Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Los Verdes Golf Review

If you wanted to play golf on the Pacific coast say near Los Angeles your options are the very expensive Trump course, the very expensive Pelican Hill, Monarch Beach or the very expensive (for non-locals) Torrey Pines. Where I am going with this of course is that there is another option for you. Specifically Los Verdes golf course which has a walking weekday rate of $29. $29!

Now, there is a downside to this insanely low rate, that everyone in SoCal knows about it and the course is often jammed resulting in horror stories of guys giving up finishing 18 holes after 6 (6!) hours on the course. I vowed that I would only play Los Verdes if I went there out at the crack of dawn and thus:

Glowballs! Glowballs for the first 2 holes to be precise as my 6:07am tee time slightly preceded daylight. It also rained on my head for about 4 holes so I don't really have any memories to offer for the first few holes other than the holes being short-ish and you were never out of it even with glowballs.

Eventually, the rain let up the sun poked through and I staggered my way around the front side in a daze. The front side is in good shape with the course  being well designed to whisk away rain and views here and there of the Pacific.

As with Sandpiper, this course really turns it on during the backside and is WELL worth your $29.

Downhill driveable (even for the average Joe) par 4 with views of the Pacific? Check.

Crazy long and crazy fun dogleg left that ends in the Pacific? Check.

Cliffside par 5 (don't go left!)? Triple check!

Coupled with some pretty fun par 3's, the backside packs a punch is well worth the early ups and the kinda surly regulars playing behind you. Pace of play was sub 4 hours on our part BTW.

Downsides for the course? The backside, while fun and pretty, was a bit waterlogged but also threadbare in parts of the fairway and I saw the greens bounce a few putts (in fairness, the course is SO heavily played the fact that the greens did not resemble the craters of the moon was a minor miracle). The staff was great, the course was in surprisingly good shape overall and the pace of play didn't have me slam my head against the wall.

Overall I was so glad I played this course, although now I need a nap.

For more information about Los Verdes, check out the link here:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Golfing Sandpiper- Review

When you think of the top golf courses in California what comes to mind? Pebble Beach, Cypress Point, Olympic Club, Torrey Pines. All of these courses are classic and all have something in common, views of the ocean. What if I were to tell you that you can have the same experience at those courses at a fraction of the price compared to the others and without the exclusivity hassles?

Well my friends, let me introduce you to Sandpiper in Sant Barbara. While not cheap (Twilight rates start at $80), this course is well worth every penny. You wouldn't necessarily think that this course is all that and a bag of chips with the first few holes being rather straightforward affairs.

The course really kicks into gear on the fifth hole with a severe uphill tee shot and a horizon as blue as the far as the eye can see.

You end up on the top of the bluffs surveying the course and you start to get a sense on how special this place is.

The course dips back towards the clubhouse but don't worry, you will get plenty of action on the backside.

The fun all starts on 10 with an outrageous dogleg left with crazy cliffs on the left.

with a well placed shot you have a great shot to the green but try not to be distracted by the scenery.

I just so happen to hit the 7 iron of a lifetime which resulted in another great view from the green.

With still another 8 holes to go on the backside you better buckle-up for the downhill 190 yard par 3 11th

which has to be the best view from a green not named Cypress Point.

Next hole up, hole 12 which is a huge uphill par 4 with an almost blind second shot and looking back makes you almost blind with the wonderful views.

The course continues with a killer par 5 over 2 ravines with the Pacific always on the right.

The course winds up heading back to the clubhouse and in one more watery twist, the course ends on a par 3 over water.

The course isn't perfect. The fairways are a bit threadbare (probably due to California's ongoing drought) and the pace of play was great but can get a bit stacked up on the wowza holes. However, on a whole, if you like ocean-infused golf courses, this is probably the best one you can play in SoCal.

If you want more Sandpiper info, please check out the link here!

Monday, February 15, 2016

ReGripped's Quest To Play Cypress Point Day 190

This is one of several posts about my attempts to play the ultimate course, the Cypress Point Club. If you have any tips for me or want to invite me to play (!!!) please email me at I promise total discretion for anyone who helps. Thanks!  

The AT&T Pro Am just concluded at Pebble Beach and while there was a lot of focus on the PB courses, the blimp cams seemed to focus an inordinate amount of time over Cypress Point. Coupled that with many of the amateurs playing last week were members of the course and all the pros were bragging about how they got to play Cypress, well it had me salivating that much more!

The television coverage and the online Twitter feeds of various golf people made you think that everyone and their mother could play Cypress when in fact it still remains one of the most exclusive clubs in the world. It is slightly frustrating that celebrities and pros can play there has they have more immediate access to the members and that it is shoved in our face by TV but that will just make it that much sweeter for an average guy like me to get to play there...eventually.

Here we are, day 190 of my quest to play CPC. So close, yet so far. That is the latest news I bring to y'all on my continuing Cypress Point quest. Through the magic of the Internet, I was connected with someone in the golf biz who then put me in contact with an ACTUAL member of Cypress. I also contacted someone else in the golf biz who knows two members at the course.

