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Hit the 'home course' for the first time in over six months with two buddies and walking with a push cart from the blue tees. Rancho Park is also this month's Flex Tour destination but I wanted to play a nice little practice round here first to check out conditions and see if there were any new wrinkles to consider. There aren't.

Rancho remains a very solid course with some quirks that just don't seem to ever go away. POP is often an issue here for many, but most of my visits in the last year have really seen that problem rectified. Not so much this Sunday as the foursome ahead of us was so ridiculously slow. Hitting two balls often when the first was wayward, chatting at the tee box while the fairway cleared ahead of them for what seemed like forever, and a nonchalant pace to their walking that was just annoying to gawk at. What could have easily been a four-hour round turned into five just because of them. C'est la Vie.

Course conditions were pretty solid. Greens are in good shape, not rolling more than medium at best, but a bit bumpy after aeration and lines can be somewhat unpredictable. Saw lots of putts right on line and then suddenly take sharp turns right at the cup. But coverage was nice and they held shots well.

Fairways are in good shape but thin in places. In some places you would actually say they're lush, but far more thin and requiring of a sweet-spot strike to get the most of it. Rough was not too thick and often nice to get a little cushion for the chips and pitches around the greens. Tee boxes were shot in most areas … not sure they rotate quite enough here but I'm not the expert. Sand was just at 'okay' all around, but that's not the end of the world.

No review is complete of course without complaining yet again that Rancho's 18th is the worst closing hole in all of SoCal for what is essentially a pretty compelling track. I just don't know how or why someone could not have done more with it. There even seems to be lots of land to the left of the fairway … maybe someone could come up with a nice redesign to take the driving range somewhat out of play there. Just a thought ...
13 Likes.
Played the terrific Simi Hills on Saturday for our GK Cup match along with Johnny, Mattias and Perry … played from the gold tees and had an absolutely great, beautiful day out with these fine gentlemen.

Following up on Johnny's review just now, can really not recommend Simi Hills right now enough. We were all gushing about the course conditions throughout the round, especially what you're getting for the same cost as an average city course right now.

It's safe to say, when Simi Hills is in its current shape, it's the Goose Creek of the SFV. Great conditions from tee to green, a helpful and enthusiastic staff, a challenging and engaging layout, and all at a price that feels like stealing. We walked the course for just $45, which is crazy value for this place.

Greens were in terrific shape, rolling true and consistently throughout the day at medium to medium-fast speeds. Nothing too tricked out on the Simi Hills greens - make a good stroke and you'll be rewarded. Tee boxes were all fine, and the bunkers were in good shape with workable sand. Fairways were a joy to play from and the rough was long enough to make you think twice about club selection in some areas, but comfortable in others.

POP was good throughout the day and we were rarely waiting, and even more rarely pushed by the group behind us. Cart service even was around 2-3x throughout the round so it was really a pretty picture-perfect day all around.

Once again, if you're really into a great course right now at supreme value, Simi Hills is the call to make. You won't regret it one bit.
9 Likes.
Had a confidence round at Alondra this weekend that didn't quite succeed in that department, but it was nice to see this very busy track in some decent shape as summer closes in soon.

No, it's not in great shape by any means. It's not even really in good shape. But it's in playable shape, and if you've played here a lot, you know that's about as good as it's going to get.

Greens on the front nine are still showing signs of aeration and were sanded, but the back nine were actually in pretty decent shape, but certainly on the slow side. Fairways have patches of green but still mostly yellow-ish, but playable. Bunkers are thin and annoying as you decide whether to try and take non-existent sand, or pick it clean. Rough is often more advantageous to hit from than the fairways, and the tee boxes are pretty much a wreck.

This will never be a destination course without a boatload of investment, but the current conditions are about as good as they might get for some time. Get out there if you want some straight-ahead, no frills golf to work off the rust.
6 Likes.
Great little Sunday round at Knollwood today with an online teeoff.com deal for $41 with cart and food. Went with a buddy and played from the blue tees with an 11am tee time.

First good sign for the day was a relatively empty parking lot, which was shocking for a Sunday, but when I got to the pro shop and saw there were no carts available, I got nervous. But when it was time to tee off, one cart was there for us and away we went.

POP is usually dreadful at KCC on a Sunday afternoon, and while we did in fact wait on a good number of holes for the group in front of us to get moving, we actually finished in just under five hours, which is fantastic for this place.

In terms of conditions, probably some of the best I've seen at Knollwood in a long time. The rains have done wondrous things for the fairways here, and while they're not quite pristine country club green, they're pretty darn close and you're not going to have much trouble finding good lies. The immediate rough near the fairways is cut to a nice length, but anything pushing the boundary areas is likely to find you in either dirt, mulch or an army of very aggressive foxtails that will attack your shoes and socks like Arya going after the Night King.

