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Went over to DeBell yesterday, 6/22, to meet kassper7 for 10:30 tee off. He and I were walking (a serious workout) and were paired with a couple of ladies in carts who were good company as well as gamers. Not sure why, but management was using the uphill 9th as the starting hole, reversing the nines on the day. When I refer to a hole by number hereafter, I am referring to it's normal position/sequence on the course — i.e I will still refer to the first hole we played as #ten. A number of things that I mentioned in my previous review as needing some improvement have improved, probably because of the C-9 break and some rain. Overall, and for what it is, I'd say the course is in pretty good shape right now. Areas like the par 4 fifth hole fairway, typically hard, dry and short on green grass, actually has a green fairway right now. Similarly, the second hole has had a chance to recover and is not nearly as chewed up as in my previous visit, although it is arguably the worst tee box. Tee boxes in general were mostly pretty level although most of them were devoid of significant grass coverage and a bit bumpy. Fairways had some anomalies, but were mainly green with good hitting surface. The rough, and off the fairways in general, can be a mixed-bag adventure that usually ends up punishing you. It helps define DeBell as a target golf course. Bring extra balls. Kikuyu could make chipping around the greens tricky but was usually cut appropriately. Bunkers were probably the weakest point. I was in three — one had workable sand while the other two were very firm with the ball sitting on top and difficult to apply the correct contact. Results could be short of escape or flying the green to the far side bunker— I did both. The greens were in very good shape, tricky and fast. Very few are relatively straight-forward and most have slope and/or levels to contend with.

Pace was fairly steady but sluggish, especially slow the first few holes of the back nine, and so ended up being a five hour round on the nose. While precautions are in place, the range and putting greens were open, I could find water in the course restrooms if not from the course fountains, and we were able to have beer on the deck afterwards. This place always chews my a** up and Tuesday was not exception, but I have to keep coming back periodically for the unique character of the course as well as the abuse. Definitely interesting and challenging golf with a nice clubhouse. If you are so inclined, and in it's current state, I recommend it.
Looking for tee times a few days before, the 18-hole courses were well booked so I played Roosevelt Friday, 6/12, booking a 4:10 tee time. While there were times available throughout the day, I elected to go out for the late afternoon experience. Once there, a sign indicated no walk-ups allowed and tee times had to be reservation based, but the sign also posted a phone number, so I think it would be possible to call while you are there and book if there was something available. Me as a single joining a foursome made five. This was only my second time at the course and I think it is a pretty cool 9-holes.

Overall conditions were good. Tee boxes were generally pretty level with good coverage. The notable exceptions were the sixth,which was getting more of workout, and the seventh, where the actual teeing grounds weren't being used and the makers were clustered off to the side of the white tee. The seventh was same situation when I played there months ago. The unused tee boxes look great, so maybe they were part of an upgrade that they giving time to mature. The fairways were nicely grown in and cut an appropriate length. Previous visit they were lush to the point of shaggy. The rough was grown in enough to teeter between punitive and playable depending on your spot. I avoided the bunkers so I can't comment beyond they looked OK. The areas around the greens were good length, but if you hit a kikuyu section, chipped against the grain, or the ball settled down a bit, it could be grabby and tricky. The greens themselves were a nice medium quick speed. With an abundance of trees,you get a bit more detritus and pine needles around, but the surface itself was good, true and with a minimum of pitch marks. Pace was a little sluggish overall but steady. The major exception being a backup of about four groups at a time at the sixth tee box — a narrow, downhill chute of a par four. You could see that wait coming from several holes away, so everyone was pretty chill about it when they got there. In fact, that vibe seems to be part of the character of the place. The four guys I was grouped with were relaxed and enjoyable company throughout the round.

