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Played Eagle Falls on 9/19/18. They will be shutting down in October for the usual fall maintenance. Too bad, because this course is in amazing condition. What a hidden gem. Other than the distant I-10 noise (which I rarely noticed), there is nothing else here.

Great course. Amazing conditions. Nice staff. Amazing bargain.

Highest recommendation.
14 Likes.
IW is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Even with the suprise Verticut happening today, but fortunately I only had to play on 3 holes that way.

Staff is awesome - got me out 2 hours early as I was ahead of schedule. Went out as single, starter told me there were 3 foursomes ahead and that I should go to #4 or #5 to start. I went to #5 just ahead of the first foursome, and didn't see another golfer.

Verticut is probably done now, so my conditions report is meaningless. Count on immaculate conditions after October maintenance.
8 Likes.
I drove up to the Porcupine Creek gate. Nobody was there to let me in. So I went to Escena.

I hate to rate PS courses just before the October maintenance schedule, but here goes. Escena's greens roll really well. Slow as you would expect for late summer, but really easy to putt. Fairways are OK, some spots good, many spots ready for aeration and overseed already. Rough is good, not much to complain about there.

Sand traps - too many rocks!

Still a very solid layout. In pretty good late summer shape, and I am sure they will come back from maintenance in very good shape.

Recommended.
11 Likes.
Played ER on 09/13. As with my previous review of Carlton Oaks, it seems the players of Encinitas Ranch are aware of the upcoming aeration, and are doing their part by not repairing any ball marks. However unlike Carlton Oaks, there were so many ballmarks at Encinitas Ranch that putting was definitely affected. Putts were hopping all over the place.

Everything else on the course was fine. Good coverage on fairways, tees level, rough is hit and miss, normally OK. But greens should be the #1 focus, and I do not see that emphasis here.

I have always enjoyed this course. However, even at the JC Golf guest rate of $62, there are way too many other options with better conditions and lower price. Let's hope the coming course maintenance improves things for the coming winter, because as it is, I cannot recommend Encinitas Ranch.
6 Likes.
Played Carlton Oaks on 9/9. I see from the GK page that aeration is scheduled for the next two days. I would say the prior weeks players got an early aeration start by not fixing a single ball mark on any green. I have never seen so many unfixed ball marks. That being said, the grass still had good coverage, and I was shocked that most of my putts rolled well with no bouncing.

Fairways are in good shape. Tee boxes are generally fine, some uneven ground here and there, but playable. Rough is very much so. Lots of bare ground off the fairways.

So, while I have berated the course on the conditions here, I will say this is a great course and quite a bargain these days. If you keep it on the grass, you are rewarded with a very fun and challenging course. I would have loved to have played here in the early days, as I suspect this place was amazing at the start.

Recommended - just know that you will get some bad lies off the fairways and greens.
9 Likes.
Played in the Guru outing with Johnny, Larry and Kevin, and what a fun day testing out the Phat Scooters and Golfboards. More on those later.

I've probably been to La Costa a dozen times over my 20 years here, and this was definitely the best experience I have had there. Course was in great condition, not suffering from the summer heat as many courses are right now. Staff was super, and really helpful getting us going on the newfangled golf transports, and were really interesting in hearing our feedback. Play was shockingly fast. We went out early, 7:30-7:40, and it was smooth sailing all the way around.

Specific condition notes: Greens are really fast, but really smooth except for old ball marks which can be found in abundance. Still, it was just a matter of a quick repair, and putts rolled smooth. Fairway and rough were in nice playable condition. Some repair areas here and there, but generally really nice. Sand traps were good, no issues there.

I started out on a Phat Scooter. Absolutely loved it. So much more mobility and freedom in a single scooter versus a golf cart. Very easy to use, although you do have to exercise caution with the speed at times. Big tires caused no issues on the grass, and I have to think two scooters would cause less grass damage than a single cart. The Phat Scooter had all the accessories you need - storage bin, scorecard holder, drink holder. And a headlight for illegal night golf is a nice add in.

JohnnyGK and I swapped Scooter/GolfBoard for several holes, so I got to try out the GolfBoard as well. While I had seen these before, I really had no desire to try one. I'm not a surfer or skateboarder at age 54, so these didn't really appeal to me. But, this was my chance, why not. It took a hole to get a feel for it, but once I did I really enjoyed it. It was harder to maneuver than the scooter, but I was getting much more comfortable within 15 minutes. However, I do have some aching muscles today that haven't been used i a while. The golfboard does use some different body motions and I am feeling the after-effects.

Many thanks to La Quinta for letting us out to test the Phat Scooters and GolfBoards. I must say, I hope both of these transports gain some market share - they are a fun alternative to the tired old golf carts.

Great course, great day.
9 Likes.
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.
8 Likes.
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....
10 Likes.
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.
8 Likes.
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.
10 Likes.
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.
11 Likes.
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.
11 Likes.
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