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Another Sunday afternoon at RHCC and the course did not disappoint.

Greens were incredible - fast as ever, perfectly manicured, tough to stop of balls of course, and incredibly tiered and sloped and difficult. Fairways are still growing in and are showing some signs of drying out but you're still always going to find a good lie. Rough is brutal. You can lose balls which you watch from start to finish and know exactly where they are. It's baffling and sometimes infuriating.

Sand in the bunkers is in good shape and the tee boxes are finally settling a bit better so you can actually get your tees into the ground on each hole. That's a nice improvement from the first few months at this newly re-designed course.

Fantastic new layout that really rewards fairway hits and absolutely crushes you if you're in the rough or native areas. Still waiting on the hole 2 redesign though as that one makes no sense, but the rest are pretty awesome.

Still getting to know this course with each visit and learning its quirks and angles. It's just so easy to blow up fast here so more progress is definitely needed. Will keep at it. And if you get a chance to play here, don't skip it.
Quick nine at Penmar on Saturday after the desire to finally sleep in (and Daylight Saving Time having kicked in) took precedent over an early morning round and a long drive somewhere else. Enjoyed the round very much.

Good conditions currently at Penmar with slow greens that hold shots well but have a few too many bumps to them, but still better than other times here. You'll never get fooled by any break at Penmar so putting averages should remain low. Fairways are also in good shape right now and the only areas of concern are the tee boxes and bunkers.

Very basic, straight-ahead layout at Penmar but it's longer in some places than you're usual nine hole course. Par 33 with no par 5s but you will still use a few clubs. It's a good spot to stretch out the legs and walk and build up some confidence. Recommended.
Truly one of the best values in SoCal, played a very fine Lakewood CC on Sunday and was not disappointed in the least. For $40 walking on a Sunday morning, this is a steal.

The course is in very good shape actually with very nice looking fairways, thick but non-penal rough, excellent sand in the bunkers (perhaps too much fluff?), and quality greens right now that roll true and hold shots very well.

I was very surprised after playing some other comparable courses this weekend that Lakewood was far and away the best of the bunch. Even with the warm temperatures and lack of any rain lately, it's still in some of the best shape I've ever seen it and I would not hesitate to go back and play it again soon.

Layout has a nice mixture of holes but there's not one single elevation change on the entire course. If you love elevated tee boxes or downhill par 5s, this is not the place for you. But if you want very nice conditions at an incredibly affordable rate, then make the call.

POP wasn't even too bad for the day coming in at just under five hours on a Sunday. Cart service popped up 2-3x as well which was great as I did not see any water stations and it was a pretty hot day yet again. Overall? Great value and a very good course to play right now.
Played Los Serrano North on Saturday as part of a big scramble tournament so don't take any of the POP issues to mind. Clearly these things take forever, but in actuality, the tournament got done right around five hours or so, which was shocking.

We played combo tees more or less as there wasn't a great deal of organization about the event, but as for the course itself, was pleasantly surprised by the conditions. Arrived to see pretty lush and green fairways with some dried out areas, but plenty of good lies throughout the day. The nature of a scramble means you usually don't see a lot of the bad areas, but from what I did see of the rough and bunkers, they looked good and hit and miss, respectively. Tee boxes were not the most level and some were chewed up pretty bad, but others were just fine.

The greens were not particularly fast on this Saturday, but they did hold shots very well and rolled mostly true with a few bumps and cuts along the way. The greens at Los Serranos are not overly tricked out in any way - what you see is what you get. A few sloped greens here and there but nothing too sinister.

Carts were nice and they have GPS but it's generally of the useless variety outside of seeing the hole's general shape. You can't touch a spot on the screen for a layup or a hazard and get the yardage - so what's the actual point? Not a big deal … just be nice to have that feature.

I still have yet to play a competitive round at either Los Serranos 18 but that will happen one of these days. I still understand the South course to be superior but the North course is plenty fun in my opinion and is currently in good enough shape to be worthy of your visit.
Played an early afternoon twilight round at Glen Ivy on Friday this past week. Never played this course before so I was very excited to try it out. Paid $51 with cart and range balls before teeing off with a pleasant older couple and another single - fun, nice group. Hit from the blue tees on a hot, late fall day.

