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Played here for the first time yesterday. A friend and I signed up for a charity tournament, mainly just to get to play the course which is otherwise not easily accessed. It was a shotgun start with a pretty full field. Our group started on the par-3 7th hole (daunting all-carry over water). It was cart-path-only and a scramble format, which is a terrible combination because everyone has to walk to balls separately, figure out which one to play, walk back and forth to the carts to get clubs, etc. Add to that the paths here are kept off to the sides as much as possible, so a lot of walking and a 5.5+ hour round!

The course was in nice winter shape, playing better than it looked. The tee boxes were great, other than sanding that was being done on a couple of the par-3s. The fairways are a very thatchy/grabby/fluffy bermuda that was consistent and well-kept. The rough is dormant bermuda that is cut down, but still quite grabby. Scramble format always ensured ideal placed lies, though you still had to account for the club really digging into the turf. We never played out of any bunkers, but I pulled a couple balls out and the sand seemed absolutely perfect. The greens were nice. Just receptive enough and rolling smooth at medium/fast speeds. Not as fast as they looked and I'm sure they can get these surfaces running super quick when they want to. They were lightly top-dressed, as well, but that didn't affect anything.

With the light and partly dormant winter conditions not being particularly "pretty," it definitely took away some aesthetic appeal of the course. Overall, I wasn't as impressed with this place as much as I wanted to be considering it is a such an exclusive, high-end club. The facilities are pretty nice and the layout has a lot of character. A few too many blind uphill approaches for my taste, and then the 18th has a blind downhill approach that's kind of awkward. Greens aren't too big and have some undulation, but no putts seemed overly tricky to read. Undoubtedly, the most interesting feature of the course is the bunkering. The bunkers here have a great rugged old school kind of look and they are all deep and very punitive. If you get invited out here for a reasonable price, it's worth the visit. I wouldn't break the bank to play it again, even though I'd like to experience it in a better part of the year and not with such a slow pace of play.
9 Likes.
Another great GK visit to Rams Hill. I'll never turn away any opportunity to make this drive and play this fantastic course. Thanks to the course staff, Johnny and Andrew "Mr. Linksoul" for such a fun event and amazing prize table.

As others have noted, the course was in very nice condition overall. It's been a dry winter so far, but they keep this place plenty lush and green. As others have mentioned, this was easily the softest I've ever seen this course. The greens have matured and are much more receptive than they used to be. Definitely changes the approach on some holes here because you can fire at the pins more often, though the crazy green complexes and tricky slopes will always have influence (sometimes helpful, sometimes not). The practice green was definitely firmer and faster than on the course. I was timid all day as I normally am here, and left a majority of my putts short (even the usual scary downhillers). Bunkers all seemed to have brand new sand that was super soft. Too soft in some instances, but it will eventually settle down and be ideal.

I don't know if you can call Rams Hill a hidden gem anymore because the secret is pretty well out. Despite being well off the beaten path, it's always worth the drive. It's the crown jewel in the more-golf-rich-than-most-people-realize Borrego Springs community!
18 Likes.
After Watson Ranch, I wiggled my way across the back roads over to Sunset Bay for a quick nine. Another one to check off the list, but again another really pleasant surprise. Hardly anyone out there, so I was able to get around quickly. Price was $20 to walk 9 holes, but I sprained my ankle pretty bad when walking down the slippery steps to the first tee. The pro shop guy was nice enough to comp me a cart for the round because I may have not made it around otherwise. Played through one group early and otherwise had the place to myself for a very quick limp-filled round.

The course was in pretty good shape for winter. Definitely wet and mushy throughout a lot of the course, but again not too bad considering the heavy rain the past few days. very lush and green throughout. Tee boxes and fairways were pretty well kept and the rough was cut low, so not much of a factor. I was in one bunker and just took my ball out because it just looked like hard-packed mud and I didn't want to damage my ankle further. All the bunkers I looked at seemed iffy at best. The greens were soft and shaggy, but rolling fairly smooth at slow speeds.

This is just a small, out-of-the-way nine hole course along the coast. However, it is regulation length and they do have slightly different front/back nine tee boxes for an 18-hole round. It's mostly flat and pretty open with trees really only coming into play on the final few holes. There are creeks and some water hazards meandering throughout to help shape the fairways and force careful shots. Nothing overly exciting, but a peaceful/pretty setting for golf and in relatively good condition.
12 Likes.
Finally made my way out to Watson Ranch. I intended to play here last winter, but was frosted out that morning. Today, I came through town later and it worked out perfectly. Not too busy when I teed off a little before 11:00, but the course was fairly busy by the time I left. It was a rare picture-perfect winter day, so everyone came out I guess. The pro shop guy was one of the nicest I've ever encountered as he got me set up to play. I played by myself and played through a few folks along the way for a quick round. Price seemed a bit steep at $55 ($40 to walk and then an extra $15 for solo gas-powered cart--normally $17 to ride solo, but he gave me a slight discount).

