Monday, October 31, 2016
I love playoffs. I think every sport should have a playoff once the regular season is over. In golf, the PGA Tour has had some success with FedEx Cup playoffs and now the Champions Tour is following suit with the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. The first event was here in SoCal, the Powershares QQQ Championship at Sherwood Country Club.
I have never been to or played at Sherwood but was eager to with memories of the "Showdown at Sherwood" stuck in my head (that great match between Tiger and Duval in their prime). I haven't had a chance to play it in person yet (which I hope to one day) but I figured a stroll around the course seeing some high end golf is just what the doctor ordered.
First off, Powershares and Sherwood CC did a great job putting on this tournament. The volunteers were extremely friendly and there was a really laid back vibe to the whole proceedings. Sherwood is not the most walkable course with significant elevation gains and losses but the tournament put food and drink stations in the right areas and all the spectators had a good time.
Sherwood is schizophrenic but in a charming way. The front side for the most part is flat and follows various parts of a lake set amongst old oak trees.
Don't let the front side fool you, there is no bombing the ball here as there are various washes and streams that bisect the fairway in multiple areas.
The backside has a crazy amount of elevation gain and losses, none felt more so than the par 3s. It seems that every par 3 on both the front and backside, you are hitting over a ravine to a green you would be lucky to get on in the best of conditions.
The par 4s and par 5s are no bargain either with forced carries for your tee shots and oak trips devilishly placed to catch an errant tee ball.
There are also a tremendous amount of rocks on the course which become boulder-sized starting on 9
Any time you get to hang out with Wayne Gretzky (member of Sherwood) to watch golf and to go into the pro shop and see Dustin Johnson's US Open trophy and bag, well you sir get bonus points!
Also bonus points should be added for the sweet tourney merchandise at Sherwood. Often tourney schwag isn't awesome but this time it was. My only regret is that I didn't pull the trigger on getting a Sherwood archer hat with the orange Powershares tourney logo on the side. Still thinking bout that hat as I write this ;).
Overall, the inaugural Powershares QQQ Championship got off to a great start and is being held at the fascinating Sherwood course. I will definitely be back again.
For more info on the tourney check out this link! http://www.pgatour.com/champions/tournaments/powershares-qqq-championship.html
Thursday, October 27, 2016
An hour Northwest of Los Angeles is the small town of Fillmore that is home to Elkins Ranch. ER is a rarity in SoCal in that they control their own water supply so conditions are often green where other courses are putting on their brown coats. Having played Mountain View a few months ago, I was eager to try out ER which is right down the road.
ER is set up like your typical parkland course with holes running parallel to each other. The trees, while sparse, are set up to capture stray shots for the most part. What this course lacks in routing prowess, it more than makes up for in elevation changes.
You have holes with elevated greens and holes with crazy elevated tee boxes. While the course is under 6,500 yards and rather boxed in to its surroundings, its amazing to me how many changes to the elevation occur in such a confined space.
Because ER controls its own water, they have some pretty sweet water features including this brute of a hole, the par 4 ninth hole.
The number 1 handicap hole, you have a sliver of fairway to the right as you make your way around the pond. I missed my par putt by inches but it made want to play this hole over and over again. Water is a double edged sword as the course might be a bit overwatered but the water features are pretty sweet.
The course does have some oddities. The few traps that exist on the course are oddly removed from the greens, which is a design feature I have never encountered before. There is at least a good two feet of rough between the trap and green below.
Also, the course is EXTREMELY compressed in certain areas. Right here there are three greens that are within a bump and run from each other.
I am not sure what the solution is to this compressed conundrum, especially since it leads to a lot of fences around the course but if the course ever undergoes a redesign and get rid of this pancaking the course could be really something.
For more info on Elkins Ranch, check out the link! http://www.elkinsranchgc.com/
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
As you are driving to the Lakes at El Segundo, part of you wonders how it can even exist? Several of the holes border Sepulvada Blvd (a very busy road here in Los Angeles) and it seems hemmed in on all sides by other major roads and the run off from LAX. But exist it does and LA golfers are better for the course existing.
Lakes offers an LA golfer a bunch of short holes (short = sub 110 yards) which sharpens the wedge game and the greens roll true so you get a classic short course vibe. Unlike a lot of short courses, Lakes has a crazy amounts of bunkers, none more so than a 76 yard hole that has huge swales of bunkers in case you are not incredibly precise.
Lakes ups the ante into executive course territory offering two really interesting par 4's (both sub 300 yards). One is uphill with a lot of strategically placed bunkers
and one downhill with water and bunkers to harass your shot.
Lakes does have some issues, geese have taken over the course and evidence of them are everywhere and the squeezing between the boulevards does affect the yardages so you are making a lot of the same shot for 9 holes. That being said, I really enjoyed my Sunday morning round. It was very relaxed and a good walk in the park!
For more information about the Lakes at El Segundo, check out the website here: http://www.golfthelakes.com/Club/Scripts/Home/home.asp