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Good times at Sterling Hills Golf Club Sunday for the GK Cup 14 Final. Please see the Results thread in the forums.

Overall the golf course was in good shape with the greens being in excellent condition. Fast, semi-firm and smooth. Challenging putting surfaces that can produce some very difficult pin positions. Loved them. I was also impressed with the fairways having hardly any bare spots and provided decent lies throughout. They were firm producing some nice roll out. If you know how bad the fairways were just over a year ago and where they are now, add to that this is January and not Spring/Summer when the fairways are at their best, you would be very impressed with the improvement. Rough had a mixture of grasses and cut just above fairway height. Bunkers had decent sand, not great, not bad, no complaints. Tee boxes mostly lush, sometimes thin, in decent shape.

It’s a fun challenging layout where hitting good approach shots and putting well is essential. Some fun reachable in two Par 5’s combined with challenging Par 3’s and some formidable Par 4’s.

Nice clubhouse that can host outings and weddings. Affordable small bar/grill with tasty food (I got the Philly Steak Sandwich). Good service all day with friendly clubhouse, marshals and on-course food & beverage. Worth the green fee for sure and even more so using the GK Coupon.

Was great fun being in the finals group with Mike, Mark and Nick. Looking forward to my next round here.

Recommended.
5 Likes.
Best way to cap off some travel is golf with GKers at a great golf course! Good times with rob1563 and LarryTee in Vegas yesterday.

Caught some beautiful weather and Reflection Bay was in excellent shape as always. I say always because I’ve played the golf course in the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter and its always in great shape. Green roll smooth and medium/fast. Fairways whether overseeded or summer bermunda are lush. Bunkers always maintained excellent. Service, facility and pace of play excellent.

Yesterday the golf course had the classic beautiful dark green fairways framed by dormant bermunda rough (see photos I just posted) and played firm. Super fun with all the contours out there. Greens smooth and mostly fast. Fairways lush. Tee boxes lush. Bunkers contained quality sand and well maintained. We teed off the back nine first because of an earlier frost delay which I actually like how the golf course sets up that way better. As a threesome we hardly ever waited, in fact let some twosomes play through. Constantly saw the friendly on course food and beverage service. Beautiful views of the surrounding mountains throughout. I love this golf course.

Highly Recommended.
16 Likes.
Final round of my dream Monterey trip was at Spyglass joined by rgm2525, Alex362 and Deepsea14. Awesome time with those guys. I had played Spyglass before for the first time two years ago in the summer and loved it. I loved it again but different experience this time as we had some gusty winds and rain to start off. Also the golf course was very saturated and unfortunately they had lightly sanded the greens recently (no punching). It was very strange leaving putts short most of the day at Spyglass due to saturated greens/wet sand layer. Unfortunately the combination did detract from the experience given the expectations. However we had a great forecaddie (Cody) that helped the best he could with the wet conditions. He helped us read the inconsistent green speeds well and was excellent at finding wayward shots that in some cases were plugged lies. Super guy with a fun personality.

Spyglass, despite the out of norm conditions we had, is still a bucketlist experience and one I am so happy I’ve got to experience a second time. The layout is now my second favorite only to Pebble Beach so you can guess where I will be playing someday a lot of golf after I win the lotto – LOL. It is sort of mystical if that makes sense playing among the beautiful peninsula forest and wildlife. So easy to get lost in thought and take it all in.

My rating for Spyglass from a playing conditions standpoint is lower than norm for sure but I always rate a golf course on how I experienced it that day. Can’t wait to return. Will be posting some photos soon.
13 Likes.
I can’t even begin to tell how much this round meant to me coming as a gift from Greenskeeper.org members. A life long dream to play Pebble Beach Golf Links now realized. I was 90% tourist and only 10% golfer and played as such but who cares, I would not have experienced my first round here any other way. Took over 200 photos on what turned out to be a post card weather day for January in Monterey. So blessed. I’m going to have a ton of photos posted here, on the GreensKeeper iPhone App and lots of posts on my JohnnyGK/Greenskeeper.org Facebook and Instagram accounts. This was a day I will always remember and savor. Thank You!

There are golf rounds and there is Pebble. The nostalgia and grandness of day is a right of passage in my mind for those that love the game. It’s very expensive but worth it is you have the coin to spend on yourself. I didn’t but again those GK’ers that pitched in saw to it I would. You’re all awesome. Thank You.

We teed off at 8:20am today. Alex326, rgm2525 and Alex’s friend Bob. We finished in 4 ½ hours. Conditions wise, the greens were in great shape, not immaculate but you know that will change in a month for now when they host the AT & T, mostly smooth, holding shots and moderately fast. Rest of the golf course was immaculate. Added fun was they are preparing for the AT & T so many of the platforms are already built for the bleachers to be placed.

