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Back out to Griffith Park today with a buddy to tackle Harding once again. It still amazes me how easy it was to get a decent tee time at Harding while Wilson was backed up until the late afternoon? I've played both numerous times and I simply don't get the fascination with Wilson be so much superior to Harding. But that's for another forum.

As far as course conditions currently at Harding, not too bad at all. Took a cart today to escape some of the hot sun and played the blue tees at $59, which is a fair price with the cart added. We took off as a twosome and started playing with the twosome in front of us around the 7th hole and had an overall respectable POP of 4 1/2 hours - pretty darn good for a Sunday.

A lot of nice areas in the fairways that are nice and lush, but the heat is definitely back and there were a few thin areas where the heavy traffic would congregate. There was also some overwatering, swampy areas along some of the fairways. The rough was crazy - it appears they haven't mowed it down in quite some time and it will absolutely grab any shot coming out of it. Bunkers I was in (only two) were okay but one was not raked and made for a terrible lie. Tee boxes generally flat but a lot of hard ground to push tees into.

Greens were in nice shape in terms of coverage and look very nice, but absolutely roll medium-slow and require a confident stroke or you'll be short a lot most of the day. Not too many problems though with bumps or ball marks which was nice to see - they seem to have healed well from the last aeration when I played here a month or so ago.

Always enjoy the layout at Harding and have a fun time there. It's not crazy long from the blue tees (6423 yards), but there are only three par 5s on the course so birdies can be tough to come by if you're not on your game. Fun closing hole for sure here, too.

Darn it - just realized too that there are only four pictures from such a popular course as Harding and I forgot to do hole-by-hole shots - next time!
Got out to Alondra and found the course to be in pretty okay shape all things considered. For a $19 twilight rate, it's properly priced to walk and get your shots in. Good news is they are finally no longer a 'cash only' facility so you don't have to rush to the ATM if you forget anymore.

Fairways are a mixed bag of a little bit lush, mostly thin and a decent amount of bare or GUR in inopportune spots. It's tough to hit 50-70 yard pitch shots off the thin areas of the fairways, but it has to be done. The rough is a mish-mash of thicker grass and weeds to throw off your approach shots. The tee boxes are certainly in need of some care, but most were level and not too tough to get tees into. Bunkers were thin but playable.

As for the greens, super spongy, but good coverage throughout visually. They appear from a distance to be in good shape, and they actually are, just very soft and none too quick. They clearly accept shots very well and even thin chip shots tend to stop or slow down at minimum once they hit the surface.

POP was actually not too bad but that's probably because I was part of the slow group with three fun guys, but one older gentleman who was, let's just say very deliberate about his pre-shot routine every single time. It took some time. But it was a very enjoyable round either way as I finally broke 80 on a regulation 18. Fittingly it was at Alondra, as it was the course where I also first broke 90 years ago.

A few really fun holes at Alondra, a few difficult ones, many average ones and one or two quirky ones - it's not destination golf but it gets the job done in a pinch.
Played River Ridge Victoria Lakes 18 for the second time on Sunday with the GK Cup final entourage. I was forewarned about the ridiculous speed of the greens for the regional championship or something, but to be honest they just seemed like normal, fast greens - nothing unworldly or frightening about them. They were however in very nice shape and putted rather nicely if you did get the speed down. Some interesting breaks at RR to contend with for sure.

We played the blue tees and I rode in the cart as the walking of this course, while completely doable, didn't seem like such a great idea after three straight days playing those hilly Colorado courses. There are definitely some long walks in between some of the holes and a few elevations (surprisingly) to deal with along the way.

I found the rest of the course conditions to be good. The fairways had some areas with very nice coverage, some a little bare, but most average to good and quite playable. The rough was pretty thick in some areas and could cause problems if not struck cleanly. Bunkers were mostly okay with a few thin ones - varying consistency to be sure. And the tee boxes were mostly fine but had a few issues. Nothing crazy.

It was a beautiful day but it was a certainly on the warm side so it was a bummer, especially with big Father's Day crowds expected, that the snack shop near the 9th and 11th hole tee boxes was closed by that time in the afternoon. Other than that though, staff was very helpful and the starter was great accommodating our GK Cup shenanigans and late start.

This is a very challenging 18 for a mid-handicapper but it's quite fun and really makes you appreciate playing a solid round. Unfortunately I did not leave with that feeling ... but the course was not at fault! We also got a great rate with the GK coupon so thanks for that Johnny!
Day three of my Colorado trip found us at The Ridge at Castle Pines North, an exceptional public course that feels much more like a private club than just about any other public course I have ever played.