No par-5s, so technically an executive course, there are only three par-3s and several holes you can pull out your driver if so inclined, it doesn't feel particularly executive. The contours, proximity to the Griffith park hillsides, and occasional urban and observatory views make the course much more interesting than the usual back-and-forth muni. I played a pretty mediocre round but had a really enjoyable overall experience. Because there is no range there and the putting green is still closed, the lesson I am finally taking to heart for these 9-holers is to stop somewhere on the way and get properly warmed up first — in this case over by Harding/Wilson. Warming up and figuring it out on the actual course in the space of nine holes is usually going to detract from the experience. My last two full swings were by far my best of the day, but a little late. That is a slap on me, not the course. After two rounds, I happen to think the course is a bit of a gem, but for most, it's certainly worth a one-time experience, at minimum.
Played Simi Hills with RGM2525 the other day, so I'm just going to add a snippet to his spot-on, concise review. (Can you tell we've been watching too much Downton Abbey?) Very nice conditions all around, pretty much as he described. He mentioned the greens were slower than he likes, but he plays at a high level and likes greens running around 12 — very quick. I'd guess they were running around at least 9-no-more-than-10 — still a pretty quick speed for the more average golfer and I liked them. So no contradiction to the previous report, just a clarification so you can set expectations accordingly. No cart service but otherwise good service all around. Nice course in good condition and got a good senior walking rate to boot. Glad we picked it for our match and definitely recommended.
Played a GK match as twosome teeing off at 11:00 on Thursday, 5/21. The short story is that the conditions overall were very nice. Tees were all flat and green, fairways had good coverage, nice lies and a good amount of rollout. Rough was well grown, had few bare spots and played anywhere from sticky to easy. Bunkers could be a touch firm under looser top layer, but generally played well. Green surrounds provided good chipping opportunities and the greens themselves were in nice shape, mostly running very true at a comfortably fast pace.

I was surprised to find that the range was available and the check-in was handled efficiently with barriers, etc. I like their bar, so was disappointed to not have access after the round, but expected. I only get to this course occasionally, but it's in as good a shape as I've seen it. Which is saying something since they keep it clean and feeling more like a private club than a public course. On top of it all, we got around in a touch under four hours, so pace was never an issue. Definitely recommended.
Trying to be brief. GK match teeing off at 10:50 as a twosome. Course is in nice shape overall. Teeing grounds all good; fairways nice with some runout to them; rough anything from underbrush to recoverable but overall well grown in; and green surrounds good length for short game. Bunkers were firm-ish and a touch damp to greater or lesser degrees and bit tougher to play, with some dry and more playable. There was grass sprouting in some, so upkeep was a little behind the curve. I'd say the greens were medium quick on average, which wasn't a bad speed but not near the pace customarily found here. Some were a little bumpy early on, but most tracked well enough.

Usual precautions, no cart service and no water stations, but course bathrooms were open. About a five hour round, started out grey with an inconsistent one-club breeze most of the time and nice clearing and sun for the last few holes. Not peak RR, but recommended.
I was out Thursday 5/7 with a buddy, joining another twosome, for a 2:40 start on a high 80's warm day. GDR just did a good write up only a couple of days before so this is supplemental. Overall very nice conditions. Playing the whites, consistently good coverage on the tees, most nice and flat with a couple that were a bit less so. Fairways here are never thick or cushy, but were well covered, generally green with a nice hitting surface and good rollout. Rough varied from natural waste and scrub brush areas to thick, green patches. With the extended fringes here, a lot of tight rollup area to putt from off the green. I actually saw enough divots in the extended aprons to wonder who is actually stupid enough to be wedging off that surface vs. putting? I was in a few bunkers, managed to miss any footprints and they played fine. They weren't difficult to get reasonably smooth with your foot and it seems most were cleaning up after themselves. The greens were in nice shape and running pretty quick. They didn't cross the line into scary or yippy quick, which I thought was good thing. Given the slopes and challenges of the greens, I thought the speed was spicy but appropriate. As an aside, the greens here are interesting and challenging, especially with the extended aprons. Between the contours of the greens and the overall slope of the valley I find the first few greens are particularly difficult because there is an almost funhouse mirror vertigo effect trying to read them. It also puts something extra into trying to land and hold your approach shot as well.

