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Played a noontime round on Saturday. I haven't played Bonita since 2004, and I believe they renovated the course sometime around 2012. This was my first time experiencing the re-sequenced hole numbers. The look and feel of the course has been improved. Old trees that had becoming big and billowy have been cut back, widening the feel of the holes. And the greens are a vast improvement, rolling at a medium-fast pace with plenty of slope on almost every putt. The bunkers are also vastly improved, with nice fluffy sand inside.
I used to think of Bonita as a good course for beginners to step up from Par 3 or Executive courses, which it still is and may even be better for that purpose now. But the holes used to feel so tight against one another that you would constantly have to have your head on a swivel from cries of "Fore!" The course feels a little more open, and much safer now. There are still holes that cluster against each other, and the map on the back of the scorecard was invaluable for knowing where to go when holes criss-crossed.
Our threesome was behind a tournament, so it was a slow go with a wait on pretty much every shot. But it was a nice cool day, and we enjoyed ourselves, finishing in 5 hours 5 minutes or so. Service at the pro shop and the snack shop was very friendly. It's tough to beat $40 for walking on a weekend (and I had a much easier time walking here than at Balboa Park a couple of weeks ago). I'm sure I'll be back.

p.s. The scorecard for this course on Greenskeeper.org needs to be updated to reflect the new sequence of holes.
15 Likes.
Played on a great day for golf in the desert, in the low 70s with the sun hidden by thin clouds all day long, and the extra humidity preventing that dried out feeling I normally have after a round out there. The tournament I was in started around 10 am, and although we caught up to the group in front of us a couple of times, overall we were moving pretty briskly for weekend golf, getting around in 4hr 45 min or so.

The course itself was in pretty good shape. There were several holes on the front side where ground under repair was marked out on the fairway, but the ground didn't look that bad. I'm not a big fan of the front nine, because there's a multitude of tight holes that feature a concrete sluice that runs down the course. The back nine feels more open and natural. The course features a lot of heavy bunkering, and the rough is shaved down around the bunkers so your ball tends to spiral down into the sand. The greens play on the fast side, but were holding approach shots nicely. There are a lot of false fronts, so take the extra club and get on the correct shelf. No GPS on the carts, which is a disappointment for a course of that price. Customer service was very nice and friendly throughout, with two different beverage carts going around and three or four different marshals also making the rounds. The range is huge and is well-kept with grass tees. I wished I had found the practice chipping area that was tucked behind the range ball shack, only noticing it later after I had finished the 11th hole. Overall a nice, target-golf course, but I'm always willing to pay the extra $10 or so to play the North course.
12 Likes.
Played on a dewy Sunday morning, got out on time around 8am. With a beginner in our group, the foursome in front of us quickly dropped us. But the foursome behind us wasn't pushing us either, although we could see the course backing up further behind us as the fivesomes started to take their toll. We had a slow and steady round of golf that ended up just a few minutes under five hours.

Definitely winter conditions at Santa Anita, with the fairway feeling like mostly sod. Lots of tight lies out on the bare grass, and the greens played very firm. The greens also rolled faster than I normally expect them to at SA, and they only got quicker as the day got warmer. The sand was in surprisingly good shape, not clumping up in the damp conditions. I could have done without the beginner band that was striking up at the nearby park, making an unholy din from the 5th hole until we escaped earshot around the 13th hole.

I've always loved the layout at Santa Anita, one of my favorites in the San Gabriel Valley that I've played for almost 30 years now. It's always a joy to come back and go around the track.
15 Likes.
Played a mid-morning tournament on Saturday 9/13. The course was very busy, with three tournaments running and a couple of weddings going. It was very warm and muggy, and the ocean breeze didn't kick in and give respite until 1 or 2pm. Tee-to-green conditions were pretty good. There were a few un-level tee boxes, but fairway and rough were ok. The bunkers were actually pretty good, with a nice amount of sand in them. My biggest problem was the speed of the greens. They were SLOW, especially the front nine. I had one forty-foot putt, and my playing partners were laughing at me because I literally took my putter back almost to my hip, and smashed my putt, and still ended up two feet short. I honestly can't remember playing on greens this slow that weren't on a par-3 or executive course.

