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Finally made it back to the wonderful Navy (Destroyer) course this past Sunday for my GK Cup match with Kassper7 and another friend. I'll let Perry do the honors on that write-up as he was victorious in a well-fought match, but as for the course itself - pretty great.

Navy course is certainly a tough one. From the blues there's not only a lot of length to deal with, but also plenty of water comes into play and there are also plenty of trees that can really put a damper on your GIR numbers. There are really no easy holes at Navy - even the par 3s are long and challenging. But it's really fun to test yourself here, especially when it's in great condition.

The fairways really look terrific in all of the areas where it matters. Sure, there are few over-saturated GUR areas from the rains lately, and the occasional dried out area, but overall it's wonderful carpet in all the places you're supposed to be. The rough is cut to a nice length to play out of, however there were some areas where some dirt clumps were sprinkled around as if some tilling machine had cut through there - no idea what that was.

Bunkers were in very nice shape and had ample sand in them, and the fairway bunkers were nice and firm. The only potential gripe were some crowned and slightly thin tee boxes, but even those were only an issue on a handful of holes - most were just fine.

The greens were simply great. Plenty of tough pins and green complexes at Navy, but they accepted well struck shots and rolled very true indeed. Speed was medium fast but very consistent throughout. It also looks like people took care of their ball marks so that's great.

Bummer on the food/drink situation though on a crowded Sunday - the cafeteria was closed and the only food option was a truck out in front of the pro shop, however that truck did not have propane so could not serve any hot food. The snack shop at the 14th hole tee box was closed and there was no cart service all day. That's a bit of downer on what was essentially a great day out on the links (my match play match notwithstanding).

Greens were being aerated this week though so it's going to be a few more until going back, but I would definitely check back in at the Navy course in about 3 weeks for a great day out.
Have wanted to make it back to Oak Quarry for the longest time and finally had a chance to do so, with even extra motivation after hearing about the conditions from Gregholla the last time we played last week. He raved about its current condition, and he was absolutely right.

The Rock is in prime shape right now from tee to green. Fairways have very good coverage throughout (a tad thin here or there on the fringes maybe but most of it is awesome), and the rough is of varying length but mostly lush and playable.

The tee boxes are all in pretty optimum shape although here or there a bit shaggy, but no big deal. And the bunkers are good - not great, but very good. The fairway bunkers are firm, the greenside bunkers have ample sand - pretty much just how it should be.

The greens, now a few weeks after aerating, are pretty perfect right now. Just the right firmness to hold shots well but also to challenge your putting speed when you're on them. Not too many ball marks at all to speak of and they're very well covered and consistent on the speed, which is currently medium fast.

POP was a bit of bummer (a little under five hours) since the group in front of mine was incredibly slow (as evidenced by never seeing them have to wait for a green to clear so they were well behind the pace). I even called the front desk to ask them to send someone out to push them a bit, but never saw any marshall come out after they agreed to do it. C'est la Vie.

Saw the cart girl at least 2x before calling it a day, so that was good. If you haven't played Oak Quarry yet, it's a real treat for those optics lovers. Some of the holes are just so cool to play and the challenge is in not getting caught up in all of the awesome scenery. But it's a very unique landscape and the course has really been masterfully carved out of it. Highly recommended right now.
Had the chance to knock another private LA course off the bucket list today with a visit to Friendly Hills in Whittier. It was a shotgun tournament of the scramble variety unfortunately, but had a fun group and a great time on this most interesting and challenging course.

Friendly Hills is true to its name with a number of uphill and downhill holes - very few are flat at all, except perhaps on a section of the back nine. The course's main defense, besides the elevations, are sloping fairways, tight tee shots and small greens with some severe slopes to them in places. The course has a good amount of bunker coverage but not overwhelming. There are also a few water features that come into play on the back nine that are very difficult to see from the tee box in many cases. Nice finishing hole, too.

A little bit of a bummer that there are only two par 5s on the course, and one of them is the very first hole, which is uphill and long all the way, so better be ready from the range. It's a par 70 with a glut of long par 4s and some very tricky and long par 3s as well.

Conditions were pretty good overall, however the greens had been recently punched (although it didn't affect roll too much as it seemed lighter than the usual Muni punch), and there was a section chalked out around every green where the apron was rather chewed up and perhaps being redone altogether? I'm just not sure why this was the case on a few of the greens.

But the fairways were in great shape and quite lush. The rough was not too penal at all and of course the tee boxes were in great shape across the board. It's always hard to really judge certain aspects of a course when playing in one of these types of events, like POP for example, but the overall feeling was definitely of a place I would love to come back to with the opportunity to shoot my own score.

