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2nd Vegas round. Played Wolf late afternoon when it was pretty much deserted (literally and figuratively speaking).

Nice design that seems to harmonize well (mainly) with its stark desert surrounds. Plenty of inventive and surprising elevation change for what appears at first glance to be a flattish desert plain. It has teeth, but less so in the Pete Dye design (for once) and more so due to the constant 15-25 mph wind. Difficulty wise it plays somewhere between Dye's TPC Stadium course and an easier Dye resort design like at Mission Hills in Palm Springs.

Conditions were simply awesome. Best, fluffiest, most padded lies I've ever played from in the fairways. I rarely took a divot as the ball sat up so high it was like hitting everything off a tee peg. Greens were flawless and had zero repair marks. Only slight quibble was the inevitable slowness due to it being hot and all the water they receive to stay alive.

You can tell it's a Dye design with the mounding bordering each fairway and the subtle slopes on the well bunkered greens. My only critique would be that the inevitable Dye water features did not harmonize well with the terrain, given how stark and primordial it really is. But you play Pete Dye and you must have an island green, I suppose, so #15 is a reprise of #17 'Alcatraz' at TPC Stadium, complete with large boulders ringing the island (or TPCSawgrsss #17 with the bunker in the middle front - at Wolf it's a grass bunker but the look is the same.) I suspect when we colonize the moon or Mars and they build a Pete Dye course there then it too will have to have a water feature/island green too.

Paid 89$ which seemed like a steal and all the natives were very friendly and welcoming too (more so than at TPC Vegas). Play it. It's worth it for the views alone even though it's a bit outside the city.
10 Likes.
Sorry not posting much (or playing much for that matter). But I got a 99$ deal to play here so took advantage.

Conditions were generally as you would expect for a PGA Tour managed facility in the middle of the desert summer. So greens are going to be very slow with all the extra water they put on them in the heat (they were); also, everything breaks to the Strip just as they say (I guess it's the NV equivalent of Palm Springs and 'everything breaks to Indio'); fairways were generally great with just one or two burnt out spots and the rough was perfect. Solid 9/10 for all the above.

As for the so-so's, some tee boxes had an appreciable amount of divot damage, and one trap I was in had a hardpan base lurking below the surface while the others had small stones in them.

But my main takeaway was in the design which for me lacked character or any truly 'signature' holes, due to the fact that the property is subdivided from top to bottom by a large, deep gully that either creates forced carries on most holes (some of trivial length - others, not so) and/or plays like a water hazard/lost ball sitch on one side of each hole. The holes are designed to be appealing and inventive for sure with plenty of mounding bunkering and as many doglegs as you could squeeze around this gully feature, but this is constrained and over-ridden by the monotonous presence of the ditch running all the way through. I never really caught this aspect when watching the Vegas PGA tourney on TV.

The other non-trivial consequence of the design being cut around the gully is that there was a fairly substantial difference between the blue and white tees, with the blues taking on most of the carries while the whites were usually on the other side. I thought blues were a bit too steep for me, but whites were far too easy! So I played a sort of ad-hoc combo variance to keep my interest up. Also, there are only a few holes where the blues are superseded by a true tourney back tee - so presumably the pros play most holes from the blues which I am sure is a picnic for them.

I would play it for a discount but not rack.
9 Likes.
Fairways are dazzling. I mean literally 'dazzling'. So dormant that they shine in the sun. Take your shades or maybe even a welding visor for the glare. Yes, I know - you get extra roll blah-blah but who really wants to play off these?

Greens are green as are the tee boxes. Greens were also billiard table solid so little to no pitch marks left on them but strangely not too speedy in spite of this. Sand was the usual Rustic. Rough non-existent except around some fringes.

Please grow again soon grass. I for one will thank you.
8 Likes.
If you've ever dreamed of playing golf on your kitchen counter tops, then Angeles National is for you!

Fairways are totally dormant, totally straw. Little to no pad under the ball and hard as rocks even after decent rain. You have to nip it just right or else you'll be skulling or fatting them all day here.

