Golf Course Reviews
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Played Costa Mesa Country Club – Los Lagos course on Monday after noon on Golf Now rate of $44 per golfer including cart. Tee time was 10am and we got our promptly our twosome paired with a threesome of walkers. One walker would leave after nine holes, the others would pick up a cart at the turn.

Check in was easy, the pro shop is well stocked for the golfer that may have forgotten a needed item. the facility includes a driving range, very nice practice greens that represent the two courses Los Lagos and Mesa Linda well. Carts are very basic, clean.
The snack bar in across from the pro shop adjacent to the locker room. Prices are on par with most courses however the hot dog well properly cooked was flavorless, and the bun a little on the stiff not quite stale side. We would see the course cart three or four times during the round, however on one occasion she drove right into the line of fire as we were teeing on a par three causing my partner to stop his swing. Very pleasant however and well stocked cart.

Marshall did a very nice job sending out the groups even though there were fivesomes like ours, and I even saw a six-some. Surprisingly all groups played ready golf, there was very little waiting, none at the par threes. The round took close to five hours well never dragging.
The tee boxes were level, mostly lush, with little divot damage. The course starts off with a pair of par 5’s and is a fair layout. The courses primary defense is shape, doglegs left and right, with water and trees coming into play for errant shots. Bunkers are mostly used around the smallish greens, which are themselves protected by slope and in some cases tier.

Fairways were mostly lush, mostly green with very little brown, they are clearly being watered, however there were some very pronounced bare spots on most holes. The fairway presents a range of angles, dips, ball above feet, below feet on most shots. Most fairways are wide the undulations mean that three of you can all hit the ball the same distance and still have very different lies wellbeing in the fairway. All fair but your ball control skills are tested.
Fairway rough was largely absent, one to two inches at most, what you do find a lot of are pine needles which present a challenge to ball sticking and balance. Again, a very fair test for the golfer who has erred off the wide fairways.
Greenside rough is very different than the fairway rough being both deeper and stickier. The first cut is thick, the second cut is penal and seems to carry down to the way the fairway is cut for those shots that land within ten to twenty yards off the green. Putting form ten yards off the ground will seldom be successful. At the same time with the mild seventy-degree temps, cool sea breeze the morning watering had not fully dried around the greens.

Greens were very good despite having been recently punched and sanded. The punches were very fine, not the normal plugs being pulled and there was little disruption to the balls roll, and the greens were consistently very fast. Very enjoyable with challenging pin placements some just two or three paces on hidden behind bunkers.
Bunkers – the sand looked in good condition, raked, and fluffy, however none of our group were in a bunker to comment.

Complaints, not many really, the big for me are the cart paths, and fairways near the cart path. I am pretty sure the concrete cart paths have been victims of IED’s they are cracked, rutted, cratered, which means you need to a cart driver with calm demeanor. At the entry or exit of a cart bath onto or off of the course you are likely to have a wide rut, occasional filled with water hiding the depth of said rut. Make sure your health insurance has chiropractic.

Complaints about the cart paths aside, in its current condition I would rate Los Lagos as my favorite full-size course under $50 in the area from Long Beach to Carlsbad. It’s in much better condition than Lakewood, or Meadowlark, as good as Skylinks, it gets far less traffic than its neighbor Mesa Linda which is shorter. Well worth checking out.
Costa Del Sol – Played Wednesday 05/16/2018 using my American Golf Players Club twilight rate of $5. Price includes 18 holes, cart and a drink. Tee time 3:00 PM. Played as a single joined by a single and twosome. Three great guys.
Check in was quick, and friendly. Facilities were in good condition; the practice green is healing form the recent aeration and is very representative of the green on course. They were running unusually fast today. Cart was clean, score cards are available at the first tee. The course was busy and the round took just over three hours. There were only two holes where we had a wait of any real substance, roughly 3-5 minutes.
Tees were playing alternately very up front, or from the tips. Lies were mostly level with good coverage. Whoever laid out the tees also decided to try and move them the extreme right or left of each tee box, and at really odd (Challenging) angles.
Fairways were in good condition, good coverage very few bare spots. Fairway rough was sparse.
Bunkers were a mix of firm sand, and hard pack. Not sure where the sand that was there a few week ago went to.
Greens were in good condition, with excellent coverage, however still very bumpy as the aeration heals. At this point they visually appear like a quilt, with a light topcoat of stand. Even the best puts are jumping on the bumps. Greens are firm but will hold a shot that has spin. There were a moderate number of un-repaired ball marks. Green-side rough was very short, and splotchy, almost weed like.
Pace of play was good at just over three hours with a full course. At the turn my partners wanted a beer, the bar was closed, the snack bar and outdoor grill were closed.