There were no photos of Friendly Hills up either from the last reviews so I took a good number of them from hole to hole and will post them later.
First time ever at Black Gold with the added thrill of a Guru round with Matt, Greg and Gary, so it's easy to admit that I had been excited about this one for quite some time. And in most every respect, Black Gold did not disappoint. My game was a bit of a different story ...

But the course itself was a good test for any golfer. Loads of uneven fairways and rough areas, plenty of well-placed and stocked bunkers, elevated tees and greens, along with some narrow landing areas with plenty of OB threat, and some super fast and tricky greens make BG a serious challenge to put up a low score.

Plenty of nice fairway out there and mostly all good lies, however I will admit that I was expecting the course to be a little more green in that area. But by no means does that mean it was bad. The rough is cut pretty high and makes for some tough escapes, but it's lush and consistent. The bunkers are in very good shape - fluffy greenside, firm in the fairways. And the tee boxes were all well level and never a problem to find a good spot.

As for the greens, well there was some love-hate going on there. They were in very nice shape for sure and ran very fast with some very unnerving breaks (especially if above the hole), but they were so firm and fast that most any balls landing on the green (even a firm chip) would simply roll off into collection areas. The apron was also recently punched.

POP was very steady with waiting of any consequence really only taking place on a few holes, and the cart service came by at least three times on a pretty gorgeous day all around. Carts are actually very nice with plush seats, good GPS system, and ice in the coolers. It was also great to finally play with Matt and Greg and their crushing drives, and meet and play a fun GK Cup practice round with Gary - we were neck and neck all day long!

The great Guru deal was of course the icing on the cake today, but I would certainly take advantage of the regular GK coupon for Black Gold and come back to play it again and improve my score with some better course knowledge.
Nice little Sunday round at Westchester, walking at 9:50 am and paired up with two nice older gentlemen who were a pleasure for me and my buddy to play with. Course is in pretty decent shape right now overall, but there are some thin sections still in the fairways and the area around the lake on hole 2 is still brown after being suffocated by overflowing water after the rains.

The greens are actually sneaky fast but do have a lot of ball marks that need much better attention from the golfers who are actually making them. The sand in the bunkers is in very good shape - no complaints there at all. Rough is very playable - often preferable to thin sections of the fairways. And the tee boxes are very typical of Westchester - lots of traffic, so lots of divots and dry areas, but also a few too many uneven for a totally flat course.

But look, it's Westchester. You get what you pay for and what you get is a fair, executive golf experience at a minimum price for a proper 18 holes that mostly lets you work on your short game, but does throw in some longer holes to keep you honest. And POP was quite good today at around 4:45 - not bad for crowded Sunday.
Made it back to La Mirada on Saturday with three friends on the very generous invitation from the GM after a time-related issue on our last visit (see last review). John, the GM, was incredibly gracious and invited us back out for a chance to play the course again. That's pretty exceptional customer service and genuinely shows that not only do some golf courses pay attention to what the GK community is saying, but also strive to show how much they care about their business.

But in all honesty, despite the late start on the last visit, I have still never come away from La Mirada without really enjoying myself from 1-18. Saturday was no different, however my game was so poor that it really put it to the test! But the course itself is incredibly fun and has all sorts of twists and turns that push it beyond your standard LA Muni experience.

Currently though, La Mirada suffers from the same things that many LA courses are dealing with these weeks - ridiculous expectations. It rained a bunch so everything must look like Augusta! Well, so far, I've not seen that exact phenomenon anywhere. Sure, many fairways are greener than usual, but that doesn't mean that every LA course is perfect right now - La Mirada is no different, but it's extremely playable.

While the fairways are in good shape overall, they are playing very firm currently. It makes chipping quite the adventure if you're not absolutely perfect. The rough is actually in great shape - very easy to hit out of right now and definitely better for chipping from off the green than the fairways in many cases. Bunkers are in very solid shape. The tee boxes are reflective of the amount of traffic this place gets - a lot. The traffic is merely a reflection of this very fun course being so popular, and all at a good price.

The greens were ridiculously fast and firm - not what anyone in our group was expecting. Never really got a hold of the speed all day, and there are very subtle breaks on the rather small greens around La Mirada. The greens themselves are in pretty nice shape, but on a few holes there are a few rough edges, but nothing that I don't think will be in much better condition in a few weeks when all the storm damage subsides.