Pretty tough layout in many spots at Glen Ivy. The first hole, while it's a downhill par 5, is very narrow and you better hope you were hitting them straight on the range. The course winds through a housing community and you can forget about walking this track with many of the long distances between holes and the extreme elevation shifts, especially on the back nine. There are a lot of fun holes here though, my favorite being the uphill par 5 7th on the front and the par 3 14th over water on the back. Goes without saying that the 18th is a truly memorable elevated tee shot with risk/reward written all over it.

Conditions unfortunately were not as good as I was expected or was hoping for at this time. The fairways are very dry and browned out but you will also find some lush areas interspersed. Lies were still mostly good either way, but you can tell how nice this course would be if the watering/rain was more abundant. The water features seem cumbersome here and even the lake surrounding the 16th green is currently empty entirely. Not sure what's going on there, but everyone is suffering from the dry conditions.

Greens were very fast though and had nice coverage and held shots fairly well. Speed was very tough to gauge though, especially on some of the more tiered or sloped greens. Very important to stay below the hole here if you can. Bunkers and tee boxes were just okay and could use some improvement.

Driving range area is nice and locals can simply pull their cars or carts right behind the stalls, so that was kind of interesting. It was a hot day and there were water stations every few holes, but we only saw the cart service once or twice throughout the round. Not a big deal though.

I would definitely like to play Glen Ivy again someday and have a much better front nine, but I'm not going to be in any rush with so many other options around until I hear that the conditions are just a little greener and more lush. But it's by no means a no-go at this point, just think there's some work that can be done to make this a much more awesome experience.
Decided late on Sunday morning to play a quick local round and Chester Dubs got the call again. Not much new to report since my last review three weeks ago other than the temporary green on hole 2 is now back to its normal state and playing very long.

Mixed bag of conditions throughout the course - just as easily find thin and dried out on the fairway as you will green and lush. A good bit of mud around as well with overwatered sections of the course. Greens were generally a bit fuzzy and could use a press. Rolls were inconsistent at best and medium speed. Tee boxes good enough while the bunkers are in good shape.

POP was pretty slow as we were behind a tournament but overall just under five hours. Definitely worth the $42 greens fee + cart for a late arriver. Not the greatest track by any means but still fun and I managed to somehow birdie the 490-yard par 4 17th fully into the wind so that made it well worth it as I'd never even parred that beast before.

Still plenty of room for Chester Washington to improve for sure, but it's also still worth playing right now if you get a good price and the POP doesn't add up to six hours.
With an open Saturday this past weekend, I decided to finally return to one of the earliest 18-hole courses I ever played when I started playing golf about six years ago. I had never returned but since I have to go back to all the courses I never broke 100 at, this one was definitely on the list. Met with a buddy there and we played from the blue tees and paid around $40 with a cart which was just fine.

One note to start with - the nines were switched around about a year ago so GK Scoretracker and Scorecard info is currently backwards, but I have let Johnny know and it will be fixed.

As for the course conditions, not too shabby in truth. I was expecting a lot worse. El Prado is famous for the cow manure aromas wafting about the grounds and the distant sound of gunfire with a shooting range nearby, but when it comes to the golf, they still put together a decent product. There are dried out and thin areas in the fairways, but there are also plenty of good lies to be found. Tee boxes are a bit beat up but mostly serviceable. Bunkers looked okay to slightly thin but never found one all day. And the greens were very inconsistent in terms of playability, but mostly okay. They held shots well but varied from green to green in terms of roll and speed. That was weird but still putted well so it wasn't an issue.

The worst part about El Prado? Most likely the completely out-of-date carts and the cart path around the place that is just a shambles. Dirt sections with potholes the size of Oregon and broken up concrete stretches that require a 4x4 more than these old carts. That path could most definitely use a makeover.

Decent layout at El Prado (Butterfield Stage) and it actually works better now with the reversed nines in my opinion. It's mostly flat but there are some lakes that definitely come into play when deciding whether or not to go for some greens. Good mix of hole lengths but nothing too crazy in terms of bunkers or sloped/tiered greens. You can have a low round here, but you can also overestimate yourself and get into some trouble.