At the rack rate I consider this a good course, at the club rate it’s a deal, and at the twilight club rate it’s a steal.
Played Meadowlark in Huntington Beach Thursday 05/10/2018, with a 12:15PM scheduled tee time on a Golf Now Hot Deal $35 per player with cart, plus fee.
Arrived early 10:30AM driving up from Mission Viejo early to assure time to stretch, practice pitching and chipping. The parking lot was about 20% full and the course was pretty open. I mention this to note that Meadowlark is one of those rare facilities (at least that I have found) that will not send a Prepaid player out on course early even if there is room available. I don’t believe I saw a single golfer tee off between 10:45 and 11:45 with a foursome went off. My partner and I were called to the tee at 12 noon along with a single.

Upfront I have warm feelings about Meadowlark, as it is the course I learned to play golf on in 1971. I like the layout of this course and the challenges. As such I will share some complaints from my best friend who has a different view of this classic course built in 1922. (Having moved to HB in 1969 when there was very little around, I can’t imagine how this got built in 1922).

The course has ample parking, a nice pro shop, and restaurant. The practice range is OK, with mats the only option. The practice green is very representative of conditions on course both in speed and contour. Carts were neatly lined up in front of the pro shop. The are clean efficient and simple, no GPS. Weather for our round was perfect, blue sky, fluffy clouds, and about a 5-knot wind that would grow to 5 to 10 knots as the round progressed. High was in the mid 70’s cooling off by 4PM to the low 70’s.
Chris our single played the course to an 8 over from the blues, my playing partner played to 10 over from the whites, I played from the whites. Meadowlark is not an overly long course playing 5,568 yards from the blues, and 5251 from the whites.
Tee boxes were mostly level, light divot damage, with some lush brown spots. Ground was neither too hard nor too soft. Good footing was easy to find.
Fairways were mostly lush, with patches of brown grass, roll was very good. The course had the sprinklers on at 11:00AM for a short period. As we reached the back nine, my partners had trouble on the right side of the fairways in areas that significant shade and as a result were more marsh than fairway on #12. There were several other small muddy spots. They did not affect me but were a problem for my partners. (unkind words were spoken about the course watering during play).
Meadowlark features concrete cart paths, which the course forces you onto in same areas around greens. Many of these are in desperate need of maintenance. Either Kidney belts or raised ground clearance are needed until they can be patched replaced.
Fairway rough is thick with bare patches, sticky and penal. These are aided by a large tree population defining the fairway. There is water on the course, but it is not the primary defense of the course.
Fairway bunkers – there are very few fairway bunkers on the course, but those that are present are like their greenside counterparts, well cared for and filled with fluffy sand.
There are three forced carries of water, none of which are that daunting. The primary defense for this course are the postage stamp size greens. The greens are Poa Annua mowed very tight resulting in very fast greens, firm with few levels lies lots of slope in all directions, and ridges. The pin placements today were most frequently on a ridge or the break of a false front. On several occasions balls that landed within 5 feet of the pin rolled to the fringe or off the greens. I felt the greens were very hard, but fair, my playing partner described them a upside down salad bowls, and again did not have kind words for them, despite them rolling reasonable well even late in the day, and with few unrepaired ball marks.
Pace of play was good, it could have been a little better but we had a foursome of twenty somethings playing in front of us, that were playing multiple shots, and tended to wait until the green in front of them was clear despite not being able to get a shot straight down a fairway or over 200 yards at any time during the round. They did mange to hit a tree and almost hit me and hit balls into some yards on shanks. This brings up the point that well we say the cart girl at least four times during the round, we did not see a single marshal. Pace of play was 4.5 hours.
I really enjoy this course. The greens are in very good condition. The elevation changes, judicious use of water, bunkers and trees puts a premium on finding fairways. The upside-down salad bowl greens mean you want to use a very lofted wedge if you can.

At the Golf Now Hot Deal price of $35 this is a very good course, at rack rate during the week can still be a good value. Right now in this condition I recommend playing. The coastal location makes for great playing weather, and the design of the course will challenge you. Bombing driver is often not rewarded.
Played Costa Mesa Country Club Los Lagos course Monday 04/30/2018 on a Golf Now Hot Deal for $25 with cart less a very generous $20 Promo Code provided by abbacat . Round cost $8.34.