Sand in the bunkers is very nice as usual here, and the tee boxes were mostly in good shape. The greens are fully recovered from any aeration and are running fantastically smooth at the moment. Speeds are medium fast and there are a few very steep greens that will be an adventure from just about any spot. They seemed to hold shots pretty well too, but barely any of those were mine because I'm still terrible currently.

So it's a big yes on recommending Knollwood right now, especially if you can find a sweet spot in the rotation that doesn't get you stuck playing a six-hour round. Because as for the course itself, you won't be disappointed. It's still one of the best muni layouts around.
8 Likes.
Fate came together when a late work call in the Westlake Village area happened to perfectly correspond with a late tee time offer to play with a friend at Calabasas Country Club this week. My friend's buddy has limited membership at the course that allows him to play once a month and invite guests. Lucky me. And this premium course was only $73 to play, which was a steal for the quality and beauty of this track.

Previous reviews of this course (somewhat dated to be fair) certainly did not get to see CCC in all its pomp and glory, because what I found was one of the most perfectly manicured and engaging, tough layouts that I've ever played. The first few holes are very narrow and challenging, but then the course opens up somewhat, but still challenges you with elevations, devious bunkers and many hidden or unhidden water obstacles (including a meandering creek on the back nine that comes into play on a few holes) just waiting to eat up anything not perfectly placed. Each hole is vividly unique and it's a pure joy to get to each new tee box and see the spectacular field open up in front of you.

Conditions, as previously stated, are currently excellent from tee to green. The greens are scandalously difficult - not only because of their variable speeds depending on if you're above or below the hole, but the breaks are incredibly subtle to recognize and easy to underestimate. But they're in absolutely phenomenal shape and fun as all get out to play.

Fairways are the lush green carpet one expects to see at a club of this caliber. Never a bad lie all day. It's cut down to perfection, while the rough is deep and challenging in most areas, but also forgiving in a few others. Tee boxes (we played from the tips which are actually only 6200 yards but you'll feel like it's 7000) are in great shape with a great variety of starting positions, while the bunkers are all in very good condition perhaps only missing a tiny layer of more sand. POP was great as expected.

The clubhouse is currently being renovated so there's a lot of construction going on right now, but it does not have any impact on the course fun whatsoever. The driving range is grass and a little on the short side, but nothing to complain about at all. And did I mention how much fun this layout is? Easily (and unexpectedly) slips into one of my top 15-20 courses ever played and I really can't wait to get back out there and have a better round with some course knowledge now. It's a can't miss destination if you can get out there.
6 Likes.
First time back out at Los Verdes in over a year and a half to play my Flex Tour round with a new friend (also playing the tour) and two others. Really a fun bunch of guys and it was cool that none of them had ever been to Los Verdes before and got to see it in a lot of its splendor. Unfortunately the weather was mostly uncooperative with cold temps and gray skies, but there were a few glimpses of the blue sky that made it more pleasant.

Some of the better course conditions I've seen at Los Verdes in quite some time. Maybe ever? Fairways are in good shape with plenty of nice lies to be found all over, but you may encounter some thin here and there. The rough is beastly currently as they've let it grow and it can be a serious bear to get your ball out in some thickets. Tee boxes were mostly good, but the bunkers were aesthetically nice but very thin when actually hitting out them.

Greens were showing just the slightest signs of the last aeration on half of them, but nothing to get too worked up at all. I forgot just how tough the greens can be here when they're super fast. Many of the greens are severely sloped and break in deceptive ways, but today's greens were a little less quick than I remember from before which helped make putting less an adventure most of the day. But don't get complacent - you're still going to work pretty hard here for almost every par.

Probably would have been a lot longer before returning here but I'm glad we did as the course is really a lot of fun and it's in good condition at present. And while the normal dreaded POP here still keeps me away most times, it was interesting today that a five and half hour round moved as if it was much quicker. Was actually very surprised it took us that long to get around, which is a testament to a fun track in good shape and playing with good company.
10 Likes.
A monthly golf group of old friends decided to head out to the desert this weekend and look for a bargain. Tahquitz Creek Legends course fits the bill. It's no frills with emphasis on the 'no.' It's straight ahead, homes on every side, imagination be d%mn ed golf. You're not going to impress the boss taking him here, but they do get the price and perks right.

You're still getting the gorgeous mountain views and the desert heat, but for $48 with cart and free breakfast AND after-round meal included, they're making up for what the course lacks in any kind of appeal whatsoever.

In a vacuum, this course in and of itself is not so bad. It's only when you start thinking of all the other fantastic Palm Springs/Coachella Valley options available that you start to wonder what you're doing here. And then you remember the price and the fact you have friends who don't always want to spend as much as I do playing premium courses. But we had fun.

Conditions were okay in most cases, with a few exceptions. You expect lush carpet fairways this time of year in Palm Springs, but that's not what you're going to find here. You expect tightly-cut and level tee boxes, but you're not getting that either. You kind of think you'll get great sand in the bunkers, but no, you can just let that go right away. You expect thick rough. Nope. But what about the greens? Pretty okay, actually. Nothing too memorable, but also not memorably bad, so there's that.

