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I played Monday and Tuesday this week in a work tournament. Aviara is absolutely a top notch facility and the service is always top of the line.

It was fun playing in a tournament out there as they got the course primed for us and some of the pin placements were just insane. These greens are HUGE and they can really create multiple versions of holes, just by moving pins around. I'd say there are up to 30-40 yard differences on a few holes.

Anyway, Aviara is a gorgeous, gorgeous place to play golf. We had epic conditions although I will say that the greens, while as smooth as could be, were just not as fast as they looked. I'm not saying it's good or bad, it's just that it took a little getting used to in order to be aggressive and make putts (or maybe I just sucked on the greens).

I hadn't played Aviara for maybe 15 years but have played it three times since the LPGA was there and it's really a great track. I think it plays MUCH longer than the yardage with the hills, wind off the ocean and the overall lushness, but I can't remember a more beautiful course with all the landscaping (kind of reminds me of Indian Wells).

If you get the chance to get out there and play, definitely do it. The crew at Aviara are awesome and it's always been a fantastic experience for me.
16 Likes.
Played in the GK Cup final match this past Sunday.

This is the second time that I've played Black Gold and I really love the layout. I think there's a good mix of holes with changing terrain, strategic options and a good balance of being fair and challenging.

I really thought the condition of the course was overall really good. The greens were super healthy albeit a bit slow because it was later in the day and there just seemed to be too much grass, if that makes sense. I think with a mow and roll they would firm up a bit and with a little extra speed (just a little!) they would be perfect.

As for the tees and fairways, I never had a bad lie all die. I'm a huge fan of kikuya fairways in SoCal, especially on courses with as much slope as Black Gold as it tends to remain a little more lush in the dry climate.

I was in a couple bunkers the sand was great, no complaints at all.

Everything about Black Gold really provides an awesome golf experience. The views, the facilities (great range, cool chipping and putting area by the first tee, the bar/restaurant) and the staff do a great job. In Orange County I have to rank Black Gold up there as one of my favorites. Looking forward to getting back out soon!
13 Likes.
Played on Sunday, 6/3 teeing off around 8:15 and paid $49 through the course website (I assume, I didn't make the time).

It had been a few years since I had been out at St. Marks even though I had been to the executive course and the resort restaurant and grounds since the new ownership took over and did the renovations. I can say that they have definitely done a really good job with St Marks. The pro shop and restaurant have been changed around and now it's much brighter, open and a really cool spot to hang out. Pretty good pro shop with all the balls and stuff you need (although the apparel needs some work :).

As for the course, St Marks isn't the most interesting or compelling layout, but it's a pretty good set of 18 holes. There are a couple holes where you need some experience to play well and I feel like I hit every club in the bag. Now that I think about it, you get a fair share of dog leg holes and a couple greens are funky enough to make things interesting. However, the conditions of the course have really improved and it was really great to play.

Lots of good coverage in the fairways with nothing but good lies for me. There are occasional brown or bare spots here or there but overall I was really pleased with the conditions. Definitely can tell they've put some resources into this part of the course.

The greens were in really good shape. Just really healthy, smooth and held great. I wouldn't say they were fast but definitely true. Lots of fun to play on.

I think the ownership of the resort and courses set out the goal to provide a fun and relaxed atmosphere to play golf and I think they succeeded. Considering this course is 5 minutes from my house, it was $50 with cart (super nice carts by the way) on a Sunday morning prime time and we played in about 4 and 15 minutes, I'll be back soon.

Nice work St Marks team.
10 Likes.
Played in my GK Cup match with John and Matt yesterday, 5/17. We teed off as a threesome riding around 4:40ish and finished in 2 1/2 hours. That's pretty typical at the Goat if you're riding. Obviously it's a workout if walking but still, POP is usually great here. Love being able to burn through a round in that amount of time.

I hadn't played out here in a month or so since they punched the greens. They are about 99% back, the only noticeable leftover being that they are a bit softer than normal as there's probably a little more coverage as they heal. Before the punching they were the firmest and fastest (and super pure) that I had ever seen out there and it made the course even that more difficult (the green shapes and complexes are tricky enough out here). I'm looking to seeing them firm up a little more but right now they are rolling really true and holding well, just a tad on the slower side.

I think the rest of the playing conditions (tees and fairways) are pretty solid right now. Not a lot of water this winter has the course playing firm and a little dried out in spots which leaves you vulnerable to bounces and rolling and sometimes that just feels a bit unfair. But when you do hit it where you're supposed to, the lies are good and there's really solid playability.

