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My on again off again relationship with CW is back on. It's been a while since I played here due to problems with getting out on-time and course conditions. We printed out an old e-mail from nearly a year ago offering us a free foursome after 10am as an apology from the last time we got out 45 minutes late and played on mostly dead grass. Surprisingly, they honored it, even though our tee time was 9:30 AND said we could use it again for a twosome since we were only a twosome. I was beyond shocked. They sent us out early where we got around in under 4 hours.

I'm not sure if the conditions were they best they've ever been there - but I can't remember the course like this. They've been making small but smart changes to the layout, many of the holes have thoughtful mown areas around the green - not just green, fringe, rough.

Fairways and rough are in good shape. Everywhere is green. There seems to be a renewed pride in this course and I'm happy to see it. It's a good course with nearly half the holes being fairly easy and half being more of a challenge.

Two caveats to my glowing review. The greens are still a little bumpy from the aeration a while ago and the sand traps we were in were inconsistent.

Overall, I'm happy to have this course back in my rotation since it's not far away.
In many ways my round at Soule Park was for me the perfect round of golf. Perfect weather, on a course you can walk for only $40 bucks on the weekend. The surrounding hills were enrobed in green and looking majestic. The course - very green - challenging but not hard so you can enjoy the company of the friends you came with without someone becoming sullen over their lost balls and dignity.

The greens hadn't yet completely healed from the aeration but we agreed that the little bit of slowness and bumpiness offset the difficulty of faster greens we might have faced - so nobody was bothered. Tee boxes were mostly fine but had to move my tee when I found myself standing in a depression a couple of time. Fairways were good and rough was thick - really thick in places - where, when trying to find a ball - the four of us had to set up one of those lines like they do when investigators are searching a forest for clues.

Soule Park is an easy place to have an enjoyable round of golf.
Played an SCGA outing in wonderfully warm conditions. Just like golf used to be 7 or so months ago. Went in with lowish expectations and Porter Valley sneaked over them with little room to spare. While par 70 it does have three par 5's and most of the par three's are over 200 yards so it rarely feels short and since it's full of huge sand filled calderas guarding tiered and tilted greens - it also rarely felt easy. Front nine was friendly enough but after the turn the walls started closing in and the houses kept inching toward the fairways until the cart path becomes and integral part of the fairway (they have special rules to deal with that).

Tee boxes, fairways, and rough all had a public course feel to them but on a slightly better than average day. The bunkers I was in had heavy sand that caught me off guard the first time I hit in one. Greens were smooth and fairly fast - with all the undulations - difficult to score on.

For me the back nine is the reason I probably won't play here again. Watching a ball travel into somebody's back yard or worse detracts too much from the fun. I kept the ball in play all day but not everyone in my group was so lucky and next time it will probably be me.
Was it the best idea to play golf in a rainwater catch basin after days of rain? No, not at all. Balboa's strength is not drainage. Depending on where you hit the ball, your ball could be fine or stuck in a muddy area or puddle. Had to lift clean and search for land 4 times. While this didn't bother me, what brought an Iron Eyes Cody tear to my face was all the golf cart tracks doing governmental shutdown levels or destruction to the course. Sure, a lot of rope was used to keep lazy idiots from doing their worst but thoughtlessness beats rope any day. A pair of strangers in my group made me wince a couple of times with completely unnecessary driving leaving a wake of tracks behind them.

The surprising positives - the two bunkers I was in were in good shape and the greens seemed unnaturally smooth. I would say medium plus speed which is as fast as Balboa goes. I also had some really nice grass to chip out of on some of the holes - others - a bit patchy.

Interested to see how the course fares after it's had time to dry out and grow.
There are ways other than fences to keep the private country club feel to your course. Tustin Ranch uses the 1-2 punch of incredibly high rates and incredibly average golf to keep outsiders away. I was able to find the rare TeeOff single player time on a Sunday that saved well over $100 off of rack rate and still felt like I overpaid.