I would not be in any rush to get back out to this very dull, largely forgettable layout and average condition course anytime soon, but people are often looking for bargains in the area, and this place definitely fits that bill. They also don't try to be what they're not and do a great job of filling up the place with the extra clubhouse perks. So on that note, well done.
8 Likes.
Walked Rio Hondo today from the blue tees for our GK cup match play today. $50 is just about right for the Hondo in its current condition. Started off on the double deck driving range, conveniently next to the putting area and first tee.

Greens have healed pretty nicely from recent aeration and show no signs of the last punch. Speed was generally medium fast and not a lot of ball marks to complain about which was great. Tee boxes were mostly level with a few outliers less so, while the bunkers had good quality sand.

Fairways certainly looked pretty good all around, but while there were definitely plenty of good lies to be found, thin ones were also readily available. Some areas of rough were somewhat thick, but most of it was more than playable.

Fun but flat layout with many narrow, tree-lined fairways and a good number of water features to tease and torment. Blue tees were as far back as I can ever remember here. It actually made a relatively short course have some teeth in the distance sense. POP was a bit on the slow side with a ladies tournament just ahead of us, but because of our super tight and fun match play event, I’m sure the foursome behind us felt the same way.
8 Likes.
Played an impromptu Saturday round at Tierra Rejada on Saturday after a lesson with GDR23 across the street at the Dev Center. Wasn't planning on playing but a friend hit me up so figured 'why not?' My eventual score should have answered that question …

As for the course itself though, I was bummed out that I had not checked back here first to find all the greens punched and sanded. Interestingly enough though they were still moving pretty quickly which was confounding. But the fairways were in better shape than I've seen here in a while, but the bunkers could definitely be improved. Tee boxes were good.

Layout here remains crazy challenging with long carries to small, narrow landing areas on some holes, crazy elevations on the front nine and many OB areas and water on the back nine to contend with. It's no picnic at Tierra Rejada if you're having an off-day, and that's exactly what I had.

I would give it a few weeks until the greens are back healthy and then it should be a no-brainer to come back and play a round here, especially if you can snag a better than rack rate deal. Totally worth it if that's the case.
7 Likes.
Played The Ike on Friday for my Flex Tour round and the timing could not have been better. Course is in absolutely stunning shape right now after a recent tournament I believe and it's absolutely worth every penny of the $85 greens fee.

Lush, green fairways, and thick, deep rough await your every shot off the tee, while the greens are in perfect shape and running smooth, fast and true. I suppose the bunkers could be a little better but by no means anything to complain about. And the tee boxes and options off the tee are fantastic.

Course layout is a fun romp that will challenge you all day but also reward well-positioned balls. You've got uphills and downhills, narrow and wide open, long and short, and plenty of really nice scenery and greenery around to keep you entertained.

It's in 'must play' shape right now so go if you can. You won't be disappointed.
8 Likes.
Sunday round at Hansen Dam with a seven-person group (we missed you Johnny!) including many GKers. We got out just before a girl's junior tournament which was good, but the holdup at the turn waiting for hot dogs threw a serious monkey wrench in the POP and forced me to have to miss the 10th hole. How can hot dogs take 15 minutes?

As for the golf though, Hansen is looking pretty good right now after the rains. You'll rarely see it even this level of green, so enjoy it. That's not to say that everything is perfect though, because it's not. The greens don't look like they've been rolled for a while and were running quite slow, but aesthetically looked good.

Fairways are mostly providing good lies right now and the rough is very easy to work with right now. Bunkers had some thin sand and a few too many rocks for my liking. Tee boxes were mostly beat up but at least provided flat lies.

But the positives definitely outweigh the negatives right now so it's not a bad recommendation if you're up in the area to give Hansen Dam a whirl right now.
7 Likes.
Went out with one of my monthly groups on Saturday and this time they made the call to play Balboa. This decision did not upset me in the least as my game has been so bad the last few months that I thought a confidence course like Balboa would be great. Wrong! But that's a story for another time.

Balboa was in better than average shape overall but no one is going to leave this place and swoon for weeks thinking back on it. I will say though that while the layout is pedestrian at best, the greens are in the best shape I've ever seen them and actually rolled lightning quick. It was pretty shocking to really have to rein in the speed on the downhill putts or find your ball ten feet past the pin. They also looked great with just a few ball marks or imperfections.

Rains have done the fairways good around this place, but they're still not as good as you would hope after all that water. But better than you'll often find this place. A lot of good lies will greet you after your tee shots, but you'll also be left disappointed a few times where it's thin and dry. That's life. The rough is a good option to hit from to be perfectly honest.

Bunkers were in pretty good shape and the tee boxes were not all quite level and not all very lush, but it's working, playable golf and that's what you get when you come here. POP was surprisingly slow at exactly five hours. Didn't feel that way though which was odd.

Pleasantly surprised overall at current course conditions at Balboa. Enjoy.
8 Likes.
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