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I jumped on a great rate in an email blast from OQ, joined at 10AM on Wednesday, 2/22/17 by GKers HmtGolfGuy, lotrgolfer48, and mpisarski01 on a sunny warm day with some occasional blustery breezes. I was glad to find that there were no cart restrictions after the recent rainy weather, and some of the lakes actually had water in them.

Greens were in very good condition, firm but with good coverage, and generally held shots well, rolling at medium-fast speed. We saw scattered old ball marks on all greens, and in many cases there was bumpiness and scattered debris affecting putting. Fairways gave generally good lies, with only scattered bare or mushy areas encountered. There were many old divots unfilled, and the turf around these slashes was brown and seemingly damaged. Rough was 1-2 inches immediately adjacent and very playable – shots further offline could be muddy/bare/bushy/hazard. Tees were OK – par-3 tees were set wide to provide plenty of teeing area. I was in one bunker (greenside #10) with only a very thin layer over hard base, resulting in a wedge rocket. My partners seemed to have no problems with the sand they encountered.

Very nice golf carts with ball washer/club cleaner, as well as a very good interactive GPS that gives a clear look at hole features and also pin locations. Also a cooler with ice, but no water. Plenty of water available on-course. We got a sand refill from a traveling marshal, but there’s no refill rack on the 10th hole or anywhere, so many divots go unfilled. Saw the cart girl several times, and there is a snack bar after #9. The driving range is on grass, but the setup today put us back on an area that was likely used yesterday, so a good hitting surface was hard to find.

My favorite course in SoCal. Always recommended.
The recent rains have apparently made a big difference! Historically dinged for thin turf and tight lies in the fairways, I’ve never seen AT as lush as I found it yesterday! I played at 2pm on 2/15/17 to get the super-twilight rate of $50 on a warm sunny day with little wind – the first tee was steady busy up until that time, and we had a couple groups after us. I joined an amicable local single Justin, who was familiar with GK (but not a member), and a couple here on business from Maryland. We played rather slowly to begin as many balls were sent to their doom in the (now heavily foliaged) ESAs. The couple allowed me and Justin to sprint forward after #10 and we finished as the last pair to play #18, just as it got too dark to see, finishing in just under 4 hours. Staff was great and we saw the cart girl several times, and a ranger gave us some refills for the sand bottles, which we were having to use liberally.

Greens were firm, had good coverage, and rolled at medium speed. Some greens had some thin or bare areas along some margins. We didn’t see too many ballmarks. As stated above, fairways were lush and the ball sat up nicely. We had some fairway areas roped off to avoid cart traffic over the wet/soft areas, including large areas in the driving area for hole #12 (dang! - really needed that roll-out on that long one!). Rough along edges of playing areas was fairly short and very playable, although frequently clumpy – further out balls were just gone in lush ESA areas. Tee boxes were good. Fairway bunkers were firm, while greenside bunkers had a fairly thin playing layer over a damp base.

The course has new carts, each with a new Visage GPS system that is interactive and very readable. You can even adjust the brightness and tone volume (or mute). And no advertising!!!! However, the system only gives distance to the COG, not the pin location. A zone sheet on the back of the cart gives you the pin zone for that day. And the ‘approach’ view shows the shape of the green, but no green features.

Plenty of water available, and restrooms clean and good condition. Range on grass today but the teeing areas didn’t have much turf available – the range either got a lot of early morning use or hitting areas were a holdover from previous day(s). There’s now an attendant at the range shack, so getting balls is a little easier (and cheaper). Fairly large putting green that accurately reflected the speed of the on-course greens.

Very good conditions at this time.
Late to the review party – I played the white tees with the GK Gurus at 1140 on Thursday, 2/9/17. Thanks to GKers jerry64, zgolfinman, and 140ver for a fun round. I like the setting and layout of this course, and I wish it was closer to me so I could play it more often. I found the staff very accommodating, the course in good shape, and the day very enjoyable. Overall the course was fairly damp and soft after all the recent rain, although the temperatures in the late morning were quite warm, and I found myself overdressed as locals showed up in shorts!

