Golf Course Reviews
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Day 2 of the GK Guru plays NV/AZ brought us to Laughlin Ranch. I had previously never even heard of this course but in the lead up to today I had been doing my research and it looked amazing. Let me tell you something, the pictures don't do this place justice. It's beyond what you've heard or have seen in pics. A true must play if you're in the area.

Tees- Level, lush, and minimal damage. Great!
Fairways- Perfect. No really...there's literally nothing to complain about. They're beautiful to look at and even better to play from. They were like carpets and you'd almost feel bad taking divots. Almost ;)
Greens- Held all shots like darts but were smooth and true rolling at med-fast speeds. Really nice surfaces to play on.
Rough- Dormant bermuda but they still had some bite to them as there were several occasions where our balls would nestle down to the bottom.
Bunkers- The only weak spot as they are thin and full of pebbles/small rocks but Chris, the owner & GM, told us after the round that they're in the process of renovating them and adding new sand. Once they're done, I have no doubt they'll be awesome.

The layout of the course has you playing up or down, toward or away from the Colorado River. Spectacular views are everywhere! This course will reward good shots and punish poor ones but most holes have generous landing areas off the tees.

Carts are new gas powered carts that have GPS and USB plugs onboard. They're super quiet for being gas. The clubhouse is super impressive with a full service spa, banquet facilities, restaurant, bar, gym, etc...A true all in one destination. The slate burger after the round was so good! All employees that we encountered were super friendly and seemed genuinely happy to work there. So refreshing to see! Laughlin Ranch is a course that I fell in love with right away and I can't wait to be back!
Day 1 of a back-to-back GK Guru outing had Johnny, Matt, Ron, & myself at Coyote Springs. There's something about these middle of nowhere courses (Rams Hill, Paiute, etc) that are truly hidden gems. They warned us that the course was not in its prime shape but I'd have to respectfully disagree. If this isn't their best, then I can't wait to see that!

Tees- Perfectly flat with minimal damage and full coverage
Fairways- Insane! Condition-wise there's not much to complain about. Lush, pretty firm, provide good roll on drives, and good cushion underneath. BUT...the mounding. OH MY the mounding! I've never seen fairways with so many mounds, swales, hills, etc. I think Ron and I got seasick driving on these things! In typical Jack fashion, the fairways are pretty generous.
Rough- Semi-dormant and pretty easy to hit out of. Again, full coverage and no issues. Their color contrasted nicely with the deep green fairways.
Greens- Huge green complexes that were mostly smooth and held most shots nicely. They looked faster than they played. Medium speed at best but I suppose that's ok considering the crazy undulations that most of them have! Jack Nicklaus at his evil best.
Bunkers- I can give a definitive review on these since I found almost every one of them on the course today. They all had soft sand and some had too much sand leading to some semi-plugged and plugged lies in our group today. There are so many bunkers on each hole that you'd better have your sand game on point before coming here. A couple on the back 9 were being worked on and were GUR while they add new sand to them.

Overall the layout of this course is truly incredible. Course knowledge is a must here! With so many humps and bumps in the fairways, it was really hard to get an idea of how far it was to certain hazards. To be honest I don't know if the sprinklers had yardages on them since we all had our own GPS devices. No GPS on the carts but yardage books are available in the clubhouse. Speaking of carts, gas powered ones here and it's needed as the amount of land this course encompasses is gigantic. No way an electric cart would make it through a round. There are some seriously long drives from the clubhouse to the range to the first tee and back. The course does not return to the clubhouse at the turn. Cart girl was out and about and we must've seen her around 6-7 times today. Service was great on all levels. Yes the location is remote but it's an easy drive at just an hour north of Vegas. Do yourself a favor and add it to your must play list in the area! Can't wait to go back again soon. Thanks Johnny!
Played in the Rams Hill outing yesterday with many other GK'ers. Always great to see so many friendly and familiar faces. I'm sure everyone else has touched on the conditions which were amazing as we've come to expect here. This is my 5th time playing the course and the more I play it, the more I can really appreciate all the subtle nuances that went into the design and allow players several different options to play most of the holes. I find myself falling in love with this course more and more each time I play it (although I dread the trip out more and more too lol!) The green complexes are huge for the most part but with all their undulations and backstops, they allow for a variety of ways to attack them and get close to the pins. Service at all levels was fantastic. Huge shout out to Johnny for setting this up and the team at Rams Hill for welcoming us every year. Already looking forward to the next one!
Last round of 2017 was Saturday 12/30 at MD with an early AM tee time. Was originally supposed to be paired with a threesome at 750am but I got there early and starter said I could go if I was ready. So with that I was off the first tee at 730am sharp. It was cold but thankfully not cold enough for any frost delays. Playing through a couple of groups on the front and then having the rest of the course to myself, I was able to cruise around in 2 hours and still had time to spare for the breakfast menu at the Butterfly Grill (highly recommended!).

