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A quick update since the last time I played Avila. Greens were much slower than usual. Towards the end of the day, we found some that rolled a bit faster but overall they were on the slow to very slow side. The greens are trickier than they appear. At first glance they look fairly mundane but be cautious as whatever little break you perceive will probably be doubled when you putt.

Fairways were green and semi lush throughout with only a few bare spots here and there. Tee boxes were much better than last time but still in need of some maintenance. Somehow, I managed to avoid the sand traps all day!

Pace of play was what we wanted it to be! The course was very empty. We let a couple of singles go through and then there were two twosomes behind us. It seemed like everyone was taking advantage of the relaxed POP and playing multiple balls. I know we did and I heard others in the restaurant afterwards saying they bad done the same thing too.

I talked about the layout in more detail on my last review, so I'll skip that this time around and talk about the pro shop and restaurant. What the building lack in architectural design, they make up for in location and vistas. Both are positioned to so you have good views onto Avila beach and the ocean.

Conditions are just average at Avila, but because of the course layout demanding true strategic planning and shot making skill, this is a fun challenging track.

It's a great place to drop the family off at the beach and then walk across the street for a fun yet inexpensive central coast round of golf.
10 Likes.
Black Horse is always a peninsula favorite with several views of the Monterey Bay. Course is very challenging due to the severe undulations and multiple tiers of the greens. Greens are spacious in theory but realistically the preferred landing areas are tiny.

Condition wise the track is in real nice shape. They are getting ready for the PGA professionals tournament to be held here in a couple weeks so most things are in prime condition (Greens, fairways, tee boxes, sand traps). Being that they are putting the last minute touches on the course there are a few areas in the fairway that they have roped off for GUR where they replaced the grass with new sod. Also some of the tee boxes are temporary closed. Normally there are 4 sets but right now there are only two sets of tee's. Not a real big deal other than a bit embarrassing that of the handful of times they had us moved up to the "red" tee box, I only managed 2 pars out of it (but then again it was one of those days).

POP is always a strong 4-4.5 hrs. during prime time and we were right at the 4.5 hr mark. After years of being associated with Taylormade, I noticed the new range balls are Titleist. Honestly, I didn't check to see if they are Pro V1 practice balls or not. I saw the cart gal on the way down to the range but never saw her out on the course which was disappointing because you don't go back around to the clubhouse and I forgot to restock my bag with snacks.

Customer service is good. Not over the top great like Aviara or Quail but solid nonetheless. I was a bit upset at the guys at the front. When I pulled in they were too busy chit chatting with each other so I had to get my own cart. I never mind tipping the crew for loading up my bag and actually prefer it when at a nice course. A bit disappointing to not receive the expected service.

Also, from now until the tournament in mid June it's cart path only.

Definitely, a recommended Monterey Peninsula course and a great one to warm up on to get used to tough greens, before hitting any of the Pebble Beach tracks.
17 Likes.
A quick update on course conditions. Course is in real nice shape right now. Greens are rolling smooth as always at a medium pace and are holding approach shot very well. Sand traps are excellent and tee boxes are level and lush. Fairways are lush for the most part with a few thin areas here and there. Skirt areas around the green are very lush offering great lies for the chance to get up and down.

Paso Robles GC is always a favorite track that offers good use of all clubs. See my previous review of the track for more details on the layout.
10 Likes.
I had to drop some money off to my contractor, who's office is 2 blocks from this course so I made him come out and play. We used the Golf Moose coupon so it was only $40 for the two of us with a cart. I've never played here but I've heard from others it has decent greens.

First the layout. As Sixpez mentioned, it's a yawner. Front nine has one little lake in front of a par 3 green that makes things interesting otherwise the front 9 is just a parkland setting with some trees to try and keep you honest. The back nine is WIDE open with the only excitement being a long par 4 with a pond in front of the green to make things interesting. And really that was only a challenge because of a strong headwind.

Conditions wise, greens were decent. They rolled smooth at a medium pace and held approach shots very well. There's nothing to the greens as they are all single tiered with just a traditional back to front minimal slope (for drainage).

Skirt area around the greens was lush offering a good lie 90% of the time. Sand traps were surprisingly nice. I was in two and both had great soft sand. Not the pure white pristine sand found at high end courses but definitely soft fluffy sand and very playable.

Fairways were ok. Green for the most part and offered a good hitting surface with a few thin areas here and there.

Most tee boxes were lush. The par 3 tee boxes were ok with a couple of them having excessive divot damage.

