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Played some birthday golf on Tues with Kassper7 but, because of an ill-timed dentist appointment in the morning, could not take advantage of a far off birthday deal at another course, but got a great $36 with cart deal on TeeOff (plus 10% discount code) for Skylinks, which was still close enough to the South Bay to reach for a full 18. We played the blue tees and I'm not sure why the slope and rating seem so low for them!

As for course conditions, it certainly doesn't look pristine at the moment, but in truth it was rare to find anything worse than a firm, thin lie anywhere. The fairways are very dried out in appearance and look as if they would play terribly, but it's actually not the worst surface to hit from. It's just the aesthetics which are a little disheartening. The rough is actually mostly cut low and often more favorable to hit from when just off the fairway.

Greens were very tricky and some very tough pins. Very fast at the moment, or at least it seemed that way early as our group of four had trouble catching up to the speeds until the back nine. But they held shots well enough and rolled true, but the breaks were so very deceptive and puzzling all day. Not too many ball marks though to contend with so that was nice.

Tee boxes were all in good, serviceable shape, and the bunkers that I was in (which were many) had mostly very nice sand greenside, and of course a bit thinner on the fairways bunkers, but will say that they should likely be even thinner when 150 plus yards from the greens. I found myself plugged in one or two fairway bunkers and that's just no fun.

POP was pretty good but always surprising to play on a Tuesday afternoon and find a crowded parking lot. We finished in around 4:30, so it was fine, but expected even faster. Layout at Skylinks I enjoy more and more each time even though there's not a single elevation on the course. A lot of bunkers to contend with, some water here and there, and some mature and daunting tree trouble to keep you honest and (hopefully) straight.

So it's worth a visit right now, especially if you can get away from the usual overpriced weekend rack rate. Just be prepared for the less-than-perfect optics that will greet from the first tee box until the last.
After having read through all the La Costa (Legends) reviews after the latest GK Plays this weekend, it's pretty easy to understand why there's such a large disparity in views of the overall course conditions. As Mark (ItslikeImsayin) mentioned in his review - 'it played better than it looked.' That sums up a lot of it for me personally.

Everyone has seen prettier looking greens than the ones they saw this Saturday at La Costa, but they certainly were devilishly tricky, pretty darn fast and were always a thrill ride, especially if approach shots ran a little bit and left some long putts to contend with. I found the green complexes very difficult and challenging, but also fair and intriguing.

Everyone has seen greener, more lush looking fairways, but you could always count on a good lie in the fairways and, while trickier and a bit thinner around the greens, they were consistent throughout and also provided decent amount of roll after good tee shots. There were also some areas where the rough was unplayable, but the stuff just off the fairways was thick but playable and I had little trouble all day getting out of tough spots with my hybrids from the rough.

Sand that I played and watched others play out of was in good shape. Mostly the nice fluffy stuff, but did play one or two that were a bit more on the thin side, but certainly nothing to really complain about. And the tee boxes, as many have mentioned, were in great shape. Never anything but a flat, perfect lie, nice angles to work from and just the right sponginess for a firm tee without having to work too hard.

Layout is pretty cool and interesting, especially when you play the first five holes and realize you haven't yet seen anything but par 4s. More hilly than I expected on that front nine, but certainly flattens out and gives you a few more challenges on the back nine. The water features are not gratuitous or in your face to terrorize you - just nice, solid course design that will certainly reward good shots. I also found the overall nature of the course pretty forgiving with more than ample fairways on everything but the par 3s, which were really good fun.

Service was top notch once again at La Costa, from the free valet and bag service, to the cart escorts to and from the practice area and the wonderful Liz who came around numerous times to make sure we were sorted on beverages. The staff there also went the extra mile for Johnny to bring him a phone charger to take course pictures when he realized his was bad, and that was on the fourth hole. Now that's good service.

Did have a darn enjoyable round with the man himself, Mr. GK, along with Scott and Randy, who were two great characters that I hope to play with again sometime. It was all in all a really great event and I'm glad I snuck in late to take part. Really good fun after the round as well - great venue, food and of course thanks to all those who donate to the raffle that keeps everyone smiling at the end. A fun way to end 2017.
Spent Sunday afternoon at Rancho Park with a buddy and another twosome that were really good company all day - very evenly matched round so that helps keep things moving. We had an 11:44 tee time and were of course worried that we may not finish all 18 on a Sunday at RP, but we came in right as the final good rays of daylight were disappearing so it could not have been timed better. We played the blue tees and paid $50.50 with a push cart.

