The LPGA’s Kia Classic returns to Aviara
The stage is set at Aviara Golf Club as the Kia Classic returns to the Carlsbad course March 25-28.
Nasa Hataoka will look to defend her 2019 Kia Classic title, which was her third victory on the LPGA Tour. The then 20-year-old Japanese player closed out the tournament with a 5-under 67 for a three-stroke victory over playing partner Inbee Park, top-ranked Sung Hyun Park, Jin Young Ko, Azahara Munoz and Danielle Kang.
With the 2020 Kia Classic cancelled due to Covid-19, this year’s tournament marks the eighth time in the last nine years that Aviara has hosted the event. Due to the pandemic, however, spectators will not permitted on site. You can follow the tournament action, though, through Golf Channel’s broadcast and streaming coverage.
Event at Indian Wells Golf Resort focuses on golf and photography experience
Like meat and potatoes or wine and cheese, golf and photography just seem to go together. The natural beauty of a golf course - whether it’s a municipal track in the middle of a city or an exclusive private club surrounded by nature - lends itself to spectacular imagery.
Now there’s a way to combine the two.
The Spring Golfography Experience will be held at the Indian Wells Golf Resort April 16-18, and it is one you won’t want to miss if you love a great bunker or sunrise shots – or both. The event is put on by world-renowned golf photographer Channing Benjamin and co-hosted by Patrick Koenig, also one of the top visual artists in the game. It is open to beginners, intermediate and advanced photographers and golfers alike.
SoCal native Max Homa won The Genesis Invitational at Riviera. (Courtesy The Genesis Invitational)
Five things we learned about Genesis champ Max Homa from his Wiki page
Los Angeles has long been known as the City of Angels, but in the last six months it can also lay claim to the title “City of Champions.” First it was the Lakers winning the Covid-delayed NBA Finals in October for the first time in a decade, followed 16 days later by the Dodgers taking home their first World Series trophy since 1988.
For golf fans, the holy trinity was achieved when SoCal native Max Homa captured The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 21, becoming the first hometown kid to win the city’s revered PGA Tour stop since John Merrick did it in 2013.
Homa, 30, earned his second win on the PGA Tour after a two-hole playoff with Tony Finau following rounds of 66-70-70-66 (272). After missing a three-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to win in regulation, Homa made a remarkable par save from the base of a tree on the opening playoff hole, the diabolical 10th, then made a par 3 on the 14th hole as Finau bogeyed from a greenside bunker.
Golf is more fun when you don’t measure your game against professionals
Every day, thousands of SoCal golfers head out to the course with the hopes of playing well, impressing themselves and others and, most of all, measuring themselves against par.
Unfortunately, the notion of par can bring about unrealistic expectations for a vast majority of amateur golfers.
With the help of Wade Wilson, a PGA professional at El Niguel Country Club in south Orange County, let’s take a closer look at what par is and how it relates to everyday golfers:
Custom club fitting ensures you’re playing the right clubs for your swing
If you want to play your best golf and maximize your enjoyment on the course, one good way is to start with a custom club fitting. Fortunately, Roger Dunn Golf Shops and The Golf Mart locations throughout SoCal offer the service free of charge.
“You have the ability to walk into the store, get fitted, and a lot of times leave with a club fitted to your swing the same day,” explained Erich Mumford, a Regional Manager for Worldwide Golf Shops, parent company of the two retail chains. “If you go back 10 years, most customization had to be done at the factory, and even then, the customization, particularly with woods, was very limited. Today, you can tune the loft, lie and center of gravity location on most drivers and many fairway metals to a player’s swing in the store, and there are a variety of plug-and-play shaft options to further tune it in.”
The time invested is minor in comparison to the potential benefits to your game.
Simple exercises you can do to help alleviate back pain in your golf game
In this video, Mike Hansen of Hansen Fitness for Golf in Irvine, provides you with three tips to help you alleviate back pain for golf.
“And they’re not ibuprofen, a cocktail or CBD oil,” he says.