Check-in was a look at the computer and a "You're good to go!". So I had to ask the questions of an outsider: "Go Where?" and "Go When?". Once directed to the carts and starter - I was informed that even though I was the fourth to a threesome. They were part of a larger group that all knew each other and had made themselves into foursomes of which I would not be a part. I could go by myself or wait until I was adopted. Since it was already past my tee time - I drove solo for six holes until a threesome of locals caught me and the four sloths playing ahead of me.

The course is an obvious "Squeeze as much as you can out of the basic plot of land you were given." The course is laid out like a airport concourse maximizing the houses parked at their respective terminals. So you have all the types of holes you might expect. Straight Par 5's and a par 3 with water next to the green. Straight holes where bunkers pinch way in to force a lay-up or a perfect shot to one side. Straight holes where you have to lay up before a unlikely creek. Normal straight holes. And a short "drivable" severe dogleg par 4 like the 3rd at Monarch beach - except there is no view here to speak of.

Someone has a sore pointer finger because there is a lot of white GUR circles out there. Fairways are pretty good elsewhere but can feel like light rough in areas - rough is never deep but could be anything else. I found the bunkers to look nice but be an inch of fluff over a dense pack of sand which led to too much bounce or too much dig whichever way I tried to play the shot. Greens were good medium speed and mostly smooth.

I'm not sure if there was another soul from the "outside" playing that day. Everyone I saw seemed to know each other. I felt like I'd bought a member for a day outing instead of a tee time.
Fake News said it would rain on Wednesday so waited until Friday to play my free round. The perfect weather and great conditions colluded to make for a perfect round and impeach many of my criticisms of this course.

Was happy to see they drained the swamp water hazards on the first hole and made it more friendly - now they should redesign the par 5 14th hole to make it more than a crap shoot. Still not a fan of the layout overall but removing all the tacky waterfalls and leaving just nature and places where they've built a retainer wall was an improvement.

Conditions were tremendous, tee boxes and fairways in perfect shape. Believe me folks when I say that the greens were very smooth and very fast and very hard to putt winningly when one of the many undulations were between you and the hole. Rough only slightly worse but the perfect height to keep a ball hit crooked from leaving the course. Some of the bunkers are fine but some need more sand - especially a couple of the hyuge ones I was in.

Service was bigly and I think many people would find playing here absolutely covfefe
Reviews are a lot about expectation. Hearing that the GK Cup was going to visit here made me expect great conditions. My memories of this place long ago were of great conditions - so I was expecting the same. Thinking of Eagle Glen as one of the better courses in this area also kept my expectations high.

How was it? Fine - I guess... Practice green lowered my expectations - furry and bumpy - the actual greens were a bit slow and not exactly smooth but they were better than the practice ones. Fairways are 70-80% good but you will probably get one or two unlovable lies. There is some standing water and muddy parts and some areas that should have grass but need some Rogaine. Rough could be one of 5 different grass types and any type of lie possible.

Once I get over my expectations and think about it - It's one of those mountain courses that strikes a good balance of holes and difficulty. Parts of it are pretty generous and that takes grass to do that - so in that case - I'll take some patchy areas. For the $40 I payed - totally worth it.
Played an SCGA outing here for $75. Couldn't get a sense if I would like this course but was thinking I wouldn't based on public opinion. This is definitely a golf gods course. There is a fine line between success and failure here and I could see two people play basically the same and have very different days. Luckily most of my bad shots ended up in a reasonable place and only one or two good shots didn't get the love I was expecting. So in the end I would say I liked the course quite a bit. The quirks of everything being squished together were outweighed by the beauty, the variety, and how well the course was maintained.

Right off, I noticed it was in mostly great shape - green grass everywhere and smooth fast greens that made downhill putting an adventure. Rough was the right height for stopping your ball and punishing you some but not too much that you hate the trade off. Which is good - because hitting the fairway here is often unlikely.