Greens had good coverage, with some occasional thin areas around the edges – they were medium fast and got slower as temperatures dropped and day went on – generally held shots but some areas of some greens were firmer than others. I didn’t see too many old ballmarks.

Fairways had good coverage but lies were tight. Rough was cut very short and playable, but could be clumpy. Sand traps around the greens had plentiful and fluffy material; however, there were many unraked areas in the traps (see: jerry64!). Tees were just fine.

Friendly starter. Pin sheet for that day on the cart – nice. First few holes started with a ‘gate’ entry/exit system for the carts, which in my opinion helps reduce casual/random wear and tear on course conditions along the margins of cart paths. The starter made a point of telling us about it – but the system was abandoned by the course for whatever reason after the 4th hole, and we never saw the gates again!

Drainage areas between the holes are pretty torn up after all the recent rain/runoff – many of these areas look like they could use some thinning, both for aesthetics and for more effective flood control and drainage conveyance. The driving range grass was fuzzy but fairly level – it’s a nice separated range area that also has a chipping green/sand practice area. However, the sand is not like that next to the greens around the course – the practice bunker is very damp and hard packed with only a thin playing layer.

No cart girl -there’s a grill at turn but it’s far from the travel line from #9 to #10. The course needs more water stations. I didn’t see a bathroom on the front nine.

An unfortunate cap to the round was running into a total loser 20-something single on #18 tee – he was scruffy in cutoffs, hat backward, unshaved and mouthy and rude when we called him out for cutting in front of us (“I came off the 9th green and the 10th tee was crowded, so I drove over to #18”!!!). Left a bad taste in the mouth, but definitely not enough to spoil the great day I had playing with other GK Gurus.

I had to head for home right after the round, so I missed out on staying afterward to get to better know GKers in the second group that I had barely met before - sorry Larry and Lee. Definitely recommended.
Played the blue tees with the GK Gurus at 1220 on Wednesday, 2/1/17. Thanks to GKers weber2323, leef2020, and stickboy for a fun round. All three of these guys were hitting the ball solidly all day, but they let me play with them anyway, although I was having some bad alignment issues. The weather was great – sunny and warm – it got a little windy over the last 6 holes [they had the blue box on the Chris Berman tee (back, back, back!!) on #17 – all the way back in that tree funnel, dead into that wind - YIKES!!].

Conditions overall were very good. Greens were very firm, cut short and rolled fast. We saw quite a few (small) unrepaired ballmarks, and many greens had quite a bit of small debris on them. When greens are this firm, players need a little help from course in making them a little more lush to be able to control the ball – or, if they are cut this close, they need to be a little softer. For example, in almost all cases, good shots we hit to the par 3s hit and released over the greens.

Fairways had good coverage but were close cut, which resulted in fairly tight lies. Rough was cut short and very playable. Tees were mostly level and okay. We saw some minor divot damage on the par-3 tees – the sand pails there were loamy (powdery!), or so packed/old you couldn’t scrape out any mix, or didn’t have scoops(!). Traps had only a thin playing layer over a very firm base – one that I was in was very wet, the other dry and ‘cemented’.

Saw the cart girl several times and a marshal was riding around. Thanks to Johnny for setting this up, and to my playing partners for their patience. I always enjoy playing the Goose, especially with other GKers.
Played with my monthly group at (supposedly) 9am on Saturday, 1/7/16. I say supposedly because the course was jacking another tournament of 5somes out ahead of us and our first group started about 20 minutes late – then we had the usual 5.5-hour Saturday round. I read that the place changed ownership/management recently and the shop is undergoing renovation (almost totally cleaned out) and they looked short-staffed (no starter, one person in the shop, one overworked cart guy, no marshal). We were worried about the rain, but it stopped sprinkling about the time we teed off, it was so warm that I was shedding clothing as the front nine progressed, and I actually put some sunscreen on as we made the turn! Very little breeze today as well, which probably contributed to the warm conditions.

