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I played The Dunes course on Christmas morning. This was my first time here. Check in was efficient but not overly friendly- it seemed pretty obvious the man at the desk wasn’t too happy to be working on a holiday.

The grass driving range was stocked with balls and the carts appeared fairly new with ice chest and good GPS. My tee time was 8:30 and I was paired with another single. The starter, was very friendly and gave us some handy hints about the course and warned us not to go in the long grass after a lost ball as it’s full of fire ants.

The fairways were great- lush and deep green. Tee boxes were small, but level with minimal damage, at least on the reds. There was adequate sand in the bunkers. Everything other than tees, fairways and greens was dormant brown, cut very short. The greens were really disappointing and more than a little frustrating. They were extremely firm with very thin coverage, causing many balls to run away. Some of the pin positions seemed a bit unfair where they were placed on the slopes.

I usually enjoy links-style courses and the challenge of Pete Dye designs. After seeing photos, I really, really wanted to love this course, but I just didn’t. The first 8 holes, I thought were ugly. It got a little wider between the houses from 9-13, then opened up away from houses for 14-18. My own photos make the course look much more appealing that it really was.

POP was good at 3.5 hours. Overall, I was just disappointed. There aren’t many courses that I have no desire to play a second time but, unfortunately, this is one of them.
I played Maderas for the first time yesterday, 12-23-18. I’d wanted to play here for quite a while. I got a great price of $56 with a TeeOff deal + promo code. I was joined for the round by Gk’r 1PLUS1 and we were paired with a very nice father and young son.

All the staff at bag drop and the pro shop were very friendly and welcoming. Check in was very easy. We spent a little time warming up on the range (balls were included with the deal) and the starter gave us some good info about the course, including the advice to be sure to roll a few putts before heading out as the greens were very fast (oh yeah, he wasn’t kidding!)

The course conditions were good. The fairways had good coverage and the bunkers had nice sand although it was quite thin in the few I was in. The rough and fringe were cut down extremely short so many balls went rolling off the fairways and greens. The only long rough I encountered was on a hole on the back (don’t remember what one). I was grateful for it as my shot up to a very elevated green came rolling back down and was stopped halfway down the hill. The forward tee boxes were in great shape but I did notice other ones were pretty chewed up. The greens were very challenging with all the undulations and fast speed. Needless to say it was not one of my better putting days.

Overall I really enjoyed the course layout and beautiful views. I absolutely want to play here again if I can get another great deal.
I played yesterday in GK’s year end gathering. I hadn’t played as much golf this year as usual so there was no way I would miss this chance to play at Ram’s Hill.
This was my fourth time playing here and, once again, the course conditions were great. The forward tee boxes were all level with hardly any divots. The fairways are the most beautiful shade of green with not a bad lie to be found, and the rough was very manageable. The greens had a lot of spike marks but they didn’t seem to affect the rolls. There were some very challenging pin placements on the par 3s. I ended up in a few bunkers. The sand was great but a bit deeper than I can easily hit out of.
Thanks to Rams Hill’s staff and Johnny for another memorable day. I’m looking forward to next year’s outing.
Played today, 7-29-18, Thank you, rudyclub for joining me. I wanted a course that plays short due to the current condition of my game, but not just a par 3 or executive course. We had a 9am tee time and check-in was fast and friendly as usual. I was really surprised at how good the course conditions were. Honestly, I was expecting summertime brown and dry, but everything was green and lush. The fairways were very cushy and easy to hit from. I was in two bunkers and both were clean and soft. The greens were in great shape- smooth and fast. They were somewhat soft, so the few ball marks we found were deep but repaired cleanly. Mt. Woodson is so much fun with all the elevation changes, bunkers hidden everywhere, beautiful scenery and of course, that bridge!! POP was 4 hours. Looking forward to next time.
I played today, 4-29-18. The weather was beautiful - 85 degrees with, at times, a 1-2 club wind. I got a last minute GN Hot deal for $17 at 1:30 pm. The price was great considering I wasn’t sure if my recently repaired knee would be ok walking this 2,000 yd, 18 hole, par-3 course. (happily, it was.)

I’ve wanted to play here again since my first experience in January. I was just as impressed this time as I was then. I was again greeted by Stuart in the pro-shop. He remembered me from last time and we chatted a bit before I teed off. The course was pretty much empty so there was no waiting at all.

The course conditions were very good. The Bermuda is beginning to sprout, making the fairways very thick and a little bit long. It didn’t affect play at all, but it definitely took more effort to push my cart up the hills. The bunkers were nice with clean, soft, white sand. There are many lakes on this course and the water is impressively clear. The tee boxes were level but had a good number of divots and could use a mow. The undulating greens were very firm, rolled medium speed and I saw only about 3 ball marks. The cups had the sharpest edges I’ve ever seen. Many putts dropped right in where they probably wouldn’t have had the edges been not so clean.

