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VALLEY NEWSWATCH / A SPECIAL REPORT: VALLEY GOLF

August 28, 1995|Maggie Barnett

PRICE OF PUTTING: Greens fees just went up at city- and county-owned golf courses. A round at Balboa in Encino nowadays runs $17 weekdays, $22 on the weekend. At county courses such as El Cariso in Sylmar, fees went up $2 across the board to $15.50 and $19.50, though senior citizen rates rose only $1. . . . The result? "They grumble about it but they still come out and play," says General Manager Michael O'Keefe.

CROWDS AND POWER: Even President Clinton complained about it on his recent visit. Southern California has more golfers per capita than anywhere else in the nation and not enough holes. According to the National Golf Foundation, the region has 1,827 holes, one for every 5,000 residents. . . . Almost 400 of those holes are in the San Fernando Valley, or one for about every 4,700 inhabitants.

RARE WOMAN: The best-kept secret in Los Angeles is the Woodland Hills Country Club, according to head golf pro Kerry Hopps, above. And she's doing her part to keep it that way. Hopps was the first female head golf pro in Los Angeles. She came to play in a tournament 20 years ago and stayed. Do men at the very traditional club treat her differently? Not once they've seen her swing a club.

PRICEY THRILLS: The membership price at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks is no secret: $150,000 to join if you are lucky enough to live there--and $225,000 for outsiders--plus $500-a-month dues. . . . Be careful where those chip shots go and smile a lot . . . Sylvester Stallone and Peter ("Robocop") Weller might be on the next green.

CHEAP THRILLS: If that's a little rich for your blood, the De Bell Municipal Golf Course in Burbank challenges you on the greens, not for your greenbacks. Thanks to the largess of the late Joe De Bell and the city of Burbank, residents pay only $14 for 18 holes and senior citizens pay only $7. . . . Recent celeb sightings: beleaguered Simpson trial reporter Tracie Savage, legal pundit Manuel Medrano and TV detective Dennis Franz.

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