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Played a pretty abysmal round at Hansen Dam this weekend with Mattias and two other friends, but the course itself did not have much of the blame for my driving and hybrid woes. In fact, the course is in pretty good shape right now despite the relentless heat.

Fairways have a solid amount of deep green to them, in fact even some areas a little too damp from overwatering, especially closer to the greens. Almost always a good lie to be found if you're hitting them straight. The rough varies depending on where you go, but it's mostly thick but not too penal. You'll easily find some dirt areas though off between the ample amount of trees or on the hillside of the dam itself.

Greens were running medium speed without too many complications. A few ball marks here and there that could have easily been fixed before, but what can you do? Nothing too bad at all though ... and while I didn't hit too many greens myself, I could see others doing it well so greens definitely receptive to good shots. Tee boxes and bunkers both good, not necessarily great. Everything works.

It was a very hot day and prime time on a Saturday so it was surprising not to see any cart service whatsoever, but now that I think about it, I'm not sure I've ever seen a cart girl at Hansen. We all walked so the price was around $40+ roughly which is a fair price for the shape the course is currently in right now. In summary, you shouldn't be too disappointed if you stop by at this time.
It pains me so to have to write a negative review about a course that I usually enjoy so much and whose ownership has most certainly gone out of their way in the past to make amends, but if we can't be honest about current conditions on , then what's the point?

La Mirada is currently in a very poor state that was tough for me to imagine upon reading the last review. Surely it wasn't that bad, right? Sadly, it really is a bit of a mess right now. Luckily we only paid twilight rates (my buddy walking for $19 and me in a cart for $31), so that cushioned the blow a bit, but tough to imagine what those paying full price earlier in the day must have thought.

I can't even describe what the greens are going through right now. Besides being some of the bumpiest I've ever played, they are riddled with ball marks like a lunar crater because the surface is so soft that almost any ball adds to the mayhem. Almost every putt was an exercise in picking a line with the fewest possible lumps. I'm not sure if they were somehow aerated or something, but there were many with long, vertical lines cut through them just near the surface, but again, super soft and very slow and frustrating.

The fairways are sadly not much better. Perfect drives rewarded with super thin, burned out grass or just a dirt patch altogether. On occasion though good lies were had and it was cause to celebrate. The rough a hodge-podge of super thin, super thick, and just right - no rhyme or reason to be found. The best part of the course were the bunkers which were in good shape, and most of the tee boxes were fine with the exception of one or two which could have been more level or better manicured.

POP was surprisingly okay for a Friday afternoon although we did wait sometimes two groups deep on many holes. I was surprised we actually finished the round to be honest. But again, I will never leave this place without the desire to return. I picture this wonderfully fun layout in perfect conditions and it just makes me giddy with anticipation. Unfortunately, that reality is quite distant right now. But from what I heard from the nice guy we ended up playing our round with, he said they had recently hired a new greenskeeper and that things will be on the up again very soon.

I certainly hope so because I really do want to come back as this remains one of my favorite courses in the rotation, but I've truly never seen it in this poor of shape. Faith. I have faith. Better days are surely ahead for La Mirada, just not this week. Maybe the whole month.
Played a nice round on Saturday back at Alhambra on Saturday with fellow GKer Kassper7 and another buddy, walking from the blues at 10:42am and paying I believe just under $40 with a push cart. That's such a good deal for this wonderful little course.

It's always apparent that the staff and maintenance crew here really take pride in putting out a good product. Alhambra has its limitations as a golf course, as in it's very short and can often be described as a 'confidence course' in many ways (although I still believe the GK rating for this course is a bit too low), but it does have some tricky holes without a doubt and while you will often drive and chip, your short game better be up to snuff as there are some fun elevations here to deal with around certain greens.

Course conditions are also reflective of a staff that cares. There is some very nice coverage in most of the fairways, but you will find the occasional dried out area here and there, but for the most part good lies all day. The rough is nice to hit from - not penal in any way, but lush. Tee boxes for the most part are okay, but a few need to be tended to soon. And the sand traps were not as fluffy as usual, but okay to play from this weekend.

Greens were very receptive to shots and rolled at about medium speed. The practice putting green was much faster than the course greens at the start of the day, but caught up by the end. Noticed a few too many ball marks on the greens for my liking from lazy guests, but the staff continues doing a nice job overall with the greens. Nothing too tricked out here either on the green complexes.

So yes, really good time to head out to Alhambra if you want to feel like a big hitter, get in some great short game work, and enjoy a nice day out at a fun facility that cares about your business. Never disappointed after a round here.
Nice time out with the Guru group at Riverwalk, playing along with Matt, Johnny and Mike. It was my first time on the course and I was happy that we were playing the Presidio/Mission nines from the blue tees.

