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Sunday round at El Dorado with a buddy and we all walked after being paired with another single. We played from the back (blue) tees with a 9am tee time that I found two days before. It seems the best way to find tee times is now this way instead of a week or nine days in advance.

Turned out to be a gorgeous early winter day as the sun shined brightly throughout with temperatures getting well into the 70s by midday. Could not ask for better weather. The course did its best to keep up with all the good cheer, but struggled in a few areas, mostly in terms of muddied fairways in lots of areas and a few too many burned out spots that didn't keep in line with the rest of the course conditions. The rough was a bit unruly but nothing that proved too difficult to find or hit a ball.

Bunkers were in good shape for the most part with rakes provided but still plenty of footprints everywhere as golfers slowly come around again to their jobs. Tee boxes were also on the 'just okay' side but always level and nothing awful to write home about. The saving grace were the very nice greens which were running quite speedily and holding shots very well. There are some subtle breaks and slopes at El Do which can make a few of the greens a bit tricky, but nothing so gimmicky that you need to map it out with a compass before making your stroke. In summary, the greens are quite nice.

For a busy Sunday it was disappointing to not see any cart service all afternoon, nor was the snack shop open near the 3rd and 15th tee boxes, and even the snack stand at the turn that usually is open selling brats and hot dogs was closed. What gives? I assume it's a personnel issue with labor currently in short supply, but it's getting to the point now where you really have to BYOB everything you may need on the course since there's no guarantee any other facilities will be open.

POP was very good and we did barely any waiting all day, nor were we ever pushed by the group behind us. That always makes for a pleasant afternoon. All in all, it's always a good time at El Dorado but I hope they figure out how to keep more of the amenities open on busy weekends and get the fairways back in order.
Short review for today's round at Woodley Lakes. First off, make sure to eat and bring drinks because the cafe is completely shut down and there is no cart service to be found. You're on your own! When the round finished, there was a food truck near the starter's office so that was good, but it was not there for the 8am tee time.

Course conditions are about what you would expect at Woodley this time of year, but the greens were actually running a little nicer than I expected. They were slow in the morning with all the dew, but got much quicker as the day warmed up nicely. They are in quite good shape and rolling true, but of course there's not much to worry about on Woodley greens as they're about as basic and flat for the most part as you'll find anywhere.

Fairways are in decent to good shape depending on the hole, but you're definitely going to find some thin lies out there. The rough is not penal and in fact can be better for chipping than the thin areas around the greens. I avoided every single bunker today so I can't be too sure of their quality but did not hear any complaints from my friends. Tee boxes beat up as one would expect but flat and level.

Not many layouts more basic and up-front than Woodley Lakes so it's a great place to really try some new things out or just work on getting some aspects of your game back. You're never going to WOW anyone by bringing them here, but it's a solid course that has enough length (we played the blue tees) to keep you honest.
Played at Fullerton GC for the first time ever this weekend with my monthly golf group and I found it to be quite a unique experience. This is an executive course with tons of layout character, but less-than-optimal conditions prevent it from being a true 'little gem.'

Executive courses that I've played in the area, such as my home course of Westchester, or Westlake for example, tend to be pretty flat, pretty benign and simply serviceable golf in many respects. Fullerton throws those 'short course' rules out the window. It only has two par 5s but they're anything but standard issue. There is a section with four par 3s in a row. There are some significant elevations and doglegs that make this layout seem more quirky country club than relaxed executive course. I just found it be quite fun.

Unfortunately the current course conditions don't really add to that potential since you're going to find lots of thin and dirt areas on the course, and some vagabond rough or penalty areas that are far from player friendly. Bunkers were actually in pretty decent shape but the tee boxes were definitely on the poor side (we played from the blue tees). The greens were the highlight without a doubt, running very nicely and deceptively quick. They stand out like sore thumbs in comparison to the rest of the course and really saved the day in many ways.

POP was very good for us as we had four groups for the day and started with a 9am tee time. Minimal waiting on only a few holes and it was one of our groups ahead of us so it was no problem. We also had cart service a few times which was nice on a busy Saturday, but there's also a very convenient little coffee shop that has everything you need adjacent to the starter's office. Golf carts are a little on the older, run-down side, but get the job done.