Rough is generally dormant and more or less nonexistent. There are sprouts of some secondary growth popping through here and there and along with some painting (!) of the rough on 1. 10 & 18, the effect is sort of a reverse Palm Springs in winter look, with dormant fairways partially framed by tinged green rough.

Greens had a pretty serious slit cut treatment on all of them which didn't appear to affect speed which was slick, although it did contribute to a few bobbles here and there. Tee positions were all on the edges and very tough no doubt to keep as much play away from the treatment. (Sand and tees both fine.)

Always wonder how this place survives when it's mainly empty on a Sunday at prime time. With rack rates at 130 and discount prices still at 103, I can see why. (I paid 80 on a hot deal tt from gn and that is more than it's worth.)
11 Likes.
Played the 'poor-man's-Pebble'. I would revise that to say it's more like the 'poor-man's-Spanish-Bay' and only half of it at that.

Don't get me wrong - it's a fine little course and good value for money. But holes 1-10 are completely forgetable, muni-style that play through the neighborhood up and away from the ocean. The holes here are also very short (3 par 3's) and not very challenging either.

11-17 is different story but it's not like Pebble in the sense that you are playing right by the ocean on sand dunes, just like at Spanish Bay. Here the course shines as there is a nice variety and great views on every hole as the course plays through a little peninsula right at the bottom edge of Half-Moon Bay.

Conditions were above average muni with kikuya fairways and poa greens. Sand was fine as were tee-boxes. Solid 7-7.5 rating throughout (although the greens were slow as could be and again lightly sanded).

I paid 39 and would definitely play it again for that - but I would skip the front 9 entirely and play the back twice, preferably. Short course - easy and enjoyable walk.
6 Likes.
3rd bucket list round played mid-week.

Newest of all the Pebble courses, this layout approximates a Scottish links style course and succeeds in doing so on many levels!

Of all the other Pebble courses, this one by far features the most ocean holes, with only 4 that play up through the resort and in between dense forests. Unlike at Pebble, however, the association with water/ocean is a completely different affair. At Pebble, the views are framed by being in a smallish bay, while at Spanish, the vistas are of wide open ocean (particularly awesome on this day with up to 15 ft breakers coming in off the Pacific). Also, at Pebble you are raised up on cliffs that set up a different drama with the ocean holes and water - at Spanish Bay you are literally playing through beach and sand dunes on several holes.

As for conditions, they were at least comparable to Spyglass - lush fairways, perfect sand and tees, and lightly sanded, moderately fast greens. However, the lush and heavily watered aspect to the course meant that it didn't play like links golf, even if it looked authentically so. No run-out on the fairways and on the holes where you could feasibly bounce it up onto the green through the fringes, it was soft too. Lots of strategic bunkers off the tees with lighter bunkering around the greens, I found the course to be the easiest of the 3 I played this week even though the gold tees play the same distance as Pebble and Spyglass while the slope/rating is basically the same as Pebble.

After the dunes that frame most holes, the most notable feature of the design were the extremely contoured greens - this was the only part of the course that required local knowledge or a caddie. You have to land it in the correct section of the green - not easy as the plateaus were small - or else 3 putts will be common. (Although once on the correct plateau putts were usually fairly straight.)

Aside from the resort-style holes 10-13, this is the track you want to play if you crave a plethora of wide ocean views and a course that complements its most prominent natural feature.
9 Likes.
2nd bucket list round on a Pebble Beach property earlier this week.

Shorter take: best course on the whole plot and toughest/finest course I think I have ever played.

It's easily as stern a test as TPC Stadium at PGA West or the dreaded Lost Canyons Sky track. But unlike those two that seem to get much of their toughness through tricked out layouts, Spyglass was also tough - but fair - and had a traditional, majestic quality that belies its relatively short 50 year history. It felt like it had been here for ever and was destined just to be so. No iota of artificiality or the heavy hand of a designer was visible anywhere.

