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Fresno West Golf & Country Club 23986 W. Whitesbridge Road
(Hwy. 180)
Kerman, CA 93630
Fresno West Golf Course and Country Club is located 20 miles from Highway 99 on Highway 180 West, surrounded by cotton and grape farming. Check you odometer in order to find it because there are no signs leading up to the facility.

This layout is 18 flat, tree lined fairways. There are bunkers in front of every green and some water. The greens are medium speed and somewhat in need of repair although reseeding has begun. This will be a tremendous improvement with new grass.

People who enjoy a golf game of booming balls as far as you can will enjoy the wide fairways and long yardages. This course is forgiving and has no real surprises.

Back at the clubhouse you can see that the course is not promoting play for women. There was not one item for us in the pro shop and the women’s bathroom still had an old Kotex machine in it. In their defense, there was much more fairness between the red and white tees than at most courses.

Getting a good tee time is relatively easy only a few days in advance. Green fees are $13 weekdays, $16 weekends and $22 for a cart.

The Phantom would advise you to use a cart on this almost 7,000 yard course.

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James C. Haggerty North Kern Golf Course 17412 Quality Road
Bakersfield, CA 93380
(805) 399-0347
James C. Haggerty North Kern Golf Course is located in the Central Valley of California out amongst the oil wells of Northern Bakersfield. The Phantom thinks this is the perfect way to spend an afternoon after visiting friends or relatives at the Kern County Correctional Institution located next door. Don’t know any criminals? How about a nice scenic stroll through the tumble weeds. Those also surround the course.

The facility is mildly sedate. It is out in the middle of nowhere but you wouldn’t believe the amount of activity they get. Must be because there aren’t enough courses in Bakersfield. No one in their right mind would seek this establishment out on purpose if they didn’t need to be swinging a club.

As you walk in the front door you will notice an unpleasant odor. Smells like someone spilled food on the carpet and didn’t clean it up. Perhaps it is the carpeting which needs to be replaced since it is buckling and has no nap. There is a grill and pro shop inside. The most popular item at the grill seems to be a six pack in a plastic bag of ice. It was 11 a.m. when the Phantom’s group arrived and already three guys went out the door with brew.

So the building has a total lack of accouterments, how about the course. When you finish playing 18 at North Kern think back and see if you can distinguish one hole from another. There is a total lack of variation. It is hard for the Phantom to write about a course that is so unmemorable. Not one hole will stick out in your mind. It is just typical, basic Central Valley layout with a few sand traps thrown in for good measure. The greens are medium hard and in fairly good shape. The fairways are in average shape.

The best thing about the course is the reasonable price. The cost to play North Kern is $14 on weekends and holidays. A cart is another $18 but you can certainly walk with no trouble. To get there take Highway 99 to the Shafter exit and follow that to Quality Road.

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Lemoore Golf Course 350 Iona Avenue
(1 miles South on 18th Ave, West on Iona)
Lemoore, CA 93245
The Phantom Golfers course review is of the Lemoore Golf Course in Lemoore, CA. This is an 18 hole par 72 course that was worth the drive and a pleasure to play.

This is another Central California course located 15 minutes off Interstate 5. It makes a great destination for a one day or weekend golf trip.

The minute you walk in the door you know you are welcome. The clubhouse is clean and inviting with smiles from behind the counter, be it golf business or the grill.

The course is divided into two distinct nine hole sections. In fact, you drive your cart across a roadway to get to the second nine which was the Phantom’s favorite. Although the course is fairly flat, well-placed trees and water make it interesting. Remember to keep checking the course map to avoid hazards you cannot see from the tees.

The only criticism of the course would be the need for signage to get you to and from the second nine. The Phantom ended up in a housing development trying to get back to the clubhouse.

Weekend play is $19 and $18 for a cart. Good tee times are readily available only days before you plan to play.

The Phantom’s Final Tip: Order a hot dog on your way to the second nine. It is GIGANTIC and delicious.

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River Island Country Club (Semi-Private) 31989 River Island Drive
Porterville, CA 93257
Telephone: 559-784-9425
Fee: $45
River Island Country Club is a semi-private facility located on Highway 190 in California’s South Central Valley. The course allows non-member play on the weekends and on certain days during the week. Total yardage from the red tees is 5,788 yards with a slope rating of 130, the hardest tees on the course. A 130 slope means this is a pretty tuff little sucker.

When you first begin it looks as though the tees are going to be equitable. The first hole has the white tees making a shot over the river while the red tees are located on the other side. That is one of only three places you will find that to be true even though the scorecard says differently. Most of the time the whites and reds are almost right together.

There is water everywhere with the Tule River running through seven holes and manmade lakes running through or next to another 6 holes. But although it is there, it is not intrusive. The sound of the water rushing through is serene. It was painful, on the other hand, for the course maintenance crew when during the winter the river overran the banks and caused damage on the back nine. Players can still see major cuts in the earth and trees that have been unearthed. The repairs have been made and the course is one again in good shape.

The back nine was the Phantom’s favorite. Number 10 starts with a drastic dogleg to the left. It is a 362 yard, par 4. The trick is to make a perfect second shot to drop under the huge oak trees surrounding the green and role to the hole. Number 15 is the most interesting on the course. The Phantom has never seen a hole like this before. It is a dogleg to the right. It is only 297 yards but most of that yardage has to be made on the first part of the dogleg. If you come up short or if you get too close to the curve you will have to tend with an old snaggled tree and a hug clumping of boulders. The Phantom’s foursome finally agreed upon question marks for scores. Everybody ended up tangling with the tree and rocks even though we were all in different locations.