Our shotgun group probably started on the worst stretch of holes on the course - three holes nestled up against boundary fences with houses on the other side. One was a short par 3 so that helped the pucker factor a bit. After that I found most of the holes quite interesting and enjoyable. While often tight - I found the visuals off the tee interesting and when people in our group missed (which we did a lot) it wasn't like you couldn't find your ball - get it back in play and hope for bogey.

No driving range because - you know - space. Still - I recommend giving it a try.
Very difficult review for me to write - played in the GolfMoose Member for a day. Got paired with jmo1pro2 - meeting another GK'er always means a better time on the links and very much enjoyed my day with him and his friend. Wish I had noticed Sal was there as well but read his review for conditions.

Why a hard review to write? Nothing impressed me enough to mention here and nothing struck me as bad enough to complain about. Is the layout fun? I guess - I feel like the 3 or 4 of the holes we're designs recycled from earlier in the round. The use of water sometimes feels a bit cliche but nothing that bothered me. The only hole I could complain about the design might also be the most interesting so I'll hold my tongue there. It's got natural elevation changes - which I like but somehow it didn't seem to translate to more interesting holes. The whole course is a bit too house-y for my taste but it's pretty generous out there - so not really worrisome. The rough is penal and the trees wait for your ball to settle and then stretch out branches to block your next shot so while sometime it feels easy out there - once you are in the wrong place - you need to pick your next shot wisely.

Anyway - I feel very lucky to have only paid $50 to get to play it and it's completely worth that price. Maybe that's why they gouged me $5 for a Gatorade - to make up for it.
If Walking Dead needs to film an episode at a golf course - I have a suggestion of where to film it. Areas of this course look and feel like the course was abandoned long ago and are succumbing to mother nature (and zombies). All the traps are marked as "ground under repair" and I cannot guess what their future entails.

I'm not sure who this golf course is for. The rates, and conditions and slowness of the greens say "Hacker" - but the 200 plus par 3's to tiny greens with trouble all around, the ubiquitous OB, the tight drives with houses on one side say "Golfer".

The greens and chipping areas had more grass than I remember from 4 years ago - only a couple of holes seemed worse than I recalled - but still - I forgot how much I hate the layout overall. Way too many holes perched high on a shelf. Holes 7,8 look like the area is rented out as an off-road park a couple of days a week. Those 2 unforgiving 200 plus par 3's with tiny greens and surrounded by trouble.

You know what it takes to play this course well? Braaaaaaaains!!!
One of my favorite courses didn't disappoint. Everything was in good to better than good shape. You look around and see some brown around but it didn't come into play on our round. The greens and closely mown areas were especially smooth and allowed confident shots of many types on and around the greens.

While I would say the rough was inconsistent - I would counter by saying it was "smart rough" - mostly thin on the high side of the fairway so your ball had a tendency to make it's way back into the course and mostly thick in the places where you wanted the rough to stop your ball from traveling any further off line.

Pace of play was a bit slow, 4.5 but expected on a day where I heard a marshall say a popular day for hackers to show up and try golfing. The better player of the guys we were paired with was a 28 handicap I thought I heard him say. I thought: "They go that high????"
Played in a SCGA outing here on Monday. It was a cold windy day. As interlopers, we were relegated to the small section of matts on the driving range - which resulted in a back up to warm up. Overall, it's a nice layout (mostly shared tree lines with water in play on about a third of the holes) and clubhouse - nothing I can find fault with nor a place I will cherish. Perhaps this second part is why they are about to start a renovation.

Greens were, admittedly by a staffer, a touch faster than they would like but luckily not as fast as the putting green. Fairways looked half dead from a distance but were better close up and good to hit off of. Rough was deep enough that perhaps not hit that 5 iron out of if. Bunkers were all in great shape. I couldn't get a feel if this was as good as it gets here or if the pending renovation was allowing the edges to get rough. Some of the lakes had already been drained so beauty was lost in those places.
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