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.
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.
While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.
“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.
Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.
“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”
Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).
“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.”
Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.
Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace).
“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”
Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi
What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.
Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.
McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.
He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.
McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65).
Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds.
“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder
Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.
Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.
Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:
Filling in tomorrow for Corey Pavin that WD today @cbgolfchallenge I do things like this a lot to help events and asking for sponsors exemptions here but didn't get any help.— Ken Duke (@DukePGA) January 18, 2018
Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.
Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.