Fairways have pretty decent coverage in most areas but you will definitely find a few thin spots or bare areas with thin lies. Rough is thick and penal in a lot of areas, but in others you'll get some hardpan and just plain dirt. But the stuff in and around the greens is pretty grabby at the moment. Some decent roll to be had on the fairways though as evidenced by my 290 yard drive on the semi-uphill 11th hole.

Tee boxes were a bit of a mess on a lot of holes with some muddy dirt to contend with while looking for the sparse patches of grass where you could put your tee in. It looked on a lot of tee boxes as if they'd been recently punched, but some of the coverage was atrocious. Sand traps seemed to be in pretty good shape but I was only in the greenside bunker on 10 all day.

Greens were in pretty nice shape overall but weren't running too fast, maybe an 8.5 to 9 at best. They seem to have slowed them down from what I understand to help out the POP - rather have people 2-putting than 3 and 4-putting with faster greens. They run pretty nice though - not a lot of breaks at Rancho, even though some appear to be so from the putter's perspective. Still, they held shots pretty well and didn't hear many complaints on the day about too many ball marks.

It was a beautiful day out there and it was a nice time at Ranch Park once again. Great snack shop on 12th tee box for all of your snack and beverage needs, which was important as there was no cart service to be seen all day long. Pretty fun day overall.
Spent the final day of the holiday weekend at Los Amigos on Sunday with two buddies playing from the blue tees and walking. We had a 10:20 tee time and got off without a hitch, however the two guys playing in front of us managed to make what should have been a fast round into a five-hour ordeal. They just chatted all round, took their sweet time catching up to the group in front of them, played two balls on numerous occasions, etc. It was quite exasperating to say the least.

For some reason Los Amigos also has a dire shortage of good push carts, as the one I rented did not have a front wheel (which I was duly warned about), so I had to keep it jacked up all day in order for it to work properly. No big deal, however not a single cart girl in sight all day was a shame. It wasn't exactly hot like summer time, but it was a fairly busy Sunday and they should have that covered for sure.

As for the course conditions, Los Amigos always has some of the best sand around. You'll always get the fluffy stuff here so kudos to them for that. The greens were also in pretty good shape all around, rolling nicely and medium speed. Definitely too many ball marks around the greens but for the most part no complaints there.

Fairways and rough are in less than optimal shape. There were some major areas on a few of the fairways that were roped off (assumed GUR from afar), but when we got there, they were in better shape than the thin fairways around them. Many a burned out or thin lie that made wedge shots extremely difficult today. However the rough around the greens was grabby but consistent enough. Tee boxes were also a bit of an uneven mess, and the one on the par 3 7th was a total disaster. Definitely need to do some work there.

Overall, a little bit subpar from Los Amigos today, but I expect them to be better in the future as they usually are. It's a fun little track that definitely should help the confidence in your game, however the front nine is significantly easier than the back nine (and especially the last three holes), which goes completely against the logic of how my scoring went. But this will always remain a regular course in my rotation.
Played a post-Thanksgiving Friday round at Hansen Dam with Kassper7 and another buddy this week. Found the course to be in overall favorable condition with a few issues here or there but overall handling the busy holiday season quite well.

Played the blue tees which is plenty of length to work with, but surprised to see they actually had a full set of the black tees which I hadn't noticed before. We had an 11:12 tee time and while it was busy, still got off in time and finished with a decent POP at just under five hours. Did a little bit of waiting here and there but nothing too terrible except maybe at the par 3 holes.

Fairways were generally in good shape with the occasional thin or burned out lie. For the most part you'll find yourself in the fairways with good surfaces to hit from. The rough is another story as there was no shortage of either thick, unruly grass, or very thin and difficult to get a good shot off from. Tee boxes were okay throughout the course, while the sand traps were serviceable but far from great. They had mostly thin layers of sand that seemed a bit hard-packed, and there were a few too many rocks for my liking in the bunkers on the uphill par 3 4th hole.

Greens were actually in nice shape, rolling true and holding shots well. Not really fast but definitely need to pay attention to speed. I would say probably between a 9 and 10 on the Stimp. Don't remember fixing too many ball marks so that was good, but there were a few greens that had some variations in coloring and grass that seemed out of place.

No cart service and on a hot, busy Friday, was surprised to see the small snack window at the turn closed - what's up with that? Seems like an odd day to not staff that area. But overall it was another good experience at HD that almost always delivers a good, serviceable round of golf to get your fix.
Wednesday afternoon round at Griffith Park Harding today with an old friend who was playing a GP course for the first time. Had an 11:04am tee time, grabbed a cart and hit from the blue tees with another really enjoyable pair of gentlemen.