18 holes is $45. Carts are not required. The course isn’t tuff to walk except that it is long. Beverages are available in the bar. You will certainly know this is a membership catering course since you can’t eat in the dining room without being one. Too bad since the room is elevated high above the course and has big windows from which to look out over the course.

Phantom Tip: The dress code is strictly enforced. Two gentlemen entered with hemmed jean shorts and were not allowed to play without changing into proper attire. Kudos to River Island who offered to loan them shorts. The rule is shirts with collars and sleeves, and no jeans. This is also a soft spikes only facility.

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Riverside Golf Course 7672 N. Josephine Ave
(1 mi East of Hwy. 99 of Herndon Ave)
Fresno, CA 93722
This Phantom Golfer report is from the Riverside Golf Course is located one mile of Highway 99 in Fresno at the Herndon exit. Follow the signs to get to the course which is hidden but not hard to find.

What a sheer delight to play on such a friendly golf course. PGA Professional Courtney Foster (unfortunately not here anymore), greeted us in the pro shop with smiles and an offer to get us on the course a little early. Of course we took the offer.

The 18 hole layout is not your usual flat valley course. The front nine is undulating fairways with some doglegs to make it interesting. But the best holes are the back nine which begins with a drive down into a canyon as you look out to the river and a train trestle. Ocean view holes are the only ones that can top this.

The greatest things about Riverside are its’ oddities. The red tees are a par 75. This includes seven par 5’s. The driving range ball picker is a modified 1965 Volkswagen. The Super hot dogs are barbecued, not steamed. And last, but not least, the pro shop has good stuff for women to buy. It is no wonder there are lots of women playing on this course.

Weekend and holiday green fees are $16 and carts are $18. This course is busy, so make a tee time one week in advance.

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Three Rivers Golf Course 41117 Sierra Drive
Three Rivers, CA. 93271
(559) 561-3133
If you are looking for great service, reasonable prices, accurate tee times and an all around good golfing experience, Three Rivers Golf Course is not the place to find it. Billed as "Scenic golfing along the Kaweah River" this is by far the worst experience the Phantom Golfer has ever had on a course.

Three Rivers is located about 20 miles east of Visalia from Highway 198. It is a wanna be resort area for people of the Central Valley who wish to get away from the heat in the summertime. It is the gateway to what is referred to as "The Land of the Giants" which is the redwood forests that abound further up the hill.

The course has been closed for three years. New owners have spent that time revamping it. The problem is they put all their money into a fancy restaurant and the greens. And the greens are nice but it is hard to get excited about that when so many things are wrong. For instance, try to buy food. A six pack of cokes is $11.80. A hamburger is $7 and you cannot get it to go. The fancy restaurant has the only food available and they won’t let you take it out.

When the Phantom’s foursome was ready to play there weren’t enough carts. To top it off, the pro shop guys kept referring to the red tees as the ladies tees. Even when some women in the group were teeing off from the white tees, as the group went around for the second nine, the guy came out and said, " the ladies tees are at the bottom of the hill". One women in the group said "Well that is good. That means they haven’t moved since the last time we played."

It really is too bad the new owners had to mess things up. The old course was just fine. They had great burgers you could get to go and a fun bar with real people. The course was the same as it is now basically and a lot more reasonably priced. Today, weekend play for 9 holes is $15 and $24 for 18. A cart is $20. There are some steep hills so you may want a cart but the price is steep as well.

If you do play Three Rivers don’t do more than 9 holes. No one will call you up when you come around for the second nine. Unless you are into dirty looks and grimacing from players trying to start you would do better to stick with 9.

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Tulare Golf Course 5320 Laspina Street
(1 mile east of Hwy. 99 of Ave 200)
Tulare, CA 93274
This Phantom Golfers Report on the road from Tulare Golf Course in Tulare.

The Tulare Golf Course is located off Avenue 200, one mile east of Highway 99, south of Tulare in the Central San Joaquin Valley. Tulare is always praised for the investments they make back into the course every year and it shows.

The course is an 18 hole, par 72. It is every bit of the 6,734 yards of challenging golf play.

This is basically flat, tree-lined layout with some quirks along the way. Like hole number 7, a short par 3 that has a tilted, down sloping green with sand and water to the left and back, and a palm tree in the middle of the sand trap. Better hit the green or it is double bogey time.

Number 17 is a 467 yard par 4. Make a 200 yard drive and you still have 260 yards to go. everyone in the Phantom’s group, both the men and the women, double bogeyed this monster.

There is water on ten of the holes and it is usually to the right or left of the fairway, not in the front of the green. The sand traps are well placed to penalize bad shots--as they should be.

After the game make a stop at the 19th hole. They have a REAL bar.

Call ahead for weekend tee times only and the check on tournaments. This is a popular course for them. Green fees are $17 weekdays and $22 on weekends and holidays. This is a walkable course but carts are available.

The Phantom’ s Final Tip: come over early and hit a bucket of balls. Tulare has a "real" driving range. It is wide open and real target greens to practice your accuracy and distance at the same time.

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