There's constantly been some improvements going on and even since the last time I went out there there's new paths and concrete work around the clubhouse that looks really nice and the range was in really good shape (all grass).

The Goat is my home track and I love the vibe out there. It's probably the quirkiest course I've ever played but I've also never played a course that is as demanding of iron play with a set of Par 3's that have serious teeth and greens that are tiny and undulating. It's definitely a course you could get frustrated with the first time around (tons of local knowledge needed to play the bounces), but a great place to call home if you want to hit all the shots.

Oh, and based on the other thread about Veteran rates I looked and the Goat does have a special rate for Veterans. Looks to be about 30% off the normal rates. Which is cool since Oside is still a military town.
10 Likes.
I played Balboa for my GK Cup match last Sunday. Sorry for the delay in review :)

I'd say the best way to sum up Balboa right now, coming out of spring maintenance, slightly rough around the edges. There are some bare spots in the fairways, a little bit of hardpan here or there, and the greens are a tad wobbly coming fully out of punching about two weeks ago. All that being said, solid conditions all around. I think that if this got a bit of water and some time it's going to be looking really good.

One thing that I've always thought Balboa did a great job on, especially for a course that just gets a TON of play is the greens. Considering they were punched only two weeks or so ago, they rolled well. They have some kind of discoloration but that never affected the putts at all.

I did have some funky lies in the fairway and rough at times, so don't expect tour conditions out here, but for the price of the green fees the setting, layout and vibe are more than worth it.

I definitely recommend Balboa to anyone, it's a fun day of golf if you're in the right mindset going in.

Hope to be back soon.
9 Likes.
Played Eagle Glen yesterday (Sunday,, 4/15) at 10:40 AM in my GK Cup match with DConnally.

Found a GN Hot Deal for $60 a player which I felt was a pretty good deal for that time of day on a weekend. The course was really busy yesterday (starter mentioned 175 on the tee sheet to start the day) so we tee'd off 25 minutes past our time after being stacked 3 groups deep on the first tee. That being said, the Starter did a good job handling it. I could suspect that could get ugly.

This was my first time playing Eagle Glen and I was really looking forward to it. From past reviews and the pictures it looked like an interesting layout and beautiful setting and I felt both were very true. It's really cool being back in the valley there and you get some really cool views and shots throughout. Lots of elevation changes here but I don't think it gets overly gimmicky with the holes using more subtle drops and rises than big drops (although there are a couple). I feel like there's a good amount of local knowledge that would help here, but not so much that you can't get around the place your first time. The carts had solid GPS systems so that helped quite a bit.

As for the conditions, I'm going with mixed bag at best here. They did a small tine punch a couple weeks ago that the greens are completely healed from (in respect to holes). I did feel that while the greens were healthy, had great coverage and didn't show any holes from the punch, they just weren't that smooth and kind of had that leftover "graininess" you get from the punch and sand after aerification. That being said, if you hadn't played these greens before and got above the hole (especially downwind) they were super fast. Would be a blast playing these things if they were firm, smooth and fast.

I'm never particularly critical here because most of the time I'm out playing golf I'm just stoked to be there, but the fairway conditions at Eagle Glen leave a ton to be desired right now. They were punched recently enough to show and a couple times I had some issues with the ball sitting down, but where it got mostly difficult is the high level of bare lies out there as well as the overall firmness of the fairways. I absolutely LOVE a fast, firm course, but because of some of the hills it made it tricky. A couple drives rolled out into issues so just be aware of that when playing (practice a 200-210 yard shot off the tee and you'll be golden out here).

Tees were totally fine and the rough was non existent.

The guys in the shop were cool when checking in and saw the beverage cart multiple times and the gal driving was great. Good service all around.

POP after the rough start ended okay for a busy weekend. We finished in 4 hours 45 minutes after a front nine that took almost three hours.

I really thought the layout was a lot of fun at Eagle Glen and with a couple more weeks to let the spring maintenance take hold and I'd be glad to give it another shot out there. Lots of fun holes and options out there. Will be back.
12 Likes.
Played Sunday, 1/11, teeing off around 8:30.

Arrowwood is definitely a course where playing a few times makes a big difference in how you play. Currently the conditions are set up to play really firm and fast and knowing where roll out is going to happen and how much is HUGE. The overall condition of the course is really good, just expect a lot of roll in the fairways and the ability to bounce the ball around some of the green complex mounding. The greens, even though they were firm and relatively fast, still held beautifully.

I like Arrowwood more and more I play and the people there are always really nice and run a great operation. If you get there early there is a really solid practice area and the small grill has a good looking menu and beer selection.

Pace of play was exactly 4 hours and the whole experience was great. There is a great deal with the GK/Costco coupon here but even at the normal rate I think Arrowwood is definitely worth it. I want to get back out there soon!
15 Likes.
I played a quick 9 this past Friday afternoon at the Goat in about an hour and fifteen minutes walking. Absolutely great pace.

I've played the Goat quite a lot and I can honestly say I have never seen it in such good shape. The greens were the smoothest, firmest and fastest they've ever been but still held shots great and were not so firm that they became unfair (the greens are really small with lots of undulation). Really a ton of fun to putt on.

There has been a lot of work to get the fairways going and definitely some great coverage and great lies. You'll obviously get the occasional shots of the DG (unless you hit a lot of great shots), but I had nothing but solid lies in the fairways all day.

There will be some construction happening soon to repair and add some cart paths and clean up some trees, but the course is the best I've seen it and I would definitely recommend playing soon.

I'm not 100% sure but I do believe that the best day to play is Friday because the grounds crew puts in a lot of extra time and work mowing and prepping for the weekend. Friday afternoons are definitely a good time.
10 Likes.
Better late than never!

I played in the GK Event a week and a half ago and had a great time! I absolutely love this course and it gets better and better every time I play it. One thing that does stand out to me is that I have a hard time remembering the details of the greens and their slopes. I'm not sure why because I am starting to get a feel for the sight lines off the tee and flow of the course layout, it's just the green complexes that I can't remember. This kind of sucks because its a HUGE part of the course design and a big advantage if played correctly. Oh well...

First off, the course conditions all the way around were completely awesome. It's always so fun to play courses so immaculate from tee to green, especially in contrast to the desert landscape. If I could be nitpicky at all I would like to see the par 3 tee boxes cut a bit shorter, but seriously, I have to try REALLY hard to complain on those.

I know the knock is the distance to get to Rams Hill, but I have no problem with the 1 hour 45 minute drive. It's scenic, easy driving and if you give yourself ample time you just know you're making a day of it.

The staff out at Rams Hill is always fantastic. Jennifer in the bar was great and funny and the guys running the carts and beverage cart did a great job. Just genuinely nice folks.

Can't really say much more than Rams Hill is definitely my favorite course in San Diego County. I'm excited to get back soon!
15 Likes.
Played in a tournament up at Grizzly Ranch on the 27th and 28th. HOLY COW is all I can say. The wet winter and spring were more than kind to Grizzly and the conditions were out of this world. I've never played on grass that deep green in color and pure. I'm just a huge fan of rye and this was like 7,000 yards of perfect carpet.

The setting might be my favorite of any course I've ever played. I can't really remember being more secluded. There are no homes (save for a handful of killer looking cabins you can rent) or roads around and its just you, golf and nature.

The layout is really interesting without being too difficult or punishing. Just a bunch of fun looks all around this place.

I was trying to think of a drawback to Grizzly Ranch and I simply can't. There isn't a weekend I look more forward to than when I get to play here. If you can find your way up, go play it right now. It's fantastic.
10 Likes.
Played an early round this morning, walking in about 2 1/2 hours.

Yesterday and today they just punched the fairways so it's not the best conditions right now. That being said, the greens were rolling really pure, the tees were great and everything else was good. I might give it a week or so before heading out. You could bump the ball to avoid the holes or dirt plugs, but the grass also is a bit long since they couldn't get the mower on it.

Still a fun time out there and with the greens good it's still worth the $20 or so bucks to walk it.
11 Likes.
Tee'd it up with the GK Guru group on 5/19 on a gorgeous day in Fallbrook. The Golf Club of California has always been one of my favorite layouts in the county but there had always been some struggles when it came to the conditions that just took off some of the luster.

That could not have been farther from the truth this time around as I thought the conditions were the best I've ever played them. Fairways, although firm and fast, provided great lies all day. I was in one bunker and the sand was great. Seemed like everyone in the group who ended up in one did alright. Tees were solid with good coverage and never had an issue with finding a good spot to tee it up. I thought the rough was kind of the typical SoCal drought-era rough with it typical pretty short and easy to hit from, but sparse in spots, which is fine. Definitely not penal in the "lush" sort of way.

The highlight for me were the greens. I thought they were darn near perfect. They held great, ran true (although the kept breaking away from the hole, which was weird) and semi-fast. I was really impressed.

Service out there was cool and it's such a good environment to play in. I really can't say enough about the layout as you get such a variety of holes. You should absolutely throw this one in the rotation or make it a must play right now. I love this course and will be going back soon.
15 Likes.
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