Tag Archives: tournament

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.

Balboa Golf Course at the Sepulveda Recreation Complex — Damn Good Conditions for Municipal

OK let’s get this straight, I play a lot of golf locally.  You could call me your local golfer with an unbiased take on the golf courses we all play here in the Los Angeles area.  It’s my privilegeBalboa Golf Course at the Sepulveda Recreation Area to play all these courses.  I really have been lucky.  

I have been reporting golf course conditions for my favorite website — Greenskeeper.org for eight years now. Today is no exception.  I played in a Broken tee Tournament today.  Pace of play was pretty fast considering it was a Sunday mid-morning tee time.  Our round was 4 hours.   Temperature felt like 90F in the sun with a decent breeze coming out of Burbank.  

Balboa is one of two courses on this side of the Sepulveda Recreation Complex.  It’s sister course is Encino which plays a little longer with wider fairways.

I am happy to report that Balboa’s greens are in very good shape. Ran a little slow for my taste but very receptive for aggressive play to greens. Today I felt like I had to club-up for my approach shots. Fairways were lush with somewhat good coverage and some thin areas but very playable. Rough was inconsistent but thick in spots and not so thick in others. The thick stuff was very penalizing. The thin stuff easy to get out. Sand in bunkers is hard packed sand. Tee boxes were flat and rotated well allowing for decent, flat lies. 

Hole 9 Balboa Golf Course
Hole 9 Balboa Golf Course

A comment about the services here.  It’s bare bones.  They have a little truck that serves as the beverage truck but I saw it speeding by us and it was very difficult to wave down.  In fact by the time we noticed the truck was there, they were already 150 yards away.  The snack shop apparently is closed on the weekends.  Leaving only vending machines to service thirsty golfers.

Hole 15 Balboa Golf Course
Hole 15 Balboa Golf Course

A Gatorade is $3.  A soda is $2.50 but as it happens their soda machine is empty (no indicator lights) and no refunds so I ended spending $5.50 for a single bloody Gatorade.  Their water from the fountains have a funny taste to them.  
Pace of play was around 4 hours. The course is in better shape compared to Encino per starter. My advice, go out and play! Would I play here again? Darn straight. Great greens, easy to play and a decent value; just going to bring my own beverages from now.

Shadow Selfie of your Local Golfer the Golfing Guru
Shadow Selfie of your Local Golfer the Golfing Guru

 

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