Part of the Pebble Beach experience is having an great caddies. We had 2 for our group of 4. Chris tended to my bag and rgm2525’s and did a super job for me. Also found out he knows about GK and uses it often. He gave me good reads and club selections all day. Great guy to have conversations with and patient with me with all my picture taking! – LOL

Pebble Beach Golf Links, and not just from walking in the footsteps of the greats standpoint, is now my favorite golf course I have ever played. Loved every hole and was completely mesmerized by all the ocean holes. My favorite hole is #8 par 4. Wow that approach shot down to the green is special. Hole #18 is a close second which I almost birdied! Hole #7 I screwed up but still loved it. This course fits my eye all day. Challenging but fair. Exceptional variety of golf holes where strategy is needed to play well. I could play it every month (come on Powerball numbers! – LOL)

Highly Recommended!
39 Likes.
I’ll have photos posted this weekend but have a window here on the trip to post my first review. Played with Alex326 and RGM2525 for a round at Carmel Valley Ranch Tuesday. Man the Clubcorp playaway is sure awesome as both those guys paid only $25 that included cart. I paid a $80 guest rate per their playaway membership and for the quality of golf experience provided that was a great rate!

Beautiful fun short challenging Pete Dye designed (only Pete Dye course on the peninsula) with a jaw dropping back nine carved into the surrounding Carmel hills. It was in excellent condition. Bent grass greens, bent/rye blend fairways, rough and tee boxes. Greens, especially the back nine that were rolled ran fast and smooth. Golf course played just over 6100 yards from the back tees but don’t let the length trick you into thinking its an easy track. The front nine is mostly level and is your opportunity to score well. Once on the back nine, get ready for a large host of dramatic golf holes featuring many elevated tees and views of the Carmel valley. The fairways were lush but with tight lies so it put a premium on crisp iron shots. The rough was lush, wet at times and with occasional thin spots. The bunkers in very good shape with quality sand. Tee boxes level, lush and in excellent shape.

The main defense are the putting greens. They are undulating and provide many very difficult pin locations which were on full display for our round. This is a resort course but make no mistake it’s a Pete Dye course ready to punish you for any poor play. Loved it.

Our Pace of Play was quick teeing off around 11:45 finishing in 4 hours. Service excellent all day. Beautiful clubhouse and surrounding. An absolutely incredible #11 golf hole. I highly recommend this golf course.
16 Likes.
Reading Sal’s review and reflecting on my experience with Garth’s group it’s pretty humbling. Joined up with Garth for the round, previously played with him and the Gold Coast Golf Association in March, was really impressed with how friendly, organized and fun the outings are. Sandpiper is one of my favorite courses in SoCal so this was a no brainer. Didn’t expect Garth to make a special announcement about me joining them to play. Appreciated it but man, I’m just an avid golfer that loves this game.

As far as conditions, those greens were running around a 12, super smooth, holding shots and in tough locations. Even the hotdog putter was tormented at times. But they are fun. The rest of the golf course is exactly what I expected for this time of year. Firm with tight lies. It’s a different course compared to April and December. In April (last time I played it) you have a more lush course, more eye pleasing and in overall better shape. In December following a dry summer and fall (remember SoCal didn’t get a bunch of rain until just 30 days ago) there are going to be thin spots and occasional bare spots up there. They are doing some small tine fairway aerations in trouble spots. But what you always get with Sandpiper is simply stunning ocean views and some spectacular golf holes. The ambiance of the place is one of my absolute favorites. It’s the main reason, IMO, to play the golf course. I don’t think I have or will ever play an immaculate conditioned Sandpiper but it’s always in very good to great shape which is good enough for me given the amazing location. Always Recommended.
15 Likes.
Finished up my round and meeting at Riverwalk in San Diego and hustled (well sat in northbound traffic on the 5 freeway) up to Oceanside to jump in on the Goat Hill Park (Mandatory Golf Friday) 9-hole skins game. Plus been wanting play hole #9 while the Geoff Ogilvy slam dunk playoff ace was fresh. You could still feel the excitement when walking up to that tee box. No wonder I pitched in for birdie off the back hill – LOL. Also been wanting to hang out at The Goat for a beer on the patio and fire pit. Perfect night to do so as they had the Presidents Cup on the big screen outside. AndrewZ28 joined in on the evening fun.

Greens are running beautiful. Mostly fast, smooth and firm. Best I have ever seen them. Super undulating small targets you got to bring a strong short game to handle. Plus an excellent iron game to even hit them. Fairways in good shape mostly lush with some thin spots. Rough mixed bag of lush, decent, thin or bare lies. But very few large bare areas anymore. I think the phrase “Goated” might be history. Bunkers in good shape with decent lies. Tee boxes, on an iron course with small boxes they are going to have their share of divot damage but overall level and in fair shape.

