Thursday, September 25, 2014
I rarely play top courses in the US. I often stick to municipal courses and rarely venture into the Top 100. Since I was getting married, I thought I would change it up by playing a course often ranked in the Top 100 in the US and ranked as the best value for a public course, Rustic Canyon.
In playing this course, I can definitely see what the Top 100 has to offer! Each hole was unique and challenging. Often parkland courses have holes that are very flat and side by side so after awhile you forget what hole you are playing until a ball almost whacks you in the head.
Not Rustic Canyon though! The course follows the contours of a valley in Moorpark California and mixes fairways with natural scrub brush and desert areas.
The big challenge of this course (which numerous commentators have noted) is the greens. These things are beasts, quick with crazy humps and ridges and bifurcations.
You have to play this course once in order to really play it going forward (good thing I am planning on playing this place multiple times!). The greens really effect how you approach a given hole and having that knowledge is key to a good round.
What also is fascinating about RC is how many waste areas you have to drive over or hit your second shots over. It makes you think and adds to the challenge.
One last thing I will mention about RC is that the fairway/rough right around the greens are cut super close, almost creating a second green.
This creates it own challenges, do you putt, chip, bump and run, give up and go to the next hole? Options, you have a lot of options. It got to the point that I started repairing ballmarks on the fairway since it was mowed so close.
Overall Rustic Canyon is an amazing experience and one that every SoCal golfer must experience. The fact that it kicked off my wedding weekend made it even more special but you don't need a life changing event to make this place special, just play it and see for yourself.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Everyone knows the big guy brands in golf, Ping, Callaway, Titleist, etc. But what about the small shops, the little guys (and gals)? Here is my ongoing series devoted to companies and people you might not have heard of doing great work.
If there is one segment of the golf market that is truly dominated by the big named companies, it is the golf ball market. You basically have Titlelist and everyone else. I am partial to Taylormade Lethal balls myself but those are even a distant third to Callaway and after those three you have Sirxon, Bridgestone, Volvik and not much else. Independent ball makers are few and far between.
That is why I was so excited to try out Monsta Golf Balls and their Monsta Ball. The buzz about these balls (say THAT 5 times fast) was everywhere on the Internet. The Holy Grail of Balls (this article is soooo going to get me tagged with NSFW) is a ball that gives you distance but still allows for spinning and feel around the greens. Oh and also doesn't cost you $50 or whatever Titleist Pro V1s are going for nowadays.
(yes, those golf balls are looking at you)
Monsta delivers on at least 2 of those promises, the ball definitely jumps off the driver and clubhead and it felt good at impact. I don't have any of those fancy schmancy GPS tracker devices so I can't tell if you if I got significantly more distance with the Monsta but it felt solid and there was definitely more jump to the ball.
The amount this ball spins is also impressive. My normal golf ball spins really well but due in part to its 5 piece construction. This ball spins just as much as my normal ball and actually spun back a few times, which is crazy to me since my balls stick but don't necessarily spin back. This ball stops on a dime and is well worth it in this category.
For me, the ball felt hard while putting. The ball rolls true but I had some difficultly getting used to the speed of the ball based on the feel. I think if you are used to a 3 piece urethane ball then this ball will be right in your wheelhouse. It gives you crazy spin, good distance and you don't have to pay $50 for Titleist, then you should definitely check this ball out.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
The courses in the Los Angeles City system are varied. Some are par 3's, some are executive courses and some are full fledged golf courses and I have been meaning to check out Hansen Dam, a well regarded full fledged course.
I took to the course on a hot, hot day recently (not even a 8am start helped) and really liked what I saw.
You have several standard parkland holes but then you also have holes that go downhill, dogleg left around a lake and then go uphill much like the one pictured above. The course just tops out over 6,000 yards but also has a 560 yard par 5 (which played pretty long).
I played like a hot mess all day but of course striped a hybrid to within 10 feet on 192 yard par 3 so once again golf has its claws in me. There is always one shot that keeps bringing you back to this game.
The only thing I didn't like about Hansen was that they were constantly watering the fairways. Not only do we have a drought here in SoCal but there is an advantage to browning out the course, the ball rolls further. I can't tell you how many lies I had plugged or the ball didn't roll at all because the ground was soggy.
Overall, the pace of play was the best I have experienced in the LA City system and the course was fun and interesting to play. A definite recommend!
For more info about Hansen Dam, check it out here: http://www.golf.lacity.org/cdp_hansen.htm