Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ring "Da Bell" - Debell Golf Course Burbank, CA

A few weeks ago I had the chance to "Ring Da Bell." In other words, I played golf at Debell Golf Course in Burbank, CA. For years, locals have murdered the name "Debell" and called it "Da Bell." Kinda like "Da Bears!" I'm not mad at them; I think it's added a bit of charm and mystique to the course - sort of a Cheers flavor. And over time, the act of ringing "Da Bell" has become symbolic with playing golf there and something I look forward to doing.

About a few years ago, the course began renovations on a badly deteriorated clubhouse. And my recent visit was the first time I've played there since the renovations began. The renovations were completed in December 2008 and I've been eager to stop by since, so when a relative called and said he was in town I quickly arranged for a tee time.

The course sits high in the hills just above Burbank and you can usually get a last minute tee time unless there's a tournament going on. I've even had luck with walking on without much of a wait. As you drive up the canyon just past the shorter par 3 course, you can't help but notice the new construction. They did a nice job on the clubhouse. I guess that's what 9 million clams can buy you these days.

In the past, I've enjoyed playing at Debell. Generally the course is in good condition and it's secluded enough from the big city to allow you to relax and enjoy the outdoors. It's not uncommon to see all sorts of wildlife on the course. Anything from deer to rattlesnakes. I've even seen a coyote or two. It's a break from the typical Los Angeles municipal golf courses in design. There are a lot more trees in play and a dry ravine that runs through part of the course makes Debell an unforgiving experience for some golfers. Some of the par 4 holes are chopped up into 300 -400 yard tracks which are not suitable for a a driver off the tee box. I find myself taking two iron shots to get to the green. Sometimes it's a 6/8 iron combination and sometimes it's a 5/9 iron combination to reach the green. The greens are generally small and fun. I once heard Debell referred to as a "thinkers'" course. I think that's an accurate handle. It's very much a finesse course. Leave your driver in the bag for most holes. A tip if you ever play here - most of the balls break towards downtown Burbank. You'll know what I mean if/when you play here.

The 12th hole which used to be the 3rd hole- they've switched the front nine with the back nine- is the signature hole. It features a par 3 with a partially blind shot to the green. You'll either like this hole or hate it. Some players view it as a circus hole, others enjoy the challenge. I generally try to hit a high draw. I can usually avoid the face of the hill that obstructs the green. The problem is guessing where the flag is. Over the years, I've learned to take a look at the flag when I'm playing the prior hole.

So now comes the treat..... After you've putted out you get to ring "Da Bell" to signal waiting golfers that you have cleared the green. Remember, they can't see you from the tee box.

See that white dot out there? I love it when my drive is in the fairway...... I think I hit my next ball a bit fat.

This is the view from the #10 green looking back towards Burbank. You can see the Hollywood hills in the background.

A nice treat for all visitors is a newly added bronze statue.

The piece is titled Impact and was created by artist Shiela Cavalluzzi. After doing some research on the web, I found this link:

Cruise through the link, it tells a great story with nice photos.

Hole #18 finishes at the club house delivering a subliminal invitation for a nice refreshing beverage.

DeBell Golf Club is located at

1500 Walnut Ave. in Burbank.

(818) 845-0022


Jane Turley said...

And there was I thinking you were working hard! I demand an enquiry!!

Now let's get down to an important question all those golfers who tune in will want to know...

How cheap are the drinks in the club house?? Cos a man's gotta to know how much pocket money to request from his wife....

intrepidideas said...

What do you mean? I was working very hard. It was hot, my putting wasn't very good, and the drink cart only came around twice while we were there. :)

Jane Turley said...

Come now Sir you jest! Working hard at golf?!

Really? Drinks carts? I never imagined that - but I suppose it's so much hotter in California you need some fluid before you get to the bar. But the whole idea makes me giggle - a little cart trundling along packed high with G&Ts and a bell boy with a peaked cap. How amusing! There's a cartoon in that.. Gerald The Golf Cart..the adventures of a runaway golf cart who gets drunk on the job...

..Oh dear off I go again...

Ps - Hope you didn't get stuck in any bunkers:)

Footsteps said...

What a beautiful course! I haven't golfed much in recent years. When my kids require a little less of my time, I hope to resurrect my game.

Anonymous said...

Feel free to delete this post but you can get half price gift certificates to this course at lahalfoff.com

It's a pretty good deal.