The course was wet but playable in all aspects. We played LCP everywhere except hazards so I didn’t rate the round. Fairways and rough had a lot of mud throughout as a result of all the worm castings pushed up after the recent rains, so LCP was welcome. There were no cart restrictions, although some small areas were roped off and we tried to stay out of the deeper swales.

Greens were well-drained, very firm, and held only well-struck shots. I didn’t note very many unrepaired ball marks, which were fairly small. They rolled well at medium-fast speeds. Fairway conditions ranged from lush to clumpy to scattered bare spots to large bare areas; there are many unfilled divots in both fairways and rough. Rough was generally short, but wet/long in swale areas. Most players here apparently play the blue tees – with the wet conditions, all the blue teeing areas were very torn up even at 0930, and par 3s were especially damaged. A large number of the tees were sloping to one side, and in some cases I really had to hunt for a level spot.

The course offers plenty of water fountains, but there is no cart girl – there’s a snack bar at the turn. The range is on mats. The carts are basic – no GPS, no cooler, no club cleaner; most holes have small colored markers at 100, 150, and 200 yards COG. The sand bottles on our cart were empty at the start, but all the par 3s had dry sand containers on them (but players had obviously NOT used them on those torn-up tees!).
I really want to like Hidden Valley GC – there’s a lot of fun holes there where you can haul off and blast a drive or shorter holes where well-placed shots give you good chances for birdies. But there’s also the ubiquitous severe slopes on almost every hole that demand accurate shot placement, and currently there’s a need for some TLC in many areas to make play more enjoyable (and more realistic!). After playing there last summer after an absence of ~15 years rekindled my interest, I went back at 1030 on Wednesday, 1/4/17, with champion GKer and all-around boffo guy lotrgolfer48, on a cool but pleasant day with not too much wind. After a few days of rain the course was in pretty good shape drainage-wise – I didn’t see as many issues with drainage as Matt did. We joined another twosome of long/wild hitters, one a local who plays here often, the other from San Diego. They were playing music in their cart (ugh!!) which I had to request be lowered a couple times, but otherwise they were amiable.

Overall the course is in pretty rough shape. While all the elements are there, it looks a little seedy, in need of some serious buffing up. Greens had a light dusting of sand but held shots and putts rolled OK, and were especially fast down the canyon, making play from above the hole a nailbiter everywhere. There are a couple greens with major false fronts – beware! But they were all very bumpy. Fairways and rough were partially dormant and randomly a Heinz 57 of grasses, with Bermuda, kikuyu, and who knows what else popping up here and there. Tees were especially troublesome, really lacking definition in some areas (just blending into a hillside) or being overly small and uneven and sloping and torn up. I was surprised that tees on most ‘driver’ holes had many old divots that looked like the aftermath of someone hitting a small bucket of balls with a mid-iron. The one trap I was in (and don’t get me started about the lie I had BEFORE that bunker shot) was pretty well packed and damp.

There were no water jugs out today and we saw the cart girl only on #2. The stop at the 9th green takes you past the clubhouse, and we were being pressed by a single wedged into several foursomes, so I felt pressed to keep moving rather than stop for water. Bathrooms are very rough; I got a nice bee sting on the neck at the one on #5.

Hole #12 has some issues - I know they have land limits and drainage requirements (the arroyo). For those of us who can't fly a driver 220, the hole is currently played something like 5-iron/5-iron. I think an adjustment would be beneficial for many players. That might mean moving the green and adding definition and enticements. The playable area on hole #7 is also small for those unable to carry their drive past the bunkers - the severe slope in the landing area short of the bunkers makes the hole almost unplayable.

