Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Angeles National Golf Review

Angeles National occupies a unique niche in Los Angeles golf. The only Nicklaus track in Los Angeles, ANGC is higher priced than most public courses and has conditioning similar to private courses making a high end public course. So does it live up to the hype?

The 11th hole is emblematic of the course as a whole. Scrub brush surrounds the fairway and you can't enter into it to retrieve errant shots due to environmental concerns so there is a premium on accuracy. Nicklaus took his bulldozer "scalpel" sloping the fairway and then adding in a sand trap directly in the most scoreable line on the hole.

The course puts a premium on having high, accurate iron shots or wedge shots as the throats of the greens are so narrow and sculpted by bunkers that you may as well shoot for the flag because a miss 5 yards right or left will leave you with a difficult pitch shot.

When you finally get to the green, you find out that the greens are much smaller than you would imagine which, after navigating the bulldozed undulations, means you need to play this courses several times before you can start scoring.

My favorite hole on the course was 18, a long par 4 that start off over a pond and going uphill with a blind shot.

After that shot you have a long iron shot to a green guarded on three sides by another lake and some ducks (ducks are all over this course, hi guys!). The hole is a bear but really fun.

What wasn't fun was the poor tee time management. We were sent out the backside with groups going out every 8 minutes and while the pro shop staff and especially the cart guys were all super friendly, there were no marshalls on the course and boy did it need it. One of the par 3s had 3 groups stacked on it.

Don't get me wrong, the course is beautiful and in pretty good shape considering the recent rains (although due to poor design choices by Nicklaus, many of the sand traps became drainage spots with standing water in them). It does force you to think off the tee, do you take an aggressive line and flirt with disaster with major sandtraps or take an easier drive but then have almost an impossible second shot to the green.

I wanted to like ANGC more, I really did. The landscape is fantastic, the staff friendly. However, the tee sheet and lack of marshalls, the insistence on carts only and the tricked up unfairness of Jack's design left me ambivalent about the whole experience. I have always felt ANGC was about 20% too expensive, a small price reduction could make a big difference and now having played it, I wholly endorse that. That and more spaced out tee times.

For more information about ANGC check out this link!

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