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Father's Day round out at Whittier Narrows today under the assumption it would be fairly wide open with so many slots available online. It started out that way but we eventually caught up to some slow groups and it was a slog the rest of the day. However, the twosome in front of us agreed to join us at the 4th hole and we had a great time with them.

Rode the blue tees and my back is sore from all the 4x4 action around the course. There are bumps everywhere - rough or fairway, and it takes a toll on your body getting from one shot to the next! There are some sections with decent grass in the fairways, but it's mostly thin, hard and difficult to make clean contact. The rough is not better.

Tee boxes are a bit of a mess from start to finish. They're bare, they're uneven, and they need some immediate attention. The bunkers? Also not great. Very thin and some were more like caked mud with some standing water in a few. Not ideal conditions whatsoever.

The saving grace? Well, the greens are okay. They're a bit bumpy, a bit inconsistent and a bit slow - but they're the best part of the course without a doubt. I'm surprised the course rating is so high for Whittier Narrows, but there is definitely some length to contend with when playing from the blue tees. But it's pretty straight ahead and won't throw you many curve balls.

I won't be rushing back anytime soon, but it's a decent option if you're in the area and want to get in some reps with every club in your bag.
Got the invite to play a new private course for the first time last Friday, so of course there would be no turning the offer to play Woodland Hills CC down. A friend of a friend joined the club recently, and actually got a pretty darn good deal to join - won't go into details but look into it.

Heard some interesting stories about the layout here and did some investigating before the round, and all of it was true. While there are a few really great holes here in the more traditional sense of course design, the layout is chock full of quirky par 3s, crazy narrow driving lanes, and a number of blind shots in both directions of elevation. There are some holes where the tips (6300 yards) play from tee boxes literally right next to opposing greens. On the third hole, you have to wait for the people on the fifth hole to tee off if you want to keep your head attached. This place gets a little wild.

But the conditions are pretty great, so you have to really be forgiving on the weirdness. And speaking of weirdness, did I mention there's no real driving range, but a little triangle tucked between the 10th and 18th holes where you can hit anything up to a pitching wedge? Fabulous. But yes, the conditions. Superb. Some of the fastest greens I've seen in a long time, and they were incredibly difficult to control on any downhill slopes, of which of course there are many. Almost all of them, actually.

Fairways and rough in really great shape. Some super lush, green vistas to see when you're in the heart of the course, but it feels a bit like an obscure Muni when playing the bizarre and isolated holes 6 and 7. But overall it's got country club written all over it. Bunkers were filled with lovely white sand and played perfectly. Tee boxes? A bit weird in terms of design, but conditions were fine enough. Many of the tee boxes are tucked away into tight quarters and require paying attention when turning corners if your friends are hitting away. Stay alert!

The routing can also be a bit confusing I would guess if not playing with a member, but luckily we had that covered. Would I come back? I definitely plan on it. Course knowledge is a must here. You absolutely must be committed to your shot here. There are some crazy tight angles to work here so scores can get away from you very quickly. Then add in those super fast greens and you have your work cut out for you in a big way.

Will definitely head back when I can. Worth a few more visits despite the wackiness. And there were only three pictures of this place so I took some from all 18 to get an idea of its unique nature.
Fun Saturday round at La Mirada today with Kassper7 and another friend. We were paired with a fun twosome and moved pretty well throughout the day despite being a fivesome, and also around a fifteen minute delay before teeing off.

My most recent memories of La Mirada were of dried out fairways on the high ground, and aquatic wastelands in the low-lying areas like holes 6 and 16. This place drains terribly and often the conditions suffer because of it. But today was definitely a much better experience.

If current conditions are not the best I've ever played here, then they're very close to it. Fairways have plenty of lush areas with the occasional thin spot to be found somewhere on just about every hole. Rough is not penal, but the tee boxes are just in okay shape overall. Bunkers fluctuated from hole to hole, but some were quite thin and required a chip out over a sand shot. And yes, the greens were in good shape. Not great, but quite good compared to trips past. Certainly not fast, but pretty well maintained if not just a bit lumpy and requiring a bit of a press.