Ultimately I'm glad I made it back out finally and had a really fun day. I would certainly like to finally play the Chino Creek 18 as well sometime soon, but for now just glad to take another course off my Sub-100 list!
In dire need of a confidence round after a rough few last outings, I decided to head over to Encino this past Sunday since I had a nice history here of low 80s scores and good shot making. Encino was also in much better shape than its reputation the last few visits, but unfortunately it's currently back to its infamous state. Walked with a push cart playing the black tees for $45.

Fairways are very dry, lies are very thin and you will find no shortage of dirt areas in the middle of fairways that should be GUR. The rough is not much better with the occasional lush section, but mostly a very tough job differentiating between rough and fairway. Sand in the bunkers seemed to be just okay and was fine in the one that I was in (15th hole). Tee boxes are thin but mostly level. No major issues there.

Greens were running medium speed with plenty of ball marks and bumps and bruises along the way, but not on all greens. Very mixed, actually. A few of the greens were in pretty nice shape, but others had some damage and needed some work. No rhyme or reason to it.

Pretty straightforward layout at Encino - very surprising that Encino from the black tees has a higher GK CDF than a place like Eagle Glen from the blue tees! It's not even close! You can close your eyes and swing and still break 90 at Encino nine times out of ten. Oh yeah, POP was a bit of a nightmare with long waits playing just behind the women's league groups who were, well, not fast. Certain par 3s had three groups waiting so it was very tough to keep any rhythm whatsoever.

In summary, Encino is a fine place to play, just not right now. Hope that it gets back to better shape soon to make it worthwhile to make the trip again.
Played another round at Rolling Hills Country Club on Saturday after previous plans fell through - not a bad way to recover! I was allowed to bring a friend so I invited Kassper7 and away we went on a gorgeous and hot fall day. Price for the weekend was a bit steep at $145 with cart, but it's worth it as it's not that often you get to play courses like this. We played from the Copper tees (blue equivalent) with a 1:15pm tee time.

Course is still coming into its own and needs much more time to really get back to that lush, green grass that used to grace RHCC before the massive redesign. And this time of year, it's especially pronounced as the fairways are very light green and appear thinner than they play, but good lies to be found all day. The rough got tricky at times but there are also lots of thin fescue areas where you can still save a wayward shot if you can find the ball.

Tee boxes continue to be very difficult to get your tees into and I'm not sure exactly why, but this was a theme throughout the day. Again, everything here is less than a year old so it may just be that it will take a little more time for what lies underneath to settle in. Wish I knew more on the subject. Bunkers were generally in good shape - fluffier near the greens, thinner near the fairways. Interesting fact - ALL the bunkers at RHCC now are considered waste bunkers. Every single one. So you can take practice swings, ground your club, etc.

Greens were pretty crazy fast and more or less perfect. Putting at the new RHCC is a wild adventure with the massive bowl-shaped greens and very difficult and dramatic undulations and shelves/tiers that adorn so many of them. Getting through 18 holes here with a sub 2.0 putting average is quite a feat for sure. They're very tricky indeed and were probably rolling around a 12.5 to 13 just a week ahead of the club championship.

I do really enjoy the layout here and can't wait to see it in a few years when it's all grown in properly and at its immaculate best. Going to be something to see. But for now, it's still a great track to come play every once in a while and pick up more little tips each time to get better with every visit. Worth the visit if you can get a spot.
Bigdana just reviewed Rancho Park after playing there yesterday in the morning while I played a twilight round, but his words are pretty spot on. My 'home' course is in a pretty poor state right now overall and could use a little time off for maintenance.

Got a cart and played the blue tees for around $35, so at least the price was not outrageous for what we got. Was paired with three other singles who were all very nice and turned out to be the best part of the day - thanks Tiffany, Cliff and Yong! But we were all a little miffed off the bat by seeing the first two greens and some dried out fairways.

Many of the greens have some serious damage, including sand filling in dry patches, bumps everywhere, and some areas that should seriously be GUR. They were bumpy, inconsistent speeds and at minimum held decent shots. But overall, pretty terrible - maybe the worst condition I've ever seen them here. Sad.

