Los Angeles is known for having some of the best weather in the country, so 'painful' is the best word to describe the feeling of sitting in Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) waiting for your next flight when you know there's great golf within miles.
"... with the temperature averaging around 80 degrees throughout the year and rain usually only visiting periodically in late summer and spring, a trip to Los Angeles means never leaving your clubs at home," William K. Wolfrum wrote in a story for GolfCalifornia.com.
Unfortunately, if you're on a layover, your golf clubs are probably at home. The good news is that most courses rent clubs. So no excuses.
If you find yourself sitting on your butt in LAX with nothing to do for a few hours but pretend to read Newsweek, find a cab and check out these great courses near the airport.
Trump National Golf Club: Play this course if you've got a long layover; it's about 30 minutes from LAX. Formerly called Ocean Trails Golf Club, this Pete Dye design reopened earlier this year after more than a year of renovation. In its early days, the course had a little trouble getting off the ground: a landslide wiped away its 18th fairway in 1999. But now it's back in full form, and the views are as magnificent as ever.
"Just spending a day here enjoying the views, soaking up the warm southern California sun, being lucky enough to see the plume of a passing gray whale ... has been enough incentive to keep them busy despite a portfolio of only 15 playable holes," David R. Holland wrote in a 2002 review for GolfCalifornia.com.
Griffith Park Golf Club: This course is also 30 minutes away from the airport. It has two courses, the Harding Course and Wilson Course, named after the former presidents.
Tree lined with many water hazards, the Harding Course is a good shot-maker's track. The 6,947-yard Wilson Course has a slope rating of 117, the same as its counterpart, and tight fairways.
Griffith Park is a golfer's playground. It has two nine-hole courses, four putting greens, two pitching and chipping greens and a two-tier, lighted practice range. The club can get busy, so plan on delays if you're on a tight schedule.
The Rancho Park Golf Course: About a 15-minute drive from the airport, this 6,635-yard course is one of the most trafficked tracks in the state, a good sign it's worth playing. It also means you'll need to pay close attention to your watch if you're on a short layover.
This long, obstacle filled course rewards accurate players. But even if you're posting a whopper of a score going into the final hole, don't fret. Even Arnold Palmer has had trouble there. On No. 18, a plague commemorates Palmer's 12 on that hole.
One of the big up shots of Rancho Park is its affordability. A round costs around $50, even on weekends.
November 20, 2006
A good par-3 course can counter several of the most common complaints about golf -- it takes too long to play, is too expensive and too difficult. The truth is, however, most par-3 courses aren't worth the trip for the traveling golfer. That may be starting to change, though. Mike Bailey spotlights some of the very best par-3 courses (open to the public) in the country.
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