I want to like this course. I hope they’ll start taking better care of it and make some adjustments to improve playability and enjoyment.
Started the new year at Arrowood, one of my favorites in SD County, at 1028am on a cool, partly sunny Sunday with wind picking up in the afternoon – thanks to GKer abbacat for responding to my post to play here. We joined an amiable single escaping the Denver snow and had a relaxed round in about 4.5 hr – we rarely pushed the foursome ahead of us and tried to keep ahead of the foursome behind, while looking for our many errant, topped, and chunked shots. Paul from Denver was coming off rotator cuff problems, and with the wet conditions I shouldn’t have let him talk me into playing the Black/Blue combo tees (6,509/71.4/133), as I was frequently left with hybrids or more into some of these holes with the Black tees, like 1, 4, 16, and 17. Although abbacat parred #16 for the first time (!!), I have yet to do that, laying up from 225 (it’s 465 from the Black!!) and hitting a weak pitch over the water. Then I had a 5-iron into the wind over the lake on #18 - yikes!! And I think Paul went thru two or three sleeves of balls with some serious spraying.

Overall the course was in good shape considering the rain of the previous couple of days – the course drained fairly well, except for a few lower holes and those on the back where topography funneled runoff down the fairways (#s 1, 2, 9, 10, 13, 14, and 16). Frankly, I was surprised that carts were unrestricted today, as in some cases there was enough water on the fairways to be in danger of significant damage from cart tracks. But it was a welcome policy today for seniors with old knees!

Greens were medium-firm, medium-fast, and held shots. We actually ran into standing water on at least one green (#5) – we mentioned this to a snooty cart girl, who indicated that staff was aware of that problem. Fairways were dormant but coverage was generally OK; ubiquitous worm castings were everywhere in fairways and short-trimmed rough as a result of the rain and wet conditions, so the ball always had ‘mud’ on it – fairways were very wet in areas where topography funneled water across them. Tees were mostly shaggy and soft, giving uncertain footing. Sand had actually been machine-raked in some bunkers but was generally very wet, with standing water occasionally encountered.

The large waste area on 13 is hopefully a work in progress. The lie found here is currently rock-hard base with lots of gravel imbedded – use your sacrificial club only! There are a few elevated ‘islands’ in the waste area to give it some definition and interest, which may or may not be turfed in the future, but the current state is ugly and dangerous – hopefully, the course will import some good coarse sand and give that area some better playability. It begins at about 250 COG and ends about 200 COG, so keep that in mind off the tee. There’s no GPS or other warning about this area – it’s just a brown line at the end of the driving area off the tee for first-time players.

Lots of bird poop around and on greens with water hazards – it’s that time of year. The ugly bird fence on #18 green was there, but the green was definitely affected. Staff says the fence doesn’t do any good – the birds just fly over it!

I like this layout and conditions are generally good – even with the wet conditions we enjoyed our round. Still recommended.
Every year I say that this is the last time, that Ram’s Hill is just too far a drive and too long a day for me to come back ……. And every year I sign up again, because this course fits my eye and I enjoy playing it, and the conditions here are so much better than almost anywhere else in SoCal, and I enjoy the camaraderie and companionship of the GK family. The wind dropped off after the first few holes and it was sunny and clear and beautiful. The course was in great shape and I had a great time with weber2323 (after a long absence), rudyclub, and casssiusclay (I’m still trying to figure out the 3 ‘s’s in the middle, there!).

Greens were fairly soft and receptive, tending to show cleatmarks as the round continued. But they rolled well at medium-fast speed, especially downhill toward the valley(!). Fairways, rough, and tees were all great. Nice sand in all the traps I was in, and with some of these green contours and slopes (and a few nasty pin placements today!) you don’t want to be playing from those traps!

