Golf Course Reviews
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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.
Played David L. Baker Monday 03/12/2018, with a scheduled tee time of 11:30. We ended up getting out at 11 as a twosome behind a twosome behind a pair of foursomes.
My last experience with the course a regular on my rota had been horrible, as it was a swamp, and mud pit, despite the absence of any recent rain. Today found the course in good winter condition. Pro shop staff were friendly and helpful.
The course seems to showing signs of financial weakness. I would say that at full 3/4ths of the mats on the driving range feature rips and tears. I was fortunate enough to find one of the few intact, but with a slight divot from use. Restroom needed attention, as did the porta johns on the back nine (at my age you notice this stuff). The practice green was in very good shape, however not representative of those on course in terms of cut. The practice green was cut tight, the greens on course that will punched in two weeks were a little shaggy.
The course did provide filled sand bottles at the turn for those of us that care about fixing divots.
The starter offered to get us out early which was appreciated as we were playing on a $24 Golf Now round with cart, and the time seven minutes before us had listed at $31. The round still took about 3.5 hours to play.
The cart is basic, and clean with comfortable seats., and the sand bottles were full.
My friend and I played from the blues. Most tees with the exception of #3 played back, a couple were at the tips, something I have seen at this course before. It was a very different look.
Weather was overcast, and around 70 degrees, little breeze on the front nine, slightly stronger on the back nine. Just a really nice day to get a round in before a predicted week of rain. Squirrels and ducks are in abundance, and happy to come up to you and beg. I didn’t have anything and actually had one squirrel try to block my way a couple of times well putting a paw out. If you bring food, don’t leave it lying around the cart or in an open pocket.
Tee boxes were slightly unlevel with some signs of wear, and unrepaired divots. Still very playable. Fairways were winter grass conditions with excellent coverage. Fairway rough was largely nonexistent. About three to four inches around the greens and bunkers. Bunkers looked in good condition, I wasn’t in one so can’t speak from immediate experience.
Greens were my issue for the round. Nothing wrong with greens themselves, there were a couple with minor bare spots, and most featured molted grass, but rolled well. The main issue was that they were shaggy. The practice green had been mown, but the greens on course had not, likely due to the weekends rain, and the pending punching. As mentioned the ball rolled well, but I couldn’t bring myself to hit it firm enough leaving a number of puts short.

Where my last round left me unhappy, upset, and not wanting to come back to a course I play dozens of times per year, today’s round put the course back on my map. That alone makes me happy I played here.
Played Skylinks in Long Beach with an 11:24 tee time on a Golf Now hot deal $35 dollars per player including cart. Weather was perfect 85, sunny with little to no wind.
Upon arrival the parking lot was full, the driving range was full, the putting green was full as was the course. Check in was easy, and we were given a very nicely equipped cart featuring a very nice GPS with map of the course which gave distances to key hazards, and displayed the location of other carts as well as pace of play. The course features a number of dog legs and knowing where the other players carts where was helpful.
We teed off five minutes behind schedule following a fivesome that was following a fivesome, in fact the marshal noted they had been launching mostly fivesomes since 6:30 am. Needless to say, pace of play was slow, but not horribly so. The round would take five hours and twenty minutes. It could have been faster but the fivesome in front of us were slow enough to allow the fivesome in front of them get a full hole ahead. They became J.B. Homes like on the greens.
My buddy and I were paired with a twosome of very capable single digit handicap player who had a skins game and closet to the pin game running between them the whole round. Despite playing for money and being very good, they were fun and a joy to play with. The single who made up our fivesome could best be described as someone who felt they were better than that are and an ass on top of that. After getting frustrated over bad bunker play he proceeded to wreck the best front nine I had ever had at Skylinks by walking in my line of sight as I started my stoke on a downhill put among a couple of such occurrences, as well as being on his phone. Fortunately, he left at the turn.
The club house is nice, and the bar make an efficient snack bar. The driving range is grass, the practice green is very representative of the greens on the course, and there is a nice if not leaf strewn bunker and chipping area.

Golf carts are clean, feature a basket that will hold a small ice chest, and feature an excellent GPS that displays yardage to hazards as well as the position of all other carts in front and behind your group. Your position relative to expected playing time is also shown. The golf cart position is important at this course is defended by numerous doglegs and sightline obscuring fairway bunkers.