Bit of a rollercoaster day on a personal level with a great front nine and an absolutely abysmal back nine, but the course stayed consistent throughout. It's about what you might expect right now from one of LA County's busiest and most trampled upon courses.

What kind of shape is Harding in right now? Not bad. The fairways are definitely thin in some areas but for the most part you will be rewarded with serviceable lies - not lush, but serviceable. A few dried out spots called for 'winter' rules, even though it was close to 100 degrees outside! The rough is thick in places off the fairways and definitely grabby around the greens. Tee boxes were in good shape for the most part, and traps were average to slightly above average depending on the hole.

Greens were rolling pretty well but definitely too many ball marks and golfers simply not doing their part to keep up the nice work the grounds crew is doing. Some surface damage visible on the 11th hole green, but for the most part they were soft and holding shots well, running relatively straight and hitting a speed I would guess around a 9 to a 9.5.

No cart service all day which is a shame with that hot weather, however the great snack shop between Harding and Wilson is accessible from the 5th hole tee box and 8th hole green, so you can stock up there with all you need. Harding also remains a fun layout - not crazy or quirky in any way, just a solid all-around golf course with the solid player in mind.
Played Mile Square (Players) on Sunday with Kassper7 and another friend, then got paired with another single who was a good guy. Had an 8:30am tee time set up and paid a fairly steep $66 to ride. Current course conditions, while okay, are probably not worthy of that price in this moment.

And again, nothing really too bad across the board, except maybe a few of the tee boxes which had large patches of overgrown stuff (reseeding I assume?), some thin lies in and around the fairways, some GUR areas filled with more sand than the bunkers, etc. But playable? Absolutely. Only the higher price makes one expect a little more.

Greens were in pretty good shape, probably the best aspect of the course right now. Not too fast but not too slow either - rolled pretty well all around and people seemed to do a good job with their ball marks. Held shots well, too. Fairways had some good coverage but mostly look a bit dried out and thin, however most shots still had enough underneath them to make good contact. Definitely a few thick patches of rough around the greens, but mostly thin near the fairways. Bunkers just okay - nothing too bad. And yeah, tee boxes were probably most in need of some attention.

Had cart service once or twice so that was good. POP wasn't too bad for a Sunday morning, but we did do a little bit of waiting on almost every hole - some more pronounced than others, but the marshal was definitely around doing his best to keep things flowing. Believe we finished in just under five. And the layout? Flat, parkland style with not a lot of tree trouble but plenty of blind water hazards and cleverly placed bunkers all around to torment. Some long par 4s here to be sure, even playing from the whites, but a nice set of par 3s for sure.

I would certainly come back and play either of these courses just about anytime, but not for the full rack rate at present. Midweek or with a discount voucher? No problem.
First time back out to Anaheim Hills in years but got a great time + 20% off promo code (thanks for the tip Kassper7!) to bring the overpriced $72 greens fee down to a very worthy $48. Played the blue tees with a father and son and then another single who just happened to be a GKer - great playing with you Dixie (iluv2golflady)!

It was a beautiful day for golf and I was pleasantly met with very nice course conditions for the most part at Anaheim Hills. I found the fairways to be mostly in very good shape with very few poor/thin lies, but you may find a few if you're just off the fairways. The rough can be very thin off the tee, and there are plenty of places to lose balls on this quirky 18, but the thick rough is around the greens that will really wreak havoc with your chipping unless you're very committed.

Greens were not particularly fast and have many confounding breaks and tough pin locations (mostly because there was a men's tournament earlier in the day), but they rolled actually quite nicely and I did not see a huge amount of ball marks. Speed of the greens seemed to change throughout the day, but coverage was nice with only a few of them showing some signs of wear and tear.

Tee boxes were good with some on the back nine a little more chewed up than the front, but there are some really fun start positions to work with at AH. The bunkers were not that great if there's something to be really picky about - mostly quite thin and even one on hole 13 (left greenside bunker from the tee) that had a half of it under standing water.

This is certainly not a beginner's course. It can be very confusing judging distances off the tee to blind doglegs and plenty of elevations with narrow trajectory points along the way. There is no shortage of trouble to find if you're off your game. And let's face it - a lot of the holes here are really wacky and just plain odd. By the same token, there are also a lot of beautiful holes and areas where you can really appreciate the scenery.

