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Superb fun at the GK Cup final at Sterling Hills this past Sunday. Had never played the course before and it was an absolute treat that I was not expecting based on past heresay and reviews. I enjoyed it immensely.

Went out with the first foursome along with Matt P, Kevin V and Sal ... what a bunch of characters. And speaking of character, this course has got a lot of it. You're going to experience a lot of different hole types and be challenged and rewarded and frustrated and thrilled. It's kind of all here from my perspective. I found the layout to be incredibly fun and kept me engaged the entire afternoon.

Course conditions were pretty darn good all around but the greens were wild and exceptional. Deceptively quick, incredibly difficult to read and there's no shortage of tricky tiers, slopes or long lags to confound you. I four-putted the first hole so I learned quick what was going to be needed to stay on top of these bad boys.

Fairways were in mostly good shape with some thin areas, but not too bad at all for this time of year. Rough was definitely varied and some of it was that extremely grabby variety that made chipping quite an adventure. Bunkers looked okay but fresh off the rains I can imagine they would be better dried out. No issues with the tee boxes outside of one or two being a bit chewed up or not level. Overall though, really playable and fun.

We had cart service numerous times throughout the day and found the staff to all be very pleasant and even happy to be there. Driving range is pretty small but more than adequate for the round ahead of you. Nice snack shop after the round for the GKers pow-wow.

I'm really looking forward to playing here again and fixing some of the mistakes I made on a few holes. The weather, which looked a tad bit windy and cold maybe at the start, turned into a pretty spectacular day with minimal wind and overcast skies but temps that never dipped too low. A great day all around and looking forward to another trip here in summer in optimal conditions.
Made a late decision to play Camarillo Springs this past Saturday for the first time and I have, well, thoughts. This place is definitely rough around the edges and I have a hard time understanding why in all reality.

The clubhouse and practice areas are as basic as it gets, and the restaurant is shut down permanently. The carts are ancient and the driving range nets adjacent to the 12th hole are in tatters and only useful to show you which direction the wind is blowing.

As for the course itself, it's a huge shame that no money gets put into this place. The bones are there for a pretty amazing track, and the scenery up close to that mountain is pretty breathtaking, but conditions and slow POP really just eat up any chance this place has to have a great golfing experience.

The fairways were thin, as was the rough, but you could occasionally find a good lie. The bunkers were in terrible shape but to be fair it had just rained heavily the night before so that was to be expected. Still, even the dry ones had that clunky, boxy sand. The tee boxes were beat up and often not level. The only saving grace were the greens and even they were chock full of ball marks and discoloring. In essence, not great.

The layout is wildly interesting though and the front nine is a more traditional test of golf as opposed to the nutty back nine with more water in play on every hole from 13-18 than any Florida course. It's hard to really see where to go on some of the holes unless you're playing with someone familiar with the course, and even then it's a lot of guessing. Since the carts have no GPS (they barely have a steering wheel), you better have one on your phone or you're not leaving here as a rookie without a big score.

POP was pretty awful as we were backed up the entire day until the group on 16 let us pass them as my foursome had dwindled down to a twosome. I can't remember the price for the round exactly, but I think it was in the $45 range and that was a tad bit high for the experience, however I would gladly pay that and more if they put it back into this course and made it a respectable place.

It's just a shame that a course that could have so much character and that is basking in some beautiful topography is so neglected and worn down. Love to see a Renaissance here as much as just about any other course I've ever played.
Friday twilight this past weekend at Rancho Park and for once I don't have much to add that wasn't covered in all the recent reviews. I hadn't played my 'home' course for quite some time so it was fun to get back to this LA classic to find it in good shape overall with the exception of the sanded, roped off tee boxes. A necessary evil of course ... like our golf games, it's not always easy to have every aspect of your game firing on all cylinders at the same time.

Oh, one thing to note that's pretty new I believe is that the carts have a nice GPS system in them now. Don't remember that from before. It's a nice touch but a more basic system. Still, a big upgrade.
First time ever at Normandy Shores just north of Miami Beach last week and it was a very enjoyable experience. Apparently this track was not so great a few years back, but it appears to have been improved in every facet based on its latest showing.

It's not quite as tough a course as the Miami Beach GC down the road, mainly because it's very flat, has fewer water hazards to navigate and its greens aren't quite as tricky, but it's still a very fun test of golf in a very nice setting surrounded by an island of residences in this exclusive little community.

Amenities such as cart GPS and the like are all very well done. The range is small but adequate, as is the practice area for chipping and putting. The course itself is in fine shape. Fairways are nice and green with lush surfaces to hit from, while the rough is very manageable. Greens were in very nice shape as well, rolling true at medium-fast speeds and very receptive to good shots. Tee boxes were just fine and the sand was very nice as you would expect from a SoFLa course.

Enjoyed the round immensely and also took pictures of all 18 holes that should be posted promptly as soon as Johnny comes down off his Pebble Beach Cloud 9 ...
Back in South Florida for a company sales meeting so we got to spend two half days golfing. One day was at Normandy Shores, and that review will be coming soon as soon as that course gets uploaded into the GK database, but our second day was back at Miami Beach Golf Club and once again it did not disappoint.

Very tough track here with tons of water in dangerous, unseen places to rack up the penalties if you're wayward. There are also a lot of different slopes to the fairways and rough areas that are unexpected in this flat part of the state, and the bunkers are complex and frequent. On top of that you have some challenging greens ... it all adds up to a formidable day for shooting low scores.

Conditions are very good right now but the greens had recently been sanded, so that was interesting. They still rolled quite fast though and there are a lot of dropoffs and tough angles to navigate to keep the low putt count. But all in all they were in good shape with the exception of the sand which likely brought the rating down.

Fairways were in very good shape on every hole, as was the deep rough, but not deep enough to give too many headaches. Sand was in very good shape and found often throughout the day from our group - more on that later. Tee boxes (we played the blues) are in fine shape across the board.

We had five players so we went off three and two, then, after appraising the situation on a fairly busy Wed afternoon, decided to join up as a fivesome as we were waiting already all day on the threesome in front of us, who also waited on a slower group in front of them. At no point did we ever fall behind and we were absolutely pushing the group in front of us all day. We all play fast, ready golf. So it was funny when a 'marshal' came out on the 8th tee box (we started the day on the back nine) to tell us the group behind us complained that we were a fivesome and had to break back up into two groups. Absolute silliness.

But once again, this is a super fun and challenging course to play with very good conditions to match. So if you're in the area, don't think twice. Just get out there and play it.
Took one of my best friend's visiting from Costa Rica to The Links at Terranea on Sunday as he only could break away from family obligations for a short amount of time and was very excited to see the course and its fantastic ocean views.

We caught this little gem, recently ranked yet again as the nation's top short course, on a perfect morning and in great condition. You check in, grab a nice push cart, walk to the first tee and just enjoy PGA quality scenery and conditions without the burden of fairways or having to carry any club more than a 6 or a 7 iron. And yes, it's walking only.

Amazing greens in perfect shape, green lushness all around, tough and dangerous bunkers surrounding all the greens that are doubly dubious with super thick grass/reeds around them that will make any short bunker shots almost as difficult as the sand itself. Green slopes are fair though and not gimmicky at all - very nice all across the board.

This was my first return visit since October of 2013 so it was quite a treat and I forgot how much fun this little track could provide. Played well too to enjoy the experience even more. And my buddy loved every second of it.
Had a Saturday round at Los Amigos (was not my first choice after recent visit back in November) booked by a friend and found the course to be in pretty much the same condition as last time out. Won't get in to that too much all over again, but in general, the greens are in poor shape with so many ball marks and indistinct lines, while the fairways are mostly thin with a few good areas, non-existent rough, above-average bunkers and abysmal tee boxes.

Sadly this has been standard fare for this course for the last few months, and speaks nothing to their POP issues and sub-par equipment (carts and push-carts). But I mainly wanted to address the poor service at the starter's office.

We had an 8:50 tee time scheduled, arrived early, made our way out to the busy first tee with five minutes to spare, only to be advised by the first group waiting that their tee time was 8:15. We were a good 5-6 groups behind and when I went back to the office to inquire about the delay, the basic reaction was, "I can give you your money back if you don't like it." Quality customer service right there.

Look, if you're going to book a 6:45am tee time in January, then know it's going to be cold, maybe damp, and a little dark. The starter let the first groups wait to tee off and then the ENTIRE field of players after them were forced to suffer. If you are not ready to play at the time you booked, then you go to the back of the line. Simple. Rant over.
Played a late twilight round at Chester Washington this past Friday and was immediately hit with a 20-30 minute delay and no more carts available despite the pre-booking online having a cart as part of the deal. Solid start.

Recent reviews described the course as being in some of its best shape, and that's generally pretty accurate. The Chester will never be mistaken for 'pristine' but there are levels of its mediocrity and it's currently at the higher end of that bar. Fairways have good spots of grass but also plenty of thin and GUR-worthy lies, while the rough is very easy to manage. Tee boxes are definitely beat up and need some work. Bunkers are in good, workable shape.

Greens are quite slow compared to most venues in the area, but the coverage is pretty good right now and they're playing at a medium speed that you can easily handle. They hold shots just fine, but are unfortunately a little bumpy and still too many ball marks. And yet everyone has seen them worse here, so they seem pretty good right now.

POP was pretty abysmal as we were one of the last groups to finish after well over five hours, and yet again no cart service to be found despite a full tee sheet. This would not be a big deal if the snack shop was located in a decent spot, but it's not. It's one of the more inconvenient snack areas in all of SoCal actually, so that's another issue.

So yeah, if you can just tune out from all of the other negatives around the course and just focus on the golf itself, you'll be okay right now. You won't be overwhelmed or go home counting the moments to get back to the first tee, but you'll survive and move on. I guess.
Finished off the weekend with a nice round at Knollwood on Sunday. Our foursome snagged a 9:15am tee time online with a $49 greens fee. Not bad for this very fun layout, albeit not in its best shape and once again plagued by POP issues.

First mention though goes to the antiquated golf carts at KCC that are 'no frills' personified. The steering mechanism barely worked in the cart we were assigned. It would be a real treat for this course to update those mules, but I doubt it will happen. They also continually have POP problems here because tee times are not staggered enough. We essentially waited on every hole on Sunday, however I've actually seen it far worse, being 2-3 groups deep all day.

In the end we finished in just over five hours. Thankfully I was playing with a very fun group and the weather cooperated for most of the day, with a few cold spells when the sun dipped behind the clouds and the wind picked up.

Overall, I've also seen the course in far better shape. When it is in good shape, it's (for me) one of the more fun tracks to play in SoCal, but when it's beat up like yesterday, it makes it a bit more of a slog. Fairways are pretty thin in a lot of areas and there were a few GUR stakes marked where the rain water had collected, but some of the more wide open holes have nice coverage. Tee boxes were okay, except for the 18th hole which was severely sloped and in need of some work. Bunkers seemed okay but I avoided them all day. As far as the rough, plenty of dirt and mulch areas to avoid if you can. The rest of it is sparse and not very difficult.

Greens were rolling at varied speeds all day and tough to work out. Some of the greens here are a bit unfairly sloped (I'm looking at you hole 3) depending on where they set out the pin that day. Some spotty coverage on a lot of the greens but they mostly rolled pretty true and held shots pretty well. Aesthetics not great, but played okay. Fix your ball marks, people.

Still, it was a good day out there despite the less-than-optimal conditions and the poor transportation options. Also never saw cart service once on a busy Sunday afternoon, so that's bewildering. I would love for KCC to pick up its game and be the shining star it could be with just a little more attention to detail. But it's crowded enough as is so not holding my breath.
Saturday foursome at Wilson today, taking out the new carts with their nice new GPS system and playing from the blue tees. This LA classic is in better-than-average shape right now but could be so much better with just a few tweaks.