Course starts with a truly awesome par 5 that sweeps way downhill about 100 feet while dog-legging hard to the left. You stand on tee #1 and have no clue where the hole goes, which somehow in this case seems just right. The last 75 yards of fairway are just festooned with bunkers that protect a big, undulating green - with its wide fairway and generous landing zones, it sets up the whole grandeur of what awaits you in the rest of the course.

Unlike a lot of comments I have read about this course, I was less of a fan of the next four holes that play through a primordial dune-scape by the ocean. They are certainly interesting and memorable, but are totally out of character with the other 14 that play exclusively through the majestic forest up the hill. The course - if it is ever guilty of this - is perhaps most gimmicky down at the waterfront (I am thinking especially of #4 with it's minutely narrow green that is about 6 or 7 paces wide but 35 yards deep and tucked in between 2 considerable sand dunes).

But, from 6 through 18 you then play away from the ocean back up the hill and through the Del Monte forest in a layout that I can only characterize in its lushness and hilliness as being 'Augusta-like' - especially in how each hole is framed by massive pines that give a sense of awesome scale to most holes. Truly spectacular stuff.

Water - as it does at Augusta - also makes an appearance here and there, but subtly and in good measure (just like at the Masters). Most memorably IMO, it adds vivid character to 2 of the par threes (12 and 15) which are almost hidden from view inside deep little valleys so much so that you don't see them or even know they are there until you step up to the tee box. With the winter sun filtering in at a low angle through the forest, it is a completely captivating experience that is seared into my mind.

Incorrectly, the pro-shop told me it's not a hilly course and easy to walk (which you should do anyway as the cart path only rule renders driving a waste of time); but it contains lots of elevation changes so be prepared for a serious (although well-worth it) hike.

If I had to split hairs, it would be that the closing hole is, strangely enough, one of the most standard ones on the course! Otherwise, each hole - like at Augusta - has it's own character formed into a complete whole by the integration with the natural forest it cuts through.

Have I raved enough yet?

Conditions: better than Pebble, and less crowded overall means the fairways were lusher with less divot damage, although the rough was perhaps even healthier and more penal. Tee boxes (I know - you don't spend much time here) were the best I have ever seen. Billiard-table flat and perfectly cut, they were the perfect start to every hole. I played golds again (one step down from the tips - and that was PLENTY of golf course at 6450.

Sand was perfect and although the greens were once again lightly sanded (moderately sanded in one or two cases) they ran faster and truer than at Pebble. Many holes feature raised greens heavily guarded by bunkering that you are playing up to from uphill lies, so the course plays longer as many approaches have to be deep through the air (which combined with the relative heaviness of the ocean atmosphere in the shady forest meant the ball did not fly nearly as much as usual).

Nice range and grill near the pro shop and if you play the same day as Pebble you get about 40% off the rack rate. After finishing at Pebble around 12, we drove over here, had some lunch and got out as a walk-on 2some at 1 PM, finishing in the twilight around 5.

I will play here again for sure and would recommend this 101% to all. If Pebble is on your list then do yourself a favor and make sure to play here too. I think it's actually, overall, the superior course.
10 Likes.
50th birthday bucket list round.

First off - all the hype about the views and the overall spectacle of playing here is true. I'd say it's worth the 5 bills just for that (at least one time). Otherwise, read on:

Check-in/warmup: All smiles from the front desk people. Range is awesome but is about a quarter mile up the hill, so bargain on having to take the little shuttle that runs every few minutes to get up there. Alternatively, park at Pebble, check in, then drive up to the range then back down in time for your tt. There's plenty of parking and that way you don't have to worry about the shuttle turning up in time. Also, the range seems to open earlier than stated (which is around sunrise) so don't be shy about getting up there early especially if you are in one of the first groups off.

