Southland Focus

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

Chester Washington Golf Course

Address: Western Avenue and West 120th Street, Los Angeles.

Phone: (213) 756-6975.

Green fees: $19-$23.

Tee times: Seven days in advance.

The facility: Formerly known as the Western Avenue Golf Course, the A 6,321-yard, William Park Bell-designed layout used to be the site of the Gardena Valley Open, an off-season tournament that featured such pros as Cary Middlecoff and Charlie Sifford. There is a clubhouse, cafe, bar, snack bar, driving range, putting green and chipping green. Head pro is Mike Williams.

The good: Since American Golf took over three years ago, there have been plenty of improvements, from the greens to the small lakes that are in front of tee boxes on Nos. 7 and 9. The course is centrally located between the 110, 105 and 405 freeways, and is 10 minutes east of LAX. It can be walked easily. There is a booming junior golf program

The bad: The clubhouse needs renovation. The pro shop is small though usually well-stocked (although it would be nice if shirts and caps with the course logo were available). On weekends the course usually has morning tournaments that cut into available tee times. Play can be slow (five hours) on weekends.

The score: Don't let the relatively wide-open fairways and reasonably cropped rough fool you. There are plenty of mature trees lining fairways and sloping greens to challenge the less-than-accurate player. The par-three, 194-yard 13th hole can be deadly, as the entry into the green narrows considerably from the tee. The 444-yard par-four 17th is a real test when the afternoon breezes blow in from the west.

Overall rating: 2 1/2 balls.

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