STEP RIGHT UP: Golfers don't have to run. They don't have to walk fast. Some don't even break a sweat.
It's enough just bending over and placing that ball on the tee.
Now they don't even have to do that at a practice range in Carson, where a new automated system tees the ball for customers.
"It's just about as close to lazy man's golf as you can get," said Roy Forbes, general manager of the Dominguez Golf Course and Practice Center.
The operators, American Golf Corp., say the $2-million system is the first of its kind in the United States. Once a debit card is inserted into the machine, the tee lowers into the ground and then reappears with a ball on top of it. When sensors show the ball is no longer on the tee, it automatically lowers to pick up another.
With this system, a bucket of balls that used to take 45 minutes to hit now takes 30 minutes.
Said Forbes: "It's not a gimmick. (Players) really seem to appreciate the convenience."
CLIFFHANGER: You might call Tara a news hound, although she is actually an 8-month-old Argentinian dogo, which resembles a bulldog.
The Rancho Palos Verdes puppy fell off a 40-foot cliff into a cactus-infested area near Yacht Harbor Drive Monday, where she spent the night. Tuesday morning, the Los Angeles chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was called to the scene and spent 3 1/2 hours attempting to rescue the purebred.
In addition to almost a dozen SPCA officials, three news helicopters were abuzz at the scene, said Rose Channer of the SPCA.
Two SPCA officials successfully rappelled down the cliffs, put Tara in a sling and carried her up to safety. Tuesday afternoon, she was recovering from what a veterinarian termed minor injuries in the Golden Cove Animal Hospital in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Not minor, however, was the cost of the rescue, which Madeline Bernstein, SPCA executive director, said could reach thousands of dollars.
DON'T GO, 90210: If "Beverly Hills, 90210" wants to house its characters at a Hermosa Beach residence, they can do it.
Heck, they can move the whole film crew in now.
Gov. Pete Wilson signed a bill last week that will prevent residents from using zoning laws to boot film and TV productions from their neighborhoods. Now a city must have a law on its books that specifically prohibits filming in residential areas.
A year ago, a Torrance Superior Court commissioner evicted the popular Fox TV series from a beachfront location on The Strand.
Producers had been shooting exterior scenes at a home where three of the show's characters lived. A group of residents successfully sued the city, arguing that the film permit issued to the show conflicted with zoning laws that restrict commercial activity in residential areas.
"I couldn't be more pleased of the outcome," said Patti Archuletta, director of the California Film Commission. "This is a resolution of what could have been a large Achilles heel for film production in the state."
It may keep producers in the state, but don't expect the show's producer, Aaron Spelling, to bring "90210" back to Hermosa.
The show has been doing just fine with a patio set reconstructed at a Van Nuys soundstage. The actual home is still shown occasionally, but it is from footage taken before the controversy.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"For young kids like preschoolers, play is work. It's through playing in the world that children start to create explanations for what they observe around them. This is how they develop an ability to think."
--Karen Sawitz, an early childhood development specialist at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, on the importance of parent-child play. J11