Starter/first hole: It's a bit chaotic on the first tee as there is not much space there and they make pretty much all golfers who are using a caddie switch there clubs to an old crappy Pebble Beach golf bag with a single strap as the caddie carries 2 bags and is servicing 2 players throughout the round (more on this later). So there's a fair bit of confusion as they dump your clubs in the new bag while you ferret around to find all the other essentials in your own bag like balls and tees and transfer those over to the course bag. They ask if you have a 0-5 handicap if you want to play the tips (blues) but don't seem too fussed how well you play when you hit off the other tees. We played the next set which is golds that tip out at about 6450 which is plenty of golf course here.

Caddies (or other options): I took a caddie and am generally glad I did as some holes you would have no clue on the sight-line off the tee (I am thinking of #3, 8, 11, 14 and#6 on the second shot which basically plays off a down-sloping fairway up a cliff about 60 feet tall that you don't get any sense of scale from watching it on tv. Also, caddies are good at reading most putts as the breaks on the greens are usually subtle and frequently go the opposite way from what you see. That said, even the caddies got confused by the green speeds and conditions (more of this in a minute). Here's my beef with the caddie sitch though - each player pays 92.50 plus tip for what I thought was your own caddie. But like I mentioned, the caddie carries 2 bags and services 2 players. Pebble Beach don't make this clear on their website, promotional materials or when you call to reserve one. (They do mention the issue with single strap bags - which no-one uses nowadays - but I suspect they would transfer your clubs to their bags regardless of whether your bag had one as this no doubt also cuts down on weight which I think is their main concern). Aside from being poorly advertised, having one caddie for 2 players is a pace of play issue. Many holes are very wide from side-to-side, so if you and your playing partner are on opposite sides of a hole after your tee shots, then the caddie is 100 yards away tending to your partner as you stand idle waiting for him when you could be hitting away. I noticed that the 4 groups in front of us did not use caddies and they were going much faster. In fact, because we were fifth out and the groups in front were racing away, we got barked at by a grumpy marshal a few times even though we were keeping pace with the course and were not getting pushed from behind. As I say, while I appreciated the caddies help and knowledge (and good humor in putting up with us) I would not bother if I were to play here again. Nor would I recommend a cart as it's cart path only on all the Pebble Beach courses and they all feature wide fairways necessitating a long walk from path to ball on many occasions.

Course conditions: wet, heavy and slow at first.
Fairways: very nice but it's clear they get a lot of play (and they don't want you sanding divots your self or really replacing any sod other than the biggest scalps, according to our caddie - maintenance does that themselves.) Consequently, there are a fair amount of divots in landing areas. It's overseeded rye over bent grass for the winter. (8.5)

Tees: near perfect, level, evenly cut with just the usual divot areas on par threes. There is often a fair distance between the blues and the golds, but there is often not much between gold and white so I would recommend playing gold if you are any sort of decent player as you will get your monies worth from them. I saw no pro tees further back than the blues, so I presume they play the max distance of ~6900 yards too. (9.5)

Rough: brutal, they are growing it up for the ATT in Feb and for the US Open in 2019. So it was generally one of those situations where you couldn't see the ball until you stepped on it. Plus it was heavy and wet for most of the round. Avoid at all costs. (10)

Sand was perfect. The course is heavily bunkered especially around the small greens so you will likely some time at the beach here. (10)

Greens: disappointing. From the moment we stepped on the first green, even the caddies remarked on how it was bumpy (and slow). Lots of footprints and quite a few poorly repaired pitch marks. On quite a few occasions our caddie misread the speed on downhill putts and was amazed the ball didn't make it to the hole. Even though we played earlier, overall the greens had that 'sprouty' poa annua quality and look throughout (that is typically not visible with greens like this until later in the day). Additionally (and this was the case at all the Pebble courses) a light top dressing of sand was visible on many greens and I saw evidence of slit cuts (probably a few weeks old) on several. (7.5)

Although disappointed in the putting surfaces and how they organize the caddie sitch, in spectacular weather like we enjoyed this is almost a surreal experience. You can't help but thinking about all the famous footsteps you are walking in and the great shots that have been hit here. Plus, if you have only seen it on TV, then you don't really get a sense of scale or how awesome the approach on 8 is, for instance. Layout-wise, 4-10 and 17/18 are all ocean holes. The other 9 holes are more traditional in nature and while handsome in most cases (such as #2) they have an otherwise more standard feel to them (unlike at Spyglass where every hole feels like a classic).