All in all I had a very fine little experience at Fullerton if mostly for the joy of an interesting and fun short-course layout. To me, the place has character, and if it had the conditions to back it up, I would have no issue spending my money or the time it takes to get there. I hope they give it a nice overhaul sometime soon.
Out in Phoenix this past week for a few days of work so made it out to Whirlwind for the second time just after recent re-seeding that prompted a CPO directive, however I was paired with an older gentleman who had COPD so he got a medical exemption and we were allowed to drive on the fairways which was nice.

CPO is always a POP killer, but it was especially bad with the group in front of us who were simply snail's pace on the greens especially. It was very frustrating, and no marshal did anything about it. I would not have cared had I not booked a work meeting later in that afternoon with ample time, but it got a little tense near the end needing time to go back to the hotel to get ready ... but I digress.

The course has just been re-seeded so it was quite wild to see the fairways actually much thicker than the rough. I think that was a first for me. They were also very heavily watered so at least on the front nine there was absolutely no roll on any shots, but we played the silver tees so it wasn't that penal. Coverage was of course very good but it's not as fun when you hit fairways and have to play rough shots.

Greens were in nice condition but ran quite slow - another byproduct of the re-seeding or overall maintenance I suspect. They were also a bit on the watered-down side so it took a while to get up to the pace of the greens, and then later in the afternoon they sped up accordingly.

Sand in the bunkers was actually quite nice and I made some very good bunker shots all afternoon that attest to that. Tee boxes were also in good shape and level after the latest work done on the course.

It's a nice facility (with a nice driving range), a fun layout and I will enjoy returning again in the future when the course is in optimal shape. I just hope I don't get out there on the same day as the group in front of us again that made it a five-hour round. Marshals - get on that.
Played out at Santa Anita this past weekend and found the course to be in very playable, good condition with the greens being the highlight. We both walked but I got a push cart and after forgetting to add some range balls on my credit card when paying, the starter was kind enough to put it 'on the house.'

It was postcard weather out there and we joined a fun twosome with a 10:22 tee time.

Fairways at Santa Anita can always be a little suspect, but this time around they were in better than average shape but definitely still some thin areas out there that make hitting clean shots an adventure. There are also lots of areas that are devoid of any grass at all, like the area right of the green on the 6th hole green where any shots are basically hitting up a steep wall from a dirt patch. But overall it's pretty good.

Tee boxes definitely on the beat-up side but mostly flat and functional. I found the sand in the bunkers to be in pretty good shape but varied from hole to hole. And of course, the greens. With the exception of one or two, they were running very nicely with good coverage and medium-fast speeds, holding shots and their lines pretty well.

POP was pretty good with never more than 3-4 minutes waiting and mostly on the par 3 holes of course. We ran at a pretty good, steady pace all afternoon. In terms of amenities, no cart service all afternoon but a very convenient little snack shop window at the turn that gets you moving to the back nine very efficiently.

The layout at Santa Anita is quite good and a classic truth be told as I believe it was designed by Bell, but don't quote me on that. For some strange reason this is one of those courses that I can simply never put down a good score on the scorecard, and Saturday was no exception. But you should go try it out and do better. It's worth the visit.
I was fortunate enough to get an awesome invite to Lakeside Golf Club this week and it was everything that I thought it would be. This classic LA private club has been around since the 1920s and boasts members from its heyday like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope, along with many of today's biggest stars, but thankfully I didn't see any of them when I was out on the course as it likely would have made it much tougher to take pictures.

The course is currently 'walking only' which was fine with me as it allowed more time to take in the beauty of the course. They recently re-seeded the rough all around the property which is why carts are not allowed at this time. But clearly they know what they're doing because Lakeside is in pretty pristine condition and every hole was a joy to play, although it's a quirky scorecard and layout with a par 70 and eight par 4s on the back nine. In fact, the only par 5s are the 2nd and 4th holes, then you'll not see another for the rest of the day.