After I finished the round, I chatted a bit more with Stuart. He told me of the renovations/improvements that are planned for this summer. They will be enlarging the putting green to about double its current size. The patio will also be increased in size from a seating capacity of 60 to about 90. The ponds that are next to the patio are going to be redone to more of a river design. They are also going to be putting in full bathrooms and water stations at each end of the course, on holes 5 and 15. He let me know that from June to October, the pro shop is closed. All rounds are $10 on the honor system- just put your payment through the door. I will definitely take advantage of that!

This is such a fun course. It’s great short game practice and a perfect warmup to a later round. I highly recommend Palm Royale Country Club and look forward to getting back soon.
Played yesterday, 1-28-19, with wsbell57 and colmcd, using a Groupgolfer deal of $39 each. It was Bill and Kathy’s first time playing here. I’ve played a few times before and was very happy to get another opportunity. I really enjoy the course. It has all the things I like – sizable elevation changes, blind shots, forced carries over barranca, water and frog crossings. There are also some nice ocean views from the back 9.

Check in was easy and all the staff very friendly. We spent a few minutes warming up on the range. The grass stalls were available which I always prefer over the mats. The range is in pretty poor condition but suits the purpose just fine. There is a practice bunker also. The putting green was super nice. It’s very large and gave us a scarily good preview of how tricky the on-course greens are.

We were joined by a walking single who plays there regularly and we started on time at 9:02am. The course conditions were somewhat disappointing but more from a visual standpoint than of playability. The Bermuda fairways and rough were more brown than green but had complete coverage, thick cushioning and a surprising amount of roll out. Many tee boxes were chewed up but all seemed level. The only real disappointment was the bunkers. I was in a few and only one of them had good quality sand. The others were just thin dirt with lots of little stones. My “shot of the day” was from one of these bunkers though, so I won’t complain too much.

The greens… Wow! They are in excellent condition and they are tough! The guy in the pro shop had said they measured 10 but they seemed much, much faster. There are hard to read multiple breaks that are strongly affected by the ocean. Many putts stopped, reversed direction, picked up speed and ended up off the green. Not a great putting day for any of us lol.

After the round we enjoyed some tasty burgers out on the patio. Overall it was a very fun day. I still recommend the course and look forward to playing again when its greener.
I joined in the GK fun on 1-7-18. This was my fourth time to Rams Hill and it still surprises me to see this beautiful oasis out in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. From the lady who greeted me at the entrance gate, to the staff at bag drop, pro shop, restaurant and starter, everyone was very friendly and efficient. After a nice breakfast on the patio, we headed out for some warm up. The range is one of the best. It’s completely green, has plenty of targets and is stocked with ProV1 balls.

The course was in its usual fabulous condition. The fairways and rough are lush and emerald green, the bunker sand soft and deep, and the greens smooth and fast. The layout is a lot fun. I played from the red tees which is make the course pretty short at 4900+ yards but no less challenging with the many sloping fairways, bunkers and false fronts. The 18th is one of the toughest finishing holes I’ve played. A decent score still eludes me on that one so I will look forward to returning for another try.
Wanting to play a short course as a warm-up for my afternoon round, I found a GN hot deal for $16 for a 7:30 am tee time. Palm Royale is a walking-only, Ted Robinson Sr. design, 2000 yd, par 3 course in a private community. I was greeted by Stuart in the pro shop and then paired with some vacationers from Oklahoma and Sweden.

The course has a very fun layout with lot of hills, dips, undulating greens and several holes have carries over water. Other than the expected tee box divots and some ball marks on the greens, the conditions were amazing. The fairways and rough were completely lush, immaculate from edge to edge. There are lots of bunkers and every one was perfectly groomed. The sand was soft and fluffy, unlike any that I’ve seen in a long time. The greens had some challenging pin placements, were firm and rolled medium fast.

There are some areas of desert-scape that were put in recently. They did a really good job with it. On a couple of holes it’s integrated into the area around the lakes. Some larger areas between fairways were very unobtrusive and really don’t come into play unless you are seriously off line with your shot.

We finished in just about 2.5 hours. I had so much fun and was very impressed by the course. Because it wasn’t previously listed on GK, I wanted to try to get a bit more info. I stopped back in the shop to chat a bit with Stuart. He didn’t know much specific info but suggested I leave my email address and he’d find out what he could from the greenskeeper. I really appreciated that and mentioned I’d be writing a review on GK. About an hour later I received an email with this info about the course:

“Greens: 3 blend perennial rye grass and Poa trivialus. The greens are over-seeded on top of 328 hybrid Bermuda
Richard Jimenez. Superintendent, Timateo Gonzalez.Head greenskeeper, Phil Boyland. Head Professional
We received $15,000 per acre for turf reduction from Coachella Valley Water District. We transitioned 2 acres on golf course which represents a 15% saving on water.”

