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Tough to gauge today's wet conditions at Westlake with the GK Guru team, but I'm going to imagine the course dried out in terms of ratings, but an honest assessment of their current state here. They're wet, plain and simple, or at least were today after getting on just as the overnight and morning rains began to slowly dissipate.

It's easy to imagine Westlake in just a few sunny days though being in great shape. Once the large swaths of marshland in the fairways dry up, you're going to have some very nice, green fairways to work with, and the rough is great right now already (often times today better as it wasn't as soaked as some of the shorter grass).

The bunkers were lagoons today so it's very tough to tell their state right now, but looked as if they could be fine with a few hours under the blow dryer. The tee boxes? Unfortunately for me this was the worst part of the course - many uneven sections and very shaggy and unkempt on the blue tees - but that could also simply be a case of my not truly understanding course management due to the wet conditions - I wholly concede that possibility. Only reporting what I saw.

I thought the greens were very tricky and tough - soaked and expected to be slow, but were actually quite fast, despite the huge ball marks being left with most every shot onto the green. It was odd, but they ran true enough as well. Tricky greens in many areas at Westlake (and one in particular with a dodgy pin placement to boot) - the defense along with a lot of water against this shorter, par 67 executive course.

In terms of layout though, I hate to say it but it's far more interesting and engaging than my home executive course at Westchester. This is just a condensed 'big course' as it does have a few par 5s to test your longer clubs, good variety of length par 4s, and many a tricky par 3 to challenge you. I would not mind coming back another day, in better health, and under warmer, bluer skies, to right some wrongs on the scorecard.

Special thanks go to all the Gurus who made it a very fun day though scorecard aside, and to Johnny for all his hard work getting us these ridiculously good deals throughout the region.
10 Likes.
Used the GK certificate to play a great round at wonderful Cross Creek - an absolute steal for the $32 charged in its current condition, especially on a gorgeous, sunny day.

Cross Creek is a tremendously fun track with only a very few 'funky' holes. Funky, not quirky - and there is a difference. But for the most part the scenery and layout is simply outstanding and there's never a dull moment when you settle in to each tee box. Long carries, ravines, tree trouble, narrow openings - you name it, it's there to challenge your game.

Conditions right now are terrific across the board. The fairways are in excellent shape and you'll have trouble finding a bad lie if you hit a fairway. Sure, there are a very small amount of thin areas where it looks like recent storms did some damage, but overall it's fantastic. The rough is also very thick but not too penalizing - you can definitely work your way out of it.

Tee boxes are in fine shape, even the par 3s. And the sand that I did see (only ended up in one bunker on 14) looked very playable - didn't hear a single complaint from any of the fine gentlemen I got paired up with to play. And the greens? Very, very nice. Lots of tough pin placements at Cross Creek so the speed can be tricky, but you'll always get a true roll, no ball marks, and a good surface that holds well struck shots.

If there's any gripe at all you could definitely say they should upgrade the carts asap and maybe even invest in some GPS as it's a tough course without intimate knowledge of its contours, but that may actually not be possible - see below.

Don't forget that there is absolutely no cell phone reception out there so keep that in mind if scheduling a round. But it's an absolute treat to play this wonderful course right now, made even better by the outstanding GK deal to get it done. Can't wait to go back again.
14 Likes.
Took an out of town friend who only had time for nine holes to probably the most scenic and 'LA' 9-hole course out there - Roosevelt. This place is very fun to play, quite challenging in many spots, but often the condition doesn't match the rest of the experience.

Post rains though, the course is quite green and lush, however there are still some very soft fairways to contend with (plugged my tee shot on 2 with a driver), a surprising amount of bare spots, and some wet areas to contend with too. But luckily there are also some nice lies out there - more than the usual when the course is bone dry.

Greens are bumpy and thick of course, with quite a few ball marks. But I worked them really well today with only 14 putts so they didn't bother me much at all. I only saw the bunker on 8 and it looked pretty good actually. Tee boxes are not in good shape - way too many bare areas. And the rough is thick and a bit nasty, but not unplayable.

