Course Review: Industry Hills Golf Club (Zaharias)

Technically, the full name nowadays is Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms, but you get the idea. The name “Industry Hills” is all you really need to know when talking about these two highly regarded courses.

They are running a special right now on the Zaharias course. Through the end of August, you can “Get to Know The Babe” for just $44 on weekdays and $54 on weekends, which is a very good deal for this normally high-priced course. I played out there today with some fellow Greenskeeper.org members as I was playing my second round GK Cup match against one of them (who happens to be last season’s defending champ).

I made a 10:40 tee time. I called last Saturday the minute they opened the phone lines for reservations and that was the earliest morning time I could get. They had a big tournament on the Eisenhower course today. Even on a normal day, both of these courses get a lot of play, and between all the public play funneled onto Zaharias and the special rate right now, I was happy just to get a decent tee time.

Funny thing is that it really didn’t seem busy at all out there today. Check in was a breeze and we headed out to the first tee right on time. Beyond the first couple holes, we never saw the group ahead of us and the group behind us never really pushed us, so we were able to enjoy our own nice relaxed pace of about 4.5 hours on a beautiful SoCal day.

I’ve reviewed this course in the past and both previous experiences were a little better than today (First Review LinkSecond Review Link), but those visits really set the standards high in my mind. I would still consider this my favorite LA County public course that I’ve played. Most people prefer Ike over Babe, but I have a soft spot for her “target” style of golf that tends to suit my eye and my game better. Though there’s no such thing as a comfortable shot here for me or anyone (especially from the tees), I appreciate the tight angles and precision it takes to play this course effectively. If you can hit your spots, good scores can be had, but it doesn’t take much to have a meltdown hole here either.

In a way, this layout is a bit evil, but I find it to be fun as there’s never a dull moment. It’s not for everybody, yet I’ll always be a big fan.

This time, I’ll focus a bit more on the current conditions because I was more tuned into that during my round today. Not only did I have high expectations from previous visits, I was less focused on studying the course layout and more focused on how it was playing today.

Though in very good shape by most standards, I was a little disappointed in the course in terms of Industry Hills standards. It wasn’t nearly as pristine as previous visits last year, so I guess the current price special goes hand-in-hand with that. Right now, it’s definitely not a $100 course, in my opinion, but a great deal at $54. After all, it was in solid shape, so I don’t want to give the wrong idea with any negative comments. The tee boxes were good. The fairways were mostly nice and green, but we did encounter a lot of mushy damp/soft areas that resulted in some ugly fat shots. Then there were plenty of thin/firm areas, too.

The rough was mostly good from what I encountered, but I noticed a fair share of patchy spots here and there. The greens were looking and rolling pretty good with only a handful of unrepaired marks on most greens, which I tried to fix up. They were very soft and receptive, which was nice on approach shots. I didn’t really notice any aeration as some folks posted on GK earlier this week, and most putts rolled pretty smoothly. I did clear away some sand and small pebbles from a few greens. That looked to be more splash-out from the bunkers than any sort of top dressing. The bunkers were great as usual—full of wonderful fluffy white sand, though I did also see plenty of small rocks (more than you would expect here) in the couple I was in. 

With the deal they have going on now, it’s a nice time to play this fun and challenging course for a reasonable rate. If this were the first time I had played there, I wouldn’t have been as blown away like I was last year. I’d say if you’ve played here before and have been wanting to come back, now is a fantastic time to take advantage of the deal. If you’ve never played here before and want the experience to be “special” as it should be, I’d say wait until the Babe is in super duper great condition and you will appreciate her more—even if it costs a few extra bucks. Throughout many parts of the year, they do offer “Mega Monday” deals on both courses, so if you can get out on those days, it’s the best opportunity to play either course at a really good price.

I guess I’m a bit of a golf sadist for liking this crazy Babe so much!

Some pictures from Industry Hills Golf Club (Zaharias) (8/3/13):

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I actually won my match. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I wasn’t there, but things went in my favor today and I’m moving onto the South finals!

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