Tag Archives: golf

Via Verde Country Club

I get excited when I have the opportunity to play new golf courses in Los Angeles.  It ‘s infrequent and therefore fun — it’s a new golf experience to savor.

This opportunity I was afforded to play Via Verde Country Club in lovely San Dimas.   San Dimas is a cozy town in the Southeast end of LA County.  It’s a sleepy town with decent mix of old and new residential with a great home-town vibe about it.

Let me first preface everything I am going to write about Via Verde.  They are currently overseeding so current conditions are not peak.

As Via Verde describes themselves:

Via Verde Country Club was conceived by Vinell Pauley and designed by Bill Bell in the late 1960’s. The Course was designed and built among the rolling Via Verde Hills and was open for play in the spring of 1970. Today Via Verde Retains a strong membership and is well respected among private courses in Southern California.

In a word, I was disappointed.  I was expecting country club conditions but I was instead greeted with sanded greens that did not hold their line.  The fairways were a little shaggy and the rough was thick and punishing.  Personally I liken this to a high-end municipal but even that is suspect.

Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed the layout.  Fairways were narrow and required precise tee shots.  In defense of the course that layout was fun.  I had to use a variety of clubs off the tee and every ounce of course knowledge is key here; especially which way is downhill since the course winds its way through every dip and valley around the hill the club house sits upon.

I just didn’t care for the conditions we had to play.  For the money, it wasn’t worth it and unfortunately I may not have another chance to play here again until invited back again.

So that is it.  I could rake into the golf course but at present it’s not their fault.  Personally given their reputation I would enjoy another opportunity to play the course when conditions are at their best and they have actual tee boxes you could hit from.

Would I play here again?  Yes, BUT only if conditions are at their best.  There has to be some kind of value here and until conditions improve — they should — I wouldn’t want to dish out the money and play this course.

Here are some photos from my little excursion.  Enjoy.

Also check out my golf course review on Greenskeeper.org.  Click HERE.

Speaker of Cliches … My Back to Basics Approach to Golf

I am guilty.  I do it all the time.  And I hate myself for doing it but I for one think it’s a necessary evil.  Sometimes even my salvation.

Ask me why and the only logical conclusion I can give is that a cliché is a parable.  It provides the best way to help another or yourself for that matter  understand your explanation.  Sometimes a cliché can best describe the action you want to mimic.  Other times you miss the point completely and hilarity ensues.

For example, I have been in the golf doldrums for a few weeks now.  I just cannot hit a golf shot.  To make matters worse I cannot string a few good shots per hole in order to string a few pars together.  And no amount of time on the range can fix it.  Believe me I have tried.  My tennis elbow and blisters prove it.  I just can’t explain it.  That’s when my “Back to Basics” mantra kicked in. I guess you could say, I was fed up with sucking.   It also made economic sense — stop throwing good money after bad prospects [The bad prospect(s) being me.]

I have tried to “hit down on the ball to go up.”  I have tried “swinging on plane.”  I have even tried “swinging easy.”  I felt like Tin Cup at the US Open.  We are talking “deer in the headlights,” “’cause nothing was going on between the space of five inches between my ears.”  Nothing seemed to work.

That is until I discovered “my religion.”  My first “conversion” started when a golf coach told me when asked how to score better, “Hit the ball closer to the hole.”  I was insulted.  Of course you have to hit the ball closer to the hole.  If we could all hit the ball closer to the hole, golf would be easy.  Closer to the hole meant you had fewer puts.  Then a lightbulb went off in my head.  I had to ask myself HOW to hit the ball closer to the hole.  And that meant chipping the ball closer to the hole.  That also meant short iron shots had to be dead on.  That meant I had to know what club would do what and make that outcome consistent.  So away I went to work on my short game.  And lo and behold it worked — for a time.

Now this latest bout of yips, I had to find that religion again.

