The GolfNow Local Leaderboard: Top 10 courses between L.A. and Palm Springs

By Brandon TuckerFebruary 11, 2013, 4:44 pm

We know, your invitation to play Riviera Country Club is in the mail. But until then, you may be interested in where to play top public golf around SoCal.

So we've uncovered the Top 10 golf courses as rated by GolfNow users between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, which also includes Orange County and the Inland Empire. The majority of these ratings come from players who are verified purchasers through GolfNow. Their reviews reflect how the experience stacked up to the amount of cash they paid to play that day. So it's the ultimate bang-for-buck rating system. 

Ironically enough, two plays in the GolfNow Top 10, Classic Club and the Stadium Course at PGA West, are courses the PGA Tour ditched due to player complaints; it just goes to show the pros are playing a different game than the rest of us.

The GolfNow Local Leaderboard: Top 10 Golf Courses between Los Angeles and Palm Springs

1. Classic Club, Palm Springs (4.71/5.0) -- Someone go tell Phil Mickelson, who lamented wind conditions here during the 2007, that Classic Club checks in as the best user-rated golf course in the area and of the 27 comments, none complain about any breeze. It doesn't surprise me one bit that Troon Golf-managed Classic Club is a regular golfer's favorite (it's a course I've lobbied for Top 100 inclusion in the past). In a destination where desert golf rules, Classic Club feels like a layout out of the Midwest with a wealth of green grass, pine trees and ponds.

2. Cross Creek Golf Club, Inland Empire (4.58/5.0) -- A mix of Temecula Valley tranquility and scenery to go with top conditioning levels make this Inland Empire facility a real player favorite. Better yet, tee times can often be found for under $50.

3. Moorpark Country Club, Los Angeles (4.56/5.0) -- A 27-hole semi-private facility that opened in 2002, golfers appreciate member-worthy service and conditions to go with a scenic layout with views of the Channel Islands. 

'Fun, hilly golf course overseen by a friendly, professional and courteous staff,' wrote Ted Simendinger, a 13-handicap from Denver in his review of Moorpark. 'Also appreciated the little touches...chalking of the cups made them stand out.'

4. Sierra Lakes Golf Course, Inland Empire (4.56/5.0) -- Though some warn the wind can pick up at this foothills location, almost every golfer here lauds Sierra Lakes' great conditions and wide fairways.

5. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Los Angeles (4.53/5.0) -- This quaint stay-and-play escape northwest of Los Angeles offers tee times to outside guests as well at this 1920s-era design laid out by George Thomas (of Riviera fame) and William P. Bell. 

6. Oak Quarry Golf Club, Inland Empire (4.51/5.0) -- Set in an old rock quarry, golfers love the unique setting to go along with a well thought out design by the team of Schmidt-Curley.

7. PGA West, Stadium Course, Palm Springs (4.5/5.0) -- If you needed further evidence that golfers are masochists, just look at ratings by Regular Joes for the Stadium Course, deemed too difficult for the PGA Tour (the Bob Hope Classic was staged just once in 1987 before the pros raised the white flag).

8. ShadowRidge Golf Resort, Palm Springs, (4.49/5.0) -- A top-end Palm Springs resort experience operated by Marriott, ShadowRidge, a Nick Faldo design, warrants high praise from those out for a Coachella Valley splurge. 

9. SilverRock Resort, Palm Springs (4.47/5.0) -- One of the most oft-rated golf courses in all of the state, both hotel guests and locals are flocking to -- and raving about -- this La Quinta resort for championship-caliber golf and high-roller conditions.

10. Indian Wells Golf Resort, Palm Springs (4.45/5.0) -- It's pretty tough to look at your own, homely muni once you've spent the day at the City of Indian Wells-owned Indian Wells Golf Resort. The facility features a sleek clubhouse plus 36 beautifully conditioned holes that would make many private clubs jealous.

Ratings based on reviews filed by GolfNow users between 9/20/12-2/1/13. Minimum ten reviews needed. 116 courses were eligible for this Top 10. 

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've get experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"I think I've won and lost actually from four ahead, so I've got experience both ways," Rose said. "Just shows you can't get ahead of yourself.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."

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Koepka looking to make hay on Horrible Horseshoe

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:26 pm

The Horrible Horseshoe - Nos. 3, 4 and 5 at Colonial Country Club - annually ranks as one of the toughest three-hole stretches on the PGA Tour.

Consider Brooks Koepka undeterred.

Last year's U.S. Open champ has played the stretch 2 over this week but knows that if he's going to have any chance at catching Justin Rose on Sunday, he's going to need take advantage of the par-5 first and then find a way to pick up shots on the Horseshoe.

"I feel like just need to get off to a good start on this golf course," Koepka said after a third-round 67 Saturday. "If you can get 2 or 3 under through six holes, I think you'll be right there."

Koepka will start the final round four behind Rose, as he looks to win for the first time since his maiden major victory last year.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


The big-hitter missed nearly four months this year with a wrist injury and is progressing quickly in his comeback despite dislocating his wrist on two different occasions over the last two months.

Koepka missed the cut with partner Marc Turnesa at the Zurich Classic in his competitive return before following up with a tie for 42nd at the Wells Fargo Championship and a tie for 11th at The Players Championship.

Now, thanks to a closing birdie Sunday, he finds himself playing alongside Rose in the final group on Sunday.

"I feel like my game is coming around," he said. "[At Zurich], I was five days into touching clubs. I am finally finding a rhythm and feel like I'm getting really close. ...

"Just want to get off to a good start [tomorrow]. That's really all I am trying to do. You put together a good solid round tomorrow, you never know what can happen. The important thing is we were just trying to get in that final group. I thought the putt on 18 was kind of big to get in that final group and play with Rosey."

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Rose leads Koepka, Grillo by four at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 9:06 pm

On the strength of a 4-under 66 Saturday, Justin Rose will take a four-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational. Here's where things stand through 54 holes at Colonial Country Club.

Leaderboard: Rose (-14), Koepka (-10), Grillo (-10), Corey Conners (-8), Jon Rahm (-8), Louis Oosthuizen (-8), J.T. Poston (-8), Ryan Armour (-8)

What it means: The fifth-ranked player in the world is 18 holes from his ninth PGA Tour victory and his second this season. Up one to start the third round, Rose extended his lead to as much as five with birdies on four of his first six holes. Through 54 holes, Rose has made 17 birdies and just three bogeys. The 2013 U.S. Open winner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist has a history of winning at iconic venues - Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional - and now looks to add Colonial to the list. He'll be chased on Sunday by Grillo, the young Argentinian who won his first Tour start as a member in 2015, and Koepka, last year's U.S. Open winner who continues to impress in his injury comeback despite ongoing wrist issues.

Round of the day: Corey Conners and Ted Potter both turned in 7-under 63. Potter was bogey-free and Conners came home in 6-under 29 on the back nine.

Best of the rest: Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Brian Harman and Michael Thompson all signed for 64. Rahm called his six-birdie start the best 10 holes he's played so far this year.

Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth has finished second-first-second in the last three years at this event, but he's yet to find his normal Colonial form through three rounds. Spieth, who said Friday he was capable of shooting "10 or 12 under" over the weekend, shot even-par 70 Saturday. He sits in T-38 at 3 under for the week, 11 back.

Shot of the day: Rory Sabbatini closed out his third round Saturday with this eagle holeout from 134 yards at the 18th.

His colorful scorecard featured three bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and that eagle. It added up to a 1-over 71.