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Played Tustin Ranch on 8/16/18. My first time out here since 2004. My prior visits here were underwhelming considering the price to play. And I've never been a big fan of Ted Robinson designed courses. Had an affordable chance to come back, so I decided to erase my brain and have an open mind.

First off, the staff and facility are top notch. Well run. Carts were nice, comfy, and had a nice GPS system that actually had correct pin placements. Water stations were well stocked. Beverage cart came by several times. The course itself is a much better layout than I remember - a really good mix of holes, not tricked up, and not too punishing.

Conditions - they are definitely putting water on the course. For August, it was surprisingly green and soft. The greens are a strange mess. Really really soft, to the point of being spongy. Really bumpy as a result, and it is hard to putt a straight line. Ball marks are huge and deep, so there are several left over marks everywhere. Several greens are having fringe replacement, so large patches of fringe are bare, marked off, waiting for sod replacement.

Fairways and rough are ok. Most of the lies are good, but lots of places where grass is having problems. Sand is pretty good, bordering on a bit thin in spots.

I am really torn on this course. On one hand, it is a top rate facility, and the course itself is really a nice layout. But the conditions are quite strange for August, and I can't tell if it is fall maintenance beginning or just general poor conditions in many spots.

I have hopes that TR will shape up nicely and be more worthy of the mid-upper class of public golf courses. But right now, there are many options within 30 miles that are just as good and half the price of TR (or even less). But this last visit at least gives me incentive to come back much sooner than the last 14 year gap.
Played Hidden Valley at sunrise on 08/07. I'm puzzled by recent poor reviews as I think this course is quite awesome for the price. My review is based on the early start - so we played a lot of the course prior to daily maintenance.

Greens are plush, wet and very soft. Footprint and tire tracks are a problem, but everything still rolls pretty well. I suspect they are keeping them wet and longer than usual due to the summer heat. Once fall arrives, and they can start cutting them short, these greens should be excellent.

Fairways are pretty good all around. Rough is interesting - some areas are bare, some are easy to play out of, and then some of the rough is 3-4 inches of brutal grass that eats golf balls. Hint, don't go in there.

Tee boxes are the worst issue here, as many of them are not level, and the grass is pretty shaggy on many of them.

The layout is a blast. Lots of elevation changes and some hidden shots. Now, if they could only fix the 60 minute drive from here to Irvine at 9:00 am....
Played Westridge at first light on 07/26/18. This is something that OC needs a lot more of .... decent, affordable, fun golf courses.

Condition is acceptable - nothing to get excited about, but nothing to really complain about for the price either. Greens are soft and usually smooth. Fairways and rough have some rough patches, better play it up in the fairway. Course is generally tight, take some extra balls if you are left/right challenged.

Today's head-scratching moments:

I was first to the clubhouse other than the cart guy. Waited for ProShop to open. Twosome of regulars/members loaded up and went off. Proshop finally did open 3 minutes before my GolfNow booked tee time. That's OK. Paid and still hit first shot on time. Somehow, that first twosome that teed off 15 minutes before was still on #1 green. Even though I was right on their tail, "go through" never entered their mind. Picked up from #2 fairway and skipped ahead. First off the tee, you should be ready to play fast.

Two holes later....surprise! Two singles playing a par 5. Where did they come from? As I am waiting to hit, another single zooms by "can I go through?". Where? Anyway, the two singles let me pass quickly. Not sure where the zoomer single went, but I caught him on #8 and he waived me through on #9. Seems like the locals just start wherever they feel like it. Clean sailing on the back 9, finished in 1:47.

One warning. Apparently the grounds crew has right of way at all times. I must have hit 6 approach shots into greens that had 1-2 workers on it. Glad nobody got hit, but it was close a couple of times. I did appreciate the one guy who was hand-watering the greens who pretty well soaked the ball that I hit close to him. He was going to teach that ball. That was the only putt I made all day.
Played CH on 7/25/18, first time here in nearly a decade. Heat was rough, mid to upper 90s and humid. Fortunately, the group in front of us paid the extra fee to be able to search for every golf ball ever lost on the course - so we were able to enjoy the heat for more than 5 hours!

I had forgotten how brutally tight and unforgiving this course can be. If you get away with a bad swing here consider yourself lucky.

Conditions were pretty darn good considering mid-summer. Greens were plush and soft, to the point of being a bit sticky. Lots of ball marks to contend with though. Fairways were nice. Rough is hit and miss. Bunkers appeared fine, but I avoided them.

Bring your straight game - bombers beware.
Played LS South early on 7/6/18. Based on today's experience and other reviews, there is not a lack of water on this course.....the greens were absolutely soaked. Of course, teeing off at 5:30 am, I was playing alongside the work crews.

Greens are fantastic - given the soaked condition. Smooth and nice coverage. Quick, but not fast. Fairways and rough are generally good, but there are some bare patches out there. Not really a surprise, this course covers a TON of acreage, and too keep everything plush is beyond realistic for this price range. Bunkers were nice - no issues there.

I'd have to say that Los Serranos would be a great home course. Fun course, challenging but not overly difficult. Affordable. Nice practice facilities (except for range mats), nice clubhouse, and 36 holes to choose from.
Played Oak Creek early on 06/20/18. Great staff. This is one of my favorite OC layouts.

The greens are ALMOST the best I have ever seen here. I say almost, while the grass is excellent and rolls beautifully, there is an insane amount of unrepaired ball marks on these greens. We were the 1st group out, and we usually had to fix 10 ball marks within 10 feet of every hole. There needs to be a significant effort to (1) have the crew repair marks, and (2) inform the players that they need to repair marks. If you are lucky enough to have a clean line, the roll is great. I'd say 50% of my putts today went through ball marks that I had to repair.