All that being said, still had a really nice time there, and a good round to boot, equaling my career best (close to breaking it twice with two putts that were both just an inch short). Starter was very nice and the price is right. It just feels very quintessential LA and that's what I will always love about this place. It's about the experience over the conditions here.
13 Likes.
Fun Super Bowl Sunday round today at River Ridge with Kassper7, getting a nice online deal and hoping for an empty track and blue skies with everyone watching the game instead. Unfortunately neither really happened - the course was not necessarily crowded, but far from empty, and the cold weather and slight drizzle persisted much of the round and caught me by surprise as I expected it to clear up and certainly should have considered an undershirt.

First time ever playing at RR and it was a pretty good experience. We played the Lakes 18 from the blue tees and it was a much harder track than I anticipated, as evidenced by the 131 slope I failed to notice before teeing off. The par 5s are long, every single one, so you can almost forget about eagle putts, and the par 4s are very challenging - a lot of water coming into play and some tough fairways to navigate. The par 3s are a mixed bag - some long while others guarded by their slope.

I found the course to be in very playable condition without a doubt, but far from pristine. It had a rough, unkempt feel to it, but also very welcoming of good shots and penalizing for the poor ones. The fairways were mostly in good shape, however there were some large swaths of sod laid out in a few of them, and of course the odd burned out area here or there. The bunkers were in pretty nice shape from what I saw after going in one on the first hole and never again, while the tee boxes were all in quite good shape.

The greens were rolling very nicely indeed - not a lot of ball marks to contend with but also not super receptive to many shots that weren't coming straight down. The undulations and breaks on these greens are less severe than they look, but challenging without a doubt. The speed was probably a 10-10.5 on the Stimp today, which was a nice pace to get used to. And the rough was a bit mixed but certainly some rough, sticky stuff can find your ball if wayward.

Not really any easy holes out there as Kassper7 pointed out during our round - it's a tough place to play, especially that tricky 'Amen Corner' they got there. But when good shots are rewarded, it's a pretty cool track to appreciate and enjoy. I would like to come back on a blue sky day with minimal wind (today wasn't bad with the wind but I understand it often is during other months) with a little better course knowledge.

River Ridge, we shall meet again.
14 Likes.
Picked a gorgeous day to get out to Marriott's Shadow Ridge today after snagging a GolfNow hot deal for around $99 at noon-thirty. There's a really nice range to warm up on and the pro shop and other amenities are really spot on to start the day.

The course itself is simply perfect right now. Literally not a single complaint from me about any single aspect of this great, fun and challenging track. The fairways have excellent coverage from tee to green - never had a bad lie all day. The rough is very consistent and just challenging enough to know you need to do better on the next hole, but not overly penal. The tee boxes are all flat, level and perfect - great variety of tee boxes as well for every golfer.

Bunkers were in very nice shape, both the fairway and greenside varieties. A joy to hit from every time. And the greens? Wow. Glassy and quick, but very receptive to shots and flawless rolls. Ball marks? None to speak of at all. And the greens are super fun - a big challenge but in no way gimmicky or overly dramatic to make you suffer. They're just phenomenal.

It's an incredibly varied layout at Shadow Ridge and every hole is unique and Faldo's design offers many different options on a number of holes of how to attack the green. We also saw the cart service numerous times throughout the day and simply couldn't find a single thing wrong overall. Also helped to shoot a pretty darn good round once again at this fun destination.

If you're planning a trip to the Palm Desert area anytime soon, and have the option to play anywhere you want at a reasonable price for great conditions, don't think twice about playing here. Just do it. You'll come away with a serious smile on your face, unless of course #18 messes with you to end your round on a sour note! It's a tough one, but the rest of the day will still keep you in a good mood no matter the result.
18 Likes.
For years I have been looking forward to coming back to Indian Canyons (South) in prime-time conditions and with a better golf game than when I first started back in 2013. Today was the day as I got to enjoy this really fantastic course which was in great shape from tee to green.

Fairways are impeccable and the rough is wonderfully uniform and lush, but easy enough to hit out of to make it fun. Tee boxes were outstanding and the greenside bunkers had really nice sand in them. The fairway bunkers had a few issues from all of the compacted sand from the rains of late, but that was the only slight on them.