Check-in was straight forward at the desk in the clubhouse, the range was available and, not sure if the practice green was formally open but, there were some holes without the little flags and a couple of people were putting. I elected to putt at a tee I stuck into the ground. The course was continuously busy at a pace a little shy of five hours without really feeling particularly sluggish. Temps were warm but there was a light breeze through most of the round that made it tolerable, and it got cooler and still as the sun went down. No water available on the course but the cart girl came around regularly. Nice strategic course in optimal shape that can bite you in the butt. Definitely recommended.
Went over this afternoon as a single. Short story is that the greens have been punched with larger holes and sanded. Sand seems to have mainly dissipated, but bumpy, shaggy and slow. Like most places that haven't had a mowing with all the rain, the fairways are pretty thick also. Not ideal conditions, but I'm digging the rain for the longer term benefits.
Saturday, 3/14, I was on the West side for an event that I found cancelled when I got there, so headed over to revisit Penmar. They are doing a bunch of remodeling, mainly of the food service area, so the main entrance is roped off and you enter through an access gate in the fence to the right of the building. I was matched up with an easy going twosome already on the tee and teed off directly. On the course, things were generally wet, lush and actually in pretty good shape. The teeing grounds are generally level but a little beat up so, while quite serviceable, I would say they are the one aspect that is a little worse for wear relative to the rest of the course. Coverage on the fairways was very good but with the relative lushness and wet, there was minimal rollout. While rare, their were isolated puddles to be found in some low spots. Rough was pretty consistently full and could be punitive, especially with the wetness, but you could get a bit lucky where the ball set more on top. Missed the bunkers and can't comment there. The greens, while littered with worm castings and other small bits, were tight and firm and running about as quick as I've seen them there. I remember years ago when they were always fuzzy and slow and this is a complete change from those days.

We played through a brief, misty shower for a hole or so in the middle of the round, but the precipitation mostly held off. One advantage of the weather was no pace of play issue on a course that I have rarely, if ever, seen quite as quiet. It's a mellow nine that is usually in very good shape for the amount of traffic it gets. Recommended if you are in the area, but more typically, expect a slower pace.
Along with a buddy, we had our first experience at Roosevelt, Friday, 3/6, teeing off around 3:25. I was taken by the vibe of the place and thought it was very cool, but first the conditions. Playing from the blacks, the teeing grounds had good coverage and were pretty level overall. Exceptions would be a touch of forward slope to the sixth teeing grounds, and the markers were grouped forward of the regular teeing areas on the seventh. No complaints, really. The fairways were very interesting. At a time of year where thin, tighter lies and rollout seem to be the norm, these fairways were well grown in and shaggy — lush compared to anything I've seen lately. Really almost more like playable rough than fairways, which is not really a complaint. The course isn't overly long, so rollout isn't necessary, and the ball generally sat up on these thicker, unkempt fairways, so the lies were fine. The rough was a step thicker and could vary from playable to a bit punitive, and there are wooded and dirt areas, and drop-offs that could enter into play with misguided shots. I was in one bunker, which was a riot of footprints that my ball managed to avoid for a decent lie. But the sand was plentiful, a nice, beach-y consistency, and good to hit out of. Green surrounds could verge on lumpy at times, discouraging putting from just off the green but more often was a good lie from which to chip. Greens themselves were in good shape with a scattering of residual marks and a reasonable minimum of outright pitch marks. A bit slower than I've seen most places lately, they ran medium, occasionally on the sticky side, but nothing that required excessive adjustment. The only real warm up areas are the practice putting green for putts and the first tee for swinging clubs. The practice green matched up with the course. The layout definitely presents some challenging moments, including blind shots, and playing it a second time with course knowledge will make it more fun. I enjoyed it.

While the course conditions were quite reasonable, if nothing special, I thought the overall vibe was. The layout is visually interesting, ensconced into Griffith park with a deceptively remote feel. An interesting mix of tight and wide holes, rolling contours and elevation changes, and an abundance of wildlife that included deer and coyotes, all of which belie its actual, immediate proximity to urban Los Angeles. The view of Griffith Observatory from the eighth tee that is framed by the tree-line fairway is one of the cooler and most unexpected things I've seen on a golf course — iconic and actually a bit thrilling. I would go back for that alone. Being an inexpensive nine-holer, I get a sense of an unpretentious, eclectic, urban mix of clientele which I thought very cool. You may find a few more personal ticks and variable attire, but also a lack of attitude. The clubhouse is also tidy in it's mid-century simplicity. A boxy structure, the flat roof covers an office and bar/snack shop facility which are separated by a breezeway-style patio with some sectional lounge-style seating. That the bar/snack shop area has doors that open out to the breezeway give it a nice sense of openness, extending and multiplying the relatively modest space. There is also a nearby, uncovered area with picnic-style tables and tree trunk section seating. For me something about the Griffith Park courses has always hearkened back to earlier time in LA's history that has a certain nostalgia and even romance to it. Maybe, while golfing there, I sense ghosts on the course wearing fedoras and peak caps? Ok, you may check this place out and wonder why anyone would make any kind of fuss about it at all. Check it off your list and move on. I, for one, will be back.
Out Saturday 2/29, for a 10:58 start with Kviser for our GK Cup match, paired up with another twosome — all playing the whites. I though the overall conditions were fine. Except for the 10th, most teeing grounds here are pretty level with coverage. A few were extra hard for tee insertion and at least one was soggy. There is now generally more separation between the respective tees (black, blue, white), with newer white ones built forward of, and augmenting the previously existing tee boxes on a number of holes. Whites are a bit more playable now. Fairways were in good shape for winter and I don't recall any real issues with my lies or the coverage overall. Of course, a bit more rollout now. There are some bare and/or rocky areas in the rough, but mostly there is grass that was anything from almost fairway-like, to some deeper, more penalizing stuff. On average it wasn't too costly. I was only in one fairway bunker, reasonably groomed and playable, albeit with some small stones scattered about. Green-side areas were usually pretty decent for chipping, sometimes tight, and less often a bit clumpy. The greens themselves were in good shape, firm, and running a medium quick with a minimum of ball marks.