Really enjoy this challenging short golf course. Great exercise if you choose to walk. Friendly laid back attitudes with all staff and fellow players. Just a very comfortable round of golf. Every time I visit Goat Hill Park it gets better.

Posted a few pics. Check them out.

Recommended.
11 Likes.
Out with GK Gurus Rat-Patrol, gary00 and sbarajasjr for an 8:15am round Friday. Great fellow GKers to tee it up with if you ever get a chance.

Made the visit to Riverwalk because it was the first time they have overseeded in 7 years. There’s been rumors of the golf course closing for some time, let me tell you, golf courses don’t spend that kind of money to overseed if they are closing anytime soon. Over the years Riverwalk has invested a lot of time and money trying to re-establish their bermunda turf or try turf like paspalum. None of this worked. Especially on the Friars nine. Now the decision to be a rye dominant golf course again (only the 18 hole course). You know what, after what I experienced Friday they made the right decision. Fairways after just one seeding (again in 7 years) and only 2 times cut before we played (rye grass becomes more lush with each cut because the blades of grass become thicker) are already in very good shape. Most in great shape. Imagine how nice those fairways are going to look this Spring.

Conditions of the rest of the golf course, greens running excellent. Mostly smooth, mostly firm and holding shots. Rough, mixture of new rye grass and established other grass, varied in length and density. Made for some challenging shots. Bunkers, like Sal noted, besides the Augusta white greenside bunker on hole #2, decent sand, well ranked. Tee boxes, they were in desperate need of a cut, wondering if by the time you read this review they have already been cut. Might explain why some of the tee markers were set aside (we played the blue tees). Overall, some fairways were still roped off. Troubled fairways on holes 3 and 4 of the Presidio Nine (back nine now) still have some bare/thin spots (nowhere as bad as in the past), golf course was still rather wet from the recent rains but other than that in great shape.

Service was excellent throughout the day. Saw the on course food/beverage service at least 5 times, check-in easy, Marshal responded when we asked him to talk to the group in front of us holding up play and the guy loading up our bags had a great sense of humor. Was a super time and will play again this Spring. Check out the photos I posted.

Recommended!
9 Likes.
Second round of the day with GK Gurus was on another one of my favorite layouts. It was my 3rd round of the year there and 10th overall. It’s always in great shape, it was in the BEST shape I have ever experienced it. Even the greens which you would expect would running a little slow this time year, nope, medium fast, smooth and firm. So much fun playing those greens with the challenging pins and undulations. Fairways, perfect 10. Rough perfect 10 and at 3 – 5 inches throughout when you miss the fairway you hope your ball is sitting up because that sticky rye grass is going to grab your club. Bunkers, perfect 10. About the only thing not a perfect 10 is the tee boxes but still lush and level. Just not perfection like the rest of the golf course. I was blown away.

The layout is very challenging IMO with many bunkers, demanding tee shots, forced carries over water and the difficult greens. Plus the golf course plays longer than its yards because just about every tee shot is to a fairway sloping up to the green so little roll (especially on lush rye grass). But man is this layout fun. Lots of risk/reward shots. Nice mix of long and short holes. And lots of natural wildlife.

After the round we did not grab a bite to eat on the patio but having done so in the past its a must experience for first time players. Food is exceptional. The view of the 9th and/or 18th hole is excellent and fun to watch golfers play those two challenging holes. Service is fantastic.

Speaking of service. 5 stars. Super friendly and accommodating.

Lastly make sure to give yourself time to warm up. Love the beautiful large grass driving range and practice putting/chipping.

Highly Recommended
11 Likes.
First round of a 36 holes day began at Indian Wells Golf Resort Celebrity Course with fellow GK Gurus. The Celebrity Course is one of my favorite layouts anywhere. Not only for its sheer beauty (see photos I just posted) but for its fun risk/reward shots, challenging yet not unfair greens, challenging bunkers and reward for being able to shape your shots. The sight lines off the tee box are gorgeous and the approach shots exciting to play. The clubhouse/facilities are one of my favorites. Such a modern/grand/clean feel as some of the reviews below go into greater detail. And as for the service. 5 stars, every time.

As far as the conditions… place is wall-to-wall lush green rye grass. Stunning. Greens although a little slow rolled smooth, true, holding shots. Remember that although the greens might be running slower than normal, they are still firm so play your pitch shots to release. Bunkers are near perfect with excellent sand and perfectly groomed. Fairways, well, perfect 10. Rough, lush, cut down a bit but still challenging, exceptional. Tee boxes, lush, level, in great shape. We teed off early morning at 7:00am so conditions were still on the wet side on the front nine but started to dry out nicely on the back nine.