Around 80 percent of the holes are simply stunning and secluded far from any hint of civilization, while the other 20 percent pay the rent with some homes close by to the fairways and overlooking more residential districts. But when you're in the secluded areas - wow! Some of the most green and gorgeous holes I feel I have ever played. Stunning!

Everything is absolutely top notch here as well, with the possible tiny exception of some of the slower, more sandy greens down in the lower elevations of the course (and there are many elevations on the course). But the rest is simply pristine and a joy to play. Super green and lush fairways are the rule of the day, and the rough is very thick and penal. Bunkers were in very good shape, as were the tee boxes.

There are a lot of tricky holes at The Ridge and one can certainly benefit here from local course knowledge, which luckily we had with one of our playing partners. There are some long and treacherous carries to manage, but none so thrilling and anxiety-filled as the 18th hole. The tee box is perched on a rocky outcropping well above the 17th green, and there is a long carry with a small amount of fairway visible at the end. But that's just one of the fun holes here.

Again, there are plenty of tough holes with elevations to navigate throughout the round, and a seriously gorgeous few par threes that will have you giddy with delight. I can't stress enough how beautiful some of these holes are with the majestic trees lining the fairways and the lushness of the green colors radiating in all direction. It's a shame of few of the holes ruin that dynamic, but that's being very particular of course.

Great bratwurst at the turn and some very friendly and helpful staff as well. Nice grass driving range and good carts (no GPS though) make the average $150-180 greens fee well worth it for this stunner. Want to feel the pampered, private club experience any day of the week you wish? The Ridge is the place for you. Don't miss it at least once.

And since there were no pics up of The Ridge, I will be adding all 18 holes shortly, so keep an eye out to see what I mean.
Day one of my three-day Colorado golf swing took me back to CGC for the fourth or fifth time. This course has given me fits for years now but after playing some good golf of late, I thought I was finally going to be ready for the challenge. I was wrong.

There is simply no forgiveness on this Coore-Crenshaw gem tucked away in the beautiful, secluded Parker area south of Denver. There are long carries to manage, fescue to intimidate, super fast greens to torment, and dodgy undulations to navigate throughout. You have to work incredibly hard to make par here, and if you're in trouble off the tee, forget about it.

As far as conditions go, once again it's immaculate. The greens were actually a tad slower than they normally are for the club women's championship, but they were still rolling at around 11 and are perfect surfaces to roll from. The breaks however are diabolical. The bunkers were in great shape, as were the tee boxes.

Fairways have perfect coverage as per usual at CGC. Just another day in paradise, only my score ended up once again looking like garbage. But it's always an exceptional experience here, including the great caddie we had who took care of every need. Also some very nice snack stations every few holes with many treats available.

One of the very best and proving it yet again.
Nice Sunday out at El Dorado today with nodoubles22 and some other friends for our GK Cup match. I ended up walking the blue tees while the others got carts. It was a very odd start to the day as there was June drizzle, but eventually it gave way to some very nice sunshine. We did get started about 15-20 minutes later than our 8:36 scheduled tee time, but after that we kept a good pace with the group in front of us also moving very well.

Conditions at El Dorado currently are very favorable. You'll find greens that are in very nice shape overall. They are not super fast, nor are they very tricked out in any way, but the roll is nice and the coverage is excellent. Should not have any problems holding well struck shots, either.

The fairways are in nice shape overall as well, with a few areas that are a little overly wet and soggy, but mostly good lies all afternoon. There are some thin areas around the greens but you won't find too much to complain about right now. Rough is nice - not too penal. Only was in one bunker today and found the sand to be in nice shape - although I would rather see a little less fluff in a fairway bunker. Tee boxes were probably the only area that could use a little work, but they were mostly fine with just a few hard ones to put tees into and just a little more fuzzy than they should be.

POP overall is on the slow side as they allow fivesomes at El Dorado, but that's exactly why we decided to have five as well to make it work better. Again, we never really waited for the group in front of us after we tee'd off at the first hole, so that was great. We saw the cart service once or twice and there's a nice snack bar on the back nine.

