Getting on the green

Blogging about some of the world's best golf holes.

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Hole # 9, Palm Royale CC, La Quinta, CA

Hole # 9, par 3, blue tees, 85 yards

Hole # 9

Hole # 9

Just when you think you have your short game under control, you pull a shot left. And on hole # 9 at Palm Royale Country Club, it was going to be a tricky up and down. Dick was next to hit. He also chose a SW but he mishit it and his ball ended up wet. Cindy was up next. She chose a PW and she hit it well. Her ball went straight for the pin and settled just north of the pin.

Dick hit his third shot from the drop area but went completely underneath the ball. It’s easy to do that at Palm Royale because the rough can be quite long at this time of year. I walked over to my ball and assessed the situation. I had a bunker between my ball and the green. The elegant shot would involve a flop shot but I was worried about skulling the ball into someone’s patio. I ended up chipping it over the bunker and off the green. I would settle with a double bogey. Dick did as well. Cindy was the only one that walked away with a par.

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Hole # 18, Glen Annie Golf Club, Santa Barbara, CA

Hole # 18, par 4, 353 yards

Hole # 4

Hole # 18

Glen Annie Golf Club is situated on the hillside of Santa Barbara where golfers are treated to a challenging layout and elevated tees.

The finishing hole at Glen Annie may appear short on the scorecard but don’t let this hole trick you in taking it easy. At 353 yards, it demands a great drive and a straight soft approach with a mid iron.

I drove it hard and dry with my playing partners flirting with the water that hugs the whole right side. There is a large lake that comes into play and should be avoided. Slicers beware. Compensate if you have to or stay left.

With only $130 yards left, I chose my favourite club and landed in front of the green. It bounced on nicely and left me with a 20 yard putt. Two putts later, a par.

This is a beautiful course, especially if you can get out here in the summer. It’s quieter here on the weekdays but if you have to work during the week, take the weekend off and drive out here. It’ll be worth the drive.


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Hole # 16, DeBell GC, Burbank, CA

Hole # 16, par 4, Blue tees, 290 yards

I love holes like this, downhill and reachable in two. Hole # 16 on DeBell Golf Club in Burbank is an easy hole if you are a straight hitter. At 290 yards, the long hitters will shoot for the green and hope to get close to the green. A chip in would mean eagle and a miss, would be an opportunity for birdie. For the rest of us, it is a short par 4 to get on the green in two.

If you checked the website before coming out to DeBell to play, hole # 16 looks easy. But out here in person, it’s a different looking course. First of, the website doesn’t give you any sense of height. When standing on the tee box on #16, you look down to the fairway. The line of trees on the right scares me because I can easily slice my ball there. Overall, it is a narrow golf course and you really need to play smart here unless you’re ready to lose lots of balls.

When it was my turn, I chose to hit a 3-wood. With a 3-wood, I managed to hit it with a lower trajectory than with my driver. At least I was in the fairway and not in the trees as my playing partners. My second shot was going to be easy. With just 70 yards, I chose my SW to land it softly. Putting for birdie was nice but sinking it was even better.

Pickup your DeBell gift cards from Costco – save 25% this month only – 2 cards for $74.99.

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Hole # 2, Los Robles Greens, Thousand Oaks, CA

Hole # 2, Blue tees, 146 yards

Some courses give you a good feeling and Los Robles Greens does that for me every time I set foot here. After finishing the par 5, hole # 1, it’s good to take a rest and a breather and get ready to hit a hole-in-one on the next hole. At only 146 yards, it is very doable and with the right club, technique and a lot of luck, someone is bound to hit it into the hole.

Before you lick your lips, let me warn you about right of the green. Any hint of a slice and your ball will be lost. If you’re going to hit an errant shot, let it go left because you have plenty of room on that side of the fairway. At only 146 yards, take an extra club because there’s usually a lot of wind up on the green. It’s flat but most people don’t get to the green- strange!

I went with a 7-iron and it was pin high. Stan chose a 6-iron and beamed it left of the palm tree. It was Damien’s turn and he decided to hit his 8-iron. Damien usually hits a high draw and his ball would land on the green, almost holing it. He would putt in for a birdie while the both of us would end up with a bogey.

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Hole # 1, The Golf Club at La Quinta, La Quinta, CA

Hole # 1, par 4, Blue tees, 378 yards

Golf Club at La Quinta, Hole # 8

Golf Club at La Quinta, Hole # 8

Before stepping out on hole # 1, hit a few balls on the range to warm up and get the ‘feel’ into your game. At the Golf Club at La Quinta, formerly known as the Trilogy Golf Club, you get treated to free range balls. It’s nice when a course provides range balls for free, even though the temperature is well above 100 degrees. It’s quiet here in late spring and summer so you practically have the whole course to yourself. Don’t hit several balls but take the time to visualize your shot and hit a good score.

Hole # 1 is a straightforward hole. Back at the blue tees, it’s alittle daunting for some because of the tunnel vision caused by a tight fairway. Left of you is the driving range and right of you are houses. Forget it for the moment as you line up your tee shot straight down the middle. If you are going to draw it then perfect, you’ll be in the middle. Otherwise a little bleeding to the right won’t hurt you.

My tee shot ends up 30 yards from the barber pole, leaving me 160 yards to the green. I set up to hit a draw and end up hooking it left. I’m left with a small chip which I give myself a 2 putt for a bogey. Not a bad start but I should have putted it better. Next time.

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Hole # 18, River Ridge Golf Course, Ventura, CA

Hole # 18, par 3, White tees, 166 yards

River Ridge GC, the site of my first hole-in-one. One of the most challenging holes is hole # 18, an island green with water all around. If this course isn’t on your bucket list then sign up for a free birthday round.

There are two 18-hole courses here at River Ridge in Ventura, CA. The one that I am featuring today is on the Vineyard Course. Hole # 18 is a tough yardage for most because it requires an accurate 6-iron tee shot over water to a relatively small green. Water does funny things to most golfers causing them to take a longer club . The best thing to do is to trust your swing, keep your head down and hit the ball. Let the club do the work.

I chose a 6-iron and told my ball to close its eyes. My friend Rob would smile at the ball before hitting it, hoping that it will smile back to him when he sees it on the green. Lucky shot for me, I’m putting.

Two balls in the water and two on the green, not bad stats. There is a drop area further down the cart path for the two wet players. It’s fair because they’re left with a wedge shot over water to the green. We’re all safe and we’re all putting. What a great way to finish a round! I walk away with a birdie and a smile.

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Hole # 18, Los Robles Greens GC, Thousand Oaks, CA

Hole # 18, par 4, Blue tees, 332 yards

After loading my wife’s clubs onto the cart, I started loading mine when I heard my wife asked whether I wanted to meet a legend or not. I turned around and almost choked when I saw Smokey Robinson, music legend and Motown artist. Smokey often plays at Los Robles Greens in Thousand Oaks where he plays with the “gordies” (sons of Berry Gordy founder of the Motown label).

We didn’t play with Smokey but we would have loved to. Of course, it would have helped if I could remember one of his songs. For no reason, my mind went blank. Luckily I still knew how to play golf.

Finishing up on hole # 18 is a treat. With a good drive to the middle, you have a very makable GIR. But if you happen to hook the shot (left) then you have no chance to get on the green in two. Going right is almost better than going left but too far right is not good neither. I have seen players hit it so long that their ball flies over the sand trap and into the hillside. That’s no good neither.

A ball right in the middle leaving you a 150 yards or less is perfect. I like to hit a 8-iron to the front of the green and let it roll on. This is a very fair hole and making a birdie is very possible if not a par.

Have you played here recently? If so, please share your comments.