A marshal controls groups from the first tee. We tee’d off about five minutes late, and for the most part managed to play with a group on the green, a group in the fairway and a group on the tee on all but the par threes where we naturally bunched up. Tee boxes were uniformly level and lush. Some of the better tee boxes I have played from recently. We would not see another marshal the rest of the round.
Fairways were winter grass with very good coverage all the way to out of bounds. Rough was mostly cut short, where it wasn’t, it was an inch to two-inch Bermuda grass which is hard enough on its own. I felt the fairways were well kept and reasonably repaired across the board. The winter conditions provided for excellent rollout resulting in some really long drives.
Rough was relatively short, and out of bounds and thorn bushes line the fairways. Fairways are lined with a heavy growth of tall trees, keeping the ball in the fairway is imperative for good score.
Bunkers – This course has more fairway bunkers designed to play into multiple depths off the tee than any other local course I can think of. Most bunkers be they fairway or greenside featured steep sloping cliffs that had to be dealt with. Of the half dozen bunkers I tested on Greenskeepers behalf, all were filled with clean deep fluffy sand. If your sand game is off even a little bit there are numerous stokes to be lost here. Most of the golfers in front of us that landed in the bunkers were doing a good job of raking them before moving on.

Greens – the greens were fun, fast, curved, sloped, challenging and in very good condition. Many of the greens feature tall swales surrounding the green impacting sightlines, to complicate shot placement as you try to negotiate the large number of greenside bunkers. Grass coverage was excellent, and most ball marks were being repaired.

We saw the cart girl twice, neither time did she stop for us, but we didn’t try to flag her over either. There were plenty of water stations on course, as well as adequate relief facilities. With the exception of one hole where a sharp dogleg left creates visual trouble for me, where I am unable to establish a distance or see where the fairway is going to open up to the hole, I like this course. The course has length, the blues play 6343, the whites 6060, but the myriad of dog legs and bends mean you have to be able to hit to targets, shape shots especially from the tee, and or carry tall trees. All staff were met were friendly, and helpful. Look forward to playing again soon.
Tuesday 1/30/2018 – Played Los Amigos in Downey using the GK Coupon. Round, cart, and lunch for $27, after 12:30 pm Monday through Friday. Los Amigo’s seems to be one of the most popular courses in LA County, especially with walkers.

Arrived about an hour early to stretch and warm up. Parking is almost always an issue at this course as it was today, but I found a space.
The pro shop is clean and efficient and well stocked in the event your forgot something. The starter was very friendly and helpful. I was playing with my friend Bob, we picked up a large bucket of range balls to split, cost was $10. The driving range is very nice, with a host of good targets, all hitting bays were off the grass. The only amenity that was lacking were bag stands for cart bags.

The café was efficient, the hot dog good, and the medium drink of reasonable size.

There are a number strategically placed relief stations on the course, all were clean.
The course was busy, our tee time was 12:50 and we got off on time as a foursome paired with a very nice and very good elderly couple. They are just about to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. We were behind a foursome, fivesome that somehow because a six some (slow) and a threesome. As might be guessed every par three was a backup. As a collective group everyone was friendly. My only complaint was that the six some had four very good players, that did not appear to know how to fix a ball mark.

The putting and chipping practice areas are really good, spacious enough to accommodate the number of players lined up to get out on course. When we were called up to the tee, there was a fivesome on the tee, a threesome waiting to get off, us, and a foursome immediately behind us, most of us were practicing waiting our turn.

That is really the extent of the good part of the round. I like the layout of this course a lot. Some water, dog legs that require accuracy but not extreme distance, and sloped greens that if they had been in good condition might have been fun.

All of the tee boxes were beat up, and unlevel. With the volume of play this makes sense for the par threes, however the par 4’s and 5’s was no different. Most of the tee boxes were either rock hard, so much so that I had to use my foot to push down a tee peg (I was working on techniques playing only irons for this round so tee’ing it up low). The conditions of the tee boxes were very different from my past rounds here. Hopefully they will be aerated soon.

Fairways were rock hard, and populated mostly with crab grass. Very few areas were covered in what I would call grass. This wasn’t typical hardpan, it was dirt, crab grass, occasional grass and very dry. On the positive side I hit a five iron thin off the tee, and out drove all three of my playing partners going out 230 yards. The roll was unbelievable on all the fairways. Areas to either side of the fairway centerline where for the most part exposed dirt, and crab grass.

Rough, there was very little of what I would call rough, you know the 3-5 inch tall grass that makes shots harder. Today that would have been welcome vs. the spidery weeds that passed as rough. It’s one thing to have the grain of the grass go against you, but hitting into a weed surrounded by bare dirt barely covered by another spidery weed joining tentacles made basic chip and bump and run shots a crap shoot. This is primarily what was passing for greenside rough.

Bunkers are challenging, most have excellent sand, a few have virtually no sand at all. Overall they are very good.

An earlier review said the greens were bumpy. They were, and they are. There is a complete coverage of grass on most greens, they are pretty and greener than the rest of the course, and they were challenging with some wicked ball placements, and slopes. The pin on 15 was on top of a pyramid that broke in three different directions at the pin. But ultimately getting the ball in the hole was as much a matter of luck as skill with the number of bumps.

Because the coupon is good for rounds after 12:30 and pace of play is slow, at a little over 5 ¼ hours completing the round is a challenge. We just made it the 18th green before full darkness perhaps helped by a bright full moon. This will likely improve as the coupon is good through March.

Downey is a longish drive for me, I live in Mission Viejo. My friend however lives in Lakewood so this is a decent drive for him. Our playing partners and the layout of the course worked together to make this an enjoyable day, on a course that clearly needs to be aerated, seeded and watered. Did I enjoy myself yes, was it worth the money yes, am I going to rush back between now and March, not likely.
Played Casta del Sol Friday 01/12/2018 with a 9:06 tee time. Played in a foursome made up of a pair of friends, and another single, all of us are retired, all were good golfers.
Check in was easy as usual. Cart was clean but lacked a score card which I had to go back in for. Practice green was in excellent shape but was still dew covered at 8:45am.
We tee’d off on time behind a foursome trailing a pair of foursomes and a group of five that were together. We were out ahead of a women’s league. The quality of the company the foursome in front of us, and the three guys I was with made play enjoyable despite waiting on every tee. Well I have played this course as a single in as little as two hours and fifteen minutes todays round took right at five hours.

Cart’s were restricted to cart paths due to water on the course. This seldom presented a problem in terms of footing, there were a couple of soppy areas, the major impact was on the softness of the fairway and the collar of the greens which reduced roll out and made hitting a bump and run a crap shoot. Balls that caught the collar of the greens stopped.

The condition of the tee boxes where good. Most were playing up, and narrow as they appear to have recently punched and leveled the tee boxes and are re-growing the grass. The exception was 18 where the rarely used par 4 blues were in play.
The condition of the fairways was good, mostly green some winter brown with good coverage and mostly dry. There are a lot of geese and ducks with the expected hazards they create. This applies to hazards on some greens as well.
Rough was where most of the moisture seemed to be trapped, making it more penal than usual, and creeks were full and flowing.

Bunkers were in excellent shape with nice coverage. The groups ahead of us were doing a good job of raking the bunkers when they were in them.

Greens were excellent, great coverage, playing a bit slow, greens are absolutely beautiful. The groups in front of us were doing and excellent job of repairing ball marks.
The course was fun to play, marshals were out assuring best possible pace of play. The tee side grill at the 10th was serving up good hot dogs, there was closest to the pin competition on the par 3 12th hole to benefit a juvenile brain cancer center. Weather was perfect.

Casta del Sol is in excellent condition a fun play, just a little on the slow side.
Played David L. Baker Friday as a foursome, teeing off at 8:07 am. Rate $30 per player with cart. The staff in the pro shop was wonderful as usual, and carts were ready to go. I love David L. Baker but unfortunately the first two sentences of this review cover all the good for this visit.

Unless the course was washed over by a fog so thick that it simulated a monsoon rain, someone let the sprinklers run all night. Hitting practice balls on the range, the mats were soaking wet, and the ball trays had to have standing water emptied from them. I actually had a hitting station that was in a small drainage channel, giving me an uneven lie on the practice range.

Playing from the blues the tee boxes were terrible, uneven, rutted, muddy. The areas around the tee boxes, along the cart path had standing water, mud, and because of standing water on the cart path, mud tracks to the side. It looked like Patton's eighth army had traversed the course near the tee boxes. Fairways were damp and to sopping, requiring lift clean and place on most shots. Rough was in good shape, and might have been the highlight of the course. The western section of the course was worse than the eastern section. The greens on the front nine looked like they had been shelled, with numerous un-repaired or wounded from previous poor repairs. The greens on the back nine were better but not great, and covered with a fair amount of gifts from the coots and geese.