The Pro Shop is very nice, well stocked if you have forgotten anything, and friendly I checked in about 45 minutes early and they just gave me the cart key and sent me out. There was a starter at the Mesa Linda course with a line, and there was no starter and no line at the Los Lagos Course. I practiced my putting at one of the three practice greens and rolled up to the first tee met my playing partner Matt, and off we went. There is a very nice driving range available, since my back and hamstring were sore, I chose not warm up. Carts are clean but basic no GPS, no ice chest.
Conditions were mostly overcast, cool, and windy to approximately 15 knots.
The first tee and every tee was lush, virtually no divot damage and level. Matt and I played from the whites playing to a total yardage of 6,238 yards.
Fairways were mostly green with some brown, mostly lush with some areas of bare dirt especially along the cart entry point for each hole, and at some locations to the sides of the fairways were shade from the trees retards grass growth.
Rough wasn’t a major factor, mostly thin and patch along the fairways and littered with seeds, pine needles, leaves and twigs. Rough around the greens was deep approximately 4” and very even presenting mostly good lies.
Fairway bunkers were in good shape, with full coverage of heavy sand and played fair. Greenside bunkers had the same heavy sand, but where filled deeper than their fairway counterparts. All bunkers were in good condition. Players who had been in the bunkers were using the abundant rakes to repair the bunker, always a good sign.
Greens had excellent grass coverage, many slope fronts to back, or side to side, with a few featuring pronounced tiers. The greens had been recently punched and sanded so good rolls were difficult to obtain. Most rolled well but some in the late afternoon rolled like a motocross track. To the credit of players before us they were doing a very good job of repairing ball marks, and there were no sunflower seeds to be seen.
Pace of play was incredible at just under 3.5 hours. We could have played faster but virtually having the course to ourselves, we played at a steady pace well enjoying conversation. The Snack bar by the club house was closed, there was a stocked beverage cart sitting out front when we teed off, but there was no one attending it, and we never saw it on course. The locker rooms at the course were nice and clean though of older design. My one complaint of the course is the long stretch between comfort stations. We did have some begging sparrows, and squirrels, but none were obnoxious.

Last year I played the sister course Mesa Linda and come away unimpressed, Los Lagos is a very different course, and I look forward to playing it again as soon as I can.
Thursday 04/26/2018 Played Casta del Sol on an American Golf Players Club Twilight rate of $5 with cart and drink. Tee time 3pm, pace of play 3:30 minutes. The facility was humming but as usual the pro shop was pleasant, and the marshal friendly. The bar is currently closed as the area is under renovation.
Carts are basic, clean and do their job. The practice green was busy with juniors and coaches but they kindly made room for others. It was not posted on the American Players Club website, however the greens at Casa del Sol have been punched, which would be the Bain of my round as they were not evenly sanded, there were clumps of sand and it was impossible to get a rhythm on the greens.
Played as a foursome with a charming couple and a friend of theirs following a high school match between Mission Viejo and Tesoro High Schools. We were then followed by a couple of foursomes, followed by a Junior PGA competition. Well first nine holes were somewhat slow with us having to wait for the first seven holes, the back nine was wide open as the high school match was only nine holes.
Tee boxes were lush, relatively free of unrepaired divots, and configured to create challenging sight lines and distance that I had not seen before at what I consider a home course. All but the eighth tee box were level.
Fairways were lush, mostly dry and rolling well. Perhaps because of the unusual tee placements and angle there were few if any divots in the landing areas.
Rough was thicker than it has been recently, a little spotty in places more like a patchwork but effective at creating stress. Most of the rough around the greens was cut short.