As for score, it's a really tough track so don't worry about that part. You can score well on some holes but many just utterly punish bad shots (I am thinking of 6, 8-10 and 14) so you can rack up triple and quad bogies easily and quickly). First time for me and I shot 95, which I thought was a fair reflection on the state of my game and how it stacked up to the course.

Worth the green fee? Sure, one time at least. I won't forget it, that's for sure.
11 Likes.
Like many, I had been scared off playing here since it reopened as it sounded like the new name "Sand Canyon" was an unintended piece of anti-marketing, not intended ironically or otherwise. So it was (literally) with some trepidation that I booked a Sunday am round at the rack rate of 90.

As a frequent player here back in the day when it was Robinson Ranch, I didn't know what to expect based on recent GK reviews and the local word on the street, but upon driving up the long wind to the clubhouse I was pleasantly surprised to see acres of mainly green on what was the old front nine of the Mountain course on the right. The back nine of Mountain to the left has been allowed to go totally to pasture and the native grass and fauna has invaded completely. In fact, you wouldn't know there was a golf course there until just a few years ago were it not for the cart paths still visible snaking through it.

All that said, my shorter review is this: the course is back! While not perfect or pristine, it is clear they have been working on it and some parts are actually better than they used to be when it was Robinson.

As alluded to, the back nine of Mountain was sacrificed no doubt as a cost-saving, water-saving move. That saddens me as I think it was the best nine out of the original four, containing the most unique holes, elevation changes and variety (I am thinking of 11, 13, 15-18 for those that remember the layout). It was also longer than mountain front 9 which is probably why it was calved away. In one sign of favorable maintenance, what they now call the 'Desert' 9 (the old back nine of 'Valley') was closed for over-seeding! A a result, I played 'Valley' (the original Valley Course front nine) followed by 'Mountain' (the old Mountain course front nine.)

At only around 6200 yards from the blues, I felt this combo was a bit under-powered than under the old routing - still, this is Robinson Ranch so it's still plenty challenging!

Valley was generally much greener and in better overall shape than Mountain. The Valley tees were a bit shaggy with a lot of gouges on par 4's and 5's so I am not sure who was skying their drives but the crown of someone's driver was suffering some abuse. Fairways were generally lush with most of the bermuda recovered and some in-growth from other grasses here and there. Greens looked very good, but they were nappy in spite of just being cut, very slow (7.5 - 8 optimistically on the stimp) and very bumpy. Putts did not track well. Didn't visit any sand but it looked reasonable and had been groomed for the most part. Only one or 2 bunkers had some weeds in them and looked a little thin and forlorn.

Mountain was less green overall but still favorable lies in the fairways; here they have cleared out more extensive areas to reduce watering. So it looks pretty rough at times, but none of these sandy areas are really in play. Gone is the water feature to the right of 12 too, replaced with agave and other desert plantings. Had it still been here I would have lost the only ball I played the round with. Otherwise, I could now hack it out back into play. Also, from 12 on (and especially 14 & 15) the mountain greens - which were faster and a bit smoother - had some pretty visible issues. A lot of plugging and some limited aeration was visible. 14 was the worst affected with about 40% of the surface bare or clearly under repair. Tee boxes on Mountain were also dry, shaggy and sometimes crowned. I wondered whether they were being killed off for an over-seed.

I would rate Valley at about a 7-7.5 overall and Mountain around 6-6.5. Highly playable and the most notable improvement over the old management regime was that the rough on both 9's is now well established at around 1-2 inches on average. Players who frequented the old course would know (and lament) that an integral part of the design were the mounds surrounding many fairways which were supposed to work in tandem with the rough to deflect balls back into play and to keep them out of the numerous native areas lining the course. A testament to this improvement - as noted above - is that I played 18 with the same ball. Unheard of, really, for this place.