Fairways are nice - no complain there. Generally, the rough is fine, but there are many bare patches along the way. The sand traps are confusing. Maybe they are right in the middle of a sand refurbishment. Half the traps were great, and half were bare mud/pebbles.

For what I consider to be the top facility in OC golf (except for Pelican), Oak Creek was really not close to being what I expect. Not recommended at half price.
Played Glen Ivy on 6/12 with the Gk Gurus. I haven't been to GI since 2010, interesting to see how the course has matured. Visually, growth in the native areas has blocked the view of landing areas on a few holes - so course knowledge will help. I recommend a yardage book if you are not familiar with the course as several holes are difficult to see where the proper line should be.

GI appears to be one of the few SoCal courses actually putting money into the course. Things are better than I remember from a decade ago. Even in June, when the hot season is in full bloom in Corona, the greens are green, plush and soft. Fairways and rough are good, but you can see the start of the heat effects as things are getting crusty. Sand was good, but again the top level is getting baked by the heat.

I enjoyed the course more than I have in the past. Lots of elevation changes, so many holes play much shorter than their posted yardages. If you get the ball in play, there are birdies to be made, and even more birdie putts that will lip out at the last second. Dang it.

Highly recommended.
Joined in with the GK Guru's at Goose Creek on 5/18/18. We followed a Cal Am qualifier in the morning, so we were treated to some back tees and challenging pin placements, although it could have been made even more difficult.

I haven't been to GC in a few years, and things remain consistent as far as the course goes. Above average conditions all the way around. A very solid layout, fun to play, and challenging in spots, especially with some wind today. No need to call out any specific area, everything was in good shape.

I will make note of one change. This course does not have the usual "signature hole". However, it has always had the signature smell of cattle due to dairy farm west of the course. For better or worse, the dairy farm is gone, as housing sprawl is pushing up to the west edge of the course. So, things smell better, but we are going to have houses. Still, the impact is only on a few holes, and it looks like for now, the course will still be relatively isolated.

Goose Creek remains one of my favorite tracks to play.
Played LQM on 5/8/18.

I'll admit, I only play the LQ & PGA West courses in the off-season, but this time LQM was in the best conditions I have ever seen. Greens were outstanding. Green, well covered, and quite quick without being too fast. Fairways were very plush, and the ball sits up nicely. Tee boxes were in good shape, but with numerous small tee boxes - it is tough to find a divot free stance on occasion.

Thanks to Bill the starter! He warned me that I was going out as a single and would catch groups, so he suggested a relaxing pace and to play a couple of balls. Good suggestion. He even came out an hour later to see how I was doing. The cold wet towels are appreciated on a hot day.

I've been a bit skeptical of LQM in the past. This was definitely my best experience here.
Played 5/8/18, first time out on this course. This is a standard Palm Springs residential course, flat lands, running through a housing development. Now that disclaimer is out, this place is a great bargain. It is a fun course, very wide fairways, with water hazards to keep you honest.

Conditions - you can see the focus is getting the greens and fairways into top shape. Success! Tees/fairways/greens are in great shape. The greens may have been the second best I have seen lately in terms of grass coverage and smoothness. However, they are SLOW, SLOW, SLOW! It was very difficult to adjust to the speed. Through six holes, I was 1 under for GIR (hit every green, including a par 5 in 2), and my score was +3. Yikes! Later this afternoon, I played LQ Mountain. Their greens were much tougher and faster, and I putted much better there.

This would be a good course for a local to play regularly. It's in great condition, and a really enjoyable layout. Quite a bargain.
The GK Guru's got to play Oak Quarry in a misty rain on 5/2. Always fun to join up with Ron, Nick and David.

OQ remains my favorite SoCal layout. Just a really fun and challenging course, and set in a great location. OQ feels like Eagle Glen with greater peril, or Hidden Valley with less elevation & trickery. I like all 3 of these courses, but OQ is just a step above the other two.

Starting with the bad, I'll echo the other Gurus in stating that the bunkers left something to be desired today. The rain certainly didn't help - so I am going to blame Mother Nature some here. Rain tracks in the sand made for bad lies. Even with the rain, the bunkers did not have a lot of sand before you hit bottom. But, I will say I've seen a lot worse than these bunkers. They are playable, and they are punishing.

Greens were solid today. Soft, smooth, and pretty quick. Nothing that can't be handled by a red-hot $8 thrift store putter though. :)

Tees - excellent. Fairways - very good grass overage, lies still a little tight for my liking, let it grow a bit more.

Rough is a challenge. You have areas with very thick grass, and just a few yards away from areas with very little grass. Sometimes you get away with being in the rough, and sometimes you don't. The thickest rough is the first 10 feet of the fairway, so you just miss the fairway a bit and you are hacking from the thick stuff.

Thoroughly enjoyed OQ in the mist!
Heads up - Los Serranos South was aerated, probably 7-10 days ago.

I was shocked upon looking at my spreadsheet to see that I haven't been out here in almost 10 years, as I liked both of these courses. Just a little far to get here. The 5am drive from San Clemente to LS was easy, but coming back from LS to Irvine at 9:30 am took me 90+ minutes.

Outside of the aerated greens, LS South is in good shape. Fairways are plush and not too tight. Rough is hit and miss. Tee boxes were nice. I was not aware of the green aeration, so that was disappointing. They are still bumpy, but not so bad as to make me regret coming here. I am sure in 2-3 weeks they will be nice.

I still enjoy these courses. Even though I've played the south a half a dozen times, I still get surprised by the par 74 and the sheer length of this course. Bombs away - there's lots of room to miss, but you'll get some tree trouble coming back.
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