Weather was pretty nice with the breeze flirting with a two club bump at points, but more often more like one. Pace was on the slow but steady side at around five hours. Probably one of the better LA City courses with regards to the consistency of conditions, I recommend it.
Played OQ Friday, 2/21 with FirstFlightFX-101 (Chuck) for a GK Cup match. Our tee off was for 1:08 but there were issues with a serious cart shortage, meaning a fair number of people hanging around the range/practice green area waiting for cart availability and getting shuttled up and down the hill. Didn't check the time but guess we actually teed off around 1:30. If Chuck was tracking this, he can put it in his write up.

The course itself was in nice shape and I really have no issues there. Tees were level with appropriate coverage, fairways were good winter coverage with tight but suitable hitting surface and more rollout than I personally have played with there. Rough was generally greened up, not overly penal next to the fairways and a little fuller and consistant around the greens. I was in too many bunkers today and while they were firm enough to barely need a rake, they were clean, the ball sat up on the surface and I thought they were reasonably playable — an improvement over some I've seen here in the past. I thought the greens were pretty clean, and ran nicely on the quick but not too fast side. As I tend to forget, the practice putting green runs very quick and it can take a while to adjust down to the slower speed out on the course.

We started out as a foursome with a young couple joining us on the first tee, but by their choice and for their comfort, they dropped back to play as twosome after the first hole. She was obviously a player and he was very much a newbie under her wing. It was a busy day out there and the overall pace was steady but sluggish, with my estimate of something over 4.5–4.75 hours. That plus the cart delays meant we rushed through the last couple of holes when the group ahead dropped out after 16, and we finished out the 18th hole in the dark. Not a great way to end but otherwise love having the excuse to get out there and play one of my favorite courses.
Went over to DeBell as a single this Sunday morning, 2/16, using the GK voucher for a 10:28, teeing off with another single. The greens throughout the course were in pretty good shape: fairly quick, generally smooth, firm with minimal marks. Other aspects of the course were mixed with the back nine conditions overall pretty decent while much of the front nine worse for wear. While teeing grounds throughout were pretty level, they were a mix of mainly sandy dirt and, to a lesser degree, grass patches. Sometimes that grass was thin and the overall surface was relatively even, other times the grass patches were lumpy relative to the sandy dirt and felt less stable under foot when taking a stance. I would say the majority of the holes on the front nine were chewed up from the tees through the tight fairways, with the greenside grass lumpy and frequently offering difficult lies. The eighth and ninth holes were OK, and the back nine better as to the general shape of the fairways and green side grass. The net impression I came away with was that the portions of the course that are beat up need a time out and more water than they probably will get. The course is still playable and the majority of it is in decent or good shape. The minority that needs TLC is still significant, and it really needs that TLC.

The single I was paired with was a pleasant older gent, the course was busy to the tune of a 4.75 hr round and, walking the course, I came away enjoyably worn out. I actually scored better early though the more beat up holes and took the beating on the nicer back nine. I like this course occasionally for the nasty little challenge it can be, and I want to support it. But after today, I have to be honest and say I'll be taking out of the rotation for a while.
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