We played in just under 4 hours so pace was great. Breakfast burrito before and sandwich after were also good. Very nice restaurant/patio facility for relaxing after the round or just in itself. Saw the cart girl several times, and all other staff were great. The course could use additional water stations on the back nine – the last drinking water is on the 9th tee. Highly recommended – we’ll see if I come back next year (LOL).
Played at 7:04am on Wednesday, 12/7/16, on a play/replay certificate from GolfSouthernCalifornia with GKer HmtGolfGuy. We went out early to facilitate the replay round and to beat the Men’s Club, scheduled out between 8am and 10am. There have been several reviews here in the past couple weeks – maybe others had certificates, or maybe they were just early birds like GKer weber. We played the blue tees (6,332/70.9/128) behind a threesome that moved along pretty well, finishing in just over 3.5 hr.

The weather was cool and somewhat cloudy, and everything in the morning round was pretty wet. Not too much rollout in the fairway, rough could be messy, and greens were only medium fast. The ball always had a halo of grass clippings on it, combined with light sand on the greens, which apparently had a recent lite dusting. Mower debris everywhere, joined on the greens by shoe debris, resulted in a lot of scattered clumps on the greens – you had to decide how many of these you wanted to try to clear.

Greens were firm and had good coverage – I didn’t see any bare areas. Fairways are dormant grass, and are firm; as a result, it’s tight lies everywhere, especially fun when trying to chip/pitch to some of the elevated greens. Rough was generally short but could be bushy around trees, along hazards, or in random patches. Tees were mostly flat and firm but had also been lightly sanded. Traps on the front nine are still barely playable – they were wet, thin and hard-packed; some were marked as GUR. Back-side bunkers have recently received new sand and all are fluffy and soft, including fairway bunkers(!).

There are lots of rundown/bare areas along fairway entrances and around greens from carts and equipment – the course would benefit from implementation of a ‘gate’ system for entry and exit, to reduce random wear and better manage the turf conditions along the fairways and around greens.

Our second round began at 11:07am behind two foursomes; we were joined on #5 by a local twosome who caught us, as play was slower than the early morning. After the Men’s Club had gone through the greens had a lot more unrepaired ballmarks and there were many more unraked footprints in the traps. Overall conditions were drier – greens were noticeably faster.

Ron had to leave to get home so we stopped after the 3rd nine – unfortunate, because I think the back nine has more of the interesting holes. Still recommended.
Here’s another addition to my “Do Not Play Ever!” list, joining Shorecliffs, Knollwood, Westridge, and a few others. This has to be the most boring course in Orange County – dead flat, up-and-back fairways, glacially slow play, and conditioning even more indifferent than those LA County courses (who knew that was possible!?).

Played at 930am on Saturday, 12/3/16, with my monthly group – I would never play here otherwise, and I need to think long and hard about renewing with this bunch, as we play the underbelly of the LA/OC/SB courses because most of the membership wants to hold the cost down. Last month – Rancho San Joaquin. Life’s too short! Throw in some in-course OB, tees shoved to one side of the box behind trees (thanks! American Golf), doglegs with the dog shorter than the leg, 5+-hour round, and so many other memorable (in a BAD way) features – yes, this course makes the NO-list.

Greens were the ‘best’ part of the course – soft and receptive, rolling at medium speed but definitely bumpy. Many greens had adjacent wet areas that were unmowed and torn up by equipment crossing – these were roped off from carts, etc., but not marked as GUR. Rough around the greens was generally bare or clumpy or ragged – it was very inconsistent, so missing the green was a crapshoot for what you would get in terms of lie and playability.

Fairways were consistently thin/bare, about ½ hardpan – we played preferred lies in the fairway, but moving the ball really didn’t allow you to improve the lie very much. Rough was patchy or clumpy or bare. Tees were often slopy, bare/thin, set to one side, patched, and/or soft. Plenty of divot damage on par-3s and no divot mix containers provided on those tees. I wasn’t in the sand, but my playing partners appeared to have adequate material to work with. There’s only one fairway bunker on the course, on #15 – at the far end of the lay-up area for the second shot on this S-shaped par-5 – but it’s so far left and long it’s almost not in play.