Always enjoy the up and down layout at La Mirada and find it quite fun and relatively challenging. When the conditions are good and the round doesn't take you six hours (which it did not today), this is a super fun place to play. Glad to have come back.
Played a Saturday round with a large group of guys that play monthly, but once a year put on a big event that Los Verdes got the call for this year. We played the white tees and rode with five groups in total starting at 9am.

Great shape right now on the always-tough Los Verdes greens. Super fast, very true and great coverage. Lines are tough to read and everything breaks towards the ocean, except when it actually looks like it's going to break towards the ocean and it goes the other direction just to mess with you. But seriously, very nice shape on the greens.

Fairways and rough are also in pretty good shape compared to visits over the past years. I was only in a few bunkers but they were good to go. Tee boxes were in okay shape as well. POP was a non-issue thanks to the fact that we had our big, fun group, but when all was said and done, it was your typical weekend six-hour round. Would have driven me crazy on any other day, but on this day it was NBD.

Unfortunately the weather was pretty gray all day so the first-timers really missed out on this course's main selling point - the ocean views of this poorer-man's Sandpiper. However, when the sky cleared up around the 14th hole, we did see some spouting whales in the Pacific from the 16th fairway. Pretty epic.
Flex Tour Friday twilight round at Rancho Park and conditions remain largely unchanged since my last visit there a few weeks ago, with a few possible exceptions. Paid $40 to walk with a push cart. POP was actually pretty good despite feeling much longer.

Fairways, rough, bunkers and tee boxes are all in decent to good shape right now, with the weakest aspect being the tee boxes. So much traffic here must make it impossible to keep them sharp, but it must be said if we're having an honest assessment.

Unfortunately the greens currently are very spongy and bumpy. You really had a to give uphill putts a good whip to get them close. At the very least they hold shots well, but I've seen them in far better shape here. Seems like they could also use a bit of a roll.

I can still confidently recommend Ranch Park, but keep your expectations in check right now.
Played our GK Cup match on Sunday at Mile Square and were treated to a course that is in nice shape thanks to all the recent rains and a fun, yet fairly straightforward layout. Blue tees play to 6700 yards so it's definitely got a lot of long par 4s to challenge you. Fairways are mostly pretty wide open, but there are healthy trees lining most every hole and a few water features on the back nine to contend with on the day.

FYI, if you're one of those players that likes to rent a push cart, well, they have very old-timey pull carts here with the minimalist of frills that you can get for $10 and they reimburse you $5 after you bring back the handle after your round.

Right now the fairways and rough are in nice shape with good to lush coverage in most all areas. A few thin spots here and there but mostly good times ahead. Bunkers had nice sand in them but it was made tough by the moist conditions following the morning dew that never seemed to burn off until the end. Tee boxes were flat but a little beat up and in need of some minor attention.

The greens were a spotty mix of colors but actually held shots nicely and rolled pretty true all day. They were medium to medium-fast speed all throughout the round, but are not so tricked out that it creates any major problems. Some ball marks to deal with for sure, but no major complaints.

No cart service all day which was a bit strange for a busy Sunday, but the POP was great as we found a sweet spot with the 7:07 tee time and never really waited throughout the entire round, nor were we dutifully pushed hard by any of the groups behind us. Really worked out great in that respect, probably finishing in right around 4-4.5 hours. Ideal pace.

Shame to hear that they'll be closing one of the two 18s at Mile Square some time this or next year, but I understand that it'll be the Players closing its doors, so we'll still have access to this very nice Classic 18 for many years to come.
Got a Memorial Day deal late on Saturday for a holiday round at Brookside #1 - returning for the first time since my only time way back in 2014. I did not remember much about this long and challenging course, but I knew it was going to be a rough day out if the clubs weren't along for the ride. We played from the blue tees with cart for $49 each with a 7:05am tee time.

The much anticipated holiday on-course gridlock fortunately never developed. My threesome was paired with a very cool duo of brothers and the five of us had a pretty great day with the sun shining finally and beautiful course conditions from tee to green. We never waited on a single hole after the first two or three so it was fantastic in that regard.

