I enjoyed a nice relaxing afternoon round here today. For a number of reasons, this was a great course for me to play. First, it was cheap. I saw a GolfNow “hot deal” at 12:58 for only $19, so I snatched it up. Second, it’s not known for being the most difficult course around. After a long day Thursday on two challenging courses, a confidence boost was definitely needed.
When I checked in around 12:30, they sent me right out to the first tee to join a twosome—a father and son who were a lot of fun to play with. They also knew the course pretty well, so some local knowledge was helpful on a few holes. I expected a slow, busy round on a Saturday afternoon, but I was pleasantly surprised that we moved along at a great pace and finished in about 3.5 hours.
Alhambra is technically a “regulation” course as it plays to a par of 71. However, it’s a very short layout. The black tees are listed on the card as 5,478 yards, but I didn’t see any out. We played the blues at 5,266, though some of them were set back a little bit closer to where the black plates were, so it may have played somewhere in between the two overall.
The front nine is very flat with a pretty traditional “muni” parkland kind of layout. Longer hitters who are accurate can have a field day firing at some of these greens with four of them measuring under 300 yards. There are some slightly difficult tee angles on the front nine thanks to well-placed trees and a big fence on the 6th hole. As someone who plays a big fade, there were a few holes that presented very uncomfortable tee shots. Still, you don’t need much distance to score well. Just plenty of accuracy.
The back nine gets more interesting. It’s not too lengthy either, but it’s hillier and plays even tighter from tee to green to force even more accuracy. I liked all three of the par-3s on this side. The 11th is a simple downhill hole that plays to 175 yards. The 13th is a tricky one that plays to 182 yards. Anything right can be helped by a hill. Anything left is likely in trouble. Then, the 15th is a shorter one at 124 yards, but features a large and relatively difficult green.
Beyond the tightness of some fairways, the greens are probably Alhambra’s best defense. They are fairly large and feature some tricky sloping.
I’d say the course is in average (or maybe a tad below average) “muni” shape. The fairways and rough had plenty of thin spots. The tee boxes are a bit beat up right now, but I saw a note posted in the bathroom saying they are putting down some rye grass down on them. So after the transition it should be an improvement. The greens are recovering nicely from the recent aeration. A bit bumpy, but not terrible. They are very, very soft and a little slow, and I ended up fixing several unrepaired marks on each green. Once they’ve fully healed up in a couple more weeks, they should be really nice. Lastly, the one bunker I was in had good enough sand.
Overall, I enjoyed myself a lot on Alhambra. It’s not the the most exciting or challenging course you’ll ever play, but it’s a lot of fun when you take it for what it is. I did notice a lot of junior players out there, which was good to see. This is definitely a good course for beginners or kids/seniors who may not hit the ball as far. Otherwise, it’s still a good place to work on your target/short game or visit if you need a bit of a confidence boost in your game (as long as you can hit it straight enough to stay out of what trouble there is).
Some pictures from Alhambra Golf Course (10/19/13):