Solid if not spectacular course of golf to be found here. The layout is mostly flat and most of the holes are pretty straightforward, but it still has a charming character with respect to the history of the grounds and the outstanding views and wildlife that enhance the experience.

Fairways in good shape but you will definitely find yourself with some thin lies to navigate. Rough can be a bit grabby in places, but nothing too terrifying. Some nice patches, too. Once again, tough to judge bunkers after the recent rains but right now they're poor for sure. Tee boxes are also a bit beat up and in need of work. The greens are a bit on the bumpy side and certainly not aesthetically pleasing, but they're okay. They're rolling a little faster than medium actually and do have some decent slopes to sort out.

Good day of golf and a good time to visit Wilson as long as you know what you should expect. Oh, almost forgot that the POP was not too bad for a Saturday. We started about 10 minutes late and finished around five hours and change. Also had some fun with two inquisitive coyotes at the turn after the snack shop. Do not try this at home.
Played a late Friday round this past weekend at Moorpark - my first time returning in almost four years, so I was quite excited when the opportunity presented itself. My foursome played from the blue tees with cart, and we played the Creekside and Ridgeline nines.

First and foremost, this is not a course for the feint of heart. From the tee, you're either going to face narrow fairways with trouble on either side, or formidable carries over all manner of canyon or some other kind of danger. You also need to really know your distances. This is critical here, along with some degree of accuracy, in order to keep the ball in play.

Definitely a cart-only course, and it was especially challenging because the entire course was Cart Path Only after the recent rains. Not ideal in the least. But understandable.

In truth, I was expecting a little more lush from the fairways, but while the course is imminently playable, it's certainly not lush. You'll find some thin lies for sure and all the grass seems to have a dull fade to it in terms of its color, but there were also a lot of soggy patches that made for difficult shot making when not moved under GUR/winter rules.

The greens were great though and lots of tricky breaks on many of the greens. A lot of small greens, too. But very fun to play and a solid challenge. They're quite fast as well. Bunkers were considerably poor but completely the fault of the recent weather. Looked as if they'd been okay were in not for that. Tee boxes were in good shape.

Playing midweek here for the rate of around $70 is a good deal. The course is very challenging but fun and conditions are good enough to merit that rate without a doubt. However, I'm not sure how I'd feel about the much higher weekend rates currently until the course dries out and the CPO decision changes. But definitely bring your A game or you're in for a hurtin' ...
It was a last-minute opportunity thanks to a canceled meeting after working for two days out in Palm Springs that I was able to meet up with Nickesquire and play the never before heard of Mountain Vista Country Club this past Friday. We played the Santa Rosa 18 along with mnielson and his wife Doris after they had all spent the morning playing the San Gorgonio 18.

Again, I had never heard of this course before and was anticipating something more akin to Indian Palms or Tahquitz Creek in terms of quality and conditions, but I could not have been more wrong. Mountain Vista was every bit as pristine and well-manicured as any of the top courses in the Palm Springs area currently following their pre-winter reseeding.

The course winds through a residential community from start to finish, but you rarely ever feel that tightness of the course due to that design. Fairways often feel incredibly generous, but don't be fooled into thinking this course is a pushover, because it's not. There are a lot of very tricky water features to manage and many of the greens have steep dropoffs around them to put a premium on well-struck approach shots. That being said, the tips here are not too long so playing from the black tees is not the challenge you would expect it to be.

Course conditions are really great from tee to green. Tee boxes in exquisite shape, fairways, as previously mentioned, in perfect condition - green, inviting and lush. Rough is very thick and lush but cut down to be extremely playable. Bunkers are not the white fluffy sand, but in good shape compared to other resorts. And the greens are great. Not too gimmicky, but definitely have to do a good job of reading them. Coverage is really nice, they're medium-fast to fast on most holes, and seemed to hold shots very well.

We had cart service come around as well and there are plenty of water and restroom stations along the routing to keep you happy. The course is generally flat but you've got a few treks between holes. It'll keep you engaged, though. Really nice experience and definitely a course I would like to come back to again in the future. You may not have heard of it, but it will hold its own with plenty of the region's best in its current shape.
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