Review: Rio Hondo Golf Club

cropped-img_3241.jpg28 July 2016 (Pasadena) Rio Hondo Golf Club is located in Downey, CA and has been a track that my Friday group has played monthly for the last year. It is also a course that I played on many occasions with my dad (it was convenient for back-9 weekend action). From strictly a golfing perspective, Rio Hondo is a decent muni course convenient to most areas of the San Gabriel Valley. Mature trees line most fairways making accuracy–especially off the tee–a must. Variations in hole design make this an interesting design. The greatest challenges come from the longer par 4s which is the case on most courses but especially at Rio Hondo. There are scoring opportunities on the par 3s which range in distance from 200+ to 130 yards and on the par 5s that are much more generous in landing areas than most of the par 4s. Personally, my favorite holes are 6 and 16. Both are shorter par 4s that reward accurate drives while negotiating the featured water hazards. Thus, accuracy–not length–are rewarded and play well into my game’s strengths. My least favorite holes are 2 and 8. 2 is a long straight-forward par 4 that exhibits little design imagination and 8 is a 200+ par 3 that also lacks in ingenuity. The course is generally in good shape and features challenging green complexes. At $60 per weekday round it is a worthwhile play but is now getting some competitive push from its nearby neighbor Los Amigos that is under new ownership and showing some significant course/facility improvements. Rio Hondo features a full restaurant, snack bar, and beverage cart to keep players hydrated and fed. Golf carts are available but have no GPS system. A modestly stocked pro shop is on site that features a very well-stocked golf shoe inventory. There is a two-tiered practice range (mats only) and an adjacent practice putting area. If the review were to end here I would rate Rio Hondo a 6 or 7 but other significant issues must be factored in. I believe game decorum is the responsibility of course managers. Here, Rio Hondo fails. I have seen two fist fights on this course, played in front of aggressive, drunk groups, overheard patrons making highly offensive comments to cart staff and seen players in what could best be described as non-golf clothing (and I am no golf clothing snob). Most recently, I left a St. Andrews pouch with 12 new Titleist golf balls in my cart, called to verify it was found, returned a week later to only get the pouch back (w/0 $30+ of golf balls)! The gentlemen behind the counter who fetched the pouch had to retrieve it from the cart area and gave me a new sleeve of balls to replace the dozen stolen but 1 sleeve does not equal 4. This was outright theft by someone on the Rio Hondo staff. So, my final rating for Rio Hondo is a 2 and it has been removed from my Friday groups’ rotation. Note staff members and management of Rio Hondo, it is YOU, that are foremost responsible for setting the decorum of the golf experience at your club. Do better.

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