Like other courses on this trip, I was very pleasantly surprised by mid-winter conditions. Plenty of wet/soft spots with a lot of rain the past few days, but really not too bad. Otherwise, everything was lush and green throughout and well-kept. I was in three different bunkers and they all had different types of sand. However, all were decent to play from, soft but damp. The greens were in excellent shape. Soft but not too soft and rolling at medium/quick speeds. Being above the hole here is not a good idea.

This is definitely a locals' course, but it offers plenty to like that would make it a good add-on for anyone planning a Bandon trip. It's just a half hour north and it's almost on the level of Bandon Crossings as a secondary 18-hole course outside of the resort. Really fun and interesting layout with a lot of variety. Front nine is more tree lined with some creeks and hazards in play. Back nine a bit more open playing through a marshy area. All the par-3s are really cool, highlighted by the signature 16th which features a severely elevated tee hitting over a pretty water hazard to the green. Several very memorable holes here and this is a course that deserves more attention than it gets. Truly a hidden gem along the Oregon Coast!
13 Likes.
With much of the area still under ice after Sunday's surprise snowstorm, Three Rivers turned out to be a good option for a round yesterday. I arrived around 10:45 and was teeing off a few minutes later by myself. A group on the first tee let me go ahead and then I zipped around with nobody in front of me after that. The pro shop guy was super nice and gave me the twilight w/cart rate of $27.50 that would normally start at noon.

The course was in solid overall condition for winter. This is one that really promotes the benefits of having volcanic ash in the soil, which allows it to drain very well. That's certainly a helpful trait in this area! The tee boxes were fine and the fairways were overall pretty consistently good. The rough was a bit more inconsistent, but had solid coverage throughout and was never too much of a factor. I think it's primarily a fescue turf here like you'll find on a lot of NW coastal courses, so it does well in harsh conditions. The greens were soft (but not too soft) and rolling smooth at medium speeds. A few greens still had some small patches of ice/snow. I wasn't in any bunkers but they looked pretty damp/compacted.

The layout here is pretty simple and forgiving from tee to green. A few small changes in elevation to add some variety, but nothing too significant. Part of the course run right along the river, but it doesn't compare to the prettiness of Lewis River. The fact it drains so well makes this a good option for bad weather golf, but it wouldn't be my top choice in the SoWa area.
14 Likes.
The true definition of a "hidden gem."

Played here today. Hardly anyone out there on a clear, but very cold and windy day. Played by myself, teeing off a little after noon. Finished in under 2 hours, playing through one other single along the way. Cart path only restrictions after heavy rains yesterday. $30 was a fair rack twilight price.

Again, I was pretty impressed by the conditions overall for this time of year. Tee boxes and fairways were generally nicely kept. Rough had lush coverage. Everything well maintained with just some soft/mushy spots here and there. Still not too bad. Several of the courses in this region benefit from a lot of St. Helens ash in the soil that helps the turf drain well. Greens were soft and slow, showing signs of a fairly recent aeration. Will probably be better in another couple weeks and you can tell they take good care of them here. The bunkers are interesting because it's a really dark sand (perhaps some ash in it, as well?) and looks like it's going to be hard-packed and wet. However, it is surprisingly soft and nice to play from, though it was still pretty heavy and damp.

Really didn't know much about this course, but my brother recommended it as one of the better Southern Washington options. I ended up really liking this course a lot. It's pretty much a traditional parkland layout with no changes in elevation. All fairways lined with tall, beautiful evergreens. Then, there are a few holes that really stand-out. The side-by-side 16th and 17th green/water hazard complex is really cool and one of the neater spots on a golf course I've seen in awhile. The blue skies and afternoon shadows really lit this place up and I was taking pictures like crazy. Really happy I decided to play here today because it blew away any expectations I would have had.
17 Likes.
Couldn't ask for a nicer Christmas gift than this. I was able to reach out to the Head Pro a few days ago. Pitched my blog, my quests, my holiday travel schedule, etc. and he was nice enough to invite me out at a reduced guest rate. $75 and worth every penny. Played by myself, teeing off around 10:30. They had carts available, but I noticed everyone else there was walking and I didn't mind stretching my legs after a lot of driving--also to warm up because it was only about 38 degrees when I teed off. Had the front nine to myself and took my time with a ton of pictures. Caught up to a twosome on the back nine and ultimately joined them for the final few holes. Total round about 3.5 hours and I savored every minute of the experience.