Alas neither connection ultimately panned out, yet. One connection was a matter of timing and the other was a one-way street and not a Harry Meets Sally moment but STILL, several direct avenues to one of the 250 of the luckiest people on Earth (i.e., the members of CPC).

What this proves to me is that while the Internet is something you can't touch or smell or feel, it is a real connector of people. The connections that people establish online can translate to connections IRL (in real life). While I haven't been able to IRL a member (that sounds dirty), the online connections I have made are amazing and I have run across so many good people looking to help me.

I am extremely GRATEFUL for every person who has taken the time out to try and help me. So far I have had 3 real life people offer to help my real life quest and to those people I say THANK YOU and I hope to buy you a beer of your choice if I ever get to meet you. To those reading the blog who I haven't met yet, maybe you don't know a CPC member but perhaps your buddy or co-worker does! If so, send em my way, I am easily findable ;).

Now for some random Cypress Point factoids.

First Up, The Match.

One of my television shows of all time is Twin Peaks and one of my favorite golf books of all time is The Match, both written by the same guy, Mark Frost. It details a pivotal point in golf's history when the definition of a golfer could mean a professional or an amateur and this Match at Cypress signaled the death knell of the "gentlemen amateur golfer". Aside from the fascinating history, the book is an ode to Cypress Point, lovingly detailing every hole so the reader/listener is there on the course with Hogan and Venturi as they make their way around. I highly recommend this book for any golf or Cypress Point fan!

Random Internet Review:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Putter Stamping

If you watch the major pro golf tours you often see pros with customized stamped gear. Examples of stamping can be found here but what about us regular joe's? Where can we pimp our gear out?

That is a surprisingly tough question as 1) not a lot of companies offer customized stamping (Odyssey wherefore art thou?) and 2) there are very few places that offer stamping and not many in the LA area (its all about LA didn't ya know?). So when I started looking into getting my brand new awesome putter stamped, I couldn't really find a place that had reviews or was somewhat close to me.

Enter Torrey Rat, a Torrey Pines buff here in SoCal that offers a wide range of club customization services. In emailing back and forth with George, he put me at ease about letting go of my baby and getting it stamped (did the head need to be removed, will the putter be treated with kid gloves, etc.). Not only that but he ran through multiple customization options and we came to a great decision (as you can see above).

Not only that but the color was super close to the new Odyssey blue, which to me made it feel like I had it done at Odyssey.

I really couldn't be happier with my Torrey Rat experience and I HIGHLY recommend them to all golf fans who want to customize their gear (maybe I will even get a Torrey Rat logo on my next club)!

If you want more info on Torrey Rat, check out the link here:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Golfing Harbor Park Review

The City of Los Angeles runs a whole BUNCH of golf courses in the Southland, 13 courses in total. Most of these courses are known to the LA golfer, Rancho (host of an LA Open or 2), Wilson and Harding in Griffith Park, Penmar (the only golf course in Santa Monica), etc.

Oddly, the one that has the best reviews online is one of the least known amongst my LA golf friends. That would be Harbor Park, a 9 hole course but with 2 par 5's, 2 par 3's and a host of interesting par 4s will give you everything you want in a golf outing.

Harbor Park starts with a short and straight par 4, which almost must be a design requirement for LA City courses as Roosevelt, Penmar and Hansen Dam all start with basically the same hole.

Indeed as the course goes along for the first 3 holes you might think to yourself, "this is an interesting course, kinda like a poor man's Sharp Park" but then the course kicks into high gear with multiple holes offering views of the harbor with beautiful background shots of San Pedro.

The par 4's are no joke either if you play from the back tees you are looking at 400+ making Harbor Park a truly "big boy" course.

The course kinda, sorta, routes itself around a college so there are a few holes that skirt buildings and parking lots but the holes are so intriguing that you concentrate more on the hole than the surroundings. For example, there is a short par 4 that requires a draw over the bunker or a fade also the bunker, all depending on where the flag is as the green is treacherous despite most people taking 3/5 wood off the tee.

Overall the routing of the holes is straightforward for the most part but the greens are devious and you will need all the help you can get if you find the trees that line the fairways. Overall, color me a fan of this course, well well worth it if you find yourself in the South Bay/San Pedro area of LA.

For more information about Harbor Park, check it out here:

Monday, February 1, 2016

Rainy Day At Torrey Pines Photoessay

Torrey Pines is one my favorite golf courses on the planet (one which I plan to play one day soon) and the Farmer's Insurance Open is therefore one of my favorite golf tourneys. Usually attending the tournament is a pleasant day on a seaside course but Sunday at TP had other plans.

Plans that I welcomed! I love to see pros battle the elements rather than perfect weather and perfect greens, it can get boring watching them chew up a course. Give em some challenge, give em some elements and see what happens! Is is a small photo essay of my day.

Every time I have been to Torrey there has been fog in the morning.

Sure there was rain and some fog but what was really crazy was the 30-40mph winds!

The sun did break out on occasion.

Over the last year I bought all this rain gear, which is slightly insane given that I live in the desert that is SoCal. That being said, my Galway Bay jacket and pants and my Sun Mountain umbrella were awesome!