I thought it was so nice of him to do that. Kudos to Stuart, Mr. Jimenez and Mr, Gonzalez for making Palm Royale my new favorite short course! I highly recommend it and look forward to playing there again.
I played yesterday on Christmas Eve. I found a Hot Deal of $60 for an 11:42am tee time which was a good opportunity to finally get to this course. This was my second visit to PGA West and like last time, the customer service was top notch from bag drop, pro shop, cart guys, restaurant, starter and beverage cart. The expansive driving range was stocked with balls so I had a good warm up. I was paired with three other singles. One lives along the 2nd fairway so his course knowledge was extremely helpful. Another was distractingly talkative and the other was very pleasant with an enviable game.

Visually, the course was beautiful. The emerald green of the tee boxes, fairways, and rough were in stark contrast to the golden brown of everything else. All of the turf was lush and in great shape other than some divot damage on the par 3 tees. The greens were very firm and smooth but somewhat slow. All day long putts abruptly stopped a couple inches short. The water in the lakes was clean and clear.

After everything I’ve heard about this course, I went in with no expectations of a good score. Although it’s considerably less beastly from the red tees than the others, it is still a huge challenge, especially on a day when I just wasn’t hitting well. Other than the tee boxes, I don’t think there is a square foot of level on the whole course. I found myself in two of the bunker ‘canyons’ that are twice as deep as I am tall. I successfully hit out of those, but kept hitting poorly from the perfect lies in the middle of the fairways. Go figure…

The highlight of my round was making par on Alcatraz, the par 3 #17 with the island green. We all know there is the one shot or hole that keeps us going back. That one did it for me. I can’t wait to play the Stadium course again!
I also got to join the fun at the latest GK event. I played with Jim, Kevin and Greg- thanks, guys!! This was my first visit to La Costa. The resort is beautiful and the staff very friendly and helpful. I agree with some of the previous reviews regarding the course conditions. I really liked the fairways. Other than the crazy number of unfilled divots, they were in great shape. I was in the deep rough many times but it wasn’t hard to hit out of. The bunkers were a bit thin but the sand was nice and I actually made a couple of good shots out of it. The greens weren’t pretty but rolled fast and smoothly. They had lots of unexpected breaks which kept us on our toes. Visually, overall, I found the course somewhat bland. I guess I just prefer hillier courses. What was really interesting, though, was the wind on the back nine. One minute it would blow warm, the next cold- very unusual. I would like to return sometime to play the other course. Thank you, Johnny, for another wonderful day. I really appreciate everything you do for us.
Played yesterday, 12-3-17, with iluv2golflady and her friend, Mike. We had an 11:15am tee time and got out immediately. Indian Hills is always good when looking for something inexpensive and local. It’s a pretty fun course with a variety of holes. It has some big elevation changes on the back 9. The front is basically flat except for the par 3 #3…don’t miss right!

Course conditions were pretty ok. Tee boxes were recently over seeded so they had good coverage but many were very out of level. The fairways were mostly good but there were many areas marked GUR and several others that should have been. Bunkers were clean, soft, damp dirt. The greens were somewhat disappointing, though. The grass has recovered nicely from the recent punching. They rolled pretty fast but they ranged from damp to waterlogged (#16) so were very bumpy.

POP was good at 4 hrs. We were behind a fivesome but rarely waited and there was no one behind us. The beverage cart came by 3 times. A fun day on a fun course.
I played today, 11-26-17. After seeing some current photos online, I knew conditions had recovered from the terrible shape the course was in the last time I played there, shortly before they closed for the summer. It’s a bit pricey now but I was so eager to play again that I found a Hot Deal and stacked a couple of rewards to bring down the cost a bit. I was paired with a very nice twosome and another single. Our tee time was 7:04am but we got out early at 6:45am.

The cart guys and starter are all very friendly and efficient, as is the guy in the pro shop who told me that the course in under new ownership. So far it seems to be a good thing. They have all new carts with ice chest and USB. The GPS units are to be installed soon. The course was in fantastic condition. The fairways were emerald green and lush. The yardage marker poles in the fairway centers have been removed and replaced by very large painted rocks on the sides of the fairways. The tee boxes were level but in need of mowing. The rough was all in good shape but varied a lot in length from one to maybe four inches in some areas. I was in one bunker. It was damp but soft, clean and well groomed. The greens were good. They were very quick even when wet in the morning and just got faster and faster. The rolled smoothly, except where there was a ring-shaped depression around many of the cups. I’m not sure what those were caused by. OB vegetation was nicely trimmed but it’s still so dense that it’s pretty much impossible to retrieve lost balls. It was also nice to see clear water in the lakes on 8 and 16. All the palm trees behind the 10th green are blackened from a recent brush fire.

I’ve said so many times how much I love this course, but the truth is it’s a love/hate relationship. It makes me crazy. The course beckons me with its beauty and layout and then it taunts me and beats me up – every time. Yet I feel compelled to keep going back to try again. It’s like I’m a kid determined to do something I’ve been told I can’t do (like get a good score – I’ve yet to break 100 there.) Will I return? Absolutely!!
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