Getting Social at Los Serranos

I had a half-day off of work today and headed up to Los Serranos Country Club to play the South Course. It was actually a golf outing to celebrate the release of the book, “The Social Golf Course.” It was co-authored by social media expert, Zeb Welborn, and my good friend, John Hakim, founder of Greenskeeper.org. It’s a great read for any golf course manager or anyone looking to utilize social media opportunities for business gain.

Check out the book on Amazon HERE: http://www.amazon.com/The-Social-Golf-Course-Increasing-ebook/dp/B00ILIU9S6

It was a fun event with some on-course contests and prizes, so I enjoyed the day on all levels even though I didn’t win any of the contests.

I was actually looking forward to visiting my old friend Los Serranos South. It’s been several years since I last played here, but it’s always been a course I liked. The North is solid, as well, but the South is generally the preferred of the two.

The South course holds distinction as the longest course in Southern California from the black tees (known as Jack’s Blacks). At least, I’m pretty sure that’s still the case. From the tips, it tops out at a healthy 7,628 yards! Even from the blue tees, it’s 7,188. Our group played the whites, which are more than enough for most at 6,743.

It should be noted that those lengthy numbers are skewed by the fact that this is a rare par-74 layout. It features the traditional four par-3s, but there are six par-5s.

Those par-5s present your best scoring opportunities along with a couple of shorter par-4s. Otherwise, this course requires both length and accuracy to get effectively from tee to green. I say “accuracy” because most fairways here are pretty sloped and it takes good shots to end up with the ideal approach angles.

My favorite hole here has always been the 7th. The tee boxes sit atop the hill right next to the little snack shack and offer a great view of the mountains in the distance. Hit a really good drive and catch all the right slopes, and you can run it down there pretty far. Today, I noticed the hole had more sand traps out there than I remember, so the fairway looked much narrower than in the past.

The 17th is easily the best of the par-3s. In my opinion, the other three aren’t anything too exciting, so 17 provides a signature one to remember.  With a downhill tee shot and a tiny pond guarding the front left of the green, it’s a hole I always look forward to. Add to that the fact there was a cash prize for closest to the pin, and that made it even more fun. I actually hit a good ball, but finished a few feet outside the winning shot.

A number of years ago, they had cut out a bunch of trees throughout the course. I remember not liking it as much after that transformation, but it seems they’ve planted some new ones and things are starting to fill back in. Once these mature some more, it will probably be a pretty good balance between too many trees and not enough.

The course was in better shape than expected after some recent reviews on GK, and it’s starting to round into good spring form. I thought the tee boxes were great and the fairways were mostly pretty good. The rough was spotty and obviously they are conserving water in some of the outer areas that don’t come into play as much. So if you were just off a fairway, the grass would be a little patchy, but mostly decent. The further you strayed, though, the worse things got. But then again, you get what you deserve if you are really spraying it here.

I wasn’t in a bunker, so no comment there, but the greens were good overall. They were a bit slow, but had deceptive speeds. Downhill putts tended to pick up speed at the hole and run well past, but if you were too gentle you could easily leave it short. Uphill putts you really had to hit firm to get there.

Overall, it was a great day at Los Serranos and a fitting celebration for my friends’ book release. I look forward to getting the South course back into my normal rotation.

Some pictures from Los Serranos Country Club (3/14/14):

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