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Got over to Santa Anita today, Sunday, a little before 11:00 and was sent out immediately as a single for $40 walking. Preceding group was about two holes ahead.

There have been more reviews for S.A. lately and consistent with those, I found the conditions are still good. Generally well covered and level tee boxes. The fairways were lush overall with the occasional brown area —usually still a good hitting surface. Where there were actual hardpan areas, (not many and usually on the edge of the fairway or bordering rough,) they were usually painted as GUR, so the crew was paying attention. The rough was more often than not lush, offering varying degrees of recovery potential. There were good pitching and chipping opportunities presented by the area around the greens. Bunkers were firm-ish, generally clean, and nicely playable. The greens were pretty clean with a minimum of unfixed ball marks, and running at a medium speed. They never get too quick here, but they are often a bit quicker than today. Not a complaint, just an observation, and nothing to detract from the round.

After breezing along, I caught up with the pack around the eighth hole. After that, there were a few minor holdups, but it generally moved steadily and the final running time was a little over four hours. Good course, good conditions, and a good all-around playing experience.

When I reviewed S.A. last month, for the first time in over a year, my one complaint was the lack of yardage markers and the visibility of the monuments. I have no idea if that comment was noticed or if it is just coincidence, but they have added vertical, colored yardage sticks at the 100 and 150yd points in the fairway centers, with blue 200yd stakes in a couple of instances such as the par-5 third hole. For anyone over there who might actually see this, it's a simple but greatly appreciated improvement. Thanks.
9 Likes.
Went over to Harding as a single @ 10:30 this morning and was sent to the lineup at the first tee to join a twosome, third up, and teed off about 15 minutes later.

It has to be the result of the rainy winter, because I'm generally finding better than typical conditions at the courses I've hit lately, and Harding was no exception. Tee boxes generally pretty level with good grass coverage. Fairways were pretty consistently green and lush with only a few isolated dry patches and a couple soggy spots. Nice hitting surface with decent rollout. The rough was generally lush. There were some spots where the ball would sink down and be hard to find, although in most cases it wasn't that deep. It was deep enough to be penalizing more often than not, with only the occasional opportunity for a clean recovery. Green side rough could similarly vary from nice chipping grass to a little bit longer and juicier, but generally nicely playable. Greens were receptive and generally clean, rolling fairly true at a medium speed. A few had the suggestion of a bumpier texture than the majority, but seemed to be more often a visual phenomenon than of real consequence on putting lines.

It was a pretty warm day, but there was a nice breeze (up to one club) to cool the sweat, so it was really more pleasant and less oppressive than I feared it might be. I was in hydration mode and draining my water bottle all day. Glad they have enough fountains spread around to refill. The pace was slow but generally steady for something short of a five hour round. The guys I was paired with were more into keep to themselves and not overly sociable, nor were they in any way unpleasant so, being prepared for anything, I was fine with that.

Generally speaking, a fine example of muni golf under better than average course conditions.
9 Likes.
I decided to head over to Santa Anita this afternoon to check it out. The latest reviews were positive but almost a month and half old, and I wanted to see the conditions for myself. I knew it had been a while, but according to my Score Tracker record I was surprised to find out after the fact it had been over a year since I played there. I was sent out immediately as a single around 4:15, a bit ahead of the men's club, never waited and was never closer than a full hole to anyone in front of me.

I don't recall ever seeing the conditions as nice all around as I did today. The teeing grounds here are pretty consistently very level with a few slight exceptions, and the grass coverage was good and mowed to a tight length. The fairways in particular struck me as being more consistently lush than I ever remember seeing them. There were very few brown spots and the ball set up nicely but still provide good rollout. The rough was pretty consistent and green, and generally just long enough to cost a shot, but would occasionally allow recovery with a good lie. Bunker sand was good and playable, with not too many unraked footprints. The areas around the green set up well for chipping and the greens themselves were pretty clean, rolling a brisk medium pace.

Really, I was a little surprised in a good way and I will definitely have to get the course back into my rotation to play more often, especially in it's current state.

With all the positives, I did have one gripe: lack of yardage markers. With the lush grass, the in-ground markers were a little overgrown and frequently hard to spot. Often I just couldn't find a 200 yd marker, there are no stakes for any of the yardages either in the fairway or rough, and I never found a yardage on a sprinkler head. As someone who prefers to pace off yardage old school style, it made it tricky at times to select a club. The 100, 150, and 200 yd locations are enough, but I have to be able to find them, preferably without having to stand over them.