Greens were in great shape and running as fast and true as I have seen any LA Muni tracks in quite some time. Shots held up well for the early part of the day, but some of the later greens had some ball mark damage after softening up and getting pelted all morning. But overall, really in great shape.

I was surprised as well at how nice and lush the fairways were out there. Just a shade below solid private country club level, but still so rewarding to hit from all day. Rough was not too penal at all and the tee boxes and bunkers were also in good shape. It was tough in the bunkers early since they were still a little wet after yesterday's rains.

This course is a beast if you're not pounding 280-300 yard drives down the middle all day. There are only three par 3s and three par 5s on this 18, and many of the par 4s are in the 470-500 yard range with narrow landing areas between healthy rows of trees. You also have a few holes with water to deal with and the ever-present concrete gully that borders many of the holes and presents a hazard to cross on a few others, like the risk-reward par 4 10th to start the back nine.

Great to get back out to Pasadena and it makes me wonder why it took so long to get back out there. I was generally scared of the stories regarding POP and the parking lot effect after Rose Bowl games, but none of that was an issue today and it was a joy to play there. I will go back much sooner this time for sure.
Played a nice twilight round on Friday at CrossCreek and the only disappointment was the terrible wi-fi reception in the clubhouse while trying to get work done ahead of the round knowing that there is no signal for the most part out on the course. Still baffling how this can be an issue in 2019, but I'm sure there are plenty of days total isolation is a good thing.

As for the course itself, fun as ever and in very good condition overall. The fairways are definitely in good shape and you'll have only the rarest poor lie throughout your round. Rough is thick in places and the OB areas are brutal. This is a very target-oriented course so if you're off at all, you're going to suffer a lot of penalties. Very unforgiving in that regard.

Greens were running pretty quick and were in good shape. I saw others hitting the greens and sticking them, so I'm guessing they held shots well, but none of my approaches ever found the mark (it's been a rough few weeks). Tee boxes were mostly in good shape with a few uneven or questionable in relation to other healthier areas, but nothing awful. And the bunkers were better than just okay but not quite very good. Did that make any sense?

A lot of great holes at CrossCreek for sure, but as previously mentioned, you're going to need to be sharp with your accuracy and distance. The front nine has a lot of narrow tee shots to contend with while being mostly flat, while the back nine has way more elevations but a little more room off the tee in some cases. But overall, it's a tough but fun and rewarding track.

Surprisingly, POP was an issue though. While the clubhouse and range looked relatively empty ahead of our tee time, things backed up very quickly and some holes had three groups on them at once. That was disappointing for sure. Not what I expected at this time of day and at this course. Let's hope that was an anomaly.

I would definitely recommend a visit to CrossCreek always though, but it would be great if they could get that reception fixed up a bit and make sure the course does not get backed up like it did this past weekend.
Hit the 'home course' for the first time in over six months with two buddies and walking with a push cart from the blue tees. Rancho Park is also this month's Flex Tour destination but I wanted to play a nice little practice round here first to check out conditions and see if there were any new wrinkles to consider. There aren't.

Rancho remains a very solid course with some quirks that just don't seem to ever go away. POP is often an issue here for many, but most of my visits in the last year have really seen that problem rectified. Not so much this Sunday as the foursome ahead of us was so ridiculously slow. Hitting two balls often when the first was wayward, chatting at the tee box while the fairway cleared ahead of them for what seemed like forever, and a nonchalant pace to their walking that was just annoying to gawk at. What could have easily been a four-hour round turned into five just because of them. C'est la Vie.

Course conditions were pretty solid. Greens are in good shape, not rolling more than medium at best, but a bit bumpy after aeration and lines can be somewhat unpredictable. Saw lots of putts right on line and then suddenly take sharp turns right at the cup. But coverage was nice and they held shots well.

Fairways are in good shape but thin in places. In some places you would actually say they're lush, but far more thin and requiring of a sweet-spot strike to get the most of it. Rough was not too thick and often nice to get a little cushion for the chips and pitches around the greens. Tee boxes were shot in most areas … not sure they rotate quite enough here but I'm not the expert. Sand was just at 'okay' all around, but that's not the end of the world.