I'm happy to report that the course is back to its usual great conditions. All aspects were good to great with the highlight being the greens which have fully recovered and are winter fast! Beware anything from above the hole. They held full shots quite well but chips and pitches tended to run out a bit. Fairways aren't quite as firm as you'd expect but still provide some roll out while providing a nice soft cushion underneath to hit from. Wasn't in any bunkers but they looked fine. Rough was lush and consistent but not very penal. Not much else to add compared to previous reviews. Service at all levels was great. Not sure if there was a beverage cart today since I was done by 930 lol. Always recommended if you're in the area!
I was very fortunate to be invited to play in a tournament here Monday by GK'er allan_grant. Thanks again Allan! Although I grew up literally 5 minutes from Hacienda, Monday was the first time I had ever played it and wow what a treat it was! I've always heard great things about the course and driving by so many times, I was always envious of those that have played it. There's not much to add to previous reviews regarding the conditions. They are what you would imagine for a country club. Fantastic throughout! Tees were like greens. Fairways like carpets. Rough was lush although since we were playing a scramble, we only encountered it once or twice all day. Greens were posted at 10.5 on the sign and I'd say that was accurate. They were pretty firm though. Often taking one big hop before the ball would dig in. They were smooth and a pleasure to putt on. Just ask Allan, he didn't miss a putt all day lol! Only encounters with the bunkers was fishing a couple of wayward shots out but they seemed perfect as well.

The layout of the course is really nice. A lot of variety of holes from long to short, risk-reward, uphill, downhill, dog legs, generous landing zones and a couple that will make you think about where to place the ball. It really had it all. If you have the chance to play Hacienda Country Club do yourself a favor and DO IT!!!
After finishing my round on the Old Course I decided to take advantage of the $10 replay for the Challenge Course. Nothing much to report as the course is in it's usual good to very good condition all the way around. Only complaint is a minor one. Since they added the second larger hole on every green a couple years ago for newcomers, I find that the standard holes are always in the same spot on the greens now. While the course is super fun and challenging for a Par 3 course, I wish they would move the holes around a little more to add some variety.
Late review. Played last Thursday while spending the weekend on the Central Coast. Monarch Dunes aerated their greens for the first time ever last month and while the majority of greens have recovered nicely, there were a couple on the back 9 that still needed some time. They were noticeably slower and bumpier than usual as well as compared to other greens on the course that have recovered quicker. The good news is that the problem childs (#15 & #17) seem to have taken nicely to the punching and are better than I've seen them in a couple years. Fairways had some small areas of distress but they were being tended to by maintenance and should be back to 100% in short manner. Tees, rough, and bunkers are very good as always and the customer service here is always great. No snack cart today but that's ok. Weather was perfect but my game was not. Always recommended when in the area even in it's less than lofty current state. It's still better than the majority of courses around.
Short Version: AVOID

Longer version- I really hate to kick someone when they're down but what in hell happened to this place?? It's not like it was ever great but it was at least your basic muni with a nice layout and tree lined holes. At least the trees are still standing and the layout hasn't changed, but those are the only good points from my round a couple days ago. I'd agree with everything the previous review stated. Tees were ok with decent coverage. Rough was lush near greens but off the fairways was thin and/or bare. Fairways themselves had some decent areas but quite a few burned out and thin areas too. Greens were atrocious! Many were diseased and so bumpy and slow that you're better off putting with a hybrid just to avoid the plinko boards they call "greens". At least the bunkers provided the highlight of the day. One of my playing partners short sided himself and he hit a high flop that came up short...only to BOUNCE out of the bunker and onto the green to about 5 feet! Can honestly say I've never seen a flop shot bounce out of a bunker and onto a green before!

GK consider this your PSA, don't play MCC until it's been verified that conditions have improved. Just know that I won't be the guinea pig!
Something happened today at San Dimas that only be described as a miracle of epic proportions. Tee time of noon as single on a GN hot deal of $25, got there a little early and was paired up with another single and twosome and we were on the 1st tee, balls in the air by 11:45am, shaking hands and walking back to my car at 3:00pm! Yes you read that right! A 3:15 round at San Dimas (home of the 5+ hour round), on an American Golf managed course (home of the fivesomes and 4 min spacing). Someone wake me up because I must be dreaming...

