Today was the final event of the Los Angeles Golf Group 2012 season. I just joined this group earlier this year and have enjoyed the friendly competition and camaraderie. It took place at Olivas Links up in Ventura, so naturally I made a full day of it.
I always like playing “warm-up” rounds before these events. In addition to getting me loosened up, I usually am able to check out a new course (especially when I’m driving this far anyway). Today, I really didn’t have time for a full 18 in the warm-up round, so it was the perfect time to head out to Saticoy Regional Golf Course (also in Ventura), which is a 9-hole course that is pretty cheap and seemed easy to get on.
Saticoy Regional Golf Course • Ventura, CA • 11/3/12
I really wasn’t expecting much of anything from this course. I knew it was nothing special, but it fit the bill for a warm-up nine at a cheap price ($22 with cart). I booked a 7:41 time through GolfNow. They had plenty of open slots in the morning, so it seemed like it would be a pretty simple outing. I got there a little before 7:30, checked in and paid. I asked the girl in the pro shop if I was paired with anyone else and when I was due up. She said I wasn’t paired with anyone and really didn’t give much of an answer to the second part of the question. Everything seems pretty laid-back here, so I figured I was just on my own.
There was a group on the first tee and then more and more dudes just kept showing up. They all seemed to know each other and before I knew it, I could tell there were at least three full groups that were gearing up to tee off ahead of me. I asked one of the guys and he said their big group plays here every Saturday morning—they call themselves “The Amigos.” “Good thing I made a tee time,” I thought to myself. I also couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite movies, “Three Amigos,” where the triumphant scene reenacts a film of theirs called “Amigos, Amigos, Amigos” in order to fool the evil El Guapo and his men. As more Amigos showed up to Saticoy and lined up in front of me, the memory of this movie is the one thing that kept me from going bonkers as I waited impatiently.
I’m not even sure why there were so many times available online if these guys regularly plug up those time slots every Saturday. Oh well, I was in no huge hurry, so I waited for all of them to tee off and then went out as a single behind all of them. I teed off at 8:00—20 minutes later than I booked.
By the fourth hole, the guys in the group in front of me asked if I wanted to join them. I’d rather be part of a fivesome than a single stuck behind a glut of foursomes and fivesomes, so I took them up on the offer and that made things a lot better. They were a fun group of guys who had their own bets and games going, so I mostly kept to myself, but it made the pace more enjoyable playing with the group. Even with all this, I was finished with the nine holes right at 10:00, which was perfect timing.
There’s nothing too exciting to write about Saticoy Regional. It is exactly what I expected, but it served its purpose well as a tune-up course. It’s a par-34 layout (though they do have different tee boxes set up for front and back nine play if you are playing 18), but there’s a good mix of hole lengths and designs, so I got to use most of my clubs and get a good variety of practice shots in. The layout has a few funky holes like the 90-degree dogleg left 7th, but mostly it’s pretty straightforward. Not anything too memorable, but not anything too bad either. Just enough challenge to make it fun.
Condition-wise, Saticoy was serviceable. The greens were actually pretty nice. Lush and soft, but medium/fast on putts. The greens here are pretty small and have some subtle breaks that make them tricky. The fairways and rough were pretty thin and burned out. The one bunker I was in had surprisingly nice sand, so no complaints there. The tee boxes weren’t very level, but I got by.
For the reasons I chose to play nine holes at Saticoy Regional this morning, it was good enough. I wasn’t expecting much and it was pretty much what I was anticipating. Fun, laid-back little course that mainly caters to locals and regulars. Definitely nothing worth going out of your way for!
Some pictures from Saticoy Regional Golf Course (11/3/12):
From there, I made my way over to Olivas Links (after a quick early lunch at Jersey Mike’s) for today’s main event: The LAGG Championship. I was actually sitting in 5th place coming into today, so I had an outside shot at winning the whole thing. I would have pretty much had to have one of the best rounds of my life to do it, so I my hopes weren’t too high going in. Long story short, I did fairly well with a good front nine and some stumbles on the back nine. When all was said and done, I finished in third place for the season, so I am very happy with that.
This group is pretty much just for fun. Nobody takes the competition too seriously and that’s why I like it. It’s just a bunch of fun people who enjoy golf. We had plenty of fun out at Olivas today on an incredibly gorgeous day.
Olivas Links • Ventura, CA • 11/3/12
I enjoyed the layout at Olivas a little more this time than the first time I played here this summer. It’s a links style layout that’s very flat overall, but there is some minor undulation in the fairways and a lot of undulation on the greens to add the challenge. Depending on which tees you play, it’s a fairly forgiving layout. Most of the fairways are quite wide, the greens are large and there aren’t as many bunkers (nor do they come into play as much) as you’ll find on most “links” courses. From tee to green, it’s pretty easy to get around here as long as you don’t spray it way out into the long native grass/dunes areas. The back nine is a bit tighter and tougher than the front, though. Also, the greens are tough and that’s where the main challenge is found. Two-putts aren’t always easy here, especially with some of the evil pin placements they had out there today!
The course was in pretty nice shape overall. Greens were very nice, running at medium speeds. The fairways were nice for the most part, though there were some overly soggy/saturated areas scattered throughout the course. The tee boxes were nice and level. The bunkers were nice, as well.
Fun course, good times with my own group of golf “Amigos,” and absolutely perfect weather— so nothing to complain about here!
Some pictures from Olivas Links (11/3/12):
For more pictures and thoughts from my previous visit to Olivas, you can click here.