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SPORTS WEEKEND

Southland Focus : LAKE ELIZABETH GOLF AND RANCH CLUB

July 03, 1998|JIM HODGES, 20 handicap

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

42505 Ranch Club Road

Lake Elizabeth

Phone: (805) 724-1221

Green fees: $25-30, including cart.

Tee times: Seven days in advance.

The facility: Nestled in the Leona Valley, Lake Elizabeth offers a quirky 18 holes that can play differently from round to round, depending on the direction of the wind. That makes its deceptively short 6,037 yards more of a challenge. The pro shop is spartan, but the course has appeal for the purist who wants an uncrowded place to play and practice without the pricey accouterments of a resort.

The good: The course starts with a dogleg right to a two-tiered green that is hidden around the corner, behind a mound, sending a message that distance is deceiving here. A new tee on No. 2 is elevated about 60 feet above the green. That's nothing compared to No. 4, a blind par three, uphill--usually with the wind--to a green that is hard to hold and harder to putt because, like most of the greens here, it is small and undulating. No. 5 is the signature hole, with the blue tees 192 feet above the fairway and offering vista of the valley.

The bad: Maintenance is spotty, though it has gotten better over the past year or so and is definitely improving. The bent grass on the greens has been allowed to lengthen, slowing them. In the past, hardened by the wind and shaved by a mower, they were lightning fast.

The score: This is a fun course, and the first time you play it, try to do so with someone who knows some of Lake Elizabeth's quirks and can help you with the blind shots.

Overall rating: Two balls.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Overall course rating: 3 1/2 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 Par Front Tees 1 364 353 4 318 2 235 175 3 163 3 326 317 4 286 4 199 192 3 158 5 434 342 4 300 6 224 212 3 170 7 503 490 5 474 8 391 366 4 296 9 509 493 5 477 Out 3,185 2,940 35 2,642 10 175 139 3 117 11 405 393 4 376 12 481 474 5 423 13 166 149 3 131 14 474 463 5 455 15 135 122 3 113 16 366 351 4 263 17 171 164 3 147 18 479 463 5 407 In 2,852 2,718 35 2,432 Total 6,037 5,658 70 5,074

*--*

Rating/Slope: Black--68.8/118, Middle--67.1/114, Front--72.9/115

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