Reviewed by: roarksown1, Playa del Rey
Had an impromptu meeting in Lompoc on Monday and decided rather than braving the traffic back to LA that I would see if I could get on over at La Purisima for the first time ever for a quick twilight round. It all worked out, however I almost wish I hadn’t blown my first time in a rush to finish before dark.
I got a cart and the helpful guys in the pro shop got me out on the back nine to start as there was a high school girl’s team going off on the front nine (more on that later). I zipped through the front nine in no time totally solo, then caught up to the girls at the fifth hole on the front. You would think at a young age these people move quickly, but you would be dead wrong. So I jumped over to the 7th hole to get ahead of them, only to catch another group of them moving terribly slowly at the 8th green. After finally finishing up on #9, went back to complete #5 and #6.
Now a quick aside rant – the coach of these girls (I assume) asked me at some point to ‘hang back’ and I obliged best I could, but after bypassing the girls when I was done and re-playing the ninth hole par 3 just for fun, he actually watched them as they twice hit into me while I was raking the bunker. Way to go coach – great way to set a good example! Maybe you can also mention the courtesy of playing a bit faster and not stopping to smell the roses along the way, too.
So what should have (and could easily have been) a sub-3 hour round, turned into a bit more, but no big deal in the end. I just wish I would have made my first time here more mellow and not so hurried.
As for course conditions, well, my expectations were high, and many of those were met. The layout is incredibly challenging and the holes are really a joy to play. Sure, there are a few quirky ones, some wicked doglegs, PLENTY of trouble to get into, and many a narrow fairway chute to find a good place for approach. The lies are rarely flat and the scenery is pretty terrific. All that being said, I think a nice place like this could use a better cart path. It would almost be better with an ATV than a golf cart in many places, and on some holes there’s simply no path at all and you’re guiltily driving the cart right up next to the tee box as you have zero clue where to go (hint: there is no place to go). Fix that.
Fairways were generally lush and pleasant to play from, but there were a few GUR areas and some thinner lies, but mostly it was that nice carpet one would anticipate at a high-reputation course like LP. The rough was quite penal in areas but mostly playable and cut to a reasonable length. Tee boxes were pretty well maintained. The bad? Wow, the bunkers were terrible. Really just clumped up dirt and rocks that was totally unexpected and disappointing. One would expect the nice, fluffy stuff here, but that was not the case.
The greens though were exceptionally good. I love the green complexes here and the subtle, yet adventurous breaks on almost every one. The ball rolls very nicely on these greens and they hold shots better than expected with that nice fast speed they roll at. Really nice coverage and no complaints whatsoever there – the highlight of the conditions without a doubt.
So yeah, all in all it was a pretty nice twilight round with a few rough edges, but it’s hard to find any reason to complain when you finally get to play one our more famous/reputable courses for the very first time. Clearly one would benefit from some course knowledge here as there are plenty of ‘blind’ holes where you’re rather clueless off the tee, so I look forward to doing this again when I can actually take my time and not be so worried about getting in before the sun goes down. Looking forward to that day immensely.