The layout of this course is interesting. The front nine is very straightforward, what you see is what you get. The back nine is narrower with more blind uphill shots, and the greens speed up a bit in the afternoon. I've always liked the chipping area on the other side of the parking lot. It's a nice quiet space to work on your game, and every now and then you'll catch a wedding ceremony going on. They really need to fix the practice putting green, it's been a mess for a while now. I wish the beverage cart had gotten to us more...we only saw her on the 3rd hole, and on such a hot and humid day we would have emptied out our wallets for a cool drink. On such a busy day, we had a very slow round, ending up getting around in 5 hours and 20 minutes.
7 Likes.
Played a Thursday morning round, going off just before 7am. Weather conditions were perfect, a little overcast in the beginning that burned off to pleasant sunshine, with just a hint of wind. The golf course was in really nice shape, with the fairways mowed down as tight as I've ever seen them. The bunkers felt like there was a tad less sand than usual. The rough had just been cut down, and maintenance workers were blowing the clippings around on their tractors the entire time we were there, so there was a constant mechanical hum of engines the entire day. The greens had a nice softness, and rolled beautifully. It's been a while since I played a morning round at Torrey (I usually play twilight), and I had forgotten how much easier it was to putt in the mornings versus the slick-yet-bumpy feel they have in the afternoons. The pace of play was perfect. I only remember waiting for just a minute to tee off on the ninth hole, but otherwise we were a half-hole behind the group in front of us, and a half-hole ahead of the group behind us the entire round. We got around in 4 hrs 25 min while walking, and as they were asking the carts to observe the 90 degree rule, I don't think we would have played too much faster in a cart.
7 Likes.
Played for the first time on a Sunday morning Father's Day round. I've heard about this course for years, but always seemed to end up at Salt Creek, Chula Vista, or Bonita instead when I'm in the area. What struck me right away was the moist and damp conditions of the course. Even though it was been fairly warm lately, there were many areas of the fairway, rough, and around the greens that were squishy and mushy. I don't know if the course is over-watered, or if there is poor drainage. It reminded me a lot of another Ted Robinson design, the back nine of Mountain Meadows in Pomona, where the trees and hills seem to block the sun enough that everything remains damp. This was especially a problem when I went into my first greenside bunker. The coarse sand combined with the wetness made me feel like I was hitting out of a mud pit.

The layout was fairly wide open. I had heard that the course was lined with houses, but you have to hit a really wild shot to hit them. Many of the holes were fairly short, and all the par 3s played in the 125-140 yard range from the white tees. There were many of the beautiful water features that you see on Ted Robinson courses, with lots of tumbling waterfalls. The greens were very soft and putted fairly slow, firming up a tad when the afternoon wind started to blow. Customer service was very nice, although the beverage cart lady took her life into her own hands when she absent-mindedly drove in front of me while I was teeing off on a par 3, forcing me to back off.

Pace of play was slow, understandable with the holiday, with waiting on every hole after around the fifth hole. We made it around in 4 hours and 50 minutes. I wouldn't mind playing here again, and I would recommend it for beginners. But I'm not sure I would go out of my way to come back.
6 Likes.
Played for the first time in the morning on 6/20. The fella in the pro shop asked us if it was the first time for any of us, and when I said yes he was kind enough to give me a yardage book that proved to be very useful (as well as being a beautiful book). Even by our nine o'clock start time, it was already getting warm, and it ended up being in the high 80s/low 90s. There was a couple of water stations on each side, and the beverage cart came by several times. One thing that really bothered me was all the insects on the course that kept flying in my face in the middle of a swing or setting up a putt. It made me wish I had a tail like a cow to swat them away, or a pet bird on my shoulder that would eat them. They didn't start to disappear until the turn.

The course itself was in really nice shape. Fairways were kept nicely, and I noticed just a couple of bare spots (I think the second hole had some). The rough was fairly forgiving, with the course keeping more of a wild chapparel feel along its edges rather than standard rough. The greens rolled beautifully, and held shots that came in. I was only in one bunker, in the fairway, so I can't speak to their quality, but my buddy said the sand was really deep and fluffy. The layout was really interesting, with many holes shaped by creeks or lakes, and I had to leave the driver in the bag and go with a three-wood three or four times. There was some elevation changes, but none that were severe. No GPS on the carts, but I don't remember taking more than 10 or 15 steps before finding a yardage marker. The front nine was really quiet, with just the sounds of woodpeckers and other birds. But the back nine had the odd sound of electronic dance music echoing through the valley from a nearby house party.

I really enjoyed myself, and look forward to coming back. The round ended up being 4hrs and 50 min, with things slowing down on the back side (maybe people too busy dancing to the EDM). A couple of asides I should mention: as another reviewer said, the cell phone reception is really poor. As a result, my cell phone that had a 95% charge at the beginning of the round was down to 9% at the end because my phone kept working to find a signal. So maybe put it in airplane mode or carry an extra battery. Also, I had a turkey on wheat sandwich at the turn, and it was delicious, packed with turkey and fresh ingredients. So thumbs up to their sandwiches, and they also have cans of Boddington' s which is one of my favorite beers.
8 Likes.
Played this past weekend in a Saturday 9am tournament. The staff told me that the course was busier than usual because there was a junior tournament going on after us, but it did not feel crowded at all. I had only played the course once before years ago, so it felt like my first time out there. We were lucky to have perfect conditions, and we didn't get the afternoon winds that can pick up out there. The course was in great shape. Oak Valley is a very nice blend of being challenging without being punishing. It sets up as a station-to-station type of course, but if you do miss your spots you can get yourself back with a good shot. The rough was thick in some spots but mostly manageable. The greens act as the course's toughest defense, large greens where you need to be on the correct shelf or a three-putt is a very real possibility. Although they didn't feel lightening quick, the ball did keep rolling for three or four more feet than I thought it would. And the short putts did feel slick, with the ball whipping by the edges of the hole. The starter gave me a tip for the green on the par-3 11th hole, that the ball will actually break away from the lake on the right. The sand was in very nice shape, leaning more towards a gravel consistency than powder.

My biggest complaint with the layout was the lack of yardage markers. There were small markers at the 200 / 150 / 125 / 100 yard spots, but many times they were hard to find. I didn't see any yardages stamped on sprinkler heads. This especially became problematic on long par 5s, where I had no idea how far out I was on my second shot, and had to guess which club to lay-up with. Their website does have a nice hