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Finally got back out there today after around two weeks of too much work and no golf whatsoever - that's rough. But today went out to Rancho Park with a buddy after taking the afternoon off and was rewarded with a course in really great shape right now.

The recent rains have really put the green into Rancho and it's great to see. Really nice lies all day in the fairways and rough, a few soggy sections of course after the last few days, but mostly all in really nice condition. Visually it looks superb right now, maybe the best I've ever seen it.

The greens, expected to be quite damp and slow, were anything but. They were moving quite nicely, had great coverage, minimal ball marks and held shots very well. Really fun time on the greens even though I didn't putt particularly well, but the surface is quite good and there's not too much tricked out stuff to put you off your game. Good marks there for sure.

Is it perfect? No, not quite. I think the tee boxes are probably the area most in need of work right now. A lot of dirt or minimal green to work with there and they could use some attention. The bunkers were in good shape overall and I had no problem with the sand in them at all.

POP once again was very good, coming in at around 4:45. That may not sound great for the Country Club set, but if you know Rancho's reputation, then you'll know that's a great time to get in and out of there. We waited a bit on the front but pretty much sailed through the back nine after the usual stop at the 12th hole snack bar and tee box.

Oh yeah, good value too for a Friday afternoon, walking for $35. And thankfully the weather cleared up and was beautiful all day, and for the most part the course drained very nicely. Good to see Rancho back near its best. Go have a round there and enjoy yourself.
Navy course kicked my butt today, but the conditions didn't have anything to do with my awfulness. In fact, outside of the unlevel tee boxes, found the course to be in really good winter shape. And only paying $29 to walk was a real bonus. I walked on around noon and though crowded, the starter Bryce was awesome and got me on quick. Much appreciated!

I found the fairways to be mostly in good shape and actually showing some green, but there are a few dried out spots but nothing to really complain too much about. Rough was fine - manageable. Tee boxes? A bit chewed up on a few holes and on the back nine some really unlevel ones that could use a reboot. Sand traps seemed okay - had no trouble getting out of the two I was in.

Greens? Really nice, and really a lot more tricky than I remember from the last time out there. But they're in nice shape, running medium fast and rolling true. As for holding shots, I didn't hit too many greens but my playing partners I was joined up with seemed to have no complaints.

Cart service came around early which was great and took care of things nicely ... good to also have that very convenient snack shop on the 12th hole. Speaking of the 12th hole, the lake guarding the green is currently drained so there's a funky little smell when you're on the green. But hey, at least you can play it now if you come up short.

Wish I had played better but kudos to the Navy staff for having their course in really good shape. And if you want a really challenging, long track to test you, stop by. You won't regret it.
Sunday round at Rustic ($67 walking) and was a little disappointed with the conditions, but that's only because the standard here is so high. Long day out there with a POP of around 5 hours, but it was a nice day so it wasn't too bad.

Fairways are very dry right now ... was hoping the last few days of rain would fix that but not the case. It's playable but thin. The rough is generally not too penal and sometimes you want a bit of that extra fluff under the ball after hitting so many on the thinner fairways. Tee boxes are okay but showing some wear, and the sand traps are a bit thin themselves - a few actually were more like caked mud after the rains.

The greens though are in great shape and were super tricky and fast today. Today was probably the first day that I really felt the greens at Rustic got the better of me, yet I know many talk about how tough the putting there is. Very tricky reads today with the pin placements and it was very easy to run chips off the green if you weren't careful.

Cart service was around all day which was very nice, and for some reason (frost delay I believe) we started on the back nine. I much prefer the regular routing at Rustic so that was a bit of a bummer but I'll survive. So all in all, it was a good day at Rustic but it's a ways off from wearing its best face. But it remains highly functional and a very intriguing and fun 18 always.
Sad to say it but Los Amigos has (temporarily at least) returned to its pre-makeover days. It's in the worst shape I've seen it in years and it's very concerning. Luckily it was only $32 to walk on a crowded Sunday afternoon, but not much else was good for the day.

The fairways are brown, thin and burned out. You'll get some decent roll out there but likely end up in anything from a yellow patch to an exposed area of dried out dirt. The rough isn't too much better, but at least it feels like there's something under your ball to get it up in the air. Chipping proved to be very challenging based on conditions.