Not too much to write home about when it comes to the El Dorado layout, but it's fun and challenging enough to make it a good day. Water comes into play on a good number of holes, but there are no elevations to speak of on the course. Go give it a whirl.
Had the chance to squeeze in a round on Friday at Goose Creek after a nearby meeting got out a little bit early. Unfortunately we had to call it after 15 holes to make it back to LAX in time for my friend, but it was still a great chance to get some time in at the Goose.

My friend from out of town had never played at GC before and came away with nothing but positives (especially after playing even par on the front 9!). We've played numerous courses in LA whenever he comes out to visit, but he made it a point to say that the Goose was the best one so far and that we should definitely return. I must concur.

Great conditions at GCGC right now - from the driving range to the greens, everything is just in tip-top shape. Green fairways, thick rough, nice sand, outstanding tee boxes and, best of all, greens that are simply divine right now.

Is Goose a tough golf course? You certainly need to be on your game, but it's a very gimmick-free track that allows you to save yourself in many ways. It's not made overly difficult just for the sake of it. It certainly rewards good play and allows you to feel very confident with your shots, with maybe the one exception of the super intimidating 18th hole - that one will make you sweat.

But Goose Creek is just a feeling of golf the way it was meant to be played, and all of that in a gorgeous setting with no shortage of thrills along the way. There's a lot of construction going on around the property right now and I fear that in the years to come there will be a lot more housing infringement on the outskirts of the course, but for now it's simply perfect.

And to top it all off, the prices are outstanding for what you're getting. We paid $69 for our 11:30ish round on a Friday with a cart. At other courses you could pay double or triple that and not have as good an experience. Goose Creek - keep doing what you're doing because you are definitely doing it right.
Fun coincidence running into the GK Guru group at Black Gold on Thursday. It was a last minute decision to play there with my friend but we were rewarded with a course in great shape and a lot of fun to play.

I had played Black Gold once before and the conditions were very good, not great. Well, this time they were certainly the latter. The greens were running very nicely and putted nice and true. Shots could definitely run off though on chips if not careful. Some tricky greens, too.

The fairways were in very good shape and had only minimal areas which were dried out or GUR (almost always away from the main fairways). The rough was also cut to a length to be very playable in most areas. OB areas tend to be pretty open to finding to finding your ball here or there, but there are also some critters out there you would rather not mess with to be honest. Tee boxes were in good shape and the bunkers were also of a nice quality.

Very fun but difficult layout at Black Gold. There's a premium on placement off the tee and it tends to be a fader's golf course (which suits me just fine). Interesting middle segment with three of four holes par 3s - they come at you all at once! But overall, plenty of interesting and unique holes with fun elevations to navigate.

POP was probably the only downside as we were squashed between two foursomes (went out as a twosome) and the one in front of us was simply not very efficient with their time, or more importantly, ours. But that's life. I'm sure in years to come all that I will remember was a fun day out playing some good golf at a course that's currently in very good shape. Go check it out.
Played Rancho Park today for my GK Cup match with nodoubles22, along with Kassper7 and another buddy. We walked the blue tees and took off on time around 11:12 am.

POP was brilliant. Yes, brilliant. At Rancho, on a Sunday. We never really waited on a single hole after the first and even passed up a nice group of guys near the snack bar on the 12th tee box who were just chilling and said 'go ahead.'

Conditions at Rancho are very good right now. Greens are in excellent shape. Hold shots well, medium-fast, but great rolls and and very few ball marks to speak of if at all. Maybe the best shape I've ever seen the greens here, even with all the traffic.

Very good lies on the fairways all day as well. Some browning here and there, but not really any bad lies whatsoever in the short stuff. The rough is a bit of a different story as there's definitely some thick stuff around the greens that will mess you up, and some thin areas near the trees that is no fun. Bunkers were avoided all day but watched others and they looked okay, but not great. Tee boxes were a bit on the shaggy side but not terrible. At least level.

Always a fun course to play if it's within the four to five hour range, and it truly has been that the last 5-6 times I've played here. Whatever it is they're doing to speed play up, it's working great. But hole 18 remains the worst closing hole for a great course in LA. Please, for all of our sakes, make that driving range fence higher and/or tighter so that it's not ball potluck after your second shot. It's so aggravating. But outside of that rant, go play here right now as it's about as good as it's gonna get for a long time.
I'm on a quest this year to go back to all of the courses from my early playing days 4-5 years ago and break 100 on each where I failed to do that. Today was that day at Skylinks, so Kassper7 and I hit the sticks with an 8am tee time, walking for $60, and paired with a very nice Lithuanian-American father and son duo.

