As I sit around on what is a rainy weekend here in Southern California, I figured I’d get caught up and post some reviews and photos of the courses I’ve been playing the past few weeks. Three weeks ago, I visited Green River. Two weeks ago, I went down and played Escondido Country Club for the first time. And, last weekend I had the pleasure of playing at Industry Hills for the first time (“Babe” Zaharias course). That was a real treat.
Also, I am still involved in the Greenskeeper.org Match Play event. We finally got all the spots filled in the four regions and first-round matches are underway. My first round match is set for next Sunday the 25th at The Golf Club at Glen Ivy in Corona. It’s a course that’s been on my local wish list for awhile, so I am looking forward to that. Unfortunately, my first round pairing just happens to be against the defending champion for this tournament (lotrgolfer48), so I’ll have my work cut out for me if I want to advance out of the first round. I do get plenty of strokes in the match, though, so we’ll see how it goes!
Onto the reviews…
Green River Golf Club • Corona, CA • 2/25/12:
I saw a $29 deal for an 11:59 time on a Saturday and decided to take advantage. I generally enjoy Green River as a course that’s closer to home and has decent weekend rates, though this is only the second time I’ve played the new “condensed” 18. I still like the old full Riverside course better than what we get now. They took out several of the most interesting holes on the Riverside side, but kept some of the more interesting ones on the old Orange side, so not bad. The course was in pretty nice shape for winter. Fairways and rough have grown in nicely. A little patchy here and there, but overall very nice for this time of year. The greens were in nice shape. The putts seemed really slow on the practice green, but played much firmer and quicker on the actual course. It was really windy this afternoon, so that makes this course play much tougher (especially on some of the longer holes out here).
Though my tee time was set for 11:59, it wasn’t until about 12:40 before we teed off! The starter was rather rude to me and the first tee was quite disorganized. Several groups waiting there and nobody quite new what was going on or who was going off next. The pace was pretty slow on the front, but we still finished in just under 5 hours, so not horrible for a weekend out there.
Some pictures from Green River:
Escondido Country Club • Escondido, CA • 3/3/12:
This was my first time playing here. I got a $34 rate on GolfNow at 7:00, so a good price for a Saturday morning round. I didn’t have very high expectations, but was pleasantly surprised with the course. Not the most challenging layout, but some fun holes and a nice setting for golf. It’s not super long at just over 6100 yards from the back tees (par 70), but plays longer than the total yardage would suggest because there’s only three par 5’s and five par 3’s.
I guess I was supposed to be paired with another single, but they didn’t show up on time, so I ended up teeing off by myself. First 7 holes were slow as I was stuck behind several foursomes with no chance to play through. By the 8th hole, another twosome caught up with me. So we joined up and it made the back nine go at a nicer pace. All in all, the round only took about 4 hours, so not bad. The course was in OK shape for winter. Fairways and rough pretty patchy, but didn’t affect play at all. Greens were in excellent shape. To the eye, the greens here look pretty simple, but the speed and slopes are a bit deceptive. Putts weren’t coming easy. Overall for the price and convenience, it was a good deal on a decent course. Can’t complain.
Some pictures from Escondido CC:
Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms (“Babe” Zaharias Course) • City of Industry, CA • 3/10/12:
Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of playing the “Babe” for the first time in the afternoon. She is definitely equal parts beauty and beast. What a fantastic course, and it was in spectacular condition. I’ve heard nothing but how challenging this course is leading up to my round and it definitely lived up to expectations. Very tight off of each tee (hardly any “comfortable” feelings while standing on the tee boxes), lots of big doglegs and tricky greens. The greens are fairly accessible so you can do alright if your approach game and short game are both on.
As I said, the course is in excellent condition right now, which is a breath of fresh air having played so many dormant and ugly “winterized” courses around SoCal in recent months. Fairways and rough perfectly green and fluffy. Greens pretty firm and hard to hold on the approaches, but rolled very smoothly on putts an chips. Not as fast as I had anticipated, but quick. To me, they were at the perfect pace.
My tee time was at 12:40, but it was about 1pm by the time our group teed off. Still finished in about 5 hours, so just enough light left. Slow round, but it was a beautiful day on an excellent course so I didn’t mind too much. I look forward to playing the Ike soon, but the Babe is now on my list of favorite courses in SoCal.
Some pictures from Industry Hills (Zaharias):
First hole above presents one of the most intimidating opening tee shots you’ll find anywhere!