Duffers delight. With decades having passed since L.A. got a new golf course, a rash of luxury or "high-end daily fee" links are streaming onto the local landscape.

No fewer than seven such courses are currently under construction in L.A. County and another nine are in various stages of planning, according to the National Golf Foundation.

Another sizable project is underway just over the L.A./Ventura County border the $25 million Lost Canyons Golf Club, being built among the rolling hills, meandering streams and towering oaks in Simi Valley.

The project, being done by developer Landmark National, will consist of two 18-hole courses designed by famed architect Pete Dye and a clubhouse. In addition to the $25 million first phase, there are also plans for a future phase with a 150-room hotel and 120 home lots ranging from a half acre to more than 100 acres.

In Los Angeles, the recent wave of golf course building started with the Cascades Golf Club in Sylmar, which opened in December 1999. It was the first Los Angeles County course to open in 35 years, according to Bob Thomas, director of communications for the Southern California Golf Association in North Hollywood.

"It's very clear that Los Angeles County is an under-served area of golf," Thomas said. "The lack of land has been a major delay in course development. But, as people move to the northern (San Fernando) Valley, there's now enough people in that area to justify golf courses out there."

Although Los Angeles County has 123 courses, the fourth-highest total of any county in the nation, it ranks nearly last on the basis of courses per capita. The national average for holes per 100,000 people is 80, and Los Angeles has 20 placing it 316th out of 317 major metropolitan areas in the United States.

Other new courses that have opened in the past seven months include Sterling Hills Golf Club in Camarillo, Tierra Rejada in Moorpark and Robinson Ranch in Santa Clarita.

These are not inexpensive, municipal courses, which typically host more than 100,000 rounds a year and charge modest green fees of around $20. The new projects plan for around 60,000 rounds per year and will charge from $60 on weekdays to $135 on weekends. That means golfers have a better chance of getting on a course and finishing in a timely fashion than they do on city-owned courses.

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