The pro kind of undersold the winter conditions when booking my round and allowing to come out and take pictures. However, the conditions were excellent. I was amazed at how nice this place given how cold and rainy it is in Eugene in the winter months. The place was lush and green from wall to wall. There were a few soft/mushy patches here and there, but otherwise, beautiful turf from tee to greens. The greens were also stellar. Just soft and receptive enough while rolling at medium/fast speeds. I'm sure they can really get these surfaces flying for big events. Bunkers were beautifully maintained. Just great on every level no matter what time of year, but especially in the dead of winter in Oregon.

Really nice facilities and friendly staff made me feel welcome as an unaccompanied guest. The club has a lot of history and has hosted some big collegiate and amateur events throughout the years, as it is one of the Ducks' home courses. The pro told me that RTJ Sr. essentially "flipped" the course when he did his renovation in the 1960s. What is now the 1st tee area used to be the 18th green and most, if not all, of the holes essentially play backwards from what they originally did. I found that fascinating. Not sure why they did it, but I can't argue with what you get in the current course set-up.

It's a fantastic layout. The first few holes kind of ease you in and then things really perk up. Holes 5-7 are kind of their version of Amen Corner. An awesome par-3 over water, followed by a killer dogleg right par-5 that takes advantage of the only real elevation change on the course, followed by another cool par-3 over water. The par-3 12th is another stand-out. Otherwise, most of the course is out in front of you, playing back and forth with tree-lined fairways. Tough green complexes and bunkering. Traditional old school feel, but beautiful, challenging and enjoyable in every way. Simply a great experience and easy to see why it's considered among the top 100 or 200 courses in the country (depending on whose rankings you are looking at).
16 Likes.
Stopped here to break up my drive north today. I found a $12 GN hot deal yesterday for a 12:10 tee time and couldn't ask for better value than that. It was a nice clear day, though still fairly chilly and really windy. Plenty of people out on the course. I was paired with another single and a nice Ukrainian couple. We teed off precisely at 12:10 and finished at 4pm just about on the dot, so good overall pace. Would have been faster but the bro-some in front of us slowed down a bit on the back nine and we pushed them all the way in.

Conditions are what I expected and feared considering it's been a relatively dry winter so far. Similar to some other Sacto/Norcal experiences in the past with everything being pretty much dormant. The tee boxes and fairways are completely dormant brown (or gold if you want to romanticize it a bit). Lots of roll-out on drives and actually decent tight lies to hit from for the most part. Playing better than it looked. Rough is more dappled with some green patches and brown patches. Again, looks ugly, but not too bad to play from. The greens were nice to putt on rolling at medium/fast speeds. I felt they were a bit inconsistent in terms of receptiveness. Some shots really stuck super soft while others bounced like cement trampolines. I wasn't in a bunker, but they appeared pretty good.

I've always heard this is a solid course and I cannot disagree in terms of layout. It's an enjoyable course, forgiving off the tee and tricky around the greens. Nice setting with no houses or buildings around (some air traffic noise from Sacto airport next door and Beale AFB not too far away). Parts of this course setting-wise kind of reminded me of Goose Creek. Unfortunately, very, very far from Goose conditions today or probably during most winters up here. This is one I'd like to revisit at a better time of year because it has plenty of character for a good price.
13 Likes.
Thanks to Johnny, La Costa, Linksoul, Cleveland, etc. for another fun year-end GK Plays! It seemed like everyone had a good time. The staff was great and the facilities are nice, though spread out (self-parking/valet and driving range especially). Good service all around, though.

I'll echo what some other reviewers are saying about the conditions. Feelings a bit mixed when considering the high-end reputation of this course, but also knowing it's winter season. Tee boxes were nice. Fairways were lush and green. I enjoyed hitting approaches off this turf, with the exception of some spots that were a little too soft. Low drives would get adequate rollout, but anything high would stick and stop pretty quickly in the soft turf. No way to play run-up shots to these greens with the softness and just-elevated-enough green complexes. Good news is the greens were fairly receptive and would hold good shots. Putting surfaces were a bit inconsistent. Some greens looked a little rough around the edges with thin/brown spots. Others mentioned the light topdressing of sand. Then, the grainy grass was really pulling up spike marks late in the afternoon, so there were a few bumpy rolls. I wasn't in any bunkers, so no comments there.

