North for the Holidays, Part 5

After a fun couple of weeks up in Northern California and coastal Oregon, it was finally time for me to return home. I was originally going to take a couple days like I normally would, but I took advantage of a good weather window along the I-5 and powered through the whole drive yesterday.

The main priority was getting through the Siskiyous and the Mount Shasta area. I would have loved to stop and play in the land of Beavers and Ducks (i.e., Corvallis and Eugene), and it pained me driving past some courses I could see from the road, but I had to stick with the plan. Some snow was in the forecast for yesterday evening and through the weekend, so it was safest to use the warmer daylight areas and get past the potentially bad parts of the drive.

Still, I made good time and arrived in Redding with a couple hours of daylight left. I ended up being able to squeeze in two rounds. As has kind of been a theme on this trip, I focused on the short courses…

Churn Creek Golf Course • Redding, CA • 12/30/16

There are a couple of private clubs in the Redding area and only one 18-hole regulation course (Gold Hills, which I played a couple years back). There are a handful of short courses, though, so the timing worked out well.

My first stop was Churn Creek, which is a 9-hole regulation course (par-36). The weather was really nice here for winter (pushing 60 degrees), so the course was rather busy on a Friday afternoon. I paid my $12 walking rate and went off behind a couple other singles, who ultimately joined up together in front of me. They moved along at a great pace, though, and I never had to wait much.

The layout at Churn Creek is pretty simple. The landscape is flat and it’s a fairly standard parkland approach. Nothing really stood out about it from a design perspective.

After seeing a ton of green in Oregon, it was tough going back to really brown conditions in California. Of course, everything up there was so wet and soggy that it was hard to enjoy. Here, the footing was at least firm and my feet weren’t soaked through by the end of the round.

However, the course was not in good winter condition. Most of it is a mix of dirt (a little muddy in places) and dormant brown grass. The greens were also kind of dormant in appearance. They were quite spongy, soft and bumpy, rolling at fairly slow speeds. The bunkers looked mostly like dirt and weeds, but the one I did find myself in actually had decent enough sand. Basically, the traps are hit or miss.

There’s really not much else to say here. Pretty basic course in mediocre winter condition, but at least I did get to check it off the list!

Some pictures from Churn Creek Golf Course (12/30/16):

This next review will also be rather short because it was a true sprint for me as I tried to beat the darkness…

Allen’s Golf Course • Redding, CA • 12/30/16

There wasn’t much daylight to work with and I didn’t expect to get another round in, but this course was pretty close by and I knew it was a shorter executive 9-hole layout. I figured I’d at least go and take a look.

I was pleasantly surprised that the pro shop was still open at 4:30 and they were still allowing out power carts. The price was $22 for 9 holes with the cart, so I took my chances. Unfortunately, a twosome got there right before me and I got stuck behind them for a couple holes. They were nice enough to ask me if I wanted to join them. However, I knew there was no possible way to finish as a threesome, so I politely suggested they let me play through. They didn’t seem to care for that idea and went on about their round in front of me, grumbling about me playing fast behind them. They didn’t seem to have any sense of urgency when it was getting dark.

Fortunately, there was no one else out there, I had a cart and there are easy opportunities to jump around on this course. I played 1-2, 7, 6, 8-9 and then finished with holes 3-5. By the time I finished around 5:20, it was very dark and those guys called it quits after only 7 holes. So I’m glad I declined their offer!

I don’t really know who Allen is and obviously the simple course name is corny or charming, depending how you look at it. This definitely feels like a family course. There are two houses right by the pro shop that seem to be where the people who run the course live. Seems like a real friendly place that’s probably more about the relaxed local atmosphere than the golf itself.

The layout is not too bad. It is a par-31 with four really short par-4s in the mix. Then, the par-3s are a good variety of lengths (107-167 yards). There are a couple slightly elevated spots, but it mostly plays pretty flat. There’s a creek that runs through the course and you play over it a couple times.

The conditions were decent. They have had a lot of rain here and they asked me not to drive the cart in certain areas, but I never encountered any real wet spots (at least nothing I would consider too wet after what I experienced the rest of this trip). Otherwise, the grass is mostly dormant in winter. Nothing about the conditions here were great, but things were definitely better kept overall than Churn Creek I though. The greens were soft and rolling smooth enough at medium speeds.

I really didn’t get many decent pictures here because it was so dark, but I’ll share what I can. I will say it was a gorgeous sunset in Redding.

Some pictures from Allen’s Golf Course (12/30/16):

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