No sand in the carts for divots which I thought was odd. Clubhouse is an old rectangle shoe box building with no aesthetic appeal. Check in was super quick and easy. For $20 it makes a decent little "kill some time" course. Actually, layout aside, the course conditions are definitely worth the $20
8 Likes.
Ridge Creek is always an enjoyable Central Valley track. What is usually a strong point of the course, the greens are in serious need of attention. Numerous pitch marks on almost every hole. A few holes still had obvious rings from prior pin placements. On one green I was able to count 5 previous hole locations just on the same half of the green as the current pin location. Speed of the greens was lighting fast and pin locations were tough but challenging in a fun sort of way.

Fairways were a mix of green and light brown grass but offered decent lies throughout for the most part. Some of the skirt areas around the greens were thin with tight lies making getting up and down a challenge with the fast greens.

Sand traps have improved greatly. Once the Achilles heel of Ridge Creek, the green side bunkers are now a plerasure to play out of (if you're into that sort of thing). The fairway bunkers are a different story. the dirt is ok but they have very steep lips to get up and over. It's almost always a guaranteed lob wedge lay up coming out.

Tee boxes were a mixed bag. The ones on the par 3's were horrible in that they were full of divots. The par 4 & 5 tee boxes pretty decent.

Pace of play was good and actually considering it was a weekend it was borderline excellent.

My only complaint was that the restaurant was closed down at 4pm when we finished. Ridge creek is a wonderful facility with a nice pro shop and adjacent restaurant overlooking the ninth green. I always enjoy sticking around for a bite to eat when I have the time (which I did today).
9 Likes.
In about 10 days I start a 5-6 week journey of playing some very nice courses. Of course that means $$$. To offset the cost of the super nice courses, I need to play some dirt cheap ones this week. Off to Links Course of Paso, I headed with some co-workers. We had the first tee time of the morning so the course was wide open which was nice.

Unfortunately, the course decided at the last minute to aerate their greens about 10 days ago. Not only had they been punched and sanded, they hadn't been moved in about 4+ weeks. They were the consistency of a lush fairway of a nice Palm Springs course.

Fairways still are a bit "winter thin" but decent coverage for the most part. Initial rough is ok and outside of that it's either grape vineyards or 18+" tall grass/fescue/weeds. The good news is they are now treated as a lateral hazard.

Tee boxes were the highlight of the course. Lush and level. One other plus side of the conditions is the area surrounding the greens. For the most part it was all very lush offering up a great lie for the opportunity to get up and down to save par.

The layout is a bit quirky in that you don't use an iron until the 155 yard par 3 7th hole. It starts out with two back to back par 5's, a short par 4 (driver-wedge or Driver-putter if you're GDR23), then two long hybrid par 3's followed by a par 5.

In fact on the front 9 the only time I used an iron (5,6,7,8,9) was on the 7th hole Par 3. The rest was driver, wedges and hybrids.

The back 9 is more traditional with a full mixture of holes with short & long versions of all three; Par 3, 4, & 5's.

The gas carts are annoying IMHO. The range balls need replacing. About half are faded and cracked.

Once the greens are back to normal, the course is worth the reasonable fee. Until then, it's just not worth it.
9 Likes.
Was "forced" to play Carmel Valley Ranch today. We practically had the course to ourselves all day. No one behind us for 4-5 holes and we never caught up to anyone until the 17th and I'm still not sure where that foursome came from! Greens were rolling the perfect speed at a medium fast pace. Greens were still firm with approach shots rarely leaving a divot.

Fairways are green and lush. First cut of rough is very playable with the second cut being "good luck" territory. As in good luck finding your ball and good luck getting a club on it if you do.

Wildlife is plentiful with an abundance of deer and turkeys on the back nine. The front nine is easily walkable but the back nine would be extremely difficult to walk due to the severe elevation changes and long transfers between holes.

Definitely a recommended "go to" course in the peninsula.
10 Likes.
Sandpiper has been on my So Cal bucket list for about a year now. When Johnny GK called and said can you make it tomorrow at 7:30 AM, I was so excited to get the chance to play, I happily made the 3 1/2 hour drive leaving the house at a bit before 4AM. As soon as I arrived at the course, an attendant greeted me at my car and carried my clubs over to the carts. To me there's an extra touch of class having your bags carried not thrown on a cart and taken over.

After a quick change into the golf duds (I've learned not to drink coffee on the road while wearing white pants), I headed into the pro shop for a quick look around. Looking out the window I could see the 18th green, with a pond in front of it and the pacific ocean in the near background. Wow!! what a spectacular view.

The others showed up and I found out I get to play with GDR23, who aside from being a great player, is an absolute blast to play with. The driving range not only is close to both the clubhouse and 1st tee for convenience but it has to be the most scenic driving range anywhere! The range is included with green fees and is a nice lush grass hitting surface. The fact that the ocean is in the background is an added bonus.