Bunkers were clean, with abundant sand that was particularly heavy feeling. Several bunkers were unraked.
Greens as I mentioned were punched, they should be back to normal on the front nine in about two weeks, and on the back nine which is in better condition in a week to ten days.
I would still like to see the course add a relief station at the fifth tee.
Punched greens or not it’s hard to complain in any way about 18 holes for $5, with a cart and drink. I had fun, the warm weather 74 degrees at start gave way to about 70 degrees and a nice half, to one club breeze by the time we finished up 18. As is normal this time of year there were an abundance of squirrels, water fowl, and bugs, none of which were particularly annoying. The high school teams were consummate gentlemen, my playing partners were very enjoyable, and the overall course condition was good.
If you have to pay rack rate, I would hold off on playing here for a couple of weeks. If you can play on a discount it’s a great deal.
Played the nine-hole Par 3 course at Lake Forest Golf and Practice center Tuesday 04/24/2018, as a single, on a sunny still afternoon, teeing off a little after 12pm. The course was busy but played quickly in just over an hour.
Upon arriving the range was moderately busy, the practice green was full, and the chipping area unused. The pro-shop had a couple of golfers waiting to get out, and the staff was very efficient and pleasant.
This is a walking course comprised of two par fours, and seven par 3 holes. Today the par threes were playing from 55 yards, to 120 yards.
Porta Potty’s at the first tee, 7th tee crossover were clean.
Tee boxes were mostly level, and lush, with moderate divot damage as would be expected. Ball washers were full and working.
Fairways seem to be patchwork of every type of grass imaginable in Southern California. The coverage is good, and honestly you should only be in a fairway on the fifth and ninth hold anyway.
Rough is penal, but choppy with some bare spots, the main defense for the course are small greens, and nearby out of bounds.
Bunkers were surprisingly good, with decent coverage of soft sand. I was unfortunately in more than a couple of them and was able to get up and down. I did find one sizeable rock and a root in the bunker on the par 4, 5th hole.
Greens were in very good condition and have healed from being punched nicely there few un-repaired ball marks. Pleasantly there were no sunflower seeds on any of the greens.
At the $5 dollars this costs me on my American Golf Players Club, (with a drink) I still consider it a value and this afternoon it was a great way to spend my birthday.
Played The Crossings at Carlsbad Monday on a free birthday round. There is a $25 cart fee required. Birthday rounds can now be played the day before, the day of or the day after the persons birthday. Conditions were prefect for a great round. Temperatures would be in the low 70’s for much of the round with a healthy marine layer until the back nine. We had still air until the sixteenth hole when the breeze began to freshen.
I played with a pair of friends one visiting from New York, the other down from Culver City. Terry visiting form New York played to a four under par round using rental clubs, from the whites, first time on the course. It was amazing to watch.
The carts at the Crossing are only a couple of years old, and are in very good condition, equipped with an ice chest which did not come filled, and very useful GPS.
The Crossings has a trio of very well prepared and maintained practice areas. The practice green is very large, features holes cut on different tiers, with various slopes, and ridges that are indicative of what the player will find on course. The chipping, pitching and bunker practice area are among the best I have seen, again featuring excellent simulations of the on-course conditions. The driving range is very well maintained though short at a little over 200 yards. On Monday only, mats were available to hit off, however the mats used will accept a standard tee.
I arrived an hour and half early for my scheduled 8:30 am round (traffic was really light and I wanted to warm up). After dropping my clubs off with the attendant to be taken down to the cart barn, I checked in at the pro shop. As with everyone I met the pro shop was helpful, and friendly. A medium range bucket was $7 and a course yardage book was $1.86.
I have to confess going in I have a love hate relationship with this course. Simply speaking it’s a beautiful course, that is in all honest more course than I can handle. I have now played five rounds and have only played the course well once. That round I played with a father son duo that were members and played the course every Sunday. The son was a high school golf coach, and between him and his father it was like having a local caddy. Playing on my own I have tried differing plans to no avail. Based on my warm up I went into this round confident. I was going to play from the golds which the course recommends for someone of my driving distance and handicap.
Bunkers – I don’t usually start my review with bunkers, like most armatures I try as much as possible to avoid them. At the Crossings even, the fairway bunkers are deep. The bunker I found for the second time in two consecutive rounds could have protected a squad of marines from nearby Pendleton. Because of the high face it was all I could do to lob out into deep rough (more about rough a little later). For the benefit of all GK readers I sampled several bunkers, fairway, and greenside. The sand was the best I have ever played, good coverage, well raked even where it was evident I was not the first of the morning to visit. There are numerous bunkers and they are positioned in choke points and at spots where the fairway runs towards them. As I mentioned I played Golds, that is what is recommended for those of us that drive the ball 200 to 230. From the golds the Fairway bunkers on one are 207 yards out on the right. How many of us fade or slice the ball? On three the fairway bunker lies dead center in the fairway up hill, hidden from view at 202 from the golds. 210 from the whites.

Out of bounds – I don’t usually cover out of bounds, you’re not supposed to go there and usually there is a host of other trouble your more likely to encounter, however The Crossings at Carlsbad is built in a series of canyons that are protected sensitive environments which are very close to the fairways. Much of this area is protected by a wood rail fence, perfect for letting your ball roll under and disappear into deep grouse which you are not permitted to enter. The wilderness areas are spectacular, the wildlife abundant and the butterflies populous. Fortunately, I only lost one ball to the critters. The issue with the OB is that many of the fairways steeply towards OB and are not protected by rough that might stop the ball from rolling out on the perfectly cut fairways toward the hazard. On holes one, five, eight, ten, sixteen, the player has to carry extensive expanses of this out of play area. On five the golds don’t have to carry the OB area as it exceeds 200 yards.