So overall, another great day at one of my favorite LA courses. Yes, it's going to be crowded and you can definitely expect to have a full day out there, but despite the rather long POP on the day, it goes by quickly when playing with some good friends and a quality loop that just makes golf fun - except when you fail to hit a single fairway all day! Thanks to La Mirada for the excellent customer service and we will certainly be back in the near future.
Rainy Sunday afternoon at Rancho Park, which may or may not have contributed to another sub-five hour round on the weekend, but they've been very good my last few outings even when the weather was perfect.

Some big tree damage going on on some of the holes on the back nine, including half the fairway cut off on the already difficult 11th hole, and the left side of 13. But luckily the inclement weather has also made the course pretty green and easy to play.

There are still a few thin spots to contend with but overall it's in good shape. The rough is very playable right now (except maybe if you go too far left and on the side of the hill on hole 4), but you can find some thin, muddy areas if not in the fairways. I was only in the fairway bunker on 15 and it was nice sand, but by then the sun had come out so it was more dry than the others when the rain was coming down. Not fun at all. Tee boxes could use some TLC - very firm when placing tees, even with the softer ground.

Greens overall were in pretty decent shape, ran medium speed but a few too many pitch marks for my liking, and of course on a stormy day, lots of debris to deal with, especially on some of the later holes when the wind really picked up.

One gripe though, and it's not the first time - do better on that driving range fence/net that sprays countless range balls into 9 and 18. It's so annoying to have to inspect 30 balls before finding your own in that mess, especially on the final hole. Surely there's some way to shore that up better and avoid most of that chaos!

But overall, good, solid shape at Rancho Park right now with the POP still very reasonable for the time being ...
First time back at Hansen Dam on Saturday since the nines switch - thoughts on that later. Right now though, course conditions are about as good as I have seen them at this course ... not a big shock for many LA courses right now after a week of drying out and ample rain the week before to green things up.

The fairways are in very good shape and the rough even better. Can't recall really having a bad lie the entire round, although I was in some pretty bad spots during an awful front nine. The tee boxes were okay - no major issues, and the bunkers seemed to be of a pretty acceptable standard.

The greens were confounding all day long - felt different from hole to hole. You would expect them to be rather slow (medium speed at best), but on many holes they just ran forever. And on others you would give the putt a proper lashing and end up six feet short. But condition wise they looked and rolled quite good, but many of the breaks were inconsistent.

As far as the 'new' layout, well, it's actually, after having finally played it, better. My concerns at first were from a business perspective (having the closing hole so far away from the clubhouse with the parking lot in between), but have now come to appreciate that this was a decision that benefits the GOLFER more than the bottom line - how often does that happen?

The opening hole is far superior to the old one, and the transition from the front nine to the back nine is miles smoother than it used to be. Also, because the first tee box is in view of the starter, the mix-ups with tee times will be less prevalent.

18 is actually a decent closing hole with its well guarded and narrow fairway approach, but the green itself is a sloped mess, but you can't have it all. I think they do need to decide what to do with the old green on now #11 - if you land it there, do you hit off of it like it's a part of the fairway? I imagine they're saving it for a temporary green if necessary, but it really does need to be addressed.

So overall, while not a good day from a playing perspective, it was nice to have a perfect day weather wise and enjoy the new, better set-up at Hansen Dam in its best shape in a long time.
Tough to gauge today's wet conditions at Westlake with the GK Guru team, but I'm going to imagine the course dried out in terms of ratings, but an honest assessment of their current state here. They're wet, plain and simple, or at least were today after getting on just as the overnight and morning rains began to slowly dissipate.

It's easy to imagine Westlake in just a few sunny days though being in great shape. Once the large swaths of marshland in the fairways dry up, you're going to have some very nice, green fairways to work with, and the rough is great right now already (often times today better as it wasn't as soaked as some of the shorter grass).

The bunkers were lagoons today so it's very tough to tell their state right now, but looked as if they could be fine with a few hours under the blow dryer. The tee boxes? Unfortunately for me this was the worst part of the course - many uneven sections and very shaggy and unkempt on the blue tees - but that could also simply be a case of my not truly understanding course management due to the wet conditions - I wholly concede that possibility. Only reporting what I saw.

I thought the greens were very tricky and tough - soaked and expected to be slow, but were actually quite fast, despite the huge ball marks being left with most every shot onto the green. It was odd, but they ran true enough as well. Tricky greens in many areas at Westlake (and one in particular with a dodgy pin placement to boot) - the defense along with a lot of water against this shorter, par 67 executive course.

In terms of layout though, I hate to say it but it's far more interesting and engaging than my home executive course at Westchester. This is just a condensed 'big course' as it does have a few par 5s to test your longer clubs, good variety of length par 4s, and many a tricky par 3 to challenge you. I would not mind coming back another day, in better health, and under warmer, bluer skies, to right some wrongs on the scorecard.

