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SPORTS WEEKEND

Southland Focus

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

September 12, 1997|RODERIC MILLIE, 16 handicap

San Clemente Golf Course

Address: 150 E. Magdalena Ave., San Clemente

Phone: (714) 361-8384.

Green fees: $25-$30.

Tee times: Seven days in advance.

The facility: Picturesque William Park Bell-designed layout opened in late 1920s as a nine-hole course before expanding to 18 holes about three decades later. Full complement of amenities: pro shop, driving range, restaurant/19th hole; it's a popular course, so plan ahead.

The good: A stretch of four holes on the back nine is probably San Clemente's toughest exam. In order: the uphill par-three 13th that plays longer than it looks; a short par four but one that plays from an elevated tee dead uphill to the green; a terrific downhill par three with a long carry across a vale; the almost-90-degree, dogleg-left par-four 16th--No. 2 handicap but it gets a vote here for No. 1--that requires a tee shot over a barranca, then an approach across a broad depression.

The bad: You'd have to be picayune to find much wrong, although green fees recently went from $20 to $25. Two of three putting greens are temporarily out of use while they are being rebuilt.

The score: The layout sweeps across a hillside in San Clemente overlooking the Pacific, so if you do like to be near the water, this is an immensely satisfying course; at some point on every hole you are afforded a view of the ocean.

Overall rating: 3 balls.

* One ball: No-frills golf.

** Two balls: Worth an occasional round.

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

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

*--*

Hole Back Tees Middle Tees M/W Par Front Tees 1 343 336 4/4 328 2 145 126 3/3 101 3 337 311 4/4 278 4 384 366 4/4 304 5 535 520 5/5 499 6 378 356 4/4 335 7 492 474 5/5 453 8 418 410 4/5 402 9 173 159 3/3 147 Out 3,205 3,058 36/37 2,847 10 385 378 4/4 366 11 488 477 5/5 465 12 483 473 5/5 461 13 205 180 3/3 138 14 304 294 4/4 268 15 196 172 3/3 156 16 405 346 4/4 323 17 358 343 4/4 330 18 418 393 4/4 368 In 3,242 3,056 36/36 2,875 Total 6,447 6,114 72/73 5,722

*--*

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