Tee’s are perfect. The grass coverage even on par 3’s was exceptional, little divot damage, boxes were level, and clean. A good stance was easy to obtain. Sight lines are tricky, four holes from either the whites or the golds are hitting into blind areas where what I would perceive as the conservative shot will in fact place you in a hazard. Ten is a classic example that wants a player the can draw the ball, but at the very least can fade the ball starting OB and coming back to the fairway. A straight shot can easily go to far, and off the course left into the valley. A fade or slice will go OB on the hill. Target golf at it’s best.
Fairways are perfect on all 18, evenly cut, clean, and green. I found very few divots during my round, and those that I did were frequently filled. I did my part to follow suit, as my cart was provided with two full sand bottles.
Rough was mostly deep and penal around the greens, and deep but spotty along the fairways. The only complaint I have was the rough along the fairway near the lay up zone on eight which was a swamp. I probably should have taken relief as I has water flowing under my feet as I took my stance but tried to play the chip shot over the water into the green 80 yards away. After rinsing a ball, I replayed moved a couple of feet to dry grass and played the ball close.
Greens were perfect, green, rolling fast with the exception of the 9th which was the only slow and inconsistent green on the course. Rolls were true and fast. Most ball marks were repaired, mindful that we had gone out at 8:20 am and there had only been a dozen groups before us. Holes were cut to make use of the tiers, ridges and slopes on the green, there were no boring pin placements.
Comfort stations are strategically placed around the course, clean and well kept, ball washers work, but are located at the back tee’s so plan accordingly as the various tees are seldom near each other. We saw the refreshment cart on three different occasions. The snack bar was open at 7:30am and served a very good cup of coffee.
Clearly, I am over matched by this course, despite that the visuals, the challenge, the staff bring me back, and I will come back again, I love the challenge. I also like the air show, in addition to the normal array of private jets going out, we had a B-17, and a B-24 fly over us and come back around to fly by us. Definitely worth the rack rate.
Played the nine-hole Par 3 course at Lake Forest Golf and Practice center Thursday 04/19/2018, as a twosome, on a cloudy, windy afternoon, teeing off a little after 12pm. Despite being full the course played quickly in just over an hour.
Upon arriving the range was moderately busy, the practice green was full, and the chipping area unused. The pro-shop had several golfers waiting to get out, and the staff was very efficient and pleasant.
This is a walking course comprised of two par fours, and seven par 3 holes. Today the par threes were playing from 45 yards, to 120 yards. The afternoon wind added an extra level of challenge hitting into the small greens.
Tee boxes were mostly level, and lush, with moderate to heavy divot damage as would be expected. Ball washers were full and working.
Fairways seem to be patchwork of every type of grass imaginable in Southern California. The coverage is good, and honestly you should only be in a fairway on the fifth and ninth hold anyway.
Rough is penal, but choppy with some bare spots, the main defense for the course are small greens, and nearby out of bounds.
Bunkers were surprisingly good, with decent coverage of soft sand. I was unfortunately in more than a couple of them and was able to get up and down.
Greens were in very good condition and are healing from being punched nicely there few un-repaired ball marks. The only real problem was the troll who decided to spit sunflower seeds on all nine holes, most often around the cup. (I couldn’t help myself but to wish him/her hemorrhoids as they were invariably in my line.)
At the $5 dollars this costs me on my American Golf Players Club, (with a drink) I still consider it a value.
Tuesday 04/09/2018 played the Gary Player Signature Course at the Westin Mission Hills, on an special. Two players, cart, range balls, and replay for $79. The offer was valid April 4th through September 28th of this year. Booking my tee time by phone was really easy and pleasant.
Drove out from Mission Viejo, to join my friend who is staying in Rancho Mirage for the month. Not knowing traffic, left at 3:40 am and arrived at 5:30 am for a 7:26 tee time. [note that T-Mobile/Metro PCS had little or no signal, impacting navigation] The pro-shop doesn’t officially open until 6:30 but the cart barn, range, pro-shop and snack bar staff were all in by 5:45, and at sunrise there were pyramids of Callaway range balls on the pitching, putting areas and driving range. The staff was wonderfully warm and welcoming.
The practice greens are excellent and are very good representation of the greens found throughout the course. Rough around the practice was deep and chipping is allowed. There are two chipping greens, and a really great practice bunker. Driving range is all grass.
The club house at the Gary Player course is very basic, and I have seen nicer at local muni courses. The facilities are clean, effective, and in good repair, just nowhere near as impressive as the club house at the Pete Dye designed sister course.
The starter moves groups along, makes sure those on the range or practice green know how long they have before they are expected on the tee.

Carts are basic Troon Golf, clean, well maintained, with an ice chest that was filled with ice along with a pair of cups for use of the water stations, score card, course book, and pin locations with distance on. The course showed up on by GPS, and flag pins had prisms to aid laser rangefinders. The Carts are wired and have a mounting location for large screen GPS, but none of the carts have a GPS installed.
We were paired with a very nice older father and son (50’s & 70’s) from New England who were in the area for vacation. They were playing Silver so we played silver. The course plays 6,044 yards from the silver tee’s. From the blacks the course plays 7,062 yards.
At my distance off the tee the course appeared wide open, however Mr. Player makes extensive use of fairway pot bunkers and bunkers that run more than 100 yards down strategic sides of the fairway. Greens are as likely to be surrounded by grass pot bunkers as the traditional sand bunkers. Many times the bunkers are hidden by the swales, that make up the fairway. Balls that land where Mr. Player intended will find lush flat fairways most of the time. Too much left, right, long or short, and you will find a bunker, or uneven lie.