Tee boxes were mostly okay but the greens were mostly bumpy, predominantly slow and showing all kinds of wear and tear. They did at least hold shots pretty well, but other than that you could barely keep a line with the bumps all over the place and varying speeds.

POP was a nightmare as well, waiting on every hole until the 15th.

Sand traps were actually in very good shape across the board - at least they got that right. But it's very upsetting to see the course that's made such a big comeback from many years ago revert back to the same old tired schtick. I know that this place will get its groove back when we either get some rain or more people stop showing up because of conditions, but until I see a good review again, I'll probably go elsewhere.
Not much to add since yesterday's Rio Hondo review by t8fish. I joined Kassper7 and Nodoubles22 for their GK Cup match today along with ahossom, and we paid $59 for the round with a cart. We saw plenty of crowd around on the first hole but surprisingly never really waited on any holes all day and were never pushed throughout the round. Ended up with a POP at just around 4 1/2 hours, which was amazing for a holiday Sunday.

Greens were in very nice shape with minimal ball marks, nice coverage and good rolls while holding well struck approach shots with no problem. Thinnish fairways for sure but playing just fine, rough a bit thicker and favorable. Sand was in great shape, and tee boxes good.

Cart service came around once during the round as well but it's great on the transition from the front to back nines to pass right by the snack bar. We also had drinks and food after the round and the restaurant upstairs is very nice. The weather also turned out perfect today despite a much colder forecast. All in all it was awesome day and the Hondo is showing some very nice form despite being in mid-winter shape.
Didn't have time after a work presentation in City of Industry to play at Industry Hills with two friends, so decided we would have time to check out Iron-Wood for the first time. We got there just before 3pm and got on fairly quickly and easily, and all for a great price of just $13. Unfortunately when we got to the second tee it was three groups deep, so we waited an eternity, but after that the course opened up just fine.

Iron-Wood is a very well maintained par 29 course that doesn't present a huge challenge but is quite fun and interesting. It's very lush and there are quite a few interesting water hazards to navigate which is quite rare it seems with this type of layout. Two decent par 4s keep things interesting, but the par 3s are pretty straightforward but rather well guarded by bunkers.

Greens had very nice coverage to them and putted above average. There were definitely some ball marks to contend with though and the speeds were not more than medium at best. The fairways though are in very nice shape and that's great to see. Rough is nice and thick but not too penal. Bunkers seemed to be well stocked and workable. The only real knock was the tee boxes as they were quite thin but mostly level and not a big problem.

First time here so was pleasantly surprised with the experience, especially for just $13 for a nice round. If in the area with a little time to spare and my clubs in the trunk, would not hesitate for a second to come back here and work out the short game kinks again.
Very impressed with Mountain Meadows today playing our GK Cup match today. After seeing so many local courses with dried out, brown fairways, the nice and lush green playing surface covering most of the course today was a pleasure to play. They got us out on time after a good warm-up on the range, and at around $50 I believe, absolutely worth the money.

As I mentioned, the fairways and rough are in very good winter shape right now. Mostly all lies were great, and the rough was not too penal, cut just a bit longer than the fairways. There were a few thinner areas around the greens, and some muddy sections as well, but for the most part the course is in great shape in that arena. There was a big GUR section at the elbow on the 16th hole, but not much else in trouble besides that region.

And if the fairways were in good shape, the greens were even better. They were very smooth and fast as can be - took a long time to get the speed right. They seemed to hold shots pretty well though, but I did not hit a lot of greens today. Rolled true and held their lines, but definitely some tough reads out there today. Still, great fun to play these greens.

I was only in one bunker today but the sand was nice enough. I saw the others hitting plenty of sand shots all day and none had any complaints. If there was an area that could use some improvement, that was the tee boxes. A few a bit unlevel, but many that were chewed up pretty decently, but if that's the biggest problem with the course, you're still in for a good day.

POP was right around five hours for the round. We definitely had some backups throughout the day, but it got much better on the back nine. We also saw the cart girl on the front nine, but never on the back. Not a big deal. It was such a nice day that we hardly noticed the time passing by.

The layout at Mountain Meadows is also really fun. A lot of challenging, narrow tee shots with hills and valleys to gobble up any shots off the mark, but ample opportunity to save a lot of those shots out of some pretty dodgy areas though. The course stays compact on the front nine but then gets more open on the back as you go up and down the mountainside. Definitely a few quirky holes here, but for the most part just good, solid holes that require your best to be on target.

And did I mention what a perfect, sunny and non-windy day it was? We had the funny cars drag racing nearby, and some nice vintage WWII fighter planes flying overhead, but that just kind of added to the fun. I would most definitely recommend Mountain Meadows right now if you're tired of seeing brown fairways and overpaying for them at 'ritzier' courses than this one.
Thanks to a fortuitous work meeting with a member at Dove Canyon on Friday, I got the chance to play this terrific Jack Nicklaus designed private course near Trabuco Canyon. It's a memorable layout that's loads of fun and very, very challenging - no room for error here with many very tight fairways, loads of long and intimidating sand traps, and elevations, mounding and super tricky greens to torment you all day long.

We started on the grass driving range which is very nice and wide open. From there, we got to the first tee and played the blue/white combo. Unfortunately the fairways were not the lush, deep green that one would expect from a high-end private course, but they were very playable despite that flaw, with the one exception being some thin areas around the greens which made chipping an adventure a few times. Not a lot of room here for rough on a lot of holes, but it was certainly not cut at a daunting height to create fear if you were a bit off on your drives. The course also had some punch marks in the fairways on the back nine, but nothing too bad. Still, one doesn't expect that at a place like this.

Another thing I noticed was how soft the fairways were, almost like playing in Hawaii. If you chunked, you brought up around 100 pounds of dirt. My friend told me it's because the base is clay but they're apparently working on fixing that and changing a lot about the ground conditions there, but I can't speak too much about that.

In start contrast to that, the greens were wonderful. Very fast, very tricky and a joy to play on throughout the round. If you weren't pitching straight up and down though, they had a tendency to push chips right off the fairway. They held iron shots much better. But super fun.

Sand traps were in good shape (was only in two all day), and the tee boxes (and tee box options) were immense. You get some really awesome tee box views here and each hole seems to have its own charm outside of a rare few. It's just a lot of fun to play this course, but you most certainly can't afford to be off or you will get punished. My main troubles on the front nine were of the chipping sort and that cost me big time, but cleaned up on the back nine after getting a better feel for the conditions.

Great closing hole at Dove Canyon as well to really finish strong. And the 17th hole is one of the more wild par 3s you will ever play, dropping down around 250 feet with a wildly shelved green that looks so much different from ground level than it does from the tee box.

The rest of the property and its corresponding clubhouse and restaurants/snack shops is great. It's a very laid back private club as well and there's not much hint of stuffiness or high-brow attitudes around the place. That's always a nice feeling.

I'm hoping to get a chance to play the course again thanks to my business contact there and it will be even more fun with a little more course knowledge to work out the tricky parts. But even for a first time visit, it was a great time and I highly recommend getting out there if you ever get the opportunity.
Got out on Sunday for my traditional Super Bowl Sunday afternoon round and found a good deal online for Skylinks with a 12:04 tee time. I was of course expecting the course to be empty by that time with all of the parties going on, but alas it was not to be. Skylinks was absolutely packed and with fivesomes to boot, so the round was quite tedious with a lot of waiting on almost every hole but we did manage to finish just as the sun dropped below the horizon.

Conditions at Skylinks are certainly not in their usual optimal state, with the biggest culprit being the dried out fairways. Optically, it looks quite bad, but for the most part you can play from it without too many problems. I did however find quite a few dry patches and plenty of burned out divot holes in the fairways that were disappointing. The rough was in nicer shape though, not as burned out and cut a good bit longer than the fairways.

I was in far too many bunkers today (yet played them quite well actually) and the sand was for the most part very playable and I had no real problems getting good contact out of the fairway bunkers. The greenside bunkers were just fluffy enough to be considered a positive. Tee boxes were in great shape throughout the course.

And the greens you ask? Yes, they were in fine shape, probably the best part of the course right now. Lots of subtle and not-so-subtle breaks on the Skylinks greens, but they had very nice, green coverage, not too many ball marks to complain about, and rolled true at medium fast speed. All good there.

So I would say the only knocks on Skylinks today was the POP with a full house and probably not staggering the tee times enough, and the burned out, dry looking fairways that could really use some winter rains to get them back to their preferred state. Other than that though, it's a fun layout and an intriguing, challenging track to play. Get a midweek lowered rate or an online deal and it's still well worth it right now.
Played a windy Sunday round at Woodley Lakes with Kassper7 and finished up pretty amazingly in around four and a half hours. The high winds and tough play must have kept many away. But it was still a pretty fun round despite the trying conditions.

Fairways are very thin but playable - some worse than others. When you have very thin lies around the greens it makes for very difficult chipping and pitching. Occasionally you could also find yourself in a dirt patch as well which is not ideal. The rough was just slightly higher than the fairway grass and not too penal at all - often times preferable.

Greens were in okay shape, rolling actually medium-fast but with a lot of ball marks and debris on them throughout the day. Can't really blame all the debris though on anything but the heavy wind so keep that in mind. Bunkers were okay throughout the course, and the tee boxes got the job done.

Woodley Lakes will rarely be the type of layout or scenery that will inspire a great round of golf, but it's even more stark when the conditions are a bit sub-par compared to normal. I think it will get better in time and hope it does as it's always a good track to play when wanting to work on some swing or path changes and get the confidence back up.
Quick little Saturday round at Penmar this weekend. For $20 it's almost always a great, quick option when time is short. You're never going to get pristine conditions here, and there's no range to warm up, but it's usually in good shape (with the exception of the greens and tee boxes).

Currently the fairways and rough are in nice shape, a few muddy sections to contend with though. Greens are slow and very bumpy. Sand is thin. Tee boxes are mostly in poor shape currently. POP can be an issue here but on this weekend we got lucky and didn't get held up until the 5th hole but not too bad.

I've seen Penmar in better shape but it's by no means bad right now. You get to use a lot of clubs in your bag here for a nine hole, and getting on is usually hassle free, so if you only have a bit of time, try it out once.
You can keep reading all the superlatives you like about Rams Hill, but you just won't get it unless you get out there and play it. It's a truly marvelous golf experience from soup to nuts. From the moment you pull into the parking lot and see that wonderful contrast of plush, carpet green with the surrounding desert, it's not hard to understand why this place is truly special.

I enjoyed having two first-timers at Rams Hill in our group as well as they were completely struck all afternoon by the beauty and awesomeness of the course and its location amongst the hills. There is simply not one hole wasted in this layout - every single hole is a unique and challenging spectacle, and the rewards of playing them well are spectacular. The Fazio design used every contour of the land surrounding the property and filled in the gaps with green goodness. It's an amazing place to play the game we love.

Conditions were simply excellent and some of the best I've experienced anywhere in quite some time. Absolutely perfect lies in the fairways all day long. And not just nice, green grass, but thick and healthy. The rough was even more uniform and spectacular - cut just high enough to make you think about putting away that hybrid, but not penal enough to discourage you from going for it when the time was right. Fantastic visually and in terms of playability.

Tee boxes were immaculate and there's no shortage of options. We were awed all day by the positions of the black tee boxes, but that's way too much length for most any amateur, so we 'settled' for the blue tees, which were more than challenging enough. Bunkers were wonderfully stocked with fluffy sand and any mistakes out of them was more user error than anything else. Can't have a single complaint.

Greens were glassy righteousness, coming in around an 11 on the stimp I'm guessing. No shortage of tiers on Fazio's greens, so either be very good or very lucky to keep it close. There are a lot of double breaks and undulations that must be skillfully navigated, but if you hit your ball solid, you'll get a perfect roll every time. Just need to get that speed down! And even low trajectory shots for the most part seemed to find a home on the greens just fine. Epic.

Fantastic service all around from the pro shop, the attendants outside and a cart service that came around so often it was almost comical. Felt bad not ordering more! Great patio with an incredible vista of 18 and the surrounding mountains and desert. What more is there to say? We were the first group out for the GK event so hopefully our pace (right at four hours) set a good tone for the day. Thanks to Johnny for putting this awesome day together yet again.

We're looking forward to coming back again next January to do the same big Borrego weekend all over again. It was that fun and memorable.
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