Special thanks go to all the Gurus who made it a very fun day though scorecard aside, and to Johnny for all his hard work getting us these ridiculously good deals throughout the region.
Used the GK certificate to play a great round at wonderful Cross Creek - an absolute steal for the $32 charged in its current condition, especially on a gorgeous, sunny day.

Cross Creek is a tremendously fun track with only a very few 'funky' holes. Funky, not quirky - and there is a difference. But for the most part the scenery and layout is simply outstanding and there's never a dull moment when you settle in to each tee box. Long carries, ravines, tree trouble, narrow openings - you name it, it's there to challenge your game.

Conditions right now are terrific across the board. The fairways are in excellent shape and you'll have trouble finding a bad lie if you hit a fairway. Sure, there are a very small amount of thin areas where it looks like recent storms did some damage, but overall it's fantastic. The rough is also very thick but not too penalizing - you can definitely work your way out of it.

Tee boxes are in fine shape, even the par 3s. And the sand that I did see (only ended up in one bunker on 14) looked very playable - didn't hear a single complaint from any of the fine gentlemen I got paired up with to play. And the greens? Very, very nice. Lots of tough pin placements at Cross Creek so the speed can be tricky, but you'll always get a true roll, no ball marks, and a good surface that holds well struck shots.

If there's any gripe at all you could definitely say they should upgrade the carts asap and maybe even invest in some GPS as it's a tough course without intimate knowledge of its contours, but that may actually not be possible - see below.

Don't forget that there is absolutely no cell phone reception out there so keep that in mind if scheduling a round. But it's an absolute treat to play this wonderful course right now, made even better by the outstanding GK deal to get it done. Can't wait to go back again.
Took an out of town friend who only had time for nine holes to probably the most scenic and 'LA' 9-hole course out there - Roosevelt. This place is very fun to play, quite challenging in many spots, but often the condition doesn't match the rest of the experience.

Post rains though, the course is quite green and lush, however there are still some very soft fairways to contend with (plugged my tee shot on 2 with a driver), a surprising amount of bare spots, and some wet areas to contend with too. But luckily there are also some nice lies out there - more than the usual when the course is bone dry.

Greens are bumpy and thick of course, with quite a few ball marks. But I worked them really well today with only 14 putts so they didn't bother me much at all. I only saw the bunker on 8 and it looked pretty good actually. Tee boxes are not in good shape - way too many bare areas. And the rough is thick and a bit nasty, but not unplayable.

All that being said, still had a really nice time there, and a good round to boot, equaling my career best (close to breaking it twice with two putts that were both just an inch short). Starter was very nice and the price is right. It just feels very quintessential LA and that's what I will always love about this place. It's about the experience over the conditions here.
Fun Super Bowl Sunday round today at River Ridge with Kassper7, getting a nice online deal and hoping for an empty track and blue skies with everyone watching the game instead. Unfortunately neither really happened - the course was not necessarily crowded, but far from empty, and the cold weather and slight drizzle persisted much of the round and caught me by surprise as I expected it to clear up and certainly should have considered an undershirt.

First time ever playing at RR and it was a pretty good experience. We played the Lakes 18 from the blue tees and it was a much harder track than I anticipated, as evidenced by the 131 slope I failed to notice before teeing off. The par 5s are long, every single one, so you can almost forget about eagle putts, and the par 4s are very challenging - a lot of water coming into play and some tough fairways to navigate. The par 3s are a mixed bag - some long while others guarded by their slope.

I found the course to be in very playable condition without a doubt, but far from pristine. It had a rough, unkempt feel to it, but also very welcoming of good shots and penalizing for the poor ones. The fairways were mostly in good shape, however there were some large swaths of sod laid out in a few of them, and of course the odd burned out area here or there. The bunkers were in pretty nice shape from what I saw after going in one on the first hole and never again, while the tee boxes were all in quite good shape.

The greens were rolling very nicely indeed - not a lot of ball marks to contend with but also not super receptive to many shots that weren't coming straight down. The undulations and breaks on these greens are less severe than they look, but challenging without a doubt. The speed was probably a 10-10.5 on the Stimp today, which was a nice pace to get used to. And the rough was a bit mixed but certainly some rough, sticky stuff can find your ball if wayward.

Not really any easy holes out there as Kassper7 pointed out during our round - it's a tough place to play, especially that tricky 'Amen Corner' they got there. But when good shots are rewarded, it's a pretty cool track to appreciate and enjoy. I would like to come back on a blue sky day with minimal wind (today wasn't bad with the wind but I understand it often is during other months) with a little better course knowledge.

River Ridge, we shall meet again.
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