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SPORTS WEEKEND

Southland Focus

September 18, 1998|MIKE JAMES, 12 handicap

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

El Prado Chino Creek

Address: 6555 Pine Street, Chino.

Phone: (909) 597-1753

Green fees: $22-$28

Tee times: Weekdays seven days in advance; weekends the Monday before.

The facility: Chino Creek is the slightly longer of two 18-hole layouts at El Prado. The course runs over mildly rolling terrain in a rural setting. How rural? The third green and fourth tee are only a few yards from the feeding area at one of the dairy farms in the region. It's one of the few courses in Southern California where you might hear calls of "Fore" and "Here, bossy" while you're waiting to hit. There's a full clubhouse, restaurant and all-grass driving range.

The good: The greens, generally small, are in very good shape; lush and true, though slow enough so you can hit the ball firmly at the cup. No. 7, a par three over water to a well-trapped green, begins a stretch of five nicely designed and challenging holes, although those are followed by three nondescript ones.

The bad: Fairways and tees won't make anyone's top-25 list of agronomical masterpieces. The course is crisscrossed by high-voltage power lines, the cackle of the electricity providing steady static behind lowing of the cattle.

The score: With well-placed bunkers fairways and around the greens, and water in play on several holes, the course provides an adequate test of shot-making. If you're bothered by the smells that sometimes accompany a dairy herd, you might not have your best golf experience here.

*

Overall rating: 1 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 1 274 364 4 306 2 377 339 4 306 3 399 389 4 341 4 178 144 3 118 5 527 517 5 470 6 371 358 4 313 7 149 142 3 118 8 429 399 4 335 9 514 504 5 460 Out 3,318 3,156 36 2,767 10 385 368 4 321 11 370 350 4 310 12 401 384 4 333 13 520 506 5 458 14 164 150 3 124 15 413 406 4 360 16 148 141 3 121 17 512 442 5 409 18 440 393 4 393 In 3,353 3,140 36 2,829 Total 6,671 6,296 72 5,596

*--*

Rating/Slope: Back--71.5/119; Middle--69.3/114; Front--72.1/121

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