We were observing an unique set of injuries to the greens and it took awhile to realize that on the guys in the twosome in front of us, liked to press his foot into his wedge on the green to lift it, not realizing he was cutting an arch into the surface.

Bunkers were raked and in excellent condition, surprisingly not too wet, with generous coverage.

The cafe was polite and efficient, and the restroom clean, very different from the restroom serving the range and the crossover which had trash in the entrance, the bin was overflowing, and the paper towels empty.

Fortunately my playing companions were so good as to make the above a non issue, but this course has played so much better this year, it was a shame to see it suffering.

Perhaps the last in dignity was the American flag our front, it was faded, the stripes were torn length wise and tattered and missing fabric at the ends. She was flying, but a new flag is desperately needed.

I really can't recommend the course at this time. I did not have a clean or level lie off the tee in 18 holes.
Los Amigos Golf Course

Played Los Amigos with my friend using the GK discount coupon, [12-2pm Monday through Friday] for $27, round, cart and lunch. Check in was easy, but not as expected. I arrived about 45 minutes before our 12:20 tee time so that I could hit the range and warm up. On check in rather than charging us $27 per person, they charged us $22 per person, gave each of us a sleeve of Noodle Long & Soft balls, and the cart key. They told us to ask for the $5 special at the snack bar. Range balls were $5 for a small bucket. I had made my tee time reservation online at the course website, Sunday night at 9pm for a Monday match at 12:20am. Despite the online price showing $30 waking they gave me no hassle when we showed up with our GK coupon. As for lunch we were told just to ask for the $5 hot dog and soda special which we did at the turn, fast service, good dog, and Dr. Pepper.

We were sent out to the tee, and paired with a wonderful retired couple who were walking. As we waited on the tee it looked like it was going to be a very long round. There was a foursome of walkers on the green, a foursome of walkers around 200 yards out waiting for the group on the green, and another foursome that had just tee’d off on the tee #2. There was another foursome forming just behind us as we waited to tee off. Surprisingly by the time we hit the third hole, we were spreading out nicely, and by the time we hit the sixth hole we were moving along like a well-oiled machine. The group in front of us was gone, and the group behind us was a hole behind. We completed the round in exactly four and half hours, on beautiful 73 degree day with a light breeze.

With perhaps one exception the tee boxes were in very good condition despite the volume of players. There was divot damage, but a clean lie, or tee spot was easily found. Driver is used on so many holes that the tee’s don’t see much in the way of damage. Most tee’s were level, and lush, with a touch of brown.

Fairways were uniformly in good condition, good coverage no bare spots, a hit of brown in some spots but with good coverage. Roll out was generous. Most fairways are large, however poor shots placement is penalized by tall mature trees. You have to know which side of the fairway to play on many holes to make par.

Rough on this course is very penal. The rough is spidery, sticky, often among tall trees, with low hanging branches. I had more trouble hitting out of the fairway rough on this course than any I can remember recently. Warning the rough can hide roots that are further away from the tree than one might expect. I am going to be nursing a sore wrist for a couple of days. The rough along the fairways is often four or more inches tall, similarly the second cut around the greens are very deep. On the 18th hole my playing partners saw my ball land in line with the pin at the back of the green and roll through. With all four of us looking we could not find it. My partner had almost the same thing happen on 16 with a shot just 10 yards off the green to the right of the fairway. After taking a drop and walking back to the cart we just saw the ball below the grass in a fried egg lie that we had missed even with all four of us looking. He played his ball, but the deep lie made for a tough shot, and poor result.

