Thursday, July 23, 2015
ReGripped Golfs The Champions Club Review
LA is a big place. It stretches as far as the eye can see and has more courses that you can shake a stick at. Want seaside links? Go down to Palos Verdes. Want parkland courses, look no further than the tracks in Griffith Park. Hell, a place most people in LA don't go to (Simi Valley) has numerous world-class golf courses there!
South and East of LA is no different and on this day, I went to Corona California to check out the Champions Club which is nestled in a gated community called The Retreat. The course has a HEAVY social media presence, always running contests, engaging golfers etc. I decided to check it out and was pleasantly surprised!
First off, the course is hilly.
Hilly is an understatement, especially on the back 9, which I will get to later. The course really hugs every twist and turn in the canyons it inhabits and really looks like at times that it is carved out of the side of a mountain.
Because of the hilliness, local knowledge becomes key. For example, the first hole is a par five but because there is a huge ravine about 260 out, the best play is a 3 wood off the tee. There are also many greens with two tiers so knowing that and hitting to the right tier is paramount.
Aside from the hilliness of the course and even though both nines inhabit the same general viscinty they are two very different courses.
The front side is hilly but straightforward and rather short. Clocking in with 3 par 5's (all under 500 yards), you can pick up some much needed confidence and scores on the front side.
The backside by contrast has a ton more hills, a ton more elevated greens and a ton more chances to lose balls, especially on numerous par 4's over 400 yards. Some of the holes, in all honesty, are a bit too severe because after a great tee shot, you have a crazy side hill lie and then you watch the ball fall helplessly short of the elevated green.
That is not to say the backside is too crazy because my favorite hole on the entire course was 16.
A par five, slight dogleg right with a beautiful pond guarding the green:
I really enjoyed my time at Champions, the course was in great shape considering the mega-drought California is currently suffering through (they use reclaimed water to irrigate). I was confused why the course made such an effort through signs and GPS commands to repair all ballmarks but when you get to the greens you can see the damage done but improperly or un-repaired marks (seriously golfers get it together!)
By far though, my favorite thing of the day was the GPS device in the cart. For me, I am old school. I will pace off yardage from sprinkler heads and eyeball distances. I don't do the electronic distance doohickeys or really pay attention to cart GPS but today I decided to give it a whirl. While the information was interesting, I found this to be my favorite message of the day:
Never fear Champions Club, I did not go in my pants. ;)
Overall this is really a different, challenging course than most of the tracks you can play in SoCal. It is hilly and at sometimes unforgiving but the vistas are worth it. Plus, there is a real premium on quick rounds and I was able to get around in 4:15 (which could have been even quicker). If you are looking for canyon golf, look no further than the good ol CC!
For more info on the course, check it out here: http://www.championsclubretreat.com/