The greens are not super fast, maybe a 8.5 or 9 at most on the Stimp, but roll very true and have a very nice surface. The greens at Indian Canyons are not very tricked out at all - what you see is what you get, so once you get the speed down, they're not too tricky. You'll think the breaks are really bigger than they are. Keep that in mind.

Fun layout at Indian Canyons and great customer service. Everyone working there is very pleasant and seems genuinely happy to be there. Nice driving range, too. I was with a good friend who plays very exclusive courses and was quite apprehensive when I recommended IC, but at the end of the day he basically said that this course was probably the best value he had seen in the Palm Springs area for the quality of the experience.

Top marks currently for Indian Canyons South right now. Really enjoyed the experience. And exorcised the demons of 2013 by shaving 19 strokes off my round back then.
15 Likes.
Played in a two-man scramble tournament at Scholl today at 7am. Brutal. Besides fact it was 40 degrees when play started, conditions did little to make the $50 entry fee seem even remotely justified. I played Scholl once when I first started playing golf, so I was anxious to see it again with a more keen eye. Well, that's now stink eye.

Besides the impressive views of the LA basin, there's simply not much reason in terms of actual golf to come here. The first hole is now an abbreviated 100 yard pitch into a hole in the middle of the dirt fairway. After that, you're greeted with more sad looking fairways, thin bunkers with as many rocks as dirt, rough comprised of more dirt, and tee boxes that would make a carpenter's level hurl.

The greens are the short course's defense of course, but they're chock full of ball marks and usually on such ridiculous slopes that it's more about luck than skill. Even ones that you get close just roll away into oblivion. And the layout (especially the back 9) is a tricked out mess.

In summary, glad I came back as now I'll remember there's no need to ever come back again.
11 Likes.
I really do enjoy this course a lot, and I think I would play it more often if it was more freeway convenient, and of course if they didn't make you start 45 mins after your tee time is scheduled. Played with Kassper7 and another buddy on Saturday, and apparently so did everyone else in the city because it was a pretty big mess out there in terms of organization and POP. When you have an 11:40 tee time and don't finish more than 16 holes, that's a problem.

But I also respect that with all the rains before and all the rains expected after, everyone wanted to fit in 18 the only spot they could. I'm trying to keep that in mind as the review for the course itself is most favorable.

Again, really find this to be a fun layout. The recent rains have the course very green, but of course any low areas or depressions have a lot of standing water to deal with. Everywhere else the course drained better than expected. The sand in the bunkers was nice and fluffy, and the greens were in nice shape - not exceptionally fast or tricky, but consistent and medium speed. The rough varied around the course with some areas still slightly dried out and others quite lush and sticky.

I look forward to getting back to this place again when the organization matches the fun of the course itself. Spring should be very nice here.
15 Likes.
Not much to say after jyamastoker's review. Wet and soggy conditions out there right now, and some severely beat up tee boxes, including many roped off making Westchester play shorter than it already does. Lake is overflowing on #2 fairway, and many greens have plenty of soft ball marks everywhere. Bunkers looked wet and thick. Rough is nice - easy to play out of most times, and POP was a dream on a Sunday at just over three hours. Be in nice shape though once it dries out.
5 Likes.
Unfortunately picked a gorgeous day and pretty darn good conditions at Rancho Park to put up an absolute stinker on the card. No, today's poor performance had nothing to do with funky layouts, thin lies or bumpy greens - this was all on me today. And it was pathetic.

What was not pathetic was the condition of Rancho Park golf course. Drained/dried up very nicely after the rains with just a few muddy areas usually on the fringes of the fairways. The fairways themselves are pretty green and there were plenty of good lies to be found, but of course there are a few thin areas you can be unlucky to land in, but they're certainly the exception rather than the rule.

The greens were in very nice shape, but of course a few too many lazy golfers not willing to keep them that way and fix their ball marks. Overall though, they accepted shots very well (likely due to the rains), ran pretty fast surprisingly, and held their lines throughout. Took a good while to get a hold of the speeds ... oh who am I kidding? I never did, hence the poor round.

Sand in the bunkers was sufficient and functional - did its job. Some areas that could use improvement? Of course! The rough is very thick in areas and with the wetness it was very easy to get stuck with some nasty clumps coming off your clubs. And the tee boxes on many of the holes are not really mowed, but instead they just threw down the tee box markers wherever there was a flat area. To be fair though, they may be holding off until the course dries out again or in advance of the rains coming up in the next few days - I'm not sure.