That said, if you are a fan of Santa Anita, (and I know there are a few), now is the time to visit. Otherwise, it was a beautiful warm, late afternoon with a declining breeze and I got around in under 3.5 hours. Did I mention it was $13 to walk? Good times.
10 Likes.
I played my GK Cup match yesterday, 7/3 in a foursome that included Nickesquire. His complete review is a few back in the thread, so I'm just adding a few of my impressions. Any brown areas in my view were really incidental. What struck me was the overall sense of lushness and green throughout the course, extending through much of the rough. Where groomed, the rough was cut to the point that you were not going to lose or have trouble finding a ball, but it was probably going to cost you a shot as often as not, especially with longer shots/irons. Similarly, the fairways were lush, sometimes to the point of cushy. As lush as I've seen in a while, the rollout was correspondingly less. Bunkers were firm, well groomed, and (I thought) nice to play out of if your lie wasn't problematic. Otherwise, it's all as Nick described. A nice, interesting course in good shape that offers very good value.
5 Likes.
I participated in a scramble Saturday, 6/24, teeing off around 2:00 on the sixth hole. Weather conditions were excellent — comfortably warm with light to moderate breeze trailing off late in the round. I thought the all around playing conditions for this course were excellent. Tee boxes had good coverage and were level. Maybe one tee where I felt the need to find the most level spot, but minimal as a teeing factor. Fairways are in nice shape— green and offering good lies as well as reasonable rollout. I didn't notice an bare spots in the fairway-adjacent rough, which was generally playable and less punitive just off the fairways, and a bit fuller near the greens. Only in one bunker, it was well groomed and firmer vs. fluffy. The greens were very nice, running the quick side of medium. Probably an appropriate speed given the undulations on many of the greens would make really quick greens problematic. They were a nice surface that tracked well.

I only get to play here intermittently over the recent years, but I think it's in as good a shape all around right now as I can remember it. A shorter but interesting course that is generally flat and easy to walk. Definitely recommended.
8 Likes.
I went over early Tuesday evening, 6/20 to play a couple of balls around for practice out on the course. It was still warm, but the course was pretty open, letting me complete the course before dusk with no waiting or pressing as a single. For Altadena, the overall conditions are pretty good, but the exception I wanted to report was the greens have been aerated with some kind of slit cuts. There were no indications of sand but the cuts were not minimal and definitely impact putting. I've seen fine slit cuts that barely affect anything, but these are more prominent that that. My guess is a week before they are putting normally with residual visual indications.
8 Likes.
Played my GK Cup match with Tony yesterday, going off as a two-some just before 1:15. In a nutshell, I think the conditions here are pretty good right now. Most tee boxes are nicely level with good coverage, including the par-3s. The fairways are green, offering good lies and reasonable rollout. I don't recall any dry or thin patches. On the whole, the rough was not overly long — playable with the ball frequently sitting up for the recovery shot. It was a little more lush around the greens for chipping. I think we both avoided the bunkers all day so no actual feedback there. The greens were a nice, medium quick and tracked well. The only remnant of aeration was a faint visual pattern that affected nothing. There was one exception (12 or 13?) where there was rough patch of sod a few feet square on the green, but it was the anomaly — a small portion of an otherwise large, consistent surface.

We started out with space ahead and a twosome behind us, with some compression of groups ahead and behind from about the sixth through twelfth, but it generally moved well to finish a touch over four hours.

Warm, with a moderate breeze, it was perfect weather and a nice day to break away for a round in good company.
11 Likes.
Got out Tuesday 5/2 around 10:30 as a threesome plus a single. I was the only walker in the group and got a $30 non-resident senior rate, which made it a good deal. I believe this was my second time playing here since the makeover and while I liked the course before, I think the overall experience and conditions are improved. Overall the tee boxes were in good shape as a hitting surface. It may have just been the locations for the day, but I found myself getting a little annoyed in the front nine with the number of tee boxes unlevel just enough to get into my head. I particularly dislike unlevel that has the ball above my feet. It wasn't severe or universal, but enough to be annoying. It was less of an issue on the back nine. Fairways were good with more consistent surface than back in the day. I don't recall bare or overly thin areas, and the lies were good. The rough is mixed, and with the drought-friendly modifications one could as likely be hitting off dirt or wood chips as grass. The bunker makeover may be the most conspicuous change and in addition to being visually improved, some of them force more strategy into shots while others are just a beastly challenge, e.g. the deep narrow one in front of the fourth green. There was nothing pretty about the time I spent in that one and I should have done first what I did four strokes too late — pitch out backwards. The greens were a brisk medium quick that was amplified by the slope of many greens, making for some very challenging putts. On the whole, it is an interesting, varied layout in good condition. If I hadn't moved so far away from it, I'd have it somewhere in the rotation.

There was a tournament somewhere out ahead of us, which may have been the source of my only other negative — the 5+ hours pace on a Tuesday. Definitely sluggish pace with much waiting. Otherwise, the cart girl came around often enough and I really appreciate that they have a good number of water stations around the course. It was warm and they were appreciated.
9 Likes.
I played with a buddy as a twosome yesterday, 4/18, teeing off on #10 at 1:00. GDR23 posted a full and accurate review a day earlier, so I'll just add a few comments. There was some late morning light rain in the area, but it had passed by start time. The residual clouds added some visual interest to what ended up a beautiful day for golf. The playing conditions were very nice, and pretty much as GDR23 described them. The greens were the highlight — in really nice shape and challenging. The fairways had good coverage and were fine from a playing perspective, but as has been noted, they are still links-like in their firmness and relative tightness. Not as lush as many other courses after the rains. I missed the bunkers and the rough is a very mixed bag. An excellent strategic course, more than most courses it really helps to acquire local knowledge. The many options, subtleties, and pitfalls are frequently not fully revealed until you reach them. I don't get out here often, but I'm more intrigued each time I play the course.
11 Likes.
Got out Sunday, 3/27, first twilight at 2:00 with two other singles. The course conditions were pretty good overall. Good coverage on the teeing grounds which are generally pretty level with little variance. The grass can be a bit mixed, but the fairways had good coverage that still allowed for some rollout. Rough varied from mostly green and playable with the ball sitting up, to occasionally punitive. Glad to say I can't report on the bunkers, but they looked in good shape. The greens and surrounds were in good shape. They were firm-ish, rolled a respectable medium quick, pretty true, with minimal ball marks. I made some long putts that tracked well, and the miss-reads were on the intended line.

The weather was comfortably cool with a 1+ breeze at times. The pace was somewhere between 4.5 – 4.75hrs. It moved reasonably well until the 13th hole, and the pace dropped off from there with backups especially on 13 and 15 (par 3's). I hadn't been out on Harding in a while and I was quite pleased with the current conditions and, for a Sunday, the overall pace.

One serious caveat: I approached the park from the N. Zoo Drive approach off the 134 transition where it wraps around the soccer fields, at around 12:30. I spent an hour in traffic crawling around that complex once was I committed to that exit ramp. Once in the loop, no way out and it truly sucked. I talked to one of the playing partners about it and it seems to be the result of an inherently bad approach system on a nice zoo day. Consequently I recommend avoiding N. Zoo Drive and instead approach the park from the south after mid-morning on weekends. I don't know what state Zoo Drive approaching from the west via Forest Lawn Dr. would be like at that time. I ended up ducking onto the first available freeway entrance and circling back through west Glendale and south on San Fernando Rd. No issues approaching from the south end of the park.
11 Likes.
Kviser put up a perfectly accurate and concise summary of the conditions at Hansen Dam yesterday, 3/17, where we played out GK Cup match. The only thing I can add is that the course was comfortably busy. It would have been easy to walk up and get out fairly quickly. We played an extra par-5 tie breaker hole and finished a bit under 4.5 hours. I'd say we did the 18 in something under 4.25. Probably peak condition or close to it for this course, it really is a bargain.
9 Likes.
Played super twilight as a single yesterday, 3/3. It was too nice of a day and I couldn't resist getting out for the ruined walk. It was either here or Altadena, and I'd played enough Altadena lately that I needed a change up. Well, this course needs the benefit of rain to flourish and the conditions here have suffered more than most due to the drought, but the impact of our wet season has finally shown up. The first fairway, as much as any on the course, is usually a mix of tight lies and almost hardpan. I was actually presented with a grassy lie, the predominant, current fairway condition — and so on through the course. In fact, some of the fairways were a bit shaggy and played like light rough, but in a good way. While a mowing might seem like a good idea, I can see leaving it go a bit to really let the grass reestablish itself. The extended areas that were previously bare, mostly out of the usual landing zones, are greening up, but primarily with weeds, so it's more of an aesthetic improvement there. Rough has thickened up proportionately. I missed the bunkers so no real comment there. Greens are medium quick, on the firm side, reasonably clean, and rolled consistent enough to be fair with no surprises. The surrounds presented good chipping and pitching opportunities.

This will always be a twilight or super twilight rate course for me, but the conditions are getting closer to making it more reasonable to pay full price if so inclined and your schedule is limited. There is a decent range, usually on grass, a separate bunker and pitching area, and a putting green. It's an interesting layout with views. There is a restaurant and bar. I've never eaten there and don't know the hours, but the small bar always seems to be busy when I finish playing those late-in-the-day rounds.

With a little more rain and grooming, this course should have a resurgence and go through a period of pretty decent conditions through the spring. How well it establishes itself and lasts into the summer heat remains to be seen. For now, I'm putting back in my rotation for impulse, nine-hole rounds.
12 Likes.
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