Sunday, February 17, 2019

Riviera Photo Essay

Riviera CC is one of the top golf courses in the world. Top 100 has it at 37th in the world and you won't hear me complaining about that ranking. I have attended the Genesis Open several times and each time makes me want to play The Riv more and more. 

The first hole (above) gives you the classic golden area California open with a huge downhill tee shot and an hourglass green. I have had dreams about hitting that tee shot into the upper atmosphere to start my round at the Club.

I am always amazed at the severity of the greens here. There are some where placement is key and misses are death (death by bunker that is).

To me, the back side of the course (where the infamous 6th and the above 16th reside) is some of the most fascinating. You can feel the history back here with these ghost trees and immaculate greens.

I just love this shot. It goes to show that if you miss at the Riv in the wrong place, you are in for a world of hurt.

This was George Thomas' favorite hole and I can see why. The strategy off the tee, the bunkers mirroring the swales of the land, it is fantastic!

This is perhaps my favorite fairway bunker in golf. It is just an outrageous monster of sand rising out of a sea of green.

The Riv is a course that I have seen in person multiple times but never have had the good fortune to play. If I ever got the chance, I would enjoy every second and then beg to play 36. It is that good a course and can be played over and over again with boring a golfer (truly, a high compliment!).

For more info on Riviera, check out the link:

Monday, February 11, 2019

Chester Washington Review

Chester Washington resides deep in the heart of Los Angeles and driving over miles of concrete you wonder how there is a golf course in these parts. However, CW does a lot with a little and smushes together a fun executive course in a highly urban setting.

The course starts out alternating par 4s and par 3s but one of the most impressive features is the width of the fairways. While holes may run parallel to each other as typical parkland courses do, the routing gives you confidence to take several different approaches to the greens.

This hole on the front side is a great example of using width folded into the routing. You can flare it out right or challenge the trap to the left with a semi-blind tee shot. CW is constantly giving you looks like this which really makes it fun off the tee.

The highpoint geographically on the course is also the highpoint of the round with both the 7th and 9th holes playing over water to a downhill sloping fairway which then rises back up to some tricky greens. It really is a beautiful sight.

Unfortunately the back nine can't keep up with the front 9 as the holes lengthen but conversely become less interesting. While the routing gets pretty vanilla, the greens keep up their treachery. While they don't have swales and rolls they do contain devious breaks which keep you on your toes.

I would say the biggest downside to CW is that several holes border active streets and you really never get that serenity that golf can offer. That being said, the course is solid, especially the front 9 and if you are in need of urban golf, CW will give you all you want and more.

For more info on Chester Washington, check out this link:

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Top 10 of 2018

They say any day on the golf course is better than a day at work. While that is certainly true, there are a few golf courses I played this year that are heads and shoulders above the rest. Courses that I will remember for a very long time. Check out the list and let me know what courses you played this year in the comments!

10. Lake Merced

Of all the private clubs on this list, Lake Merced was one of the most fun all around experiences and if I lived in San Fran, I would join it in a second. The routing is great, the trees and the bay breezes are great. The membership is great. All the course needs is a little TLC and it would be fantastic. Maybe on day if I get all the money, I will definitely get a national membership here, it is that good.

9. Barton Creek- Coore/Crenshaw

This course was a tale of 2 nines. The front side kinda a straightforward resort course. The back side? Totally tubular! Rolling hills, crazy greens, great second shots, the back nine had it all.

8. Austin Golf Club

The first rule about AGC is that you can't talk about AGC. The second rule of AGC is see the first rule.

7.  Saticoy

Wow, this is the last course I played in 2018 and it was a real gem. A classic course from the golden age, it still holds up to today's tests and will give you all you want a more. I was really blown away by this one.

6. Pacific Dunes

The views are outrageous. The architecture challenging and engaging. It is consistently ranked in the top 10 in the US much less the world. Still though, with the wind up this course is a beast. All that beauty and routing aside, if the wind is up good luck to ya as the design elements make it close to unplayable on some holes. Strong like, not love.

5. Bandon Trails

You feel like you are in a completely different universe when visiting Bandon and playing Trails and that is a good thing. C&C do an excellent job creating a lot of variety out of the pines and the 11th hole remains one of my favorite holes they have designed thus far.

4. Pacific Grove

Quite simply, it lived up to its reputation of the poor man's Pebble Beach. For $40 you can get out there and knock it around on the front side and say what's the big deal but whoa doggie, you turn to that back side, and you get all the coastal Monterey golf you can handle. This is beyond a gem and a must play if you are in the area!

