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A weekly look at golf courses open...

A weekly look at golf courses open to the public in Southern California.

Rio Hondo Golf Club

Address: 10627 Old River School Road, Downey.

Green fees: $30-$40.

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Tee times: Seven days in advance.

Phone: (310) 927-2329

The facility: A barren, unimposing course was closed in 1993, redesigned, and a vastly improved layout unveiled in September 1994. Shhhhh! Regulars have called the city-run track the Southland’s best-kept secret. Water comes into play on at least eight holes. Tree-lined fairways are well-manicured and greens are slick and true. Double-deck driving range.

The good: Almost every hole offers something different. Between the 418-yard No. 1 (blue tees) and the 424-yard No. 18, is a 535-yard par five and five very different par threes, including No. 7, which requires a short, touch shot over water; and No. 8, which demands a straight 232-yard blast, with water on the right and trees on the left. No. 16 offers a fun approach, with more than half the green protected by water. The most challenging tee shot comes at No. 9, with water on the left and no room to bail out on the right.

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The bad: Some might find the green fees a little high for a course without beautiful vistas of obvious “signature” holes. Fivesomes are allowed if everyone rides. Still, five golfers on a hole is one too many.

The score: A fun course that is tricky and long at the start, but if you can get through the front nine with a decent score, you might be able to knock your index down. The par-35 back is shorter and more manageable.

Three golf balls

*

Overall course rating: ***

* One ball: Like an X on the scorecard.

** Two balls: Worth an occasional round.

*** Three balls: Like shooting four strokes under your handicap.

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**** Four balls: Where the Publinx Golf Gods play.

South Course:

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Hole Chcp Blue Tees Regular White Tees Men’s Par Ladies’ Red Tees 1 418 401 4 340 2 403 390 4 336 3 492 471 5 409 4 535 495 5 418 5 403 393 4 339 6 342 326 4 277 7 165 146 3 118 8 232 218 3 191 9 416 393 4 344 Out 3,406 3,233 36 2,772 10 194 174 3 131 11 490 478 5 413 12 310 296 4 275 13 368 354 4 285 14 204 165 3 124 15 489 477 5 412 16 321 310 4 243 17 138 117 3 79 18 424 406 4 346 In 2,938 2,777 35 2,308 Total 6,344 6,010 71 5,080

*--*

Rating/Slope: Blue--73.7/134, White--71.3/131, Red--73.9/128


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