POP was okay, but has been better my last few rounds at RP. Overall came in at just over five hours, but it was such a beautiful day it really wasn't so bad. Only my performance made it bad. Other than that though, it was in fine shape and always a fun layout, with the exception of the worst closing hole for a good course in LA County.
9 Likes.
Rarely do I take major issue with the current course ranking system but River View at 6.24? Sure, if you're a lifetime member of the Links at Victoria and get out once a year to a different scene, but a 6.24 rating for this train wreck? If you are familiar with my reviews, then you know I always find the good in just about any place, but it's going to be pretty rough with this one.

Okay, the greens were pretty nice. They were soft from the rains and there were a few too many ball marks for anyone's liking, but they were well maintained, tricky and challenging, and rolled true while holding shots very well.

Unfortunately, that's the best of it. The fairways were a mess due to the recent rains but certainly I've seen other courses handle the positives of rain much better. Still plenty of thin lies and burned out areas, along with a whole host of rough that could rarely be differentiated from the actual fairways. The actual rough itself was just mud and sticks.

The tee boxes were beat up pretty good and the sand traps looked to be thin where dry and muddy messes where not. And yes, a lot of this comes down to the post-rain timing, so take it all with a grain of salt I guess. However, no weather can explain this nutty layout.

To be fair, I was okay with the quirks of the front nine for a while, and even found holes like #6 and #8 to be pretty fun. But the exaggerated oddness of all the holes on the back nine with their elevated tee boxes, left turns and then elevated greens, all the while traversing under bridges and across park areas with any number of homeless settlements around each corner, well, let's just say the experience was not top notch.

I even found the $39 to ride a bit too much for what this place currently is right now. No cart girl service, however there is surprisingly GPS on the ancient carts, which is kind of funny. I did play with two local characters (and a very nice local kid on the HS team) who were unfortunately the very likely cause of our 5+ hour round, but at the end of the day they were good fun.

I'm a bit of a course junkie in the sense that I always like investigating courses and layouts in advance, and this was always a place where, despite the rumors, I wanted to try out for myself to see just how odd this track was. And boy did I. I do not like being too negative on GK and I feel that I'm always very fair and usually 'looking on the bright side,' but sorry, couldn't do it with River View. I won't be back.

(Update: Don't let the 5.0 rating I gave the course fool you - I actually rated the greens a 7 as they were quite good but the skew towards the greens means that rating is way higher than it should be overall - more like 3.5-3.9 at best.)
20 Likes.
Good first day of the year out at Alondra today. Was expecting crowds and soggy mud patches everywhere, but turned out to be a very nice round in all aspects. The crowds for some reason totally stayed away on what turned out to be a pretty nice day to play golf, and the conditions were far better than anticipated after the rains.

The greens are in very nice shape all around for Alondra, maybe the best I have ever seen them. They're not particularly fast, but roll true and held shots well. Not even too many ball marks or bumps on the surfaces, so kudos to them for that. And consistent as well - something rare at Alondra from green to green most of the year. Evidence of a nice putting surface? 25 putts today total.

The fairways looked pretty good after the recent rains, and sure, there are some bare spots and some standing water, but the crew did a very nice job of marking off many of the GUR areas and the course was draining pretty nicely overall. The rough was dried out in a lot of areas, but easy to hit from and not a major obstacle. Worst part? The sandtraps and tee boxes. Traps were not only inundated with lots of water, but were very thin around the entire course. And the tee boxes just need some flattening out and general TLC. Nothing too awful, but if one must nitpick.

POP was a very dreamy four hours even - rather unheard of on a holiday Sunday at this heavy traffic track. We never waited on a single hole, nor were we pushed at all outside of a single we let pass at the 4th hole. Remember - cash only at Alondra as well - they should probably get into the 21st century and get a credit card machine.

So overall, one of the better rounds at Alondra over the years. It'll likely never be a pristine course, but it does present challenges with its length and a golfer's ability to deal with not always ideal conditions. But go enjoy the best greens you may experience here for quite a while.
7 Likes.
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