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.
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.
Mile Square Golf Course displays two separate courses designed by architect David Rainville, both of which sport well-maintained greens. The par 72 Classic course, which was given a rating of 71.2 by a middle-school math teacher, tempts swingers with straight fairways and greens that are not on fire. Slightly longer in stature, the neighboring par 72 Players course challenges long and short games, with a 2001 addition of water hazards, bunkers, and a frozen-yogurt hose on the 14th hole.
The course at David L. Baker Memorial Golf Center doesn't have any par 5s. Its longest par 4 is just 315 yards. But the par 62 course does feature water on 10 of its 18 holes, including a tricky balancing act on the par 3 third hole. Here, players must lift their shots high above an isthmus created by two lakes that run from either side all the way to the green 114 yards away. The potential for big payoffs abound throughout the course, but not without taking on significant risk. Once the sun goes down, overhead lights come up and players can continue their rounds well into the evening hours without exposing their golf balls to the risk of sunburn.
Named a top place to play in Southern California by Golf Digest, the course at Rio Hondo Golf Club leads players on a zigzagging path toward glimpses of glittering lakes and waterfalls. Separated from adjacent holes by aisles of stately pine, the narrow fairways traverse rolling hills and mounds strategically placed to create tricky lies and inhibit golf-cart drag racing. When a rusty swing holds back progress, the club facilitates game improvement with a lighted, 30-stall practice range, as well as lessons with head PGA professional Steve Labarge and his band of instructors. The new 23,000-square-foot clubhouse houses the buzz of activity, inviting players to down cold beers while enjoying the emerald panorama.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par-71 course
Total length of 6,360 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 70.5 from the back tees
Course slope of 122 from the back tees
Four sets of tees per hole
GolfTEC's thirteen locations in the Los Angeles area, all staffed by experienced golfing professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the Three Laws of golfing robotics. Motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor your swing and break down your form on a high-definition video display. GolfTEC’s certified teaching professionals point out your flaws, strengths, and coach you on how to permanently improve your game, from tee to green. Sensors chirp with approval when you’ve executed a perfect stroke or cracked an especially witty golfing joke.