Angeles National: Scenic desert links golf in LA
SUNLAND, Calif. – When Angeles National Golf Club opened in 2005, the Sunland course became the first Jack Nicklaus design in Los Angeles County. Less than 30 miles from Los Angeles, it didn't take long for the layout, located at the base of Angeles National Forest, to become immensely popular and praised for its beauty and conditions, even garnering Greenskeeper.org's Best Playing Conditions in Los Angeles County honors.
In addition to becoming a high-end hangout for some of Hollywood's golfing elite – actors Will Ferrell and Don Cheadle are two celebrities known to frequent the course – Angeles National G.C. has become a hotbed for awards and honors since its debut. Ranked by Travel+Leisure Golf magazine as one of the Top 30 Best New Courses Worldwide and one of the Top Ten Best New Public/Resort Courses in the United States, the course saw ink in the 2008-09 edition of Golf Digest's 'Best Places to Play' as well as in the 2007-08 Zagat Survey of America's Top Golf Courses.
To add to its noteworthy conditions, Angeles National Golf Club reached a pinnacle in 2009 when its clubhouse was finally completed. At 30,000 square feet, the Spanish mission-style structure replaced the temporary golf shop and grill, while introducing a new full-service golf shop and Agave Restaurant and Bar.
'It's an exciting time at Angeles National,' said Head Professional Ben Krug, a PGA Professional. 'We have our new clubhouse, pristine golf course and all grass driving range, and strive to treat players like members out here.'
Angeles National Golf Club: The golf
Angeles National Golf Club is known for its challenging, yet immaculately maintained, conditions. Four sets of tees stretch from 4,920 yards to 7,087 yards, and it's from those back tees that Angeles National hosts several USGA, PGA Tour and regional qualifiers each year. The facility is a three-time U.S. Open Local Qualifying site (2005-07) as well as a five-time host of the PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open pre-qualifying (2006-10). Come 2011, the local Tour stop will again host a qualifier at Angeles National Golf Club.
The golf course is wide and rolling, a desert-style layout where water comes into play on four holes thanks to two lakes. In a rarity of Los Angeles golf, there are no homes or structures flanking the course, and there are surprisingly few bunkers in play – just over 50 in all. Don't get too comfortable with the lack of hazards, though. Environmentally protected areas provide for an abundance of out-of-bounds shots, so bring extra balls and be prepared to find a few extras when searching for your own.
'The course is a spectacular one,' said Bill Nelson, an Irvine resident who's played Angeles National several times since it opened. 'I always lose my fair share of balls out here, but it's a real shot-makers course. If you can keep it in the fairway, the course is a satisfying test.'
The scorecard and tee boxes are deceiving when approaching the holes. The second hole, for instance, called Cottonwood (aptly named for the cottonwood trees growing alongside the fairway), is the longest on the golf course at 585 yards, but if a player can carry a bunker on the right and cut the slight dogleg, he's in prime position for a second approach. The 11th hole on the other hand, called Pitch, looks like a drivable par-4 on paper, yet many golfers can't avoid the temptation of breaking out a driver and are thereby punished for both errant shots and shots too far right that lead to a tricky pitch shot to a sloping green.
Speaking of greens, Angeles National Golf Club's are fast and dynamic. On the 212-yard par-3 third, players are hitting to a Redan-style landing area that feeds the ball from right to left. The seventh hole could be the biggest doozie of them all: Called the Roller Coaster, this par 3 is guarded by a lone deep bunker, but the severely undulating green could feed a ball right into it. Knowledge of the course's greens can come in handy for controlling strokes.
Angeles National Golf Club: The verdict
While Angeles National Golf Club is a healthy test of golf equating to a 74.7/143 course and slope rating from the back tees, it provides a unique desert-like experience only a short trip from the big city's hustle and bustle. As the area's one and only Nicklaus design, guests to the course are in for superior playing conditions and a championship test of golf shared with PGA Tour and U.S. Open qualifiers.
Practice facility and golf instruction at Angeles National
Angeles National Golf Club offers private lessons and clinics for all levels of golfers, with instructors incorporating video and computer analysis into their sessions. Additionally, the course has a professional practice facility that features a driving range with natural turf hitting stations, short-game area, two putting greens and a private practice instructional area.
– by Katie Denbo
This story originally published on TravelGolf.com.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
Well, this is a one new one.
According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:
“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”
Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.
“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.
The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.
“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”
The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.
Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.
Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.
PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation
Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.
The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
The statement reads:
The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.
The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.
The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.
The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.