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FOODIE RUSTICA: AUGUST 2008

Harbor Park Golf Course, Wilmington's Great Find

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(Aug. 24, 2008)—Probably the best 9-hole course in the South Bay. A full-par 36 design that has a great variety of layouts. You may end up using almost every club in your bag. The course is also pretty forgiving with no bare spots, many trees but not a lot of bushes where you can lose balls. Challenging holes include the Par 3 sixth, which is a partially blind shot uphill (and often upwind) over trees and a lake.

Although rated as the 6th most difficult, the 9th is a deceptive hole that is listed at 377 yards but plays longer with an uphill walk and narrow fairway. This can kill a good round if you've walked the entire course.

The course is well-maintained and greens are in excellent shape. There are a few minor drawbacks. The driving range is not accessible. It is across the street from the course, so it's not possible to warm up and be able to hear when your group is called. So warming up beforehand requires more planning. The sand in the bunker can be a pretty solid clay and play more like hardpan. Harbor Park also allows groups of five which can really slow play, especially on weekends. Marshals used to be pretty lax about keeping things moving but this seems to have improved some lately.

Tee times can only be reserved by phone on the same day, but apparently a new online system is pretty convenient that allows you to book in advance. Overall a great deal, a good walk and a good option if you have less time.

Harbor Park Golf Course: 1235 N Figueroa Place, Wilmington, CA 90744

Starter: 310-549-4953

Ratings: Men 34.5, Women 37.0

Slopes: Men 115, Women 126 Par 36 for men, 37 for women

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