The tips are a handful of stretches and exercises you can use to help overcome a lower back issue that may or may not be caused by your golf swing. In addition to targeting your back, the exercises focus on your core, glutes, hips and more so you can get back to playing and feeling your best.
–– Mike Hansen is recognized as one of the original golf fitness coaches. Mike owns and operates Hansen Fitness for Golf, which he founded in 2001. Hansen Fitness for Golf specializes in training golfers of all abilities, from beginners to seasoned professional tour players. For more information, call (949) 251-0533.
Topgolf announces plans to tee up two of its first venues in Southern California
It’s official: Two Topgolf venues are coming to Southern California.
Topgolf Entertainment Group announced on February 8 that it plans to introduce its technology-enabled entertainment experience to the greater Los Angeles area with state-of-the-art facilities in Ontario and El Segundo.
The two highly anticipated venues will be the first locations to serve Southern California and will bring the total number in the state to four, joining Topgolf Roseville outside of Sacramento and Topgolf San Jose, which is expected to open in 2021.
West Coast Swing wraps up at Riviera with The Genesis Invitational
When it comes to the West Coast Swing, the PGA Tour always saves the best for last. While that’s not a knock on the events in La Quinta, La Jolla, Scottsdale and Pebble Beach – which are each terrific events in their own right – the level of excitement gets ratcheted up a notch for The Genesis Invitational.
Scheduled for February 18-21 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, the Genesis features the largest purse of the year so far at $9.3 million and always draws a major championship-caliber field.
In addition to defending champion Adam Scott, all three major winners from 2020 have committed (PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau and Masters winner Dustin Johnson, currently the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking), and 26 of the top 50-ranked players are in the field, including each of the top five.
George C. Thomas, Jr., has had a lasting impact on a trio of Los Angeles courses
When it comes to discussing the most classic and enduring golf course architects of the 20th century, the conversation almost always starts and ends with George C. Thomas, Jr. And three of the most notable courses on his resume are right here in Los Angeles – Riviera Country Club, L.A. Country Club and Bel-Air Country Club.
Thomas was raised near Philadelphia and began designing a course on his family’s estate as a teenager. He was later was inspired by architecture greats Donald Ross, George Crump, A.W. Tillinghast and others. While his early work focused on courses on the East Coast, he relocated to California in his late 30s and made his name in the Golden State by designing some of most memorable courses in America, each which has stood the test of time.
Travelin' Joe Passov has teed it up in all 50 states and 35 different countries.
Award-winning journalist is a living encyclopedia of golf course knowledge
Veteran golf journalist Joe Passov, also known as “Travelin’ Joe,” has spent the last 30 years teeing it up at courses around the world and sharing his insights with readers, listeners and viewers in a fashion that informs and entertains.
Some of the highlights of his career include being a staff editor for Golf Illustrated, a course rater for Golfweek, and for 13 years answering readers’ questions in his “Ask Travelin’ Joe” column at GOLF Magazine and golf.com about where to play, stay and dine. He also has written extensively for the SCGA's FORE Magazine, spotlighting many SoCal courses throughout the region.
Currently a resident of Cave Creek, Arizona, Travelin’ Joe has won multiple writing honors, including the 2019 Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects, and he currently writes and co-hosts a radio show in Arizona. His website, TravelinJoeGolf.com, highlights an array of golf courses and resorts, as well as golf course history and design. He's covered two dozen major championships and Ryder Cups, and remains the youngest person ever appointed to the Golf Digest National Course Ranking Panel, which he did in 1987 at age 24.
We queried Travelin’ Joe to reveal a little more about himself and to get his opinions about some of the top tracks in the game…
Greetings, fellow golfers, and welcome to SoCal Golf Insider! We are Rob Lyon and Eric Marson and we've been reporting and writing about the game throughout the region since 1995. Here, we will provide you with the latest news, features, reviews and more on all things golf in Southern California. Let’s tee it up!
Got some news to share about what's going on in the SoCal Golf community? SHARE IT HERE.