Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Shadow Ridge Golf Course Review

I will let you in on a little secret about Palm Springs. If you are willing to brave 110 degree temperatures, you can play top ranked courses for 80% of what they would cost you during the more temperate winter season. The downside of this secret is that often the summer does its best to kill the courses and they often aren't in the best shape.

Bucking that trend is Shadow Ridge run by Marriott. Often ranked as one of the best conditioned courses period in America, SR was in immaculate shape when I checked it out during a 105 degree weekend recently. The fairways weren't completely burned out, the sand was in great shape and best of all, the greens (while slow) rolled true.

What I also really liked about SR was the variety of the holes. Often using water features

The course keeps you engaged from tee to green. The course isn't the longest but that is fine with me and also it has so many defenses from the water to the bunkers

that you are really on your toes for the whole round (in a fun way- the course isn't overly punitive). I also really enjoyed the lack of houses on the course. You won't feel claustrophobic like you do on many Palm Springs courses where you get the sense that they built the housing development first and then tried to fit in a course around that.

The only downside to SR was the pace of play which seems partly due to the lack of marshalls on the course (or marshalls willing to do anything). If I said to you the round I played there was 4:30 you would say "what's the issue ReGripped?". However if you are playing in 100+ heat, you want that round to be quick especially if you are going out pre-7am like I did. I have played rounds in Palm Springs in 3.5 hours or less and this isn't just an SR issue, many courses let play slow to a crawl, especially later in the day.

Overall I'm a huge fan of Shadow Ridge, the routing is interesting, the course is in amazing shape. Consider me convinced!

For more information on Shadow Ridge, check it out here:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ReGripped Reviews WeKoPa

The last review in my Arizona/Coore-Crenshaw quest is live! This time around I checked out We Ko Pa's top ranked Saguaro course:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New Coore Crenshaw Review

Hey everyone, come on over to my Coore Crenshaw Quest page to check out the latest course review! You will be glad you did!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Golfing Rams Hill- Review

There is a saying "nothing worth having comes easy" and that describes Ram's Hill to a T. Located a healthy 3.5 hours from Los Angeles, the drive is hard to get there as you have to go through the Salton Sea area and over the canyon terrain of Anza Borrego. Don't believe me? Here is a picture headed to the course:

However. once you are there, you will get a top tier golf course that to me, is one of the 5 best in all of SoCal.

High praise? There isn't high enough praise for this course. The conditions were immaculate:

The bunkering was outrageous:

The greens, while a bit on the slow side because they don't want them to die in the Sumer heat, rolled true and provided a stark contrast to the desert environment:

The routing was fantastic. Tom Fazio did a tremendous job using the natural contours of the land to really nestle in this course resulting in each hole being a unique challenge. Impressively, most tee shots had you hit drives that went downhill (some more subtly than others)

which adds to the enjoyment for the average golfer as there are speed "pockets" aplenty here that if you catch it right, the ball will go a long way.

You will notice that there is water on a lot of holes which I am sure is part of the Borrego Springs network and you just can't get over how stark the contrast is from the desert environment and the course you are playing. The course is not all Augusta-green, there are many areas of hard desert interlaced around the course which is great to see as I fully applaud efforts like Coore/Crenshaw and other architects pulling up turf in these arid times. I think Ram's Hill has the right balance of green and desert (said sitting from my admittedly ill-informed perch).

Ram's Hill also has the traditional SoCal par 3 over water (a pet peeve of mine as readers of this blog can attest) yet at this course with how they route the shot feels fresh and interesting. Rather than a forced carry over water, water is only death if you go left and there is a bailout to the right which makes for a much more interesting variation:

Ram's Hill also does things the "right" way (at least according to me ;)) with lots of sprinkler heads showing you the yardage and most importantly (given the harsh desert environment), lots of water stations throughout the course:

It has been a weird experience recently golfing around SoCal as we live in a desert yet water stations are not prevalent on a lot of courses. I usually bring my own water in any event but was very thankful for Ram's Hill's foresight on this one. They also shut down the course during the Summer season rather than having deteriorating conditions as the heat and sun take their toll. They are open from November until July which seems right to me.

Overall, Rams Hill is definitely in my top 5 courses in all of SoCal (joining Rustic, Oak Quarry and Sandpiper) and even though it is an insane trek to get there, it is well worth it. I think next time I play there, I will stay in Borrego Springs so I can get multiple cracks at the course, its that good.

For more information on Ram's Hill check it out here: