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Just posted some beautiful photos of our GK Review Guru round at Rancho San Marcos Sunday, April 15th. Was super fun day and I thank everyone that could make it!

Last year was the comeback year for Rancho San Marcos after almost a decade of drought in the region. This year, great conditions remain.

Greens were smooth, holding shots and medium/fast. Fairways lush, firm and providing good lies. Rough, lush with the first cut only a couple inches and not much of a penalty to be in. However hit a shot into the native areas bordering the rough and good luck finding it. Bunkers contains clean white sand, were thin at times yet fairly maintained. Tee boxes were lush with a mix of grasses and in good shape.

What brings me back to Rancho San Marcos is the layout and location above all else. It’s secluded and gorgeous. You’re up in Santa Ynez mountains nestled into a valley next to Lake Cachuma. As you drive up Highway 154 through a small section of the Los Padres National Forest, the views and surrounding beauty really set the stage for your round. The layout features, 7 Par 4’s, 6 Par 3’s and 5 Par 5’s – which I love. Lots of risk/reward strategy.

Before and after the round, the western themed plantation style facilities combined with a super friendly staff complete the day. I just missed the last call for diner on Sunday, which was 2:30pm that day, a bit bummed about that as I love their tri-tip sandwich. Next time!

Give yourself time before your round as the practice facilities are excellent and relaxing.

Highly recommended.
15 Likes.
Played River Ridge Golf Club (Victoria Lakes Course) with Alex326, rgm2525 and GDR23 on Monday 3/19. Tons of fun. Teed it up at 11:55am and finished in under 4 ½ hours despite the fact its sister course, Vineyard, was closed for aeration so all play was on the Victoria Lakes Course. They always do a great job with pace of play out there.

Greens in excellent condition, smooth, holding shot and moderately fast. Not quite the 11.5 speed stated at the starter but more like a 10.5 … they roll real nice.

Fairways in very good condition considering the time of year. Light green bermunda turf on the thin side with complete coverage yet good padding to make a solid strike. Occasion spots of Poa sprinkled in each fairway that does not affect your lies but detracts a little from a uniform look.

Rough is pretty forgiving IMO as it is only max 3 inches in some spots but mainly around 2 inches. If your ball finds it however it could be sitting up or down. It will however significantly cut down the roll of your shot that would have otherwise been in the fairways.

Bunkers are in good shape. I found a few greenside traps and all of them had adequate sand and well-kept with exception to an occasional fresh footprint I can only blame some of morning play for not raking well.

Tee Boxs in very good shape (played whites). Mostly lush and green. Decently groomed. Some expected divot damage on par 3s.

They are not going aerate the greens on the Victoria Lakes Course until 4/23 – 4/26 so expect the conditions with all this rain and warm temps to level up every week. The course is a pleasure to play as always with a fun challenging layout and some of the most enjoyable putting greens in Southern California. Very friendly staff and excellent service. Highly recommended.
17 Likes.
After all these years I finally played The Links at Summerly on Saturday 3/10.

It was a scramble format, in the rain, and we teed off around 8:30am. Finished in 4 ½ hours.

tbone127's review from 3/2 was spot on so please read it as well. Thanks!

I never got to play this course in its glory days, I meant to then Lake Elsinore flooded the track and shortly after that the course came on hard times. It’s a long drive for me from Thousand Oaks and I wanted to experience the course when it was at least decent shape, well it’s in decent shape, certainly not great shape, but definitely playable. I really liked the layout with all the risk/reward shots and surroundings. It features some super fun greens which are the highlight of the course. I was fortunate to play with someone that knew the course very well so I was given the correct lines off the tee and what to look out for. I think had I not had that insight, and had it not been a scramble, I would have got in some big trouble off the tee, it’s not a grip and rip track.

They are doing a lot of work still on the golf course and they will be planting a bunch of new sod to bare areas of the fairways. On the perimeters of the fairways/rough they are cleaning them up more but it will likely be some time before those bare areas are addressed fully so make sure to keep your ball in play off the tee because a shot off the fairway can take some big hops into the hazards. They are going to plant new sod to some of the tee boxes that were previously closed. Not the way back tees although. As for the greens they rolled smooth, fast and held shots,You will find some invasive grass here and there on the greens but they are addressing it and it hardly effects play. Most bunkers I was retrieving my ball from were in good shape. But being a scramble I never got to hit a shot from them so don’t have good info for us there.

After golf had some very good food and service in the clubhouse. They brought back the previous chef and are going to be utilizing their high-end smoker more. I was impressed with the tri-tip sandwich, had cold beer to go with it, watched a little golf in the clubhouse, excellent service, great 19th hole.

I'm going to make a prediction that THIS is The Links at Summerly's come back year. I see the commitment with the staff, the resources are there, the place has great bones, I can’t wait to get back out there later this year to see the progress, catch a sunny day, and snap a bunch of pictures.
16 Likes.
Played Omni La Costa Ledges Course Tuesday with 7 fellow GK Gurus. Our foursome included myself, rgm2525, raidernationkennels and adigitalg87. Super time. We were treated to some beautiful cool morning weather and golf course in great shape. We had a GK Plays outing here on 12/9 so this was my first return since. I thought Tuesday the golf course was in even better shape.

Again, still some issues on the first three greens with patch work but overall those greens are rolling better and in general I thought the entire course greens were better than in December. Fairways were lush and not dormant (with the warm winter we have had the Paspalum turf has held on to its color and lushness very well). Rough was lush and in great shape. Bunkers, with exception to greenside hole 18 which was thin, all others I experienced had quality sand and well groomed. Tee boxes (we played the blue tees) level and lush.

Although I still like the layout of their other golf course, Champions, better, I am enjoying the layout of the Legends course the more I play it. There is a lot more strategy when playing this course than meets the eye. There are approach angles essential to have to get the ball reasonable close with many different pin placements. The greens are the main line of defense out there and you need every edge you can get. I normally play a right-left ball, but on the back nine I played a left-right tee shot sacrificing some distance in an attempt to be more center fairway and avoid large trees. Overall the golf course is very well suited for a left-right player. There are some monster par 4’s out there as well. It was common for me to be hitting a long iron into a green despite a good drive. Personally I feel hole #3 and hole #10 are the most difficult.

Looking forward to my next round out there, hopefully sooner than later.
9 Likes.
Played Rams Hill Golf Club Monday 2/12 with sixpez, rgm2525 and Alex326. Awesome time. It was a challenging day of golf with cooler temps and very gusty winds. I had never played Rams Hill Golf Club in these kinds of conditions and can safely say the golf course played about 7 strokes tougher.

Rams Hill was in great condition although not its typically immaculate self. It’s been very dry, warm and windy January/February in Borrego Springs. This is a recipe for the following to take place: 1. With very few cold nights that drop below freezing, the bermunda turf base is never going to truly go dormant and thus compete for water/nutrients with the overseeded rye grass. 2. With little rain so far this winter, the golf course has not got fully saturated so areas where the irrigation system has little coverage is going to struggle due to warm temps and wind. 3. With very windy conditions, not only does it dry the course out sort of like a hair dryer (not that extreme, just an example) it presents a challenge for the irrigation system (ever turn your lawn sprinklers on during a Santa Ana wind and watch half of the water that supposed to be on your lawn turn into a mists and blow all over the place?). That all said, the golf course is still predominately lush, an absolute pleasure to play and a golfer should not hesitate to play it. I spoke with the GM after the round and one of this year’s Summer projects is improve the irrigation system for all green complexes. Most people think the golf course closes in the Summer due to high temps and potential of less play … that is not the case, they use every Summer to do projects to continually make Rams Hill Golf Club a better and better experience for their season. The ownership is totally committed to excellence.

So currently the greens are moderately fast, smooth and holding shots. The fairways are mostly lush with a few thin spots here and there. The rough is lush with a few thin spots here and there. The bunkers are in very good shape with quality sand (I found many), the tee boxes (we played the popular white tees - blues in better shape) lush, level with some divot damage.

I did not have an opportunity to warm up, which I love to do at Rams Hill Golf Club due to their outstanding driving range/practice facility that utilizes ProV1 practice balls.

Had a super time and can’t wait to get back there.
11 Likes.
Second round of a GK Guru 36 hole Indian Wells Golf Resort Wednesday. Also a blast.

I’ve played the Players Course a few times prior to last week in previous years. This time around it was the first time seeing it without overseeded rough. Normally its wall-to-wall overseed like the Celebrity Course was that morning. Seems most desert courses are going in this direction of not overseeding the rough that I have played lately. So it was easy for me to adjust and the dormant bermunda rough they had out there was in great shape … just not green lush pretty.

Fairways, Tees and Greens were immaculate. Greens were moderately fast, smooth, and held shots. Fairways lush, groomed, decent roll out and provided perfect lies. Tee boxes level, lush and groomed. As far as the bunkers, same as the Celebrity Course, great shape and groomed but uncharacteristically thin at times. Overall the Players Course is in excellent shape.

Before heading out for my second 18 of the day, I had lunch, a delicious huge proportioned cob salad. Service in the restaurant was fast and friendly.

The layout of the course is more difficult than the Celebrity for the most part due to tighter fairways and more challenging greens. It features the same beautiful views and a magnificent finishing hole. It’s a different playing experience to the Celebrity Course and complements it very well. It was a perfect 36 hole day I highly recommend.
12 Likes.
Played with GK Gurus here on 1/24 last week. I love both Indian Wells Golf Resort courses with the Celebrity Course being my favorite. I’ve said this in many of my reviews about the Celebrity Course before, playing it is as close to feeling like you’re playing in a desert oasis then any course I’ve experienced. The place is a wall-to-wall lush garden groomed to perfection with beautiful turf, flowers, water features contained within very fun challenging layout. At one point, this course hosted the LG Skins Game, it’s that good.

As for the playing conditions, greens were rolling smooth, moderately fast and holding shots. Fairways, lush rye grass and hardly any blemishes, as was the rough. The rough was just a couple inches higher than the fairways and a ball could be easily played from it. The tee boxes perfect. The ONLY slight blemish with the golf course was the bunkers. They were thin in spots needing some extra sand. We teed it up just before 8:00am and finished in about 4 hours.

It’s interesting to play a layout with only 2 par 3’s and 2 par 5’s. I would say in almost every case I would be disappointed by that, but this course is the exception. I would not change one hole.

Service is outstanding. From the entrance to the exit. I’ve run many outings here and they really know how to take care of groups.

Regarding the the clubhouse, it's grand, beautiful and modern. The restaurant is outstanding. I had a cob salad between rounds which was delicious and huge. Could not finish it. Service was fast and courteous.

For 3 straight years Indian Wells Golf Resort has been winning the Greenskeeper.org Best Playing Conditions Award in all of the Palm Springs area calculated from 12 months of ratings and reviews by Greenskeeper.org users. Do yourself a favor and find out why. Highly Recommended.
11 Likes.
Joined rgm2525, kevbig and mpisarski01 for GK Guru round at Coyote Springs Golf Club on 1/18, impressive. I’ll go as far as saying it was one of the best, and most difficult layouts I’ve ever played. Its a Jack Nicklaus design. I understand it is normally pristine June – November and we did not catch the course at its best, but even at that, it was still in great shape.

This course is in the middle of nowhere. It’s a 60 minute drive out of Las Vegas in the high desert and the only breath of humanity is actually the golf course once you arrive. But once there you get a secluded away from it all feeling and what a course to be treated with. I like it so much I’m looking into a GK Plays there for June. Got to treat GK’ers to this course and I need to play it at its best.

We played the blue tees, 72.8/144, bunkers everywhere and none easy to escape from. Very difficult undulating greens, rolling fairways loaded with small mounds to the point you hardly ever get a downhill lie, amazing sight lines and not a single let down hole.

As far as conditions, they do not overseed yet the fairways and greens were in great shape. The rough was dormant and thin in spots. The bunkers were in decent shape but thin in most. The tee boxes green and in very good shape. Green were rolling mostly smooth, moderately fast and firm.

As far the facilities, one of the best driving ranges/practice areas I’ve ever seen. Huge beautiful grass range with multiple short game areas. In addition nice large practicing putting green by the starter that simulates the golf course very well. The clubhouse are deluxe trailers with a food/beverage. It is my understanding they will finally breaking ground on the new clubhouse later this year.

I use to always hear when coming to Vegas I need to play Coyote Springs given how much I like all the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort golf courses. Now that I have I will say Coyote Springs Golf Club is better than every one of them hands down…and I like those Paiute courses a ton.

Highly Recommend Coyote Springs Golf Club. Worth the drive!
15 Likes.
This was one, fun, GK Guru round on Friday 1/19 with rgm2525, kevbig and mpisarski01. I had not played Laughlin Ranch Golf Club in years. And every time prior to this visit it was in the heat of summer. I really liked the course then with its lush bermunda summer turf but this time around, with the season rye grass, place was near immaculate. The only blemish with the course right now is the bunkers as they are systematically being reshaped and replenished with sand. Other than that, the entire golf experience from conditions, to layout, to facilities, to food, to service top notch. This course is so under the radar being in Bullhead City, AZ but Bullhead City is only 90 minutes from Vegas and from Southern California just as long of a drive to go to Vegas. It’s directly across the river from Laughlin Nevada (hence Laughlin Ranch) which is right on the Colorado River. There is also other courses to play in the area. I kid you not, this course, and this area, is about to bust on the scene as a golf destination.

As far as the golf course, fantastic challenging yet fair layout with beautiful desert views throughout (check out the photos I posted). Lots of fun risk/reward holes. Tons of elevation changes. Big undulating greens. Ample room off the tee to reward all good drives yet punish the bad one. Some amazing signature holes like #5, #12 and #18 which come to mind.

I loved the greens, smooth, moderately fast and very sticky (held shot great). Fairways, immaculate, perfect 10. Rough dormant bermuda yet still thick and long enough to give you problems, tee boxes in super shape, level and well groomed. And as mentioned before the bunkers, the only sore spot, very thin, firm yet in the process of being repaired.

The new owners are very serious now and moving forward to continuing to maintain/improve the experience. The first investment they made was an entire fleet of the new gas powered Yamaha carts. They are so quiet and decked out. Loved them. They have outstanding food in the restaurant and snack bar. Try the slate burger. Also the clubhouse is grand and magnificent doubling as a spa resort. Service all day spot on and helpful. I liked the place so much I’m definitely going to set up a GK Plays here! - Highly Recommended.
13 Likes.
Played with Nickesquire, rgm2525 and zgolfinman last week at La Quinta Resort Dunes Course as part of a GK Guru round. Super time. Always fun to tee it up with those guys.

This is a great course that is overshadowed by its big brother the Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort. And rightfully so IMO. The Mountain Course layout, especially back nine is magnificent. However, as a stand alone course, the Dunes Course is in just as good as condition and a blast to play. I thought it was actually more difficult than the Mountain Course. The stretch of holes 2-5 in the wash are well maintained but lack the character of the rest of the course, still fun holes to play though. The rest of the course is an in your face Pete Dye golf experience loaded with cool visuals, intimating shots, lots of forced carries over water and a terrific finishing stretch of golf holes. If you have not played the Dunes Course, I highly recommend it, plus the green fee is less than the Mountain Course.

As far as the conditions, smooth, moderately fast, firm greens. Lush fairways groomed well. Dormant bermuda rough that like the Mountain Course (see my review) will have the rough sprayed this month to make the cool dormant to lush fairway contrast more prominent (like you’ll see this week with the Career Builder PGA golf tournament at PGA WEST courses). Bunkers in great shape as were the tee boxes. My guess is it’s only going to get in better condition as spring approaches and arrives.

Regarding the clubhouse, the Dunes Course has the same large beautiful clubhouse with restaurant and proshop as the Mountain Course. It’s a sight to see and I recommend sitting down for a bite. We really enjoyed our lunch there in-between rounds.

Service was top-notch. Guy’s in the proshop, Dunes starter very informative/helpful, on course service seen many times and friendly, after the round cart guys very polite.

This was my first time playing the Dunes Course, glad I did, should have a long time ago, it was a rare cloudy and at times rainy day in La Quinta but got some good photos anyway, just posted them, take a look!
16 Likes.
I played La Quinta Resort Mountain Course years ago and enjoyed the layout. This time, playing with GK Gurus Ron and Nick, I feel in love with it. I’d say it is a top 20 all-time course for me. Playing conditions were much better this time around with excellent irrigation coverage, lush grass, well maintained bunkers and smooth, moderately fast, firm greens. I liked the dormant bermuda turf rough contrast to with the greens and overseeded rye grass fairways. I understand that this month they will be spraying the dormant bermuda rough to make it even more dormant (lighter color) and create a greater contrast. We caught a rare cloudy and even raining day in La Quinta Monday so my photos did not turn out as nice as I would have wanted (got some gem pics although – how can you not with that scenery), I’ll set up another GK Guru round to get out there in February to do some more reviews & photos – darn ;)

Enjoyed lunch at the turn with Dave, Ron and Nick, delicious food, excellent service. It’s an exceptional clubhouse. Was late getting to the course, made it just in time for my tee time, so had no time to warm up to give my take on the practice facilities, but the service in the proshop and starters made me feel very comfortable.

Of all the PGA WEST and La Quinta Resort Courses I’ve played, I am a huge fan of this course and the Nicklaus Tournament Course. I very much enjoy the Stadium, Norman and Dunes but Jack and Mountain would be my perfect 36. – Highly Recommended.
17 Likes.
Thinking back to last Sunday and all the fun I had playing and running our Rams Hill Golf Club GK Plays outing, really appreciate everyone that made it, Linksoul golf apparel and Golfmoose.com for sponsoring it, many of the donated gifts for prizes by those playing and Rams Hill Golf Club for providing exceptional service and playing conditions. It was our 4th outing at the course and sure to be another in the future.

Previous and I'm sure future reviews will focus on the personal golf experience, mine is from an outing organizer perspective. Let’s start with the golf course itself, it appeals to all skill levels, is generous off the tee, the pace of play as always been around 4 ½ hours for our outings, the course is in fantastic shape, the desert views while playing are amazing and the first tee, as well as the 18th green are perfectly positioned to start and conclude your event. Next, before your players tee off, the practice facilities are great with a beautiful driving range stocked with ProV1 balls, two short game practice areas (there is even a practice chipping area near the first tee to the right) and a fun practice putting green near the first tee. Next, the customer service from when you are first talking and working with the tournament director, food & beverage, to the day of your event, to following up after, very courteous and professional. As for the clubhouse, nice proshop and there is beautiful restaurant and patio to enjoy a meal/drink before and after golf. Lastly, the Borrego Spring area is a long drive to get to for just about everyone but IMO that helps adds charm and “away from it all” feeling. Some of the views out there of the desert are at least 50 miles. The area has other fun courses for your players to easily make a golf week or weekend out of it plus affordable lodging. I have always been very happy and never disappointed with our golf experience there.
18 Likes.
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