Fairways not much better with loads of thin lies and dry areas, but you will find the occasional lush spot. Chipping around the greens always an adventure with so many balls finding dried out divots that affected shots and just an overall poor quality. The rough was slightly better for many of the shots and was often glad to be off the fairways if the line to the green was still good.

Bunkers were good, actually - at least the ones I found myself in at times. Not exactly fluffy, but more than serviceable. And the tee boxes? Again, pretty rough shape. They could definitely use better coverage and a little flattening. Rancho Park definitely not in its best state right now. Not even close.

No cart service all afternoon and the water fountains are mostly a broke-down joke. They really need a little bit of a sprucing up here and need it fast. The only salvation is the great snack shop between the 11th and 12th holes - everything you need to get you back on track.

POP felt longer than the five hours it took as we actually did a little more waiting than I have in recent visits to Rancho. I'm hoping this is more an anomaly than standard future practice.

Everyone knows the layout story at Rancho Park so I won't bother you with those details, however I will STILL let everyone know that the right side of the driving range fence needs to be higher and better quality so finding your ball on the 18th approach isn't always such a dumb adventure. Other than all that though, it's swell! Seriously though, it'll be a while before this track is required playing. Hope they get it sorted soon.
Had a super fun Sunday round with Johnny, Kassper7 and Mattias at Black Gold. The staff there did an absolutely amazing job taking care of us and it was well worth the drive out to Yorba Linda. We had a late tee time but ample time to finish as the long shadows began covering the course late.

This is such a very tough course where every errant shot will be penalized handsomely. There's just not a lot of room for error and club selection here is absolutely critical. Pick the wrong club and go just a bit long or too short and all of a sudden you'll find yourself in a whole lot of hurt. But when you do hit the right shots, it feels pretty great.

The course is quite green right now considering the time of year and looked very good from the visual aspect. You may find an occasional thinner lie here or there, but mostly we found ourselves hitting from very good lies in the fairways all day. Of course the rough is fairly grabby with the type of grass they have in play here, and if you're off the fairways then you never quite know what you'll get. Plenty of places to lose balls off the fairways and when you find them, it's often no picnic to get back into the fairways.

Greens I found to be in really nice shape. A few ball marks here and there and maybe not as fast as I've seen the greens here before, but they were holding shots quite well and rolling very true. Some tricky pin positions today made putting an adventure for sure, but nothing gimmicky or over the top. Bunkers seemed really good by the greens optically, but they're not as fluffy as they look when you're in them, however the fairways bunkers are the perfect type of thin sand to still be able to hit good shots. Tee boxes were level and had mostly good coverage.

We had a pretty decent POP for most of the day and were having a such a good time that it was surprising when we did actually come in right around five hours. The cart service came around numerous times and I did see water stations on a few holes, so that's good service.

All in all it was big winner of a day out at Black Gold and I would definitely recommend a trip out there if you're feeling pretty confident in your game and want to have an enjoyable round at a quality establishment while the conditions are still very good overall. Just know that this course is no cakewalk and you're in for a big challenge, but you'll enjoy every bit of it.
Played Alhambra on Saturday with a buddy and were lucky enough to avoid the rain all day with a 10:30am tee time and $51 with a cart playing from the blue tees. As much as it rained the night before, we were expecting a swamp, but the course actually drained pretty darn well and there weren't too many areas with standing water.

The course itself gets too low a rating for its short length, but there are plenty of holes at Alhambra where you can get in trouble if you're not on target. It's a shame that you can post a very good score here and that won't be reflected in your handicap at all. But I digress … the course is a fun layout with a good amount of opportunities to go for greens early.

Conditions at Alhambra despite the recent aeration are quite good. Fairways are in very nice shape overall (as usual) and the rough is also good. You won't find too many poor lies at Alhambra which is great - they really do take good care of this place. The recently punched greens are healing well and only showed minimal evidence of punching, however they were a tad bit spongy and slow from all the previous night's rain, and could probably use a flat roller pretty soon to really get the speed moving again.

Bunkers and tee boxes both in good shape as well. Always have a nice time playing this cool little track but I am a bit put off by the terrible ROI after a good round when it comes to the handicap (if you care about things like that). I will always come back here though a few times per year as they are deserving of the business and do a great job taking care of their customers.
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