I found out later that the food truck near the 10th tee box is open for breakfast starting at 6:00am. Man I wish I would have jumped all over that instead of grabbing a fast food breakfast. Hear the breakfast burrito was awesome. I’m a breakfast burrito guy.

Was a little disappointed the putting golf course was not open. Guessing its only open for the Shots In The Dark experience this time of year (which is by the way a blast. Laser light golf games with music.) If I was spending that night there I would have experienced it again.

You can never go wrong playing Indian Wells Golf Resort. It’s a bucket list golf experience IMO. Highly Recommended.
12 Likes.
Super time. Great year end outing. Thanks everyone for coming out. I’ll be posting a recap on Wednesday.

Course conditions this year compared to last year's outing were better. But like last year the golf course was rather saturated from all the recent rain. I’m used to Rams Hill Golf Club playing more firm. Sure makes for a long golf course and especially on the back nine when the wind kicked up. But have to say I did enjoy being able to be aggressive with my pitch shots and approaches. Not used to seeing their greens hold shots like that. Speaking of the greens thought they were mostly smooth, medium pace and mostly soft. I remember when the course first opened and the greens were like a pool table. Super firm, lightning fast and very smooth. Smooth and fast was great but it was near impossible to hold shots. How interesting how a golf course changes with maturity.

Fairways were super lush in most places with occasional thin spots where overseed washed out due to some the heavy rains. Still so beautiful and a pleasure to play from. Same goes for the rough. Sand traps had soft excellent well-manicured sand and the tee boxes good coverage/level lies. Aesthetically I don’t know if I’ve see the place look much better. Loved the continued surrounding landscape improvements and clubhouse upgrades (as well as the addition of the golf simulator). Check out the photos I just posted!

Following play we for the first time concluded it inside in their Santa Rosa Room (hope I got the name right). Very nice large private room with views of the 18th hole and driving range. I may want to always have our prizes and announcements in there for future outings.

This year, as in all times, the service was exceptional. Everyone very friendly and professional. The outing organized perfect. I can’t recommend this place enough for group outings and tournaments. Just a great golf experience worth the drive.
14 Likes.
First off want to thank the GK Gurus (those writing helpful reviews here on Greenskeeper.org or the new GreensKeeper iPhone App) for coming out and posting your reviews so soon after your round. What a fun day that was. What a difference the weather makes too from today and Sunday! – LOL.

I had a great time Sunday golfing and grabbing a bite to eat after in the Oak Creek bar/restaurant. Enjoying so much getting out and seeing you.

We played as 3 threesomes and enjoyed a 4:20 minute round. Check-in went smooth with good service. I did not have time to hit range balls so can’t comment on that. Starter got us off on time and saw the cart girl multiple times (very friendly).

The conditions of the golf course while not as good as in July when it hosted our GK Cup 13 final was still very good. I think the greens were a week away from being totally healed from aeration so consequently they were a little bumpy but speed was consistently fast and they held shots excellent. Now if I could only read them correctly. Second time playing the course did not seem to help my struggles there.

The fairways are Bermunda turf with a light green color. But with this very cold weather now expect them to turn blonde color soon. However they do provide full coverage with good padding under the ball to compress shots. So expect them to continue to play well into the coming winter months.

Rough appears to be is a blend of mostly warm weather and some cool weather turf. Thin in some spots and lush in others. Lush around all the greens although so that’s where it really counts as far as I’m concerned.

Bunkers are in excellent condition. The sand that was too new in July causing thick fluffy lies has now settled down perfectly. I was in a ton of bunkers Sunday (even some waste bunkers) so besides sharpening up my sand game I got a thorough amount of time to review them – LOL (btw – the bunkers are the main line of defense in my mind with the course. Find them often and it’s going to be tough go around)

Tee Boxes are in good shape. It’s my understanding the next improvement project is they will be redoing all the Par 3 tee boxes to laser level them. This is very much needed for the Par 3's. Overall plenty of coverage and no problem hitting from. Another note, they recently reconstructed the 18th box so it is positioned more left requiring a right to left shot for optimal position. They did a great job with the reconstruction.

With this being just my second time here I am once again impressed with the player friendly Fazio design. It had a lot of variety with long and short holes. Doglegs, risk/reward par 5 and par 4’s, ample room off the tee to bomb your driver, challenging greens and an awesome finishing hole. I am excited to play it again hopefully soon.

Posted some photos so please check them out.

Recommended!
17 Likes.
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