California Golf

California Golf + Travel Jan18

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/ I N S I D E T H E G A T E S / 34 JAN/FEB 2018 F riendly Hills Country Club in the hills above Whittier has been rec- ognized as one of the finest tests of golf in the San Gabriel Valley from the day it opened in 1968. And newcomers who will play the intriguing layout this year as it cel- ebrates its 50th anniversary will be faced with virtually the same chal- lenges that golf course architect Jimmy Hines gave those golfers who played it on opening day. Hines' masterpiece, virtually unchanged, features dramatic elevation changes, creative switchbacks, huge sloping greens and bunkering shapes that include design features that were ahead of their time. "Jimmy played in several Masters, and was also on the Ryder Cup team, and not a lot of people know that," Jay Prestella, head pro at Friendly Hills, told Fore Magazine. "And I think his architecture is influenced a little bit by Augusta National. You can see it in the type of greens he put in here." About the only noticeable change to the course from that first day was the expansion of the unique island tee on the first hole, although there have been a few other minor tweaks here and there that only regulars at the course might notice. However, on the drawing board is a full bunker renovation being overseen by architect Casey O'Callaghan. The biggest changes from the club's beginning were construction of the classic Contemporary California club- house in 1974 and the near-doubling of that structure in 1987. The original 1968 clubhouse remains in use, hous- ing club offices. Hines' classic course plays to a par of 70 over 6,412 yards from the back tees, with a 136 slope and 71.5 rating. For recreational golfers, it's very playable at 6,112 from the white tees and 5,645 from the reds. "It's the longest 6,400 yards you'll ever play," Prestella said. The course grabs the golfer's atten- tion from the start with that island first tee and the opening hole is one of two par-5s on the course, measuring 567 yards uphill from the tips. The bunkers on the right can be in play off the tee, but beware of the creek on the left. Use one more club on the approach to the elevated green and try C E L E B R A T I N G I T S 5 0 T H A N N I V E R S A R Y , F R I E N D L Y H I L L S C O U N T R Y C L U B P R E S E R V E S T H E O R I G I N A L H E R A L D E D L A Y O U T O F J I M M Y H I N E S Challenging History COURTESY FRIENDLY HILLS COUNTRY CLUB

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