great place to get out to when you need to try some new stuff or just let it fly and try to get your groove back. And at $21 walking it's a great deal.
Was out in Laughlin this past weekend for a work-related tournament at Mojave Resort. I was looking forward to playing this course again after having played this same event last year for the first time, and the course did not disappoint.

We started on the back nine for the sake of the tournament, but that routing is plenty fun as well. Both nines have a lot of fun, challenging holes to test your game. There are carries over water, strategic tee shots and grip it & rip it opportunities as well. Not a ton of elevation to worry about, but their bunkers are very prominent with a lot of mounding around them, and also on the greens. But yeah, really fun layout.

Conditions for the middle of the desert are very good. Fairways look great with that in consideration, and the rough is even more dense, but there are a lot of areas to get in trouble and lose balls into the desert waste. But on the fairways, you'll find yourself with plenty of nice lies, with the occasional thin one here or there.

Greens were really great. Ball marks at a very minimum, running fast and very tricky. We had the toughest pin placements set up for the scramble tournament so it was quite challenging to read them, but our team did a pretty good job of it, taking second place overall at 6-under. Pretty tough with their speed and firmness to hold shots on the greens though as I learned a few times. Line drives going to run forever.

Tee boxes were fine, not great but nothing too awful, either. Bunkers seemed to be in good working condition, but we didn't find any as the best shot between the four of us, so that was good. We had cart service as well many times, however I don't know if that's standard or was done extra since this was quite a big tournament.

My only regret, once again, is playing a scramble, which is good fun, but I really want to play this course on my own just to test myself and see how I would do. Maybe if I come back next year, or on another trip out there, going to try and get that done. Recommend it for sure.
Played De Bell on Saturday as some friends offered and I hadn't made any plans yet for that day. It was probably not a wise choice with my handicap faltering throughout March and the beginning of April. This course is just a nightmare if you're not pretty perfect with your target golf game on the day.

Conditions just okay right now at De Bell, although you begin to think it might be pretty good when you're driving up the hill to the entrance and see the lush fairway on #1. Be not fooled - much of the rest of the course is thin and dry, but there are definitely some good areas as well. Still, would have thought the rains would have had more of an impact here.

Tee boxes are in pretty rough shape and need some attention. The bunkers are definitely thin and could also get an upgrade. The greens? Well, there were some signs of the recent aerating on most of the greens - some stronger than others. Bumpy for sure and definitely not a great day for putting on them. Greens at De Bell are already wild enough, but they became almost more manageable with the slower pace, except that everything seemed to go offline pretty easily. Not ideal, but should have known after seeing the recent punch.

POP was not great, but that also had a lot to do with two golfers in our group who were more about having a good time (and teeing off three times in case of bad tee shots) than they were about a good score. But in fairness we did plenty of waiting on lots of holes either way, finishing up in just around five hours overall.

Cart service came around once - no beer, a gal with a golf cart with a tub filled with ice and soft drinks in the back of it. Interesting. And again, if you have never played De Bell before, just know that it's unlike most other courses you'll ever play in LA. You can go from a PW off the tee par 4, to a 3 wood par 3 in no time. It's wacky. And usually not fun if you're just slightly off. Small victory was playing one ball until the 13th hole. Yay.
Met up with Kassper7 on Friday for a 1pm round at Lakewood this past Friday. Plenty of time to finish up a leisurely round of golf, right? One would think, but at Lakewood, that would be incorrect. After going out 15 minutes late at 1:15, we waited three deep on numerous holes throughout the round and ended up coming in on the 18th green at 7:15pm. Six hours on a Friday afternoon! That's just TERRIBLE management. Stagger your tee times or get a few marshalls out there actually doing something. Awful.

Luckily the course was actually in decent shape compared to previous visits, or this review would be really bad. The greens were in pretty nice shape, rolling well and not too bumpy, but the clientele at LCC not famous for fixing ball marks. Still, they were okay.

Fairways had good coverage on some holes, mediocre on others, but nothing too terrible. The rough was definitely thin in a lot of areas so anything hit just off the fairways was a mixed bag of what you might find. Bunkers were just okay. Tee boxes on many of the holes were in poor shape but at least they were even.

I like the layout at Lakewood for sure, but it's really frustrating to find any rhythm whatsoever when you're waiting 10-15 minutes on just about every hole to tee off. Lakewood should contact the guys at Rancho Park to see exactly what they've done to fix their six-hour rounds. They could learn a lot from them and stop turning off guests.
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