Course Review(s): Las Positas Golf Course

For the final review of my East Bay trip, I will look at the two courses at Las Positas Golf Course in Livermore. Here, they have the Signature 18 regulation course and the Links 9, which is a 9-hole par-3 course.

Let’s get right into it…

Links 9

I had a 10:45 tee time on the main course and I was originally planning to play the Links 9 afterward, but I arrived early. The short course looked wide open from what I could see. So, I went ahead and played it first. The price was $18 to walk nine holes, which is a bit much for a weekday rate if you ask me.

I don’t know the full history of the Links 9. I don’t know if there has always been a par-3 course at Las Positas. It has a “newer” feel than the regular course, so I can only assume it was either added on at some point or there was a major renovation done to reshape it into its current links-inspired state. Either way, this is a pretty nice little course they have here. It sits right next to the first few holes of the main course and then there’s a small airport on the other side.

It is only nine holes and it is all par-3s. For the most part, you could consider it a “pitch and putt,” especially if you play the forward tees. There are three sets of tees here. I played the black, which stretches out the course as much as possible. Even from the black tees, there are three holes under 100 yards. The longest holes are 154, 162 and 197 yards respectively, so there are a couple times you may use more than a wedge off the tee. Most experienced players won’t need more than a few clubs here, though, if you want to lighten your bag for an easy walk around the course.

They did a nice job injecting a links style design into what is a fairly simple course layout otherwise. They have some nice mounding and some deeper native grass areas along the edges. The greens are large and undulated, as one would expect on a links-inspired course. The course (at least not when I played it) doesn’t play super firm and fast. The greens were reasonably firm, but the surrounds were fairly soft and lush after the wet winter they had. Everything was in really nice shape, but a real links course would definitely provide firmer conditions and tighter lies.

Still, I like what they did here with the links elements to keep it feeling like more than just a super simple pitch and putt course. It is a rather forgiving layout and very beginner-friendly, though.

Conditions were very good as mentioned. I thought the Links 9 was actually in slightly nicer shape than the main course, though I don’t imagine it gets nearly as much traffic. Overall, I was pretty impressed with the shape this course was in.

The Links 9 is not a must-play short course (those are very rare), but it is a fun complement to the Signature 18 at Las Positas. It’s a fun way to warm up, cool down, get in some short game practice or bring the kids to introduce them to the game on a quality short course.

Some pictures from Las Positas Golf Course (Links 9) (5/7/19):

(Click on any picture below to pull up a gallery slideshow.)

 

Signature 18

The timing worked out well as I played the Links 9 quickly and was checking in for my 10:45 round on the Signature 18 with plenty of time to spare. The rate was $44 with cart. I was paired with a twosome and another single, and we went off behind a fairly steady flow of groups. Fortunately, things moved along decently and we were finished in about four hours and 10 minutes—which ultimately gave me enough time to head over to Callippe Preserve for an awesome “bonus” round before leaving town.

I’ve always been kind of intrigued by Las Positas because it’s right there off the I-580 freeway and I’ve driven by it so many times on the way in and out of the Bay Area. It never looked like that exciting of a layout, but the conditions always appear excellent. Even when driving into San Franciso on Saturday, I couldn’t help but notice how pure Las Positas looked from the freeway. I was glad to know I was finally going to check it out at the end of this trip.

Conditions were pretty nice, but I’ll get more into that later. Ultimately, the design was also more interesting than expected. It’s still a pretty traditional kind of course and not one to go too crazy about, but it’s a bit more than just a standard old parkland “muni.”

The front nine is flat and mostly lays out right in front of you, but there are are quite a few water hazards in play to keep you on your toes. The back nine gets a bit more (or less, depending on how you want to look at it) interesting with a creek that comes into play several times, more trees, some oh-so-slight elevation changes and a few tricky doglegs.

The Signature 18 does have a handful of memorable holes. The 1st hole is an odd opener with water hazards on both sides of the fairway that doglegs right. The 3rd is kind of a unique split fairway par-4 with a big water hazard that will really make you think on your tee shot. The 8th is the signature par-3 over water, and the 9th is another par-4 with a couple hazards in play.

The 10th and 11th stand out as fun opening holes on the back nine with the creek/ravine that you have to contend with as you hit your approach shots (well, tee shot in the case of the par-3 11th).

It’s kind of interesting that I didn’t feel like the course was anything that memorable or special as I was playing it. Yet, I do remember a lot of specific holes when I think back, so I want to give the Robert Muir Graves design some credit after the fact. I have to admit I was pretty worn out by this point in the trip and then I played a really spectacular course right after Las Positas, so those are factors to keep in mind.

The course was in good overall condition. It wasn’t quite as pure as it looked from the freeway, but it was still in well above average shape considering how much play it gets. There were some weak spots here and there and there were a ton of geese out there leaving landmines, but it was mostly pretty good from tee to green. The bunkers were decent and the greens were pretty nice. They were soft and rolling well at medium speeds.

Las Positas is far from a destination-level course, but I can see why it’s popular among locals. The location makes it the perfect place to stop and get some after-work golf in rather than sitting in that horrific 580 East rush hour traffic through Livermore.

Some pictures from Las Positas Golf Course (Signature 18) (5/7/19):

 

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