Overall, the course looks pretty green and pleasant aesthetically. There is a picturesque river splitting the property and many corners of the course that almost look and feel a bit Hawaii-esque on a hot, humid morning. No big elevation gains to speak of, but there is a good amount of mounding around the course that will often leave you with unwanted side lies.

As for the course conditions, the greens (as I was often reminded throughout the day) are the course's trademark feature. I had a good read on them throughout most of my round, but later in the day they seemed to speed up or maybe that was just me. But really nice shape, holding shots well and rolling very true at maybe an 11 on the stimp? Maybe a bit less.

Fairways had some GUR and standing water areas early in the day, but nothing that didn't look like it was going to be neglected for any length of time. You can tell they care about this course and despite these trouble areas here and there from the recent heatwave, you're mostly going to find your ball with a favorable lie. The rough is varied throughout the course but for the most part you'll have to make good contact to get it out of there - tough time with hybrids today out of the rough.

Was only in two bunkers all day but it was okay. I didn't get the impression from looking at other bunkers that they were especially fluffy, but they seemed good, while the fairway bunkers were firm and ready to be hit from. Tee boxes were generally in good shape - no complaints.

Had some good food, drinks and company after the round in the clubhouse, and the GM I believe was nice enough to come and hang out with us for a while to get our impressions of the course - needless to say the feedback was quite positive.

I definitely enjoyed the layout and variety of holes at Riverwalk, and there are some difficult carries to manage so don't go thinking because the course is relatively flat it has no teeth, because it most certainly does. Looking forward to coming back again and not falling apart the last four holes. Thanks again to Johnny for getting these great events together.
Sunday round riding at Los Amigos this weekend and happy to report that the course is currently in pretty darn good shape all around. No glaring weaknesses anywhere to be found really ... all conditions good to slightly better than good depending on the arena.

POP for a Sunday was actually pretty good at around four and a half hours. No cart service at all but full-service bar and restaurant with everything one needs. As far as course conditions, greens running at medium speed with nice coverage all around. No major complaints there.

Fairways have nice coverage despite the warm temperatures of late. The rough can be a little spotty in places and thin in others, but any place the ball should be will generally have good coverage, except maybe around some of the green complexes. Sand is in good shape, and likely weakest aspect of the course are the tee boxes that are serviceable but can always be a little more lush and level.

They are building some new structure near the 10th tee box, between it and the putting green adjacent to it. Not sure what it's going to be but there's some construction going on there. Driving range is also in good shape with grass and mat stations to choose from at this time (or so it appeared).

Los Amigos is a good value for a nice round right now if you want a manageable course without paying outrageous prices to get a hit out of just about every club in your bag with the exception of the 3 wood. Go check it out.
Played a twilight round at Skylinks today after calling ahead to El Dorado and Navy only to find them completely booked up, so Skylinks was a nice alternative in the general vicinity of where I was. Pro shop was great getting me out there solo (it was surprisingly quiet until I joined up with another single on the 8th hole), playing blue tees for around $39 or so with cart.

Nice conditions all around remain at Skylinks. Nothing really stands out as outstanding, but nothing poor either. Greens are in good shape with a few ball marks here and there and some dried out areas, but roll was true and running medium speed. Fairways for the most part in good shape with a few thinner areas, but not often finding a tough lie. Rough is nice, bunkers are in good shape overall, and maybe the tee boxes weakest part of the course right now but no big deal at all.

Good work with the cold water stations every few holes, too - it's much appreciated on these sweltering hot days. Only gripe yet again? Fix that left side of the driving range fence/netting so that the entire right side of the fairway on the 10th hole isn't covered with range balls!

POP definitely slowed down a bit on the back nine, but my poor play was probably just as much to blame for that as anything else. My single that I joined up with is quite the golf enthusiast like the rest of us and I made sure to tell him all about GK so hopefully we've got a new member.

So overall, despite my failings, can't say much bad about Skylinks currently and it's a nice option to play right now.
Up in Bakersfield for a work event and had a chance to get away for a twilight round at The Links at RiverLakes Ranch today. So should we start with the good, the bad or the middle ground? Let's be positive for a little while and touch upon some of the things they're doing right here.

For as hot as it is out here right now, the fairways for the most part are in good shape. You will find a few holes that are absolutely lush, and some others with a bit thinner coverage, but anytime you hit the ball where you are supposed to, you will be rewarded with a good lie. The layout is definitely very interesting and there is plenty of water around the course surprisingly to keep you on your toes. Some very pretty holes as well, especially the par 3 15th - beautiful. A lot of undulations in the fairways as well to make for some very interesting approach shots. 18? Great closing hole for sure. And finally, the staff seems to be very nice, especially at the bar.