Between the customer service and convenient scenic range, you can't help but head to the first tee relaxed and in a good mood. Starter did an excellent job explaining pin locations, green speed and general info about the course.

The layout starts off with some fairly basic holes (don't confuse basic with easy) but because you get views of the ocean they seem anything but "basic". After a few holes you get a taste of what's to come as you play near the edge of the cliff. Up on the cliff you have a fun par 3 with the waters edge along the left side (albeit 50' below). It's at this point you get spectacular views of the course and the ocean.

It somehow manages to be stunning, picturesque yet peaceful and not overwhelming. There's a couple of nice scoring holes before making the turn back at the clubhouse. Hole 10 starts the dramatic scenery and layout of the course. 10-14 are right on the ocean front both high up on the cliff and down at water level. Again, absolutely breathtaking. I lost my drive over the cliff's edge and within a minute, the coast guard search and rescue helicopter came buzzing by to help look for it! Now that's customer service!! OK so maybe, the customer service isn't quite that good, but it was cool to watch the helicopter buzz by 100' over the course & water.

The track finishes with a medium length par 3 which has the ocean as your backdrop behind the tee and a forced carry over a water hazard to the green.

Now for the conditions: I'll start with the rough, since that's where I was most of the day. First cut was lush and very manageable. After that you get into no mans land. Having said that what apparently is usually calf to knee high had been cut down severely. I'm a big fan of having it that way mainly for a pace of play issue as it avoids the long delays looking for lost balls.

I somehow managed to avoid the traps all day so I can't comment on the conditions of them. Tee boxes were lush and level throughout. Even the par 3's were divot free. Fairways were 90-95% lush throughout with nice level hitting surfaces.

Greens rolled super smooth at a nice medium fast pace. Greens were mainly single tier with a gentle to moderate slope that made them fun and challenging but not overwhelming. Breaks were predictable but tricky when trying to match them up with the correct speed.

Beverage cart was out early and often and pace of play was relaxed as it should be on a nice course like this.


Overall, it's a great scenic course with very good conditions. The question isn't whether I'll be back again, it's how soon I'll be back! My score was the highest I've shot since January 2017 and I'd happily to it again tomorrow if I got the invite. Hey, if I leave right now, I could make the 7:30 tee time....
13 Likes.
I hadn't played Carmel Valley Ranch in a few months so I figured it was time. I'll start with the customer service. There was apparently a computer error during the online reservation process however the gentleman at the front desk was the utmost professional as we worked through it.

Course conditions are excellent with the greens being firm but rolling super smooth. Approach shots were a little hard to hold but mainly just the down wind shots. Sand is right up there with the best in the business.

All but one short par 3 tee box were excellent. Lush, level and divot free.

Track has a few lakes on the front nine including a forced carry over the water on a par 3. The back 9 heads up into the side of the mountain for some fun holes. There's only two par 5's on the course but it has a number of short par 4's for scoring opportunities.

Locker room is top notch with showers. Range (included in green fee) is grass. Clubhouse has a nice bar and a great outdoor patio area overlooking the 18th green.

All in all Carmel Valley Ranch is a great go to peninsula course that feels more country club than resort.
7 Likes.
Played here a couple of months ago. Conditions are immaculate, with greens, tees and fairways all in the 9-10 range. We were out mid day mid week and had the course nearly to ourselves. There are several creek or "dry creek beds" running across a number of the holes that really make this course a fun layout. It forces you to play smart and know your actual distances. We were out with a member who knew the course well which tremendously helped with blind shots and picking out landing areas.

Course is far enough inland that it gets much warmer (dare I say hot) than the courses in tne inner peninsula.

Overall, it's a great strategic course with superb conditions. Restaurant serves good food and has a nice outdoor patio overlooking part of the course.
8 Likes.
Back out at PG Golf links for a nice later afternoon round by the ocean. Since I reviewed the course earlier this month, this is just a quick update on course conditions. Fairways and tee boxes are in great shape. Green, level and lush all around. Just a few thin areas on a couple of the fairways.

The greens were rolling medium fast and super smooth. They were very firm so getting even well struck short iron approach shots to stick proved difficult. Customer service was great as always.
10 Likes.
Pretty much identical to my last review except the fairways have improved. There are still a few winter thin areas but for the most part the fairways have grown in and are in decent shape. Greens roll nice and smooth, though they tend to hold a straighter line than you would expect when reading breaks. All but one (par 3) tee box were in excellent shape.

Only real complaint was the marshal. We were behind a couple of slow groups and when I pointed it out to the marshal for the second time, he just said they are from out of the area. ?? I realize that 90% of marshals are out there just to get free golf. I'm good with that, but they need to remember their primary job is to keep the pace of play moving a long. Or at least let the groups behind play through.
8 Likes.
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