Things that still represent deficits? The carts have no GPS which makes a course this tough hard to negotiate. Local knowledge helped me a lot. And, there appears to be no way to book other than through their web utility, so no discounts can be had. I would prefer to pay about 70 max here on a Sunday at prime time, rather than the $90 I did. Also, no marshal which you would expect on a higher end course. While not very busy, pace was still a sluggish 4 hours 20 minutes on what is now a shortish course.

But overall I am happy to report this place is back! If, like me, you were avoiding it due to recent reports, go back out and give it a whirl (and try to get on Valley/Desert combo (the old Valley 18) as it has more length and coherency to it than the 2 nines I played).
16 Likes.
I feel like the gripe reviewer here on GK as I keep rating courses with barren fairways in deep dormancy. Well, I finally feel vindicated after a quick round at MPCC. Credit where credit is due, the course is simply excellent from tee to green (yes there are some issues - read on). Shorter review: It's green throughout! (for instance, #1 Creekside is as pretty a golf hole as you will see while standing on the tee). And, they've stripe-mown the rough so it's visually appealing in the way it frames the lighter colored fairways. It's novel to finally play off green turf these days, but it's amazing how much it does for the quality of the strike you get on the ball when you hit it off a serious pad of grass.

Played Ridge/Creek and there are noticeable differences between each. Ridge greens have been verticut recently and lightly to moderately sanded. That said, the greens were still pretty quick and tracking well! The fairways as mentioned are green and on the fuller side, but there were some areas of turf repair on #2 and GURs here and there on 3 & 5. Tees great except on the par 3's which were a bit crowned.

Over on Creek, no sanding/verticut on their greens. However, pins were placed a couple of paces from the edge implying they were readying the surface for some maintenance? Hard to judge the speed after the sandy greens on Ridge - these were sllllick!
Again, green fairways beautifully framed by stripy rough, but 7, 8 & 9 were still coming out of dormancy and thus thinner, harder and greyer than the others.

Also, tees were great here too, except on 3-pars which were crowned; and the sand on each course - while full - had some crusted areas from recent rains and also lots of small pebbles in them.

Got out for 45 super twilight and finished with time to spare in 2.45. These conditions at this price are a steal. Do it and treat yourself to preferential lies for once.
10 Likes.
Skipped across the road to Morongo after Oak Valley (they have remodelled the bar/restaurant - nice! But the pro shop took a hit when they did so and is now kinda pokey - not nice!)

Zipped around in about 2.5 hours as a single. Finally - a more or less green golf course!

There were a few patches here and there of dormancy and a few bare areas too, but overall conditions tee to green were good. Sand traps were still flooded in places and generally firm/crusty with decent sized rocks in them. Just like at Oak, the rough was penal, US Open stuff (but not as severe as at Oak).

Greens were better here, but they contain about 50% poa and that affected the line and speed noticeably at times. Still, I paid 25 bucks on a Sunday afternoon so I am not too fussed. (18 green is trashed at the parts that border the water hazard fyi - no grass, just dirt/mud.)
12 Likes.
Winter conditions throughout.The only thing thriving is the rough after the rain (and that's not necessarily a good thing!)

Fariways are dormant gray with many sprouts of poa in them 4/10. Tee boxes generally fine but a few were shaggy and 3 or 4 were noticeably crowned 7/10

Rough was very healthy, US Open stuff with the ball frequently sitting down so you couldn't see it till you were over the top of it. 9/10. Sand was firm to compacted at times (after the rain) and needs some grooming 7/10.

Greens were slow and very bumpy (one had fungus at the back) and did not track well at all 4/10. They were disappointing for such a course and for what otherwise would be memorable, contoured surfaces to putt on.
12 Likes.
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