The course is not overly long, but plays longer than the yardage because there are so many hilly undulations in the fairways and strategically placed trees and bunkers that really squeeze your landing areas. Once you do get onto the greens, they're in perfect condition and roll super fast. Nothing gimmicky about them at all, just very subtle lines and breaks and the speed will really take anything not struck perfectly right past the hole. It's also very difficult to land the greens unless your approaches are near perfect.

Conditions are superb all around as one would expect. Thick, lush rough bordering perfectly mowed down fairways, but a one-rating-point knock for a lot of divots that have been left out there because they will be re-seeding the fairways in the next week or two so they're letting them heal on their own that this time. The bunkers are also in perfect shape with ample sand that makes playing sand shots quite fun. The tee boxes would probably be the only aspect not garnering a 9 or 10 in the ratings since they were generally very good and of course flat but had slight damage as you will see in some of the photos.

I also got to do a tour of the clubhouse and dining areas and it's really very old school and not ostentatious at all which was what I was expecting. We had drinks after in the lounge and everyone seemed to be quite nice and inviting. They also pour very generously!

So very thankful to get to check this destination course off the bucket list and appreciative of my old friend that put the date together. I always say that I would never be interested in joining a country club and having to play the same course every time out, but I think with Lakeside I would potentially make an exception! Now I just have to work out that tricky cash problem!
Late review but played Skylinks this past week and found the course still not in optimal shape compared to when it's at its best, but still a fine golf experience overall.

The fairways are very playable albeit a little thinner than normal, but you're not going to have too many bad lies. Greens were in good shape, rolling medium-fast and holding shots well. Rough was manageable and bunkers were perhaps a little thin but wasn't in too many to be too upset about it. Tee boxes all in good, workable shape.

POP was slower than expected with a 1:30 start time and we came in on 18 practically with the last light of the day. I think at this point you can't really be safe for 'twilight' starting any later than 1pm, depending on the course of course. Can't recall the price but it was in line with the experience you have at this fun track.
Oak Quarry is always a treat, even when it's in its final days before reseeding and overall course maintenance. I was expecting a much more desolate looking landscape out there ahead of all the work being done this week, but instead found a course that was still in pretty fine shape and far more lush and playable than I was expecting.

Many of us assumed the greens would be rock hard and super difficult to play, but instead they ran really nice and were far more spongey and receptive than anticipated. I found plenty of good lies in the fairways (of course there were some thin ones as well, especially in the rough), and was surprised to see so many good and well-stocked bunkers throughout the course. To put it succinctly - even on a supposed 'bad day,' Oak Quarry still provided one of the finer golf experiences you're going to find in SoCal.

The new routing continues to prove its value with a wonderful opening hole and a truly challenging and fitting closing hole now that they've pushed the former 1st hole to 3rd. It absolutely makes the course a better journey throughout the day, and of course the routing and uniqueness of all the holes is truly something every golfer should experience.

It was a fairly long day due to a bit of a late start and some slow-moving groups ahead of us, but when you're in an arena like this one, it does take the edge off waiting somewhat. I just think that Oak Quarry remains one of the better options in SoCal for a truly unique outing and you simply won't be disappointed in a pure golf sense ever.

When the course is back in all its glory very soon, you owe it to yourself to go. And then go back again.
Played a Friday twilight round at Encino and found the course to be in good, not great late season shape. Everything was more or less fine, but of course you can nitpick with a lot of the small details, but you don't because you're paying $25 for a solid round of golf.

They have moved the starter's office back indoors which is a nice change, and now you get your carts over at the cart barn near the 18th green instead of them being stacked near the old starter's hut. I was paired with three other singles and we had a nice afternoon.

Fairways are of course a little on the dry side and you're going to get some thin lies, but for the most part the course is playable and very straightforward. The bunkers were thin and most unraked, while the tee boxes were also a bit beat up but easy to find a flat surface (easy considering there's not an elevation on this course). Rough varied but mostly of the thin variety with a few overly-lush sections where nature's been doing its thing.

The greens were running medium-fast speed and once again proving better than this course's usual (and often times unfounded) reputation. It's not a difficult course by any means with minimal danger and length being its main defense, but if conditions are good then it's even more scoreable and fun to play. There isn't much trick to any of the greens but you'll still have to work at getting the varying speeds down even if you're not too worried about slopes or tiers. It's all quite gettable.

