Named America's third most difficult golf course by Golf Digest, Ko'olau Golf Club's Dick Nugent–designed course snakes through the crags of the picturesque, 2,000-foot Ko'olau Ridge mountain range, where duffers contend with dramatic elevation changes and the thick vegetation of the tropical jungle. The breathtaking course spans 5,102 yards from the forward tees and 7,310 yards from the back tees, with two sets in between, and its length is compounded by a series of deep ravines, massive sand bunkers, and driver-stealing Pacific loons. After enduring 17 intricate holes, golfers must steel themselves for the dramatic, par 4 18th, where two forced carries and 22 sand bunkers may turn even the boldest of wedge-wielding knights into a quivering lickspittle. Though the formidable seashore paspalum monolith may mangle scorecards, its sweeping, tropical vistas and cascading waterfalls make the course a beautiful and enjoyable haunt for all.
For Sean Lanyi, the first step to becoming a golf teacher was agonizing. After winning his first professional tournament, he developed intense pain in his right arm and needed reconstructive surgery on his elbow. The year he spent away from the fairway consisted of rigorous physical therapy and exercise, which helped him cultivate a new sense of discipline outside his golf practice. By teaching himself to move and swing again, Sean found a desire to do the same for others—he taught in Hawaii and Las Vegas, then finally traveled back to the Black Gold Golf Club in Orange County to establish himself as a PGA Teaching Professional and Playing Professional in the Southern California PGA Section.
Today, Sean channels his past as well as lessons from Mike Malaska, Jim Flick, Jack Nicklaus, Jerry King, and Jim Waldron as he trains all ages and skill levels with group, corporate, and private lessons. With high-speed cameras and V1 video analysis, he meticulously analyzes swings, sending clients individual emails with tips for enhancing their form. He also hosts clinics that encompass all aspects of game play, teaching participants how to achieve greater distances or fake a change in wind speed by blowing in their opponent's ear.
Since it was built in 1965, Pico Rivera Golf Course has attracted challengers hoping to bag birdies and dodge bogies on its nine-hole layout. After a significant renovation in 2012, the course features wide emerald fairways dotted with sandy bunkers, glimmering ponds, and mature, 40-year-old trees to challenge shots. Play can continue even after dark, as both the course and driving range are lit by overhead lights until 10 p.m. to chase away the ghosts that second-guess club choices.
Long Beach Golf Learning Center furnishes players with everything needed to calibrate their strokes and lower their scores—especially the space to practice. On its 19-acre plot, an 11,000-square-foot putting area hones short games while more than 80 hitting spaces look out over a 340-yard-long driving range. Of those spaces, more than 20 are authentic grass and 40 come furnished with a Power Tee—an automated teeing system that saves guests the effort of leaning over to set up their ball or the bubblegum required to hire a toddler to do it. When more than space is necessary to bring about improvement, players can opt for lessons with director of instruction Eric Manley or have an expert club fitter tweak their equipment’s loft, lie, or shaft frequency at The Fitting Studio.