The condition of the course is excellent from level lush tee boxes to greens. The course is surrounded by homes, truly beautiful homes, many with creative yards, and pools. The use of the water and landscaping of ponds is exquisite, the sound of the many waterfalls either on course or in the backyards of the homes brings a rich texture to the on-course experience. During time of the season when temperature isn’t so warm, this could be a course worth signing up for a slow round.
Tee boxes are lush level, with minor divot damage, a little more on par threes as would be expected. Most tees have trash cans, and ball washers, a number have water coolers. Black, Gold, Silver and Jade tees all had significant separation even on par 3’s. The first par 3 is hole number 4 and Blacks are 200 yards, and Silvers are 126 yards. The golds are 160. The challenge of the course, the hazards, landing areas vary greatly between Gold and Silver tees much less black.
Fairways are rich, level in anticipated landing zones, and severely unlevel anywhere else. Uniformly the fairways were green and deep, rough is mostly lush but in winter colors.
Bunkers are thin. This isn’t a lack of sand or poor maintenance as I was led to believe before playing the course based on some well know golf website reviews. This is not the case, well the wind laid down for us today, with no more than six knots I was told it can be very strong this time of year. Simply putt the bunkers are more like what you would find in El Paso rather than the full fluffy bunkers we might see at more costal venues. These bunkers require Lee Trevino type of bunker shot.

Water hazards abound, the extent of which are often concealed by the landscape and undulating fairways. On 18 the banks were shaved to allow a ball played to the left side of the fairway to turn that way and get wet.
Rough, is two to three inches deep, uniformly good around the greens, at time s dormant and laid down beyond the fringes of the fairway.
Greens. Most greens were pristine with a molted mix of grasses weaving a pretty tapestry. All eighteen greens rolled true for both speed [exactly like the practice green] The majority of the greens play a straight putt with only the slight break. There are several that are multi-tiered or angular running front to back or left to right, none beyond the skill level of the average golfer. We did encounter a unusual number of ball marks on the green which is a shame for a course of this caliber, that there are players not up the level of the course.
Starting at 7:26 the temperature was comfortable low 70’s, by the time we were making the turn, we were into the 90’s. The round took right at four hours. We interacted with the marshal several times, we were running about 10 minutes ahead of schedule at the turn, but it was nice to see real marshalling going on. At 8 he had checked in with us, verify our group, checked our start time and where we should be and told us we were good. We also saw the beverage cart once on the front nine and three or four times on the back nine. Unfortunately, they do not carry non-alcoholic beer.

The certificate was good for the round for two, with cart, and range balls, plus replay at either the Pete Dye course or the Gary Player. I am glad I played the Gary Player and would play it again in a heartbeat, but I look forward to playing the Pete Dye in the future. I felt the course and service were far and away worth the $40 per person fore the round and more. This is a truly enjoyable, and beautiful course.
Played Palm Royal Country Club Tuesday 04/03/2018. Magical and fabulous, are not words you would typically expect to be applied to a par 3 course Look forward to playing this course again soon, immaculate PGA grade condition are likely just as unexpected, however these are my sentiments after playing Palm Royal Country Club, a wonderful 1992 yard, walking only 18-hole par three course in La Quinta California. The course is inside a gated community and is largely played by residents, making this a relatively low volume course.
For those who have played the course but not recently the complex has new owners and they have invested heavily in making this well-designed course pop. Some water conservation design work has added character to the course, well adding some apparent hazards.
My friend has rented a condo for the month to decompress, and as an avid golfer he has ben there four days and played the course four times, including the men’s league. He invited me out yesterday morning to play the course. Now I admit almost 180 miles plus tolls to play a par 3 is a little over the top, but his company alone is worth the trip and this little gem is amazing. I thought Iron Woods was in good shape, it’ has nothing on this course.
I arrived early expecting to get a little time on the putting green before our scheduled 9:15 round. We had chosen this tee time as the women’s league goes out at 8:15, and I didn’t want to get up earlier than I had to already to get out there from Mission Viejo. Traffic was mostly light and I arrived at 8:00 am. At 8:16 my friend called to see how I was doing, when I told him I was just being some putting practice, he walked over 200 yards from his condo, talked to the starter and we were out on the back nine at 8:30. We had no one in front of us on the back nine, but were tied up behind several foursomes as we played the front nine. Pace of play was excellent.

Club house is nice, the pro shop simple but with the necessities. Fee for a nonresident was $23 which my friend picked up. The starter had a wonderful Irish brogue and very friendly demeanor.

As we tee’d off on #10 there was a slight breeze and temperature was in the mid 70’s. # 10 is indicative of much of this course, it plays 101 yards, with the approach over water with a bunker to the left side and behind the green opposite the water. Greens are sloped and contoured. Having played the course twice before, my friend knew to play the slope and contours of the green. Depending on pin you use the rise behind, to the sides or in front of the greens to get the ball in the right position. Many of the holes have false fronts or quick sloping runoffs to the side or back. # 12 & #7 are the long holes on the course at 150 yards, #8 is a treat at only 81 yards, but all over water and a pair of small palm trees.
The actual course review is easy. Tees are very good, level, little divot damage, the people playing here are religious in their devotion to using the provided divot mix.

Fairways are perfect, manicured fluffy, and because most yardages are carry, I saw not divots or signs of damage.

