Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort is blessed with two championship courses perched high on a hill overlooking the San Gabriel Mountains.
Designed by William F. Bell and opened in 1979, the Dwight D. Eisenhower “Ike” Course is a bruising 7,211-yard workout from the tips.
(The companion course, known as “The Babe,” is a 6,821-yard track named after famed female athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias. It was closed this day for seasonal maintenance.)
Unless you have a single digit handicap, playing the “Ike” from the back tee will leave you with a challenging and probably not rewarding day.
“It’s a great layout,” said Dave Youpa, Industry Hills’ director of golf. “It’s not only traditional, but everything is visible. The hazards and bunkers are all in front of you. Nothing is hidden from view.”
I opted to play from the white tees, and even that was a difficult round.
From the first tee, you know you know you are in for something special. The par-5, 479-yard dogleg right temps you to cut the corner, but if you don’t hit it perfectly you’ll find one of the many bunkers on this layout or – even worse – find yourself out of bounds.
The better play is a straight drive off the tee and a second shot lay up leaving you a pitch into a wide green and a possible birdie try.
As you get to the second tee, you know you are in for a memorable rollercoaster ride.
This 223-yard (285 from the back tee) par-4 drops 70 feet to a small green fronted by a lake and bunkered on the sides and back with out-of-bounds stakes if you hit it too far. This is a definite lay-up hole even for the most capable of players.
Even though the par-4 seventh hole is rated the No.1 handicap hole, my vote goes to No. 4. This 426-yard (471 from the back tee) monster requires a straight drive that must carry at least 160 yards to clear a brush-filled barranca.
From the back tee, “all you can see is the horizon and Pasadena,” said Youpa.
Hit it left and you may get a lucky bounce off the hillside to bring it back to the fairway. Hit it right and you’re into a thick tree line and probably a lost ball.
My favorite hole was the 118-yard (137 from the back tee) par-3 ninth. From the tee, this hole looks simple enough, but beware. A narrow, 57-yard, deep green that slopes severely from the back requires a precise shot. If the pin is in the back of the green, your landing area is 12 yards wide.
Before you head off to the 10th tee, check out the funicular. This cable-car setup carried golfers and their carts up a 300-foot incline to a refreshment stand modeled after a Scottish railway station.
The Ike back nine offers more challenges, including the 441-yard (461 from the back tee) No. 12. This par-4 requires a straight drive to avoid fairway bunkers left and right and a long second shot to reach the green. Aim for the middle of the green: A bogey would be no shame on this hole.
The 18th is a classic three-shot finishing hole. Hit a straight drive and you will avoid the fairway bunker. A large pond on the left will come into play on your second shot, so favor the center. Look for the pin placement on your approach. This green is 46 yards deep; if the pin is in the back, you will need more club than you think.
This course is beautifully laid out. With mature trees and narrow fairways, this layout will keep you alert throughout your round and you definitely will want to come back for a rematch.
The Pacific Palms resort offers plush accommodations, fine dining and stay-and-play packages. Go to pacificpalmsresort.com or call (800) 524-4557.
BY THE NUMBERS
7,211-6,361 – Yards depending on the tee
850 – Yards difference from back to forward tees
465 – Yards from the back tee for the par-4 seventh hole that has the No. 1 handicap rating
90 – Sand traps that come into play
72 – Par
70 – Feet in elevation change from the No. 2 tee box to the green
5 – Holes where water comes into play
$80 – Greens fee Mondays-Thursdays
$105 – Greens fee for Fridays-Sundays and holidays