I love any excuse to get together with GK'ers and the prize table was awesome. La Costa is not normally somewhere I would choose to play for various reasons (mainly $$), but it was a good time with our good people of GK! And, I am happy to say that the Great Carlsbad Mustard Shortage of 2017 is officially over thanks to dconnally's hilarious prize table donation. And there was much rejoicing!!!
11 Likes.
It's been awhile since I last played, but I felt the itch to get out today and a short, inexpensive course sounded more fun. Took advantage of a 12:00 hot deal time here for $26. It's hard to justify full price for a par-3 course, but for this price (cart included) it was well worth it today. The staff was wonderful and the starter was nice letting me know they didn't have anyone to pair with me (even though there was only one spot available on the hot deal booking). He gave me a few options to wait or just go by myself despite the course being busy. I just played by myself behind other groups, so I waited awhile on every tee box. Other groups were behind me eventually, so I couldn't even slow play if I wanted to. Still, the whole round only took 2.5 hours, though it felt slower than that.

With the exception of the bunkers, the course was in excellent shape. The overseed has this place lush and beautiful from edge to edge. The tee boxes had the divot damage you would expect after a full morning of play, but I never had too much trouble finding a decent spot. There really aren't fairways here, just different cuts of rough. Nothing too deep, though, so always pretty fluffy chip shot lies if you miss a green. The greens were receptive and rolling pretty smooth at medium speeds. I fixed up a few errant ball marks, but nothing too egregious. I was only in one bunker and I was glad because it sucked. Just kind of muddy/hard-packed sand. Most I looked at elsewhere on the course didn't appear too much better. Too bad the bunkers are weak when the rest of the course is so darn nice.

I've only played here once before (almost 6 years ago). I loved it then and I've been wanting to go back ever since I moved out to the desert. In my opinion, this is easily one of the best public par-3 courses in all of California with 18 good holes. It's a legit layout with a wide variety of hole lengths and just enough challenge (water hazards, desert waste areas, big bunkers and undulating greens) to make even the best players work for a good score. At the same time, it's plenty forgiving enough for the average and novice players to play without getting too beat up. Beautiful desert scenery throughout and good visual contours on the course. There aren't too many must-play short courses in SoCal, but this is definitely one of them, especially during peak season conditions/weather and a good hot deal price.
9 Likes.
I was able to arrange a round here on Tuesday after Oakmont, so it worked out perfectly for a mid-afternoon round. It wasn't crowded at all, so I zipped around the course. I ran into one member on the course who told me a few things about the 9-hole (technically 10) layout. The one tricky part is the 6th/15th. Here, they actually have two separate criss-crossing par-3s, one you play for the 6th and the other you play as the 15th. On that same note, don't be fooled by the "practice" green straight ahead of you on the 2nd/11th hole. The actual green for both holes is to the right across a little canyon.

Conditions were decent, but somewhat of a letdown after super plush conditions at Oakmont earlier. Little more dry and thin over here. Tee boxes and fairways mostly a bit dried out, but played fine enough. The rough was thin in some areas and thicker in others, especially around greens. Bunkers were nice. The greens were also in very good shape, rolling smooth at medium speeds.

It's kind of unfair to compare Chevy Chase to Oakmont because I played them back-to-back and they are near one another. Oakmont is obviously a higher-end club. Chevy Chase just redid their entire clubhouse this year, so the facilities have been very much upgraded as they're looking to attract new members. The layout is fun and quite challenging. It's not long, but it is hilly and very narrow in places, with slopes that can sometimes be helpful and sometimes be not-so-helpful. It's one of those old courses where the quirks add some character. I enjoyed the course for what it is and everyone at the club was super nice.
10 Likes.
Played here on 11/6 as part of an NCGA member outing. This is their big outing at the end of every year, and in the past few years they've scheduled two Lake Merced visits that always sell out immediately. Finally got in on one and it was worth it. The clubhouse and facilities are nice with a traditional feel and the staff was very friendly with a big outside group. Continental breakfast and boxed lunches were provided. Pace of play was slow at just under 5 hours, but this a place you don't mind taking your time to play.

Conditions were stellar. Everything was super lush and green. Tee boxes and fairways were nicely kept and the rough was thick. It wasn't super duper deep, but certainly more than we're used to in SoCal these days. It was more than enough to make you work hard for a good recovery. Bunkers were fantastic and the greens were excellent. They were firm and rolling very fast. The natural slopes here are very hard to read.

Though originally built in the 1920s, this course has been through several major renovations. Several holes had to be removed at one point to make way for the 280 freeway, so the routing has been changed around. They were redoing one of the par-4 greens when we played, so there was a temporary par-3 set up on that hole. Still, this place has a very classic feel with the Bay Area setting (lots of hills and trees like Harding or Presidio). It's got some modern touches, as well. However the course has taken shape, it is a fun, challenging and beautiful layout. Highly recommended if you ever get a chance to play here.
8 Likes.
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