Bunkers are plentiful, and perfect, and players here are as devoted to raking bunkers after use as they to repairing tee boxes.
Rough is about two maybe three inches and manicured as well or better than a course prepared for PGA event.
Greens are alternately cut so they are as pretty as they are perfect. Every green has a reminder to repair ball marks, and people take this to heart as there just aren’t any unrepaired ball marks. The greens could be synthetic grass for all you can tell. Speed is a little slow which caught me on some down hill putts. They are firm but receptive and are fun as you can walk the ball back with spin.

Water of which there is an amazing amount of on this course is clear, clean, and nicely kept. Many of the ponds have rubber coyotes to scare away the birds, and it works on all but the four ducks and 13 ducklings we saw up by the club house.

Honestly, I have never played a course in better condition. It is worth every penny of the green fee. The drive might be another matter.

The course puts a premium on knowing the greens so that shots can be placed, which means you have to control your wedges and irons. Water and bunkers mean your air mailing your shots in, not playing bump and run. Putting is a challenge of reading the speed and breaks and having hit the ball to the right place. Close isn’t good enough if the pin is cut on a slope.

I expect to make at least one more tip out this month to play the course before it becomes too hot to walk. I should note this is a walking only course, push carts are allowed but there are no electric carts period. This is also a very hilly course, this morning my low back which is bad anyway, and my glutes felt the workout.

If there is a short fall it’s that there are no water stations on the course. I went through two and half bottles walking the course, so it is important to plan for that. Temperature at the conclusion of the round under slightly overcast skies was 83 degrees’ and a light breeze. The only restroom is the one at the club house, or at your condo if you live or are renting there. There are no secluded spots on the course.
Played Casta Del Sol in Mission Viejo Friday 03/30/2018 1:16 Tee Time on an American Golf Players club rate of $10 with cart and drink.
When I arrived the parking lot was full indicating that this was going to be a full course and slow round. The putting green was full, as was the pro shop. The snack bar was busy and the outside grill at the turn was humming. The mood was upbeat and fun. I checked in, the pro shop very efficient, and matched me with my playing partner to be. As we put our bags on the cart there was a foursome on first green, a foursome in the fairway and two foursomes on the tee. The marshal was doing a good job of keeping every one moving.
Weather was a wonderful low 70’s with a light breeze that would hold up through the front nine, an absolutely spectacular day for golf. I was paired with a retired police officer named Beano, and a pair of friends Tim and Tony. The company was as good as I have had recently when playing as a single. Tim and Tony had a small speaker with music going in their cart and the 60/70/80’s rock mostly Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac worked fine. I don’t smoke or drink but they kindly shared cigars, and beer at the turn. Despite Beano and Tony playing to a very low handicap, they remained positive and encouraging through round and lifted my game.
The starter got us out on time, as we bunched up on subsequent holes we found the foursome in front of us, and the one behind us friend, polite (no one hit into us) and generally good company all round. By the back nine everyone spread out and we were in a position where one team was on the green and the other on the tee.

Tee boxes were lush, mostly level and players were filling their divots. With the exception of the first tee, most tee boxes were playing back. Both 9 and 18 were playing at the tip. Despite playing this course frequently at least three tees were placed with angles I had not previously experienced. The result on 14 was that three of the four of us found ourselves in the right greenside bunker.
The fairways had good cover a patchwork of different grasses, with a few bare and brown spots. Near the greens the turf was a little thin making wedge shots challenging. I didn’t find myself in the fairway rough but it looked shaggy, in the 2 to 3 inch range. Greenside rough was about 2” and much appreciated.
Bunkers looked good but were very thin on the bottom I was in a total of three bunkers and there wasn’t enough sand to splash the ball in any of them.

Greens were nearly perfect. It was so nice to put on greens that were in good shape fully covered, very little in the way of ball mark damage. The were rolling surprisingly fast. I am not sure if this was just me having played on shaggy greens at David L. Baker and sanded greens at La Mirada over the last two weeks, but the speed made the slope of the greens a fun challenge. Late in the day being Poa annua the greens became bumpy but that is the nature of the grass.
At first glance the playing time of 4.5 hours would imply really slow play, but we had a very comfortable pace, the quality of the company, the discussion on the last hole, made the time go quickly. As always this course is a pleasant, challenging little gem, so glad I went out and played today.
La Mirada Golf Course - Greens punched 03/25/2018

Played La Mirada Golf Course Tuesday 03/27/2018 as a foursome. My friend Bob and I who were scheduled with an 8:57 am tee time, joined a twosome set to go out at 8am. Dick and Steve were a very nice couple of guys, good strikers. Dick 91 walked the first 9 holes, which created a slight issue for us, and Steve rode in a cart. The guys were great except Dick had who was playing from the whites (the rest of us from the blues) had a habit of going first, then heading off into the line of play. We could get him to look back and move a little, but he seemed far more confident of our skills than we were.