In essence, this course won't be for everyone, but from a condition standpoint, it's worth taking a look right now, if you can get that discounted rate. For me personally, I think the rack rate is just a tad high. I was glad though to finally knock this course off my 100 list after having played it twice early in my playing career. Now on to the next one!
While not quite as pristine as Desert Willow Firecliff was just around six weeks ago, it's still in very good shape just before reseeding and one of the only places in the Palm Springs area right now that's delivering a quality experience during this transitional phase of the year.

The fairways are not quite as green as they were recently, but completely playable and you'll never really find a bad lie anywhere. The greens were a little slower and drier than weeks ago, but still rolled very true and held shots incredibly well. Rough was in great shape - penal and lush. And the bunkers and tee boxes were both in very good shape throughout the course.

Super fun layout that keeps getting better and better each time I play the course. It's very challenging and if you let anything get loose, you can leave a hole with a big score, which I unfortunately did twice to cancel out what otherwise was a very good round. Price for a Friday afternoon ($140) is a bit steep but when you play the course it's justified, and again, especially when so many other courses in the area are either closed for reseeding or just coming out of it and not quite ready for prime time.

It was hot out there so seeing the cart service around a few times was great, and there were a good number of ice and water stations around to help keep you cool. Great place to play and it will surely be in prime shape again very soon after the fall maintenance.
Finally made my first trip out to Oak Valley this week and loved it, despite a terrible round after almost two weeks off from playing. The course was surprisingly in very nice shape with some exception to some dried out areas on the front nine, but the back nine was very lush and green.

Super fun layout and fantastic greens were the highlight of the round for me. Greens were running at almost an 11 and were straight and true and in optimal shape - well done to the staff on those.

Bunkers were in good shape - nothing to complain about there, and the tee boxes had a little bit of wear and tear on various holes but totally playable. The rough was very thick and penal in places around the greens, but mostly hittable around the fairways.

The price for a midweek afternoon round was just around $45 which is a definite steal for this really great course. A lot of memorable holes and challenging angles to play, but totally fair and again, super fun.

Grass driving range is nice but you must purchase balls to practice. Right now this is a really fun track to play.
Made it out to El Dorado again this weekend after reading some positive reviews about this Long Beach classic course. The reviews were pretty accurate.

Conditions are good all across the board at El Do right now. Greens were very nice, not particularly fast, but held (other people's) shots well and rolled pretty nicely. Not a lot of damage or bumps to speak of so that was nice.

Fairways are pretty lush in most areas, but of course you're going to find some dried out or thin areas, but nothing too thin to feel you're getting a horrible lie. There were some really wet or thick crabgrass areas around some of the greens and it was really difficult to chip out of that stuff. But overall not too bad.

Tee boxes were a bit shaggy and probably about the worst aspect of the course currently. Sand was nice in the many traps that I was in but of varying quality - seemed to be much nicer sand in the fairways bunkers than greenside, which I found a bit odd. But both totally fine to play out of right now.

POP was a bit poor as they failed to inform us that there was a tournament going out right before us, so imagining that was part of the slowdown. We waited a bit on just about every hole so it ended up taking a little over five hours. Cart service was around though and there were many water stations on a hot day.

Not sure what the aeration schedule looks like but you can have a fun round at El Dorado right now if you're looking for one. Pretty fun layout to boot.
Friday twilight round at Encino this week, and happy to see that the greens at this heavy traffic course are still in great shape like the only other time I played here like six months ago. It's really refreshing to play a Muni like this that has greens as good as many higher end or even private courses right now. Absolute top marks to the staff for that.

Played the black tees (6900 yards) walking with a push cart for $25, so that's a great deal. Apart from the greens, obviously the standard is going to drop a little bit, but I've definitely played worse this year. The fairways certainly have many dried out areas but the lies were still mostly good all afternoon. The rough is actually pretty lush and nice and easy to hit from in most areas. But the fairways themselves are hardly lush, but perfectly playable.

Tee boxes are a little beat up for sure and could be a bit better, but that's always the least of any golfer's worry on a course. The sand that I was in was actually pretty good, much to my surprise. It wasn't exactly of the fluffy variety, but ample and very easy to hit your ball out of if you find yourself there.

A few doglegs here and there, but it's mostly a straight-ahead golf course with very little trouble to get into. But again, from the black tees the defense is its length, including some very long par 3s, including one at 230 yards. POP was really good today as well as we finished in under four hours.

Encino does the job right now so go get your fix.
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