3. San Francisco GC

Holes 1-9 are perhaps the best stretch of nine holes in the US. The routing superbly uses the landscape to amazing effect, they are 9 holes that will challenge and delight any golfer and the clubhouse and locker room almost have a patina halo around them. Sadly, the back 9 just doesn't hold up to the front with a lot of parallel holes but still excellent by any measure. Still that opening 9 is strong enough to vault the club to number 3 in the rankings.

2. Bandon Dunes

The best course at Bandon, one of the best courses I have played, this course has it all. Width for errant drivers, visually stunning holes and fun greens. People may say Pacific is tougher but it isn't better. Bandon is divine.

1. Cal Club

After playing this course you could've knocked me over with a feather. It is like someone went to the best sandbelt courses in Australia took them up and placed them in San Francisco. Olympic has the pedigree, San Francisco GC has the mystery but Cal Club has the golf, best course I played in 2018 by far!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Saticoy Club Review

When you think of the classic "golden age" courses in Los Angeles, most golfer's minds are drawn to names like LACC (1911), Riviera (1925), and Bel-Air (1925). However, there is another golden age course built in 1921 that often gets overlooked by many in the LA community but shouldn't. Of course, I am talking about Saticoy.

Designed by William Bell in 1921, this course has all the hallmarks of a golden age SoCal course. The opening tee shot is a severe downhill par 4 (much like Riv and Bel-Air).

 The course has plenty of width yet there are trees to keep you honest.

Fantastic bunkering with excellent sand.

and some killer par 3s including a par 3 ninth hole and a crazy downhill par 3 tenth hole. This course screams the golden age and yet I felt it was still very modern. The maintenance staff there has made excellent turf choices and the greens roll true with devilish contours.

As excellent as the front side is, the back side is where the course really shines. What Bel-Air, LACC and The Riv don't give you is stunning views of the surrounding countryside but Saticoy gives you that in spades.

My favorite holes on the back nine had to be start the par 3 13th which leads you up to the high point of the course for the awesomesauce 14th which is a par 5 14th featuring a gorge and gorgeous views!

Couple that with the par 4 15th which has a great tee shot and fantastic green complex

and you have a three hole stretch that I would put up against any in the world. 

The course ends on a long, roping par 5 with a crazy blind shot into the green. For my first time playing the course, the lack of yardage markers and a few blind shots made for some questionable decisions on my part but Saticoy is a course that demands you to play it more than once, and more than once I will. 

The only knock on the course is that they need to trim the rough down a little bit. Balls hit offline seem to nestle in there and were tough to find but 98% of the rest of the course was top notch! 

Saticoy deserves to be in the same breath as Bel-Air surely and those fortunate to get an invite onto this private Ventura Country track should accept. I can't wait to play it again!

For more information on Saticoy please check out this link:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Emergency 9 Time!

This is it, an hour jam packed with my favorite courses, my favorite eats, my favorite shoes. Everything golf and everything rattling around in my brain for the last 18 months. It might be an Emergency "9" but I could have done a full 18 with the boys. Have a listen here!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Talking Golf Getaways Interviews ReGripped

Talking Golf Getaways is hands down THE best travel golf podcast on the interwebs. Darin and Mitch are two great people who know a thing or two about traveling to golf courses and I have listened to all 118 episodes of their podcast thus far.

Not only are they great podcasters but they are great guys and I have been fortunate enough to play golf with them over the last several years.

I am a bit of a golf traveler myself getting around the US on my Coore and Crenshaw quest. Still though, I fan Numero Uno of Rams Hill which is 3.5 hours from Los Angeles and one of my favorite courses ever.

If you want to read my musings on Rams Hill, here is the link

but if you want to hear me babble on like a lunatic...

BE SURE to check out the Rams Hill episode here:

For more information about Rams Hill check out the link:

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Caddy Guy Review

There are a lot of great golf manufacturers in the US but I am always on the hunt for clothing companies across the pond. This has led me to check out Galvin Green, Stuburt and now the Emerald Isle steps into the ring with The Caddy Guy.

The Caddy Guy makes bamboo shirts and pullovers along with hats and other schwag and I recently took the clothing out on a golf trip here in SoCal.

I was super impressed by the polo. It was soft and and felt great throughout the round. Usually black isn't the best color in Los Angeles but the fabric kept me cool throughout and once I took it off, no odor! The bamboo really did its job and the polo blew me away.

I also have this killer purple-ish pullover that I can't wait to put on during the round. Plus I am also a fan of the no-tag clothes and I dig the Irish heritage of my garments.

The pullover is just as soft as the polo and the big takeaway from my TCG gear is one word "quality". I was super impressed by the lads and can't wait to see what they come out with next.

For more information about Caddy Guy, check out their website here: