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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Teed off today, 2/23, some time after noon as a single within a five-some, after waiting two groups worth as a walkup.

Teeing grounds were generally pretty level with good coverage on par fours and good enough on the par threes. Fairways were lush with the length equivalent to light rough in many places, closer to fairway length in others. The rough was thick and impactful with a 50/50 chance you'd get a ball sitting up or an area where the ball sat down enough that you could walk right by it or have to punch out. I only saw one patch of actual standing water, and there were areas distributed around that were juicy/muddy under the grass, but these were mostly off the fairways and the exception. One exception was the ninth tee was moved up about 40 yards with the regular tee boxes roped off, probably because of over-saturation. I was in one bunker and the sand was OK, on the firm side, but the bunker could have used an overall grooming. The greens continue to surprise me with their medium quick pace, reasonably clean surface and tracking — nice, actually. There were indications of some kind of slit cuts that I assume were aeration, but they were subtle, with no impact on putting.

Pace was slow but so was our group, so not too much waiting. It was a brisk, breezy, beautiful, cloudless day and the group was pretty amiable. The course is very lush and will be pretty nice when it dries out a little more and gets a general mowing. It was occasionally moist and frequently shaggy today, but still quite enjoyable.
Got a singles reservation for 9:10 on a fairly crowded Super Bowl Sunday, teeing off about @15 minutes late with a husband / wife couple and another single — a pleasant group. On a cool, grey day, it must have been akin to conditions in the home country. I enjoy golf in these conditions as a change of pace to the more common SoCal fair or warm weather.

Essentially I'd describe the conditions as wintery. Tee boxes were generally pretty level with a few minor exceptions, but covered with an equal distribution of tight short grass and dirt. It looked like the aftermath of some kind of aeration, but as teeing grounds, they worked just fine. The fairways generally had decent coverage, but it was winter coverage: frequently a bit on the tight side, sometimes a bit clumpy, with a light residual dampness and moist soil from the previous day's rain that also applied to the rough. The rough could be punitive, but more often offered recovery — call it a half shot penalty on average. I was in two bunkers and they were dry and playable with decent sand. I thought the greens were surprisingly quick, with a reasonably clean surface despite all the traffic, and contours that often made it more difficult for being above the hole — overall, challenging in a good way.

While I hoped for a better pace, I couldn't be too surprised with a 5.5 hr round on a Sunday there — the longest round I've played in a long time. The worst backup was on the first three holes. After that it was slow, but acceptably consistent and, my preference to have finished earlier notwithstanding, I was OK with it as something I don't have to experience regularly. With the understand that it's that time of year for conditions, I'd recommend it, particularly after a few days to dry out.
Booked ahead Saturday night for a single, 9:20 tee-off at Wilson for Sunday morning, 1/29. Never got close as I tried various approaches and discovered all entry to the area was blocked until 12:00 due to a half marathon and 5K. Headed over to Santa Anita where a men's club tourney was going off until 11:00, and so ended up at a busy Alhambra, where I teed off with a threesome around 10:50. Whew!

I usually give this course points for consistently decent maintenance, conditions and good customer service — it's generally a nice shorter course — but today the conditions were more winter doldrums and probably the low point of the year. Tee boxes were fine, with good coverage and most nicely level. The main negative was short, frequently thinnish grass with a fair amount of exposed dirt patches distributed around the fairways. With all the rain, the soil was a bit sticky, resulting in the occasional heavy shot as well as frequent incidents of mud bits on one's ball. This is not to say there was complete absence of coverage or decent lies. The coverage was more often adequate with some better areas, but something of a mix. Rough could be anything from a bit grabby and sticky, to nicely playable, to hard pan, although it was OK more than not. I avoided the bunkers all day, but they seemed in good shape, a tad firm judging from my partners' results. The best aspect was the greens, which were generally clean, quick enough to get your attention and nuanced enough to keep it.

As mentioned, it was busy, a little over a five-hour round, and the threesome I played with were good company. The weather was gorgeous and there were frequently beautiful views of the snow-capped mountains to the east. Overall, it's not in terrible condition but, personally, I won't be back for a while. Some time to dry out will allow some offset to the winter thinness of the fairways by offering a fair amount of rollout and an absence of the tackiness in the underlying soil. While the rain has been a godsend, it's understandable that this is not the best time of year for conditions at many, otherwise solid, courses.
I'll be brief. I traveled up to RR Lakes with my dog on Monday, 1/16 to take advantage of my free birthday round — busy because of the holiday, delayed start, and a slow but steady 4.5+ hour round. I was grouped with another single and a twosome, all pleasant company. Greens were clean and fast — 11 stimp according to the signage, Vineyard was listed at 10.5. Conditions were very good as usual and no apparent residual issues or obvious signs the recent rains. Good hitting surface on the fairways, generally low and forgiving rough, bunkers were dry and playable. A steady breeze was a factor through the round on what was a really beautiful day to be out. A vigorous walk for both me and the dog, we always love having a chance to play here.
I knew I was going to be on the West Side on an errand today, so decided to utilize my LA City golf card last night to reserve a tee time. The options at my first choice, Rancho Park, were discouraging, so for simplicity and scheduling sake, I opted for a 10:00 at Penmar. I'm glad I made the reservation because it was about as busy as I've seen it. Everything was five-somes, as per usual, and the 10:00 slot actually teed off about 20 minutes late, but it was nice to know a time was secured when I lined up to a busy check in.

Anyone who played today knows what a perfectly gorgeous and surprisingly warm golf day it was, with minimal winds in Venice, mainly from the east. The course, pretty straight forward to begin with, was rendered just a tad more benign with most of the tee boxes moved up to the vicinity of the red zone while most of the regular teeing grounds are recovering. The active teeing areas were generally pretty level with good coverage. Except for the first hole (for some), driver could still be pulled out at the usual opportunities. If you are looking for the "big course" experience at Penmar, you're in the wrong place anyway. The fairways here normally tend towards lush with the marine air, and they fit that description today — amazing, given how much traffic the place gets. The rough could be punitive in places, but was generally green and more often offered a good shot at recovery if you weren't obstructed. I missed the bunkers, some of which need some clean up around the edges, but seemed to perform adequately from what I observed. The greens were the surprise of the day — tightly mowed, the surface was in as nice a shape and as quick as I've seen it here — probably a brisk medium quick. I used a lot of the same words back in June when I last reviewed the place, but I think the greens are even a bit cleaner now.

Pace was slow (always expected here) but generally steady and we got around in just about 2.5 hours. If it matters to you, call ahead to see if they have opened up the teeing grounds. Otherwise, and minus the holiday week crowds, the course is in as prime condition as one can reasonably expect from Penmar.
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