The course has a nice parking lot, with plenty of spaces, and looks freshly paved. The club house and restaurant show the age of the facility but were clean neat, and everything functioned, and was stocked. Bathrooms strategically places around the course were clean, neat and stocked. Carts were basic, clean and in good repair.
Driving Range- La Mirada’s driving range is brand new and is the nicest I have seen at a Sothern California public course. They have adopted water conservation by creating island greens, with fake sand traps, sloped greens multiple pins, surrounded by waste area. Balls hit into the range will naturally roll down the hill to the bottom to be collected by the tractor which features a red and white bullseye target on top of the cab. There is an area for hitting off of grass but looks like most stations will be hitting off of mats. Putting and chipping areas are very nice, and in line with Skylinks.

The pro shop was very nice, they have a sense of humor when calling groups to the first tee, either friendly moving them along Kim foursome balls in the air, or calling the group to the tee as tournament champions. They provide course maps free if you request one. They are very helpful.
We signed up for round on American Golf Players Club at $41 with cart. Greenskeeper course listing showed the aeration date as 4/2 and 4/3, however there is a warning to call the course and verify. I did not do this and the result was a unhappy playing partner as he was paying for the round and putting is both his favorite thing and his strength. We were charged the $31 play all day rate. Lesson learned if greens are important during maintenance season, call and verify.

This is a very hilly course, with the green out of sight from most tee boxes. Trees have been thinned to provide the golfer a better experience. Hills are shaggy, lined with leaves and pine straw so errant balls may be hard to find, or in bad lies. Don’t depend on the slope of the hills to help you.

There were at least three marshals on course and they were very proactive moving people along, and encouraging groups to wave up those on the tee when they got to the greens on Par 3’s.
The tee boxes were in very good shape overall with very little divot damage. Hole 17 was playing from a temporary tee box that was across the cart path from the regular box, extending the hole from 133 yards to 165 yards over tall tree, or under the tree towards a greenside bunker requiring a draw. May tee boxes on this morning were playing back towards the tips.
With the exception of 16 the I felt the fairways had very good coverage, there was little or no standing water, mud or bare spots. 16 runs down a deep valley and was the lone exception featuring all the above, mud, standing water, and bare spots. I dislike the 16th hole as it is blatantly unsafe, and should require a marshal to advise players when the green is clear. After teeing off on a high tee box down into the valley the golfer is faced with a hard dog leg left to an elevated blind green. Most drives are short of the turn, and golfers are tempted to loft the ball up cutting the corner again into a completely blind green. We did have a marshal in the fairway at the dog leg but he was engaged in putting back the cart path guides not controlling on course traffic.

Bunkers were full of new sand and were in fair condition footprint wise. There are a lot of fairway and green side bunkers on this course.
Greens are small, many are elevated and long shots will go down to a valley or the next tee box depending on angle. Long is seldom good here. All greens were punched and sanded, and there were crews out adding sand, blowing sand off the fringe and out of the greenside rough which was thick, and dragging sand. Hardware on course was an issue, but they were observant and did the best they could not to be an issue. The punch job, rolling and sanding were among the best I have seen, but all puts were a crap shoot regardless of length.

We started the round off as a foursome, with one walker. At the turn our walker picked up a cart, on the twelfth we picked up another walker whose twosome had left. He waited for the fivesome of ladies that were in front of us to go past. These ladies can play and we were never held up by them until apparently the 15th hole. I am not sure if what happened was a result of the marshals pushing pace of ply or just bad etiquette, however my partner had pushed his tee shot and was at the bottom of the hill to the right of green 165 yards out. All we could really see from his ball was the tops of the golf carts of the group in front of us, and the ladies when they were on the green. As we approached the ball, the carts weren’t moving to the next tee which was behind us. My playing partner was getting annoyed. About three to five minutes into waiting I took the cart and drove up to the green to see what was going on so my partner could play. As I approached it looked like there was a large dog curled up in the left bunker, with all the ladies around it. As I got close it turned out to be one of the ladies. One of the other three members of our group had hit into them, beaned and dropped this lady. I asked if they wanted me to call 911 they did not. After listening to them complain about our rudeness the three gentlemen we were playing with arrived and the conversation / argument went all Korean and I retreated to explain the hold up to my partner. The lady eventually got up and the fivesome somehow resumed play. We did as well. Due to the language differences we didn’t have a lot of conversation other than good shot. Given the way the lady was when I approached I am amazed she continued on, and hope she sees a doctor just to be safe. On the next hole the walker who had joined us, and the older guy Dick, again decided to walk in front of my place on the tee as I hit driver. Needless to say my mind was not on the last three holes.

Like many L.A. county municipals this course is high volume. It is well maintained, but high volume. Most of the golfers I saw in the morning groups were good, there were more riding carts than walking but almost every group had a walker on this very challenging course.

This course is a bit of a drive from my house, my playing partner is moving to Palm Springs so I don’t think I will be back anytime soon.
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