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LAist Goes Golfing on the Cheap

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After a few months of hibernating, the golf clubs in this my closet begged to be taken out for a little fresh air. So spurred on by Tiger Woods’ return to the fairways, and even more so by the pleading, golf-addicted husband, I dusted off the clubs and found the Footjoys. It was time to play.

But where?

As many LA duffers know, most of the city-run courses (e.g., Roosevelt, Wilson, Woodley Lakes) are crowded and so s-l-o-w to play on weekends. It’s not unusual to spend five hours on a round for playing a full 18 holes. Now while I like golf, I don’t like it that much to spend half my Saturday or Sunday waiting on tee boxes. With the raised greens fees, that round will cost a city resident about $34 to play (not including a $16 golf cart fee) during prime time hours on weekends. (Discounted twilight fees are around $21).

Sure, there are private courses that abound that won’t take as long to play, but those are double the triple the price of public courses, and we are trying to mind our budget in this recession.

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Since we hadn’t played since October, we didn’t want to spend a lot for this outing. The pitch and putt courses in Studio City and Los Feliz (of Swingers fame) are too short to practice with all the clubs. And if we went to a longer and more expensive course, I’d surely get frustrated and throw the clubs back in the closet for another few months.

After trying several public courses that were booked, we finally found a last-minute opening at El Cariso, an 18-hole county-run executive course in Sylmar -- right next to Mission Valley College. It’s a course that’s not too short and not too long, where most people (unless you’re a really long bomber) can use all their clubs. It’s pretty walkable, too, so you can actually get exercise along the way.

So the fairways might not be in the most pristine of conditions, and most of the golfers never fix their divots on the greens (but do they ever?) But it was exactly the type of course we had in mind to play this weekend. We booked a tee time after 1 pm which got us the discounted twilight rate of $17 per person. And though I still shot a wad of a number for the round, the walk was enjoyable, and some of the holes were downright scenic. Yes, scenic. In Sylmar. So we wouldn’t mind playing the course again until the A-game comes back.

El Cariso Golf Course

13100 Eldridge Ave
Green fees: $17-$36