As far as the middle ground goes, well, the greens are in okay shape, but just way too many ball marks and funky tiers that almost seem a bit over the top with all of the ups and downs. There are also any number of dry patches on the greens, but that's pretty understandable with the current heat wave. The rough is also good in places, spotty and dirty in others - find those fairways. And most of the tee boxes are okay but a few need some love.

The rest? I'm glad you asked. The bunkers are very solid. Not solid as in 'good,' but solid as in immovable. They're simply some of the worst I've ever encountered. It's simply hard dirt with a few loose granules here and there to fool you. Every shot out of the bunkers is nothing more than a chip from a thin lie anywhere else on the course. [expletive] Awful. What else was awful? Well, it was 100 degrees out and there was no cart service, which is totally understandable on a quiet midweek day after 3pm. But what's unfathomable is sending people out and telling them there's water at the 11th hole tee box bathrooms, and then finding those water fountains dry. I called the front and they said they run out of water for them by that time of the day. Excuse me? That's simply dangerous and unacceptable.

Luckily there was a cooler with water on the 14th hole that still had the precious elixir flowing, but they simply have to be more aware of what could happen if someone got dehydrated out there and was relying on that fountain. Need to do better.

This is also a course that perhaps could be walked, but it's a trek for sure - some of the distances between holes are very long and it would be ridiculous to try it on hot summer days. So there you have it.

I would call this a definite love-hate experience for me. I think there's some great potential here and when it's a full spring or fall weekend with full service and better bunkers, I bet this course would be a blast to play again. But a few too many loose ends currently that will hopefully be addressed in the near future could go a long way towards getting more people amped up to come out here and play.
Time to change the name of this place to 'Abusive, Miller Lite-drinking, putting out cigarettes on the kid's arm Dad Miller.' I felt compelled to finally come back to this course as it is on my 'must break 100' list of courses that I visited early in my golf career. I first played this track in early 2013 after only 4-5 months playing golf, so needless to say I was bad. Now, while luckily being able to take it off the list and never having to come back again, I realize that it's difficult because the conditions are so poor.

Okay, I needed to get that initial rant off my chest. And to be perfectly truthful, the front nine and the last three holes on the back nine (both on the east side of Gilbert St) are actually not too bad. There's proper grass, decent tee boxes, and even a nice view here or there. It's the back nine that is simply disastrous, not only in terms of quirky holes, but some of the worst conditioned tee boxes I've ever seen, dried out fairways and the bizarre relics and trash filling up the concrete drainage canals bisecting much of the course. The water fountains don't work, the lake smells, and the clientele, well, let's just say etiquette is a four-letter word around here.

I will also say that the folks in the pro shop and the little restaurant are very nice, and the food and service was quite good. It's not their fault that the experience is lacking. And it certainly doesn't help to get to the first tee and the starter tells you the two groups in front of you are playing for the first time ever. Look, that was me four years ago - I get it. But I certainly wasn't taking seven practice swings to hit it 15 yards, and wasn't wandering into opposite fairways to hit my errant shots when others were waiting to tee off. Madness.

But again, saving grace is that a few of the holes on the front nine were actually in good shape from tee to green, but that just makes the inconsistencies so glaring and abrupt. It's hard to imagine that it's the same crew that takes care of all 18 holes here. How can there be that much fluctuation of quality on the same course? Baffling.

Anyway. Go if you want. I won't try and stop you. And I do feel bad for the hootin' and hollering here, but to pay almost $50 to walk (+ pull cart) here is nothing short of highway robbery. But again, it's off the list so I can just enjoy future reviews and hope that it gets better.
After finishing up work in Pasadena for the afternoon, decided to head over to Santa Anita for twilight after hearing good things about its current condition. The intel was solid.

Got a cart just after 3pm for $45 and joined two Chinese gentlemen at the first tee. They started out as good company but as the day progressed, what should have been a 3 hour round turned into four because they could not detach themselves from their cell phones and often was waiting around ahead of them frustrated while they sat in the cart on their phones with an empty green ahead of them. But I digress ...

Santa Anita is in great condition from the fairways to the greens. The fairways are really lush with only the fewest of dried out areas, and the greens are really tremendously good right now for a Muni with a lot of traffic. Medium speed greens with few rampant breaks to frustrate you, and good rollout. A few ball marks, sure, but nothing too bad.

The other areas are a bit less pristine, but overall course is in really solid shape. The rough is an afterthought currently - they're just kind of letting it go wild so it's very thick in places and you're in serious trouble. Other areas off the fairways can be quite thin and dried out so avoid them at all costs. The worst area are the tee boxes which have not been cut at all but just resemble an unkempt area of the rough with varying lengths of grass. Surprisingly poor. And the bunkers are mostly in good shape but fluctuate a bit in quality throughout the track.