BTW, the golf was fine and conditions were same ol same ol. Greens are outstanding with minimal ball marks & rolling medium fast and true and holding well. Fairways mostly good with a few dry patches. Rough is a grab bag of lush, patchy, bare, penal, not so get the point. Bunkers fair with mostly good sand but they need a raking. Tees (blues) were poor. They had decent coverage but too many unlevel lies to contend with all day.

To recap: A 3hr 15min round at San Dimas with some waiting on the front 9! That's a typical time for 9 holes on the weekends here. Well I can say it happened once in my lifetime. Never to happen again...
Decided to hop in on the Guru fun at the last minute today and boy am I glad I did! The Goose is simply awesome right now, minus a couple of bunkers. There was a SCGA qualifier finishing up before we got started and the course was in fantastic overall shape.

Tees- Lush and level with minimal damage.
Fairways- Green, lush, cut tight and rolling out well while still providing ample cushion underneath. Great lies all day long.
Rough- Lush and thick but mostly manageable and not too penal.
Bunkers- Only downside today. Greenside #3 had great soft sand. Was in 3 others, all fairway and 2 out of the 3 had many dime sized rocks in them. Not to Goose's standards
Greens- Slightly firm but held well struck shots. Rolling at med/fast speeds. Mostly smooth with some later afternoon Poa wobbles. But nothing major. Really good overall.

Customer service was spot on in the shop. Sign near starter shack said pin position 3 but we soon found out that wasn't the case today due to the SCGA qualifier. I called the pro shop on 5 tee asking if they had pin sheets available and by the time we were putting out on 5 green, we had the sheets in our cart. Awesome! Speaking of which, some of those pins were brutal today. A couple paces from the edges or tucked in corners or right behind a trap!

POP was 3:50 and the only other people we saw on the course was the first group of gurus in front of us. Highly recommended as always! Thanks Johnny!
Played in the GK Event yesterday and it was another spectacular day of fun and hacking with fellow GK'ers even with Hurricane John pouring on us for a few holes. Ok, so maybe it was a light sprinkle but still, it's the desert in May!

Once again, not enough thanks can be expressed to Johnny and all that you do! Shotgun start at 2pm and our group Johnny, Ron, Ben, & myself were the lead group starting on #7. We basically had the course to ourselves as nobody was in front and we were never pushed from behind so we cruised around in a little under 4.5 hours taking our time to take some pics along the way.

I'll be brief with the course conditions since it's about to be covered another 40+ times in the near future ;)

Tees- Blues were flat with good coverage and minimal divot damage.
Fairways- Firm and fast but still very lush that provided a great padding underneath to hit from.
Rough- Lush and cut low along the fairways. Some longer areas in the mounded areas surrounding the greens but overall not very penal and easy to play from.
Bunkers- So. Many. Bunkers. And they were all great to play from. Even the ones that had been compacted due to some moisture were still soft and fluffy once your club broke the surface.
Greens- Even with the transition from Rye to Bermuda they were really rolling smoothly at consistent at medium speeds. No crazy undulations like some Nicklaus designs, but there are plenty of subtle breaks to keep you on your toes.

Customer service was a hit and a miss today. Valet and bag attendants both before and after the round were spot on and friendly.

Unfortunately there was an issue with the service at the restaurant during the prize ceremony after the round. We were sitting at a table for 4 and 2 of us ordered food. Long story short, when we tried to pay at the end, the server said that the entire group of 40+ people were all on the same bill and there was no way at all to split the bill. I might understand if this was communicated before we ordered or if everyone was sitting at one large table, but we were all broken up into several tables/sections on the patio. And what restaurant can't split a bill nowadays?? Our server brought us the (entire) bill and said to mark which items we ordered and we would have to pay cash. We gave her the cash and after she brought the change, she comes back and says "you guys calculated the gratuity and tax right?"...Oy Vey! Epic fail and I hope the F&B director address this because that's just terrible.

Thankfully the golf and all other aspects were incredible and I didn't knock off any ratings because of that but I hope to see it addressed so it'll go smoother for the next group.
Round 2 was on the Mountain View Course and I dare say it was in better overall condition than Firecliff. Tees, fairways, bunkers, and rough were identical on both courses. The greens, as Sixpez mentioned, haven't been punched yet here and that was the differentiating factor as they were smoother and quicker, although didn't hold as well as Firecliff.

Fun times as always with the Guru crew and big thanks to Johnny once again!
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