Hurray for Hollywood! Affordable golf in Los Angeles

By February 14, 2011, 7:41 pm
Links at Terranea golf
                     The par-3 fourth at The Links at Terranea (Todd Eckenrode/Origins Golf Design)

LOS ANGELES – With the iconic 'Hollywood' sign looming in the distance and star tour buses beckoning tourists to hop on board after strolling on the Walk of Fame, it's often forgotten that the Los Angeles area offers one of the most diverse selections of golf in California.

Oceanfront links fade into golf courses in the forest, while some utilize natural surroundings for a links-style experience. Parkland layouts aren't far from mountain golf, and views range from Pacific panoramas to the downtown cityscape, or nothing but the great wide open.
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And just like its varying locale, green fee prices can be all over the map as well – up to $300 a round at some venues.

As a function of its location and history, it may be perceived that L.A. golf is a sport that can break the bank or requires connections. While in many cases it can, some of the area's greatest public courses can be had for $50 or less. While carts do cost extra at nearly every golf course, with a modest-priced round in the books, golfers can walk in the footsteps of some of golf's past champions and present players, while saving money for L.A.'s many off-course activities.

Historic municipal golf courses in Los Angeles

It's located literally in the middle of a concrete jungle, a little park-like oasis with neighborhoods, restaurants, high-rises and shopping areas surrounding the classic layout. This accessibility could be one reason why Rancho Park Golf Course is one of the busiest and most popular facilities not only in the state, but also in the entire U.S. The other reason? Its green fee caps out at around $48 during peak times, even less for residents.

Rancho Park's great value is complemented by its uniqueness, an aspect that is as much to its history as it is to its central location. At 6,600 yards, Rancho Park has hosted some of the golf world's most recognized events, such as the L.A. Open (now Northern Trust Open), the PGA Senior Open, and several LPGA events. It's the same golf course where Arnold Palmer took a 12 on the 18th hole during the 1961 L.A. Open; when asked how he shot 12, he answered, 'I missed my putt for an 11.'

Not far from Rancho Park, Griffith Park Golf Club's two regulation golf courses – the Wilson and Harding layouts – have been testing golfers since the mid-1920s. Located within Griffith Park, one of the largest urban parks in the U.S., the golf club hosted the L.A. Open from 1937-39. Noted course architect George C. Thomas, Jr. designed Griffith Park's Wilson course and Harding course, and at $48 for non-residents, it's a great value for a piece of golf history.

Oceanfront opportunities in Rancho Palos Verdes

One of the few coastal gems of the Los Angeles area is Los Verdes Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes, a stone's throw from the sand and with abundant ocean views. At only $33 during peak time, this par-71 William F. Bell design from the mid-1960s stretches to 6,631 yards and offers challenging greens thanks to the nearby Pacific Ocean. It also has a two-tiered driving range and a full bar and grill to tantalize golfers after a round.

If nine-hole golf is more your speed, the Los Angeles area's newest course presents arguably the most scenic par-3 experience around. The Links at Terranea is also in Rancho Palos Verdes. It's set within Terranea Resort, and each hole offers a view of the ocean from the area's closest point to Catalina Island. Todd Eckenrode of Origins Golf Design drew inspiration from some of his favorite par-3 holes to develop The Links at Terranea, which runs up to $38 at peak times, but it's far from a pitch-and-putt course. Take every club in your bag for this test of golf, as ocean breezes can work against players. Afterward, head down to Nelson's at the Resort, located on the cliff above where the television series 'Sea Hunt' was filmed.

Head Southwest to Long Beach

Long Beach has been the stomping ground to a number of standout golfers. PGA Tour players John Merrick, John Mallinger and the newest 'Mr. 59' himself, Paul Goydos, were all groomed on the area's layouts and still consider the area their home base.

Goydos holds the course record at two of the most popular and wallet friendly layouts in Long Beach: El Dorado Park Golf Course ($49 walking) and Recreation Park Golf Course ($45 walking). El Dorado Park is located in Long Beach's famous regional park of the same name, and at 6,963 yards, is the current home of the Long Beach Open championship.

Designed by Ted Robinson, Sr., El Dorado is wide and friendly for the beginner, but from the back tees it brings a challenge with doglegs and water; the green on the first hole is protected by a creek, while 18 finishes up with a lake on the right. Goydos shot a 61 on the par-72 course, and while many big hitters chase that number, none have yet caught it.

Not far from El Dorado Park, William F. Bell's Recreation Park Golf Course held Goydos to a record 62 over its 6,280-yard layout. The golf course opened in the early 1940s and is one of the most popular in the area thanks to its mature trees, rolling fairways and playable yardages for all skill levels. It also runs only $45 at peak time, leaving some money for the golf course's full-service restaurant afterward. Don't forget to practice your short game at 'Little Rec,' Recreation Park's short course.

– by Katie Denbo

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.