Only one par 5 on the back nine but the layout is actually pretty fun and you get a decent chance to hit most every club in your bag. Not too many short par 4s either so your driver will get a good run from the blue tees. There are also a surprising amount of undulations in the fairways for what most would consider a flat course. And the 18th hole is a worthy adversary. Good customer service at starter and cafe, but no cart service on this day.

It's hard to imagine Santa Anita in much better shape any time soon (with the exception of the tee box condition), so I would take the opportunity if you get it. Great mountain views, too.
Had a great time today taming the Wolf at Paiute outside of Las Vegas. This was a really fun, yet very early and hot day. We got out just after 6am and it was already in the mid-90s with no wind whatsoever. When the sun came out it really started blazing, but got some wind later so it was all manageable. Played the yellow tees (6483 yards) with a work friend who is a member.

Course conditions are excellent, which is amazing when you see how arid and unforgiving the landscape is around here. But the views of the mountains are amazing, as are the green fairways in contrast to the surrounding desert. The rough is perfect - thick and penal and consistent throughout. The fairways? Not a bad lie to be found anywhere. Really excellent surface to hit from. Bunkers were very good with nice fluffy sand near the greens, and more firm, harder packed on the fairways. And the tee boxes were in fine shape, although it would be nice to maybe somehow add another set as you get the yellows at 6483 and the next one up is the blacks at 7009 yards!

Greens were simply awesome. No ball marks, great roll at slightly faster than medium fast, and some truly cool and inspiring green complexes, challenging not gimmicky breaks, and subtle deviations that make putting a joy to stroke the ball.

I would love to come back again and take on the other two 18s over the next few visits out here. It was also great to play with locals who knew all the best lines and even better was having a pretty good round despite the course's difficult challenge (bought two sleeves of balls at pro shop and still have all six!). Great clubhouse, plenty of cart service visits, water stations every other hole or so, and a really nice layout with all variety of approaches to the greens. It even has an awesome island green.

Highly recommended. Can't come back soon enough.
Out in Las Vegas for a work trip until next week and braved the 115 degree heat to play a twilight round at Spanish Trail CC. Played the Lakes and Sunrise 9s for $65 with a cart as a single with no one else around until I caught a threesome at start of the Sunrise 9 and they let me pass.

Of course in that heat those were the only people I saw all day so I finished in just under three hours, which is probably the limit of what I could handle under that hot sun.

The homes around the course are really impressive and cool to take in along the way, and what I like about the course is that its features don't even try to fake being natural. The waterfalls and lakes are over the top architecturally and don't bother to hide their true nature. This isn't some course built on pristine land or anything - it was carved out amongst the mansions and serves its purpose well.

Not a lot of elevation anywhere, but some of the fairways are surprisingly undulating and the entire course has a bunch of PGA West-esque mounds of awesomeness to guarantee you that flat lies are at a premium. There is also a good deal of water to contend with around these two 9s.

As for the conditions, I did not find them quite as glorious as the last review. In fact, despite a nice roll and good surface on the greens, many had burn-out spots and a slew of bird deposits and strange little dirt mounds all over the place - no idea what those were. It was also weird once when I was fixing a ball mark on the green and patting it down with my putter, I could almost feel a little bouncy, trampoline effect just under the surface. Never experienced that before.

The fairways though were in pretty nice shape with a few dried out areas here and there. Rough was lush and nice to hit from. Bunkers were pretty good too, as were the tee boxes. So yeah, overall it was pretty fun to play, and definitely a challenge with plenty of bunkers to go around to boot. Better be sharp - easy to get in trouble.

Service at the clubhouse was good but of course that late in the day there was no cart service, but they were kind enough to add in extra waters in the ice buckets to make sure there wasn't a corpse-shaped ash pile greeting them somewhere on the course tomorrow morning - yes, it was that hot. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, I love golf.
4th of July golf today at Rio Hondo, and what a beautiful, perfect summer day it was out there. My threesome had a 9:45 tee time that was pushed back to around 10am since the course was very crowded, but other than that everything went off pretty smoothly. There were certainly a few holes that got pretty backed up, but it was such a nice day and understood that it would be very busy that no one lost their minds.

Course is in far better shape today than the last time I played here months ago. The fairways are back to being in really good shape, with a few dry areas here and there but nowhere near the prime landings zones. Rough is a mixture of lush along the fairway edges, but thin along other parts of the course near the tree lines. Was only in one bunker and it was fine. Tee boxes were mostly good with little to complain about there.

Greens were in good shape with a decent amount of ball marks though, but nothing too terrible. They were a wee bit faster than medium and aren't too tricked out at Rio Hondo to cause all that many problems, but you have to be respectful of the pin placements. They're also very consistent from hole to hole.

Played the blue tees with a cart for around $56 which is fine for this course. We also had good consistency from the cart service throughout the day. I would definitely recommend a round at Rio Hondo right now if you're itching to get back out there.
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