I honestly did not remember much about Skylinks from my first visit but will certainly have a much better memory of it now after playing a far superior round and really enjoying the course in a much more sophisticated manner. It's actually in very nice condition right now and well worth that walking rate.

Greens are just a delight to play on and, with the exception of few little ball marks here and there, were very good surfaces to putt from, rolled very true, were fun and tricky, and also held well-struck shots very well. Really nice. The fairways have great coverage as well with barely any bad lies all day, unless after a poor tee shot I found myself under any of the many trees where the surfaces got rather thin and/or mulchy. Rough was in nice shape as well, easy to hit from mostly.

Tee boxes were great - flat, level, lush and easy to get your tee into every time. If there was a 'low' point it was the bunkers, but they weren't at all bad. Easily playable, just not the super fluffy kind you love at top courses. But again, just nit-picking here.

One little thing to note - is there any reason the driving range fence can't be a little higher on the side that allows a thousand range balls onto the early part of the fairway on the 10th hole? Just make it higher!

The layout is much more fun than I remember the first time, but I will always find the first hole rather 'meh.' It's a 200 yard layup before the lake guarding the green and personally I just don't find it ideal with a cold start. But again, that's just me. The rest of the course is very challenging, and they certainly don't making reaching the par 5s in two easy with all of the bunkers guarding those second shots - layups are the name of the game here.

All in all a very fun round and happy to report that Skylinks is now OFF the 'need to break 100' list ... unfortunately there are still quite a few more that need fixin'!
Played a round at KCC on Saturday with three friends and had a really fun time despite a few little hiccups along the way, mostly in terms of early POP and some thin areas around the course, but nothing too awful.

If you play Knollwood often, you just need to know that a six-hour round is almost always a distinct possibility. It was looking like that for our group as well and we waited on every hole and then had a big pile-up at the fifth tee box. Luckily though, it seemed to ease up a bit on the back nine and we finished in just over five hours. Not great, but certainly not as bad as it looked early. The very slow snack shop/diner at the turn does little to get things moving.

As far as the course conditions, not too bad. I found the greens to be in nice shape overall and there are definitely a few tricky ones to work with around the course. They hold shots well and for the most part roll quite true. Likely the highlight of the course conditions.

There are definitely some thin areas to navigate around KCC, but overall the coverage is okay. As the last reviewer noted, it seems to thin out around the greens which can make those little chips quite tricky. Sand is usually in fantastic shape at Knollwood but the bunkers were a little less fluffy than their usual selves. Tee boxes were a mixed bag - some great, some kind of beat up. Pick your poison.

I played the blue tees which is a nice challenge at Knollwood. Not super long per se, but it definitely makes you work the right lines around this rather narrow, but at times quite beautiful track. The views from the tee box on #4 and #16 are very cool indeed. In summary, if you're not super pressed for time, Knollwood is a good choice right now for a fun round. And yes, still the toughest opening hole in SoCal!
Got a twilight round in at Hansen Dam tonight, playing the blue tees and with a cart for a nice rate of $29. Arrived around 3:30, started off solo but joined a single after the 3rd hole, then we played in just around 4 hours with plenty of daylight to spare.

I was a little bummed out to see the greens still showing signs of the latest punch/aeration, and even still a bit sandy in places, but overall they were okay. Only took a few holes to work out the speeds and for the most part, despite some bumps, they rolled okay. Too many ball marks though everywhere as I assume when people see punched greens they just don't feel the need to fix them. Sad.

Fairways were in pretty good condition and the rough even better, cut maybe two inches taller than the fairways but both surfaces providing mostly good areas to hit from. A few thin areas near the greens but mostly off to the sides near the scrub. The sand was not great from what I saw - nothing fluffy about it, but instead a thin layer that looked none too inviting. And the tee boxes were generally in good shape with an uneven exception here or there, but nothing to write home about.

I did not enjoy the fact that they had the sprinklers turned on around some of the greens on the last 3-4 holes. It's annoying, distracting and took away from a really solid back nine for me. Why not wait to water those areas an hour longer when it's dusk and no one is out there and the water won't evaporate as quickly? Just bad form.

Other than that though had a really nice round and enjoyed myself pretty thoroughly. The nines in this order are far superior to the old layout, with the exception of hole 11 being just kind of weird still. It doesn't know what it wants to be. Aside from that, good times ... go enjoy a round there sometime.
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