Encino remains a great option to get your swing back and still have a good time while building back your confidence in your game.
My friend and I had an afternoon golf fandango yesterday at Ironwood's south course with the entire property to ourselves with the exception of maybe 7-10 people we saw the entire afternoon. We hopped on at around 1:30 pm and basically went around two loops until the end of the day.

The course is of course in late season/pre-overseeding shape but still quite playable and the greens are still in fantastic shape, running very fast and true. The fairways appear a little on the browner side with patches of lush still popping up here and there, but every lie was still pretty much perfect to hit from and there were very few thin or awkward lies.

Bunkers were a little more thin than the last time I was out here which made them more difficult to gauge along the way, while the tee boxes (and markers) were a bit haphazard, again everything being subject to closure very soon. In fact, the North course is currently closed and in the middle of re-seeding.

The course plays much longer than its yardage book indicates but it's not as punishing as some of the other higher-elevation desert courses in the area. Most fairway are quite ample and inviting, so good scores are very possible if you're hitting your ball straight.

The driving range was only half open but it was more than enough for our needs on short notice, while the carts are in good shape but do not have any type of GPS system. POP? As you can guess, we basically finished our first 18 in just over two hours so that's was pretty amazing. Looking forward to coming back out here again in November when the course is back in all its glory.
Played a Sunday round at Shadow Ridge this weekend just ahead of their annual re-seeding and the course was in pretty darn good shape despite the upcoming closure. Our threesome had a 10:40am tee time and we rode carts playing the green tees - greens fee a very good $90 per person. That's a great rate for a course of this quality.

Of course now in October you're never going to find the super green and lush fairways that you'll discover here during the prime-time winter months, but you're not going to have any troubles getting good lies all day long and plenty of decent rollout since they're a little firmer than normal. The rough is in good shape, as are the bunkers (which have rakes), and the tee boxes are fine, but again, not as perfect as you'll find in a few months.

The greens at Shadow Ridge were running really nicely and they're not gimmicky or tricked out at all. You'll have to put some thought into them, but nothing is going to make you question who signed off on these things? There were a few areas that were pretty thin and visually less appealing, but nothing that seemed to affect the roll too much at all. They also seemed a little faster than usual since they're normally a touch off the pace here.

Great practice area here at Shadow Ridge and the service is exceptional. We had cart service out on the course 2-3x on a very hot day, so that was nice. Some of the water stations were finally operational again, and the carts have a pretty rudimentary GPS system on them that gets the job done. POP was a little slower than usual as we had two very slow groups in front our threesome, but we managed to finish still in around 4.5 hours, maybe just a touch longer.

Super fun layout here and remains one of the best in the area. They'll be shut down for a spell but I've no doubt we'll be back here again in November for our next trip out and it will be in super shape as usual.
Played at Meadowlark on Sunday with my monthly golf group and we got a 'deal' with carts, range balls and the greens fee at $69. With the current conditions here that's pushing the boundary of 'fair' pricing, but it comes pretty close with those little extras. It's not bad there right now, it's just certainly not great.

Fairways have many areas of disrepair and thin lies, but you'll also find a decent amount of lush and green. I would say it's about a 50-50 split. The tee boxes are definitely chewed up on a lot of the holes and the bunkers seemed okay but saw some that were still quite wet and heavy. The rough was fine and the greens were actually in pretty darn good, fast shape. There are a lot of tiny, yet crowned greens here so don't let the short yardage on the card fool you.

The layout is still pretty fun and has a few more elevations than you would expect for a course in Huntington Beach. It's still a course you can get easily frustrated on though with some funky pin placements and a few very tricky greens (like the two-tiered 9th with the pin right on the edge). Still, it's pretty fun if you can get past the little things.

The driving range is in dire need of an upgrade, as are the carts, but who knows how long that will take to happen. I don't mind coming down to this track once or twice a year to see how it develops, or stagnates. But we had a good time and if you can get on for around $50 or less (with none of the frills we got), then it's worth it.
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