Ah, Paradise Knolls…where the white sand beaches caress your feet as beautiful island women serve drinks in coconuts…
Oh nevermind, I forgot this is just a middle-of-the-road golf course in lovely Riverside!
There isn’t another course I can think of where the name is such a mismatch with the course itself, so I can’t help but make a little fun of it. Joking aside, Paradise Knolls is better than you might think. It’s not great, but better than you probably expect it is if you’ve never played there and have only driven by it along Limonite Avenue.
It’s not the toughest course around. It’s not the prettiest. It’s not the longest either, topping out at 6,281 yards. But Paradise Knolls serves its purpose as an inexpensive option that’s easy to get on and will satisfy your craving to go out and hit a little round white ball around for a few hours.
I wanted to get out early this morning for a relatively quick round. That way I could still get some golf in without missing any of The Masters coverage this weekend. I booked a 6:52 tee time here through GolfNow for only $39. It wasn’t a discounted price or anything. That’s just their normal weekend rate (cart included, but you can walk if you want to save even more).
I was a little bummed to see that I was in the third group off. I was paired with a twosome and we were behind a fivesome and a foursome. We also had a twosome behind us, so it felt quite backwards to be teeing off the groups in order of 5, 4, 3 and 2 players.
Oh well, the starter informed me the groups ahead were men’s club members and they normally play quite quickly. I’ve been around enough courses to know that is often the case. Those regular dawn patrollers usually don’t waste much time. Unfortunately, this group had decided to play some weird alternate-shot format that slowed them down significantly.
We had to wait on every shot, but it really wasn’t that bad. If our group had gone first, we would have easily finished in under 3.5 hours, so it did slow us down plenty and we had to wait on every shot. Still, we finished in just over four hours, so I am not going to complain about that on a weekend in SoCal.
I enjoyed playing with the guys I was paired with, but they got more and more agitated as the day went on. When the marshal finally came by on the back nine, things got a little heated and awkward between the groups. Oh well, as long as nobody jumped me in the parking lot afterward, I survived and was home just in the nick of time for Masters coverage to start on CBS!
The course itself probably isn’t as exciting as these events, but it’s a solid design. I played here a handful of times in the past (quite a few years ago) and didn’t really remember much about Paradise Knolls beyond some of the most boring parts of the course. Namely, holes 1-2 and 5-9 up by the clubhouse and situated along Limonite. These holes are all pretty flat and boring.
However, there are some more interesting holes found elsewhere on the course. The three par-3 holes are kind of lame (except for may number 12, which is a beast at 232 yards, but is a rather uninteresting design), but a couple of fun, short par-4s like 3, 5 and 10 help add a little excitement with drivable greens for many players.
Most of the fairways here are pretty wide and forgiving and the green complexes are very simple without too much slope or undulation. That said, most greens on the course are quite small, so it does require some accuracy to hold them. Once you are putting, the surfaces are easy to read. What you see is what you get.
The course was actually in pretty nice shape, as well, which I was impressed with given the price. Some tee boxes were a bit too crowned in the middle and some had been heavily sanded. Most of the fairways were in great shape (for a course of this caliber). I only noticed a few holes on the back nine where the grass was a bit more spotty. The rough was also pretty decent throughout.
The greens were receptive and rolling at medium speeds. There were a lot of old ball marks and a number of fresh ones from the groups in front of us, too. Knowing the members there aren’t cleaning up after themselves is rather disappointing. I was in a few bunkers and all but one were good. The bad one had a big puddle in it and the sand was more like hard-packed mud.
For the price and convenience on a weekend morning, Paradise Knolls is a fine course. It’s not anything too spectacular, but it gets the job done and is a little better than you might think. I’d rather play here than a lot of muni-level tracks, especially on a weekend.
Some pictures from Paradise Knolls Golf Club (4/12/14):