Range was on poor quality mats. The divot mix refill racks after #9 and #14 were both empty (not full of empty containers, just empty!) – so all those hundreds of divots and slashes in the ‘fairways’ and rough go unfilled. Hole 12 was just a no play!! The tees were set to the extreme right of the box, behind a large tree – the best play here was a 7-iron, leaving 210 into the green!!! Just a bad hole!

And we had Footgolf mixed in with regular golfers in the afternoon – UGH!! Early on a Saturday afternoon!! So there can’t be too much demand for this course!

No, thank you!
Played Redhawk on Wednesday, 11/30/16, at 11am because I had an Underpar certificate that was expiring today. Shop said that many other certificate players were showing up today, as well. Didn’t get a response on the GK Meet-Play posting so I went out alone, joining a very amiable local retired couple, and we had an enjoyable round. We pushed the deliberate foursome ahead of us most of the round, but lost the group behind after the second hole, finishing in just over 4 hours. We played white (group decision), and many of the white tees were moved farther forward or set on the front of the box.

This course needs some serious TLC. It has a slightly unkempt look after rain 3 days ago and the need for tightening up of turf conditions. Cart paths have a lot of problems and many areas need repair and/or re-leveling. The putting greens have large bare spots/patches; the main practice green has so much slope it’s almost useless trying to get a feel for on-course greens – many practice putts just roll off the green. The on-course lakes have cheesy chicken wire fences around them to keep the birds off – they look terrible. [But there are very few black skid marks on greens from bird poop!] There are many many unrepaired divots and slashes in fairways and rough. The divot mix refill rack on #10 was completely empty at 1pm. We never saw a marshal regarding the slow group in front of us, or to request more divot mix, which we used until it was all gone. So the course needs to dedicate some resources and personnel to addressing these playability issues.

Overall course playing conditions were pretty decent, keeping in mind the ongoing water issues in SoCal. Greens were soft, receptive, and rolled at medium-fast speed, despite the many unrepaired ballmarks on all greens. Fairways are dormant Bermuda and were thin, giving tight lies, and rolled out quite a bit, showing many bare spots or areas torn up by equipment. Rough varied from deep to none - similar to fairways, there are lots of dry, bare/thin areas. I was in one fairway bunker (#7) and it was basically raked hardpan, with a puddle of water at the bottom. My playing partners had several greenside bunker lies that looked to have adequate coverage. Tees were thin/tight, and many are sloping; par-3 tees were not too torn up except for #17. No divot mix is provided on par-3 tee boxes.

The bunker on the right side of #8 (by the bridge) is now grass and not sand – I’m not sure if any other bunkers have been converted. New sand was being put in one of the left front bunkers on #9 green. The upper back tee on #15 looks (behind the restroom) is apparently unmowed/abandoned. Saw the cart girl several times. Adequate water available.

I like this course and hope the ownership dedicates the resources needed to bring it up to better overall condition.
I played in the second Guru group at Indian Wells with JohnnyGK, rgm2525, and allan_grant, and we had a fun and relaxed round in great weather on a nicely-conditioned course. Earlier reviews hit the high points of the service, conditioning, and ambience. I managed to play the entire course this time, although the first hole gave me almost as much trouble as the last round ……… well, almost. Our group actually had quite a few birdies (and one big eagle); even I had a couple of birdies. Johnny chipped in for birdie from an impossible lie on #6. All three of my playing partners birdied the short par-4 13th hole, but I ‘won’ the hole with an 8, versus their combined 9(!). Lots of fun watching rgm2525 hit bullet fades to the middle of fairways, then knock approaches to inside 12 feet to shoot 68 – and I think he will probably tell you he left a couple strokes out there! Many thanks to Johnny and IWGR for setting this up.
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