No review is complete of course without complaining yet again that Rancho's 18th is the worst closing hole in all of SoCal for what is essentially a pretty compelling track. I just don't know how or why someone could not have done more with it. There even seems to be lots of land to the left of the fairway … maybe someone could come up with a nice redesign to take the driving range somewhat out of play there. Just a thought ...
Played the terrific Simi Hills on Saturday for our GK Cup match along with Johnny, Mattias and Perry … played from the gold tees and had an absolutely great, beautiful day out with these fine gentlemen.

Following up on Johnny's review just now, can really not recommend Simi Hills right now enough. We were all gushing about the course conditions throughout the round, especially what you're getting for the same cost as an average city course right now.

It's safe to say, when Simi Hills is in its current shape, it's the Goose Creek of the SFV. Great conditions from tee to green, a helpful and enthusiastic staff, a challenging and engaging layout, and all at a price that feels like stealing. We walked the course for just $45, which is crazy value for this place.

Greens were in terrific shape, rolling true and consistently throughout the day at medium to medium-fast speeds. Nothing too tricked out on the Simi Hills greens - make a good stroke and you'll be rewarded. Tee boxes were all fine, and the bunkers were in good shape with workable sand. Fairways were a joy to play from and the rough was long enough to make you think twice about club selection in some areas, but comfortable in others.

POP was good throughout the day and we were rarely waiting, and even more rarely pushed by the group behind us. Cart service even was around 2-3x throughout the round so it was really a pretty picture-perfect day all around.

Once again, if you're really into a great course right now at supreme value, Simi Hills is the call to make. You won't regret it one bit.
Had a confidence round at Alondra this weekend that didn't quite succeed in that department, but it was nice to see this very busy track in some decent shape as summer closes in soon.

No, it's not in great shape by any means. It's not even really in good shape. But it's in playable shape, and if you've played here a lot, you know that's about as good as it's going to get.

Greens on the front nine are still showing signs of aeration and were sanded, but the back nine were actually in pretty decent shape, but certainly on the slow side. Fairways have patches of green but still mostly yellow-ish, but playable. Bunkers are thin and annoying as you decide whether to try and take non-existent sand, or pick it clean. Rough is often more advantageous to hit from than the fairways, and the tee boxes are pretty much a wreck.

This will never be a destination course without a boatload of investment, but the current conditions are about as good as they might get for some time. Get out there if you want some straight-ahead, no frills golf to work off the rust.
Great little Sunday round at Knollwood today with an online deal for $41 with cart and food. Went with a buddy and played from the blue tees with an 11am tee time.

First good sign for the day was a relatively empty parking lot, which was shocking for a Sunday, but when I got to the pro shop and saw there were no carts available, I got nervous. But when it was time to tee off, one cart was there for us and away we went.

POP is usually dreadful at KCC on a Sunday afternoon, and while we did in fact wait on a good number of holes for the group in front of us to get moving, we actually finished in just under five hours, which is fantastic for this place.

In terms of conditions, probably some of the best I've seen at Knollwood in a long time. The rains have done wondrous things for the fairways here, and while they're not quite pristine country club green, they're pretty darn close and you're not going to have much trouble finding good lies. The immediate rough near the fairways is cut to a nice length, but anything pushing the boundary areas is likely to find you in either dirt, mulch or an army of very aggressive foxtails that will attack your shoes and socks like Arya going after the Night King.

Sand in the bunkers is very nice as usual here, and the tee boxes were mostly in good shape. The greens are fully recovered from any aeration and are running fantastically smooth at the moment. Speeds are medium fast and there are a few very steep greens that will be an adventure from just about any spot. They seemed to hold shots pretty well too, but barely any of those were mine because I'm still terrible currently.

So it's a big yes on recommending Knollwood right now, especially if you can find a sweet spot in the rotation that doesn't get you stuck playing a six-hour round. Because as for the course itself, you won't be disappointed. It's still one of the best muni layouts around.
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