Bunkers are in excellent shape, albeit some groups before us did better jobs of raking than others. Greenside bunkers tend to be deep with steep faces. Sand is medium heavy, with good depth. Well in excellent conditions these are not friendly bunkers, and layups are likely better than challenging the bunkers.
Greens were in overall good condition playing fast but fair. Some greens are terraced, and some slope back to front or right to left. The roll on a number of holes was bumpy, but straight. The greens are very (rock) firm, leaving indentations more than pitch marks, and were very difficult to stop or back spin the ball unless it dropped straight down. The coverage on the greens is excellent, with very few damage areas, none affecting play.
The course is largely flat, trees, bunkers, doglegs, are the key defenses, until the back nine where water adds to the pucker factor. Perhaps the hardest is 16 which is a dogleg left, that has a twenty yard lading area just short of the cart bridge. Land it short of this area and trees block the approach, of about 150 yards. Go long and you’re in the water the bridge crosses, a very tough par four. Seventeen plays long over water into the wind and severely sloped green, 182 yards from the whites.
Service in the pro shop and snack bar were fast and friendly. We did not see a refreshment cart on the course at all, did not see an ambassador or marshal. Relief stations were strategically placed. There is construction on a new starter stand and what looks like an outdoor grill going on.

The driving range is very nice, the fencing has been repaired since the last time I was here. The range boarders the 18th hole which made locating my yellow golf ball a pain well playing the 18th as that is the color used for range balls. One of the nice features are a USC, and UCLA shield about 100 yards out that you can hit to.
At the rack rate of $30 walking and $40 with cart I find this course a good value. For $27 dollars with cart on the GK coupon it’s a great deal. Given they threw in a sleeve of balls, all the better. I hope to get back and play the course again before the coupon expires at the end of the month.
Marine Corp Memorial Golf Course

Played Marine Memorial Thursday 09/28/2017 teeing off at 9:20 am, playing as a twosome.
Started our day off with breakfast at Mulligan’s. Prices are very reasonable, and quality and quantity were very good. Atmosphere is on the patio, the inside is simple. Unfortunately the marine layer had left the patio to damp to use and enjoy the view.
The pro shop staff was very helpful. We were sent to the 10th tee to open on the back nine, giving me a different perspective of the course than starting on the first hole. Since I booked by phone, was not really aware of the price. The round ended up costing us $50 per player with a cart which is extra.
Breakfast took us a little longer than I expected, as such did not get a warm up on the range. Tee’ing off on number 10 a slight dogleg right up hill, I took the drive down the right side into the second cut of rough and trees. These boarders the driving range which also uses yellow balls. I found my ball easily enough, but will need to add a mental note.
We did not see any foursomes on course, most of the other players were twosomes, with a couple of threesomes. Pace of play overall was quick at 3.5 hours.
Tee’s. Last week when I played the GM told us that they will be releveling the tee boxes shortly. I didn’t find the tee’s an issue, however this round playing from the whites which we located very differently than last week, I seemed to find a depression or poor footing on about half the tee boxes. The coverage was still lush, very little divot damage, but the lack of level and the softness of the ground where a problem.

Whereas last week I didn’t find any wet lies, and mud that I saw was limited to the end of the cart path on a few holes, today’s round had more mud, and every fairway was wet. Clearly the course had been heavily watered. This made the thick rough extremely difficult. The fairways consistently showed a much more pronounced brown cart trail down the middle of the fairways than I recall as well. Grass coverage was still excellent, just brown, and damp.
Rough was thick, penal, with no thin spots. The fairways are generous on this course so if you are in the rough it’s on you. The second cut is often surrounded by mature tree’s making the pain all the greater.
Bunkers both fairway and greenside are in excellent shape consistent bright white sand providing fluffy lies. Only a couple of bunkers early in the round show signs of being damp, there rest were very dry in contrast to the fairways.
Greens were in excellent shape, and played extremely fast. Pins were on ridges, false fronts, and edge of terraces making for an extremely challenging day on the greens. Unlike the fairways the greens were green, tightly mown, hard, dry and fast. Even lightly struck 15-20 uphill puts could run six feet by the hole. The comebacker was a white knuckle experience. Very few ball marks, excellent shape.
Teeing off at 9:20 am with a heavy marine layer along the coast, I was not expecting much wind. The Marine layer was not visible on the course, however by 11 am as we finished the back nine the wind was rising. The front nine are a completely different experience playing into a strengthening wind then what I had previously experienced. The downhill par three guarded by bunkers presented a special test. Eighteen required a long drive into the teeth of the wind.

I really like the layout of this course, and look forward to playing it again after the greens are punched and the tee boxes leveled. Until then however I am likely to pick Big Rec over Marine Memorial, based on both drive and cost, as I live in Mission Viejo, and my regular playing partner lives in Long Beach. If I were playing San Diego courses Marine Memorial would be higher on my list of regular plays.
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