This time I had to break down my swing to its basic parts to figure out what the devil I was/is/shall continue to do wrong.  Golf is a simple game.  It’s the golfer that gets in the way of making it a simple game.  You hit the ball.  You chase the ball into the hole; rinse, repeat eighteen more times.  That’s simple.  The one with the fewer strokes “wins.”  But golf isn’t about winning at least on the Weekend Warrior level.  Sure you can “win” if you wager against other golfers, but it’s more a personal victory if you can string together a few good holes, survive a few bad holes, and cobble together a round worth remembering.

My Religion was to break down my swing into its simplest parts.  My swing is simple to begin with so it was relatively easy.  First I checked my stance.  Everything looked square in the mirror.  Then I worked on my turn, and I figured out how to turn the core of my body without putting much stress on my back by coiling it.  (Yippee! no more back problems!)  It was really simple, I bend my left knee forward, not a lot just enough to allow my body to turn naturally and as a single unit.  But still that didn’t work.  So I went further checking my grip and club face.  This was my Eureka moment.  Apparently I wasn’t holding my club properly.  In fact I was holding the club with my fingers and not the palm of my left hand to anchor the club shaft.  A proper grip uses the fingers to cradle the club shaft but the pad of your left hand balances that club.  There should be no space or wiggle room when you hold the club properly.  Holding the club properly allows you to use the club as an extension of your hand.  That probably explains the latest body ailment — tennis elbow.

Took this rediscovered knowledge with me to the golf course yesterday.  And although I still suck as a golfer, I did manage to survive a few bad holes, cobble together a few pars, and string together a few gold holes to make this round at least for the recent past — worth remembering.  It provided positive results.

So when confronted with the “yips,” “yaps,” “heebeegeebees” do not despair, just go back to your basics.  Find your religion.  Who knows the light may just go off inside your head and you discover some part of your swing mechanics or course management that will help you play more consistently and that after all is a win of sorts isn’t it?

Your mileage may vary with this tidbit of sage advice.  Like I always say, I am not a professional.  I am not even a guru or teaching pro.  I can only tell you what worked for me.  It may work for you.  It may not, that is entirely up to you.

Birthday Golf = Free Golf and It’s Been Updated

Greenskeeper.orgFor those of you who know me, I moderate a website called www.Greenskeeper.org.  It’s a little site that specializes in providing golf course conditions throughout the US in particular California, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Florida, and Arizona.

Some important news, Greenskeeper.org has updated their Birthday Blog!

Want to play golf for free?  Want to play golf for free on your Birthday well now you have the updated list of those golf courses participating in celebrating the second most important day of the year — your Birthday!

Check out the link:  http://www.greenskeeper.org/articles/article.cfm?id=22

More Screen Shots of GK Mobile App for your consideration

The User Login Screen looks slick.  So what’s so great about this app versus others?

GK Mobile may sport a new logo but under the hood of this beast of an app beats the combined contribution of over 65,000 members,  40,000+ Reviews, 20,000 + photos of over 1,700 golf courses.  It is a self-perpetuating model conceived by its founder JohnnyGK.

Coming soon -- The GK App by Greenskeeper.org on iTunes
Coming soon — The GK App by Greenskeeper.org on iTunes

No other site I know of offers members, both casual and serious, the most honest and up-to-date information about golf courses they want to play.

Members regularly contribute information about golf courses and their conditions.  Greenskeeper has evolved over the past 10 years into a much respected website in the golf industry.  Top that off with the book Social Golf, a how-to manual for golf course operators to leverage their own customer base using social media to grow their business. You would think GK Mobile would be a likely progression of this book — and you would be right.  GK Mobile may be a necessary piece of the puzzle for any golf course operator trying to contact these golf enthusiasts.

Unlike its competitors, GK Mobile comes out of the gates sprinting to the finish line.  It brings with it all the information on its still very successful website to a mobile platform.  No need to “build” it’s audience because the audience is already there.  No need to build up your database of golf course information because it’s already there.  And top it off with golf course maintenance alerts, a euphemism for green aeration, this blogger thinks it’s a winning combination for both the golf consumer and the golf course operator.

You can truly “Know Before You Go” Golf.  Literally.  Take that Golf Advisor!

You already know who you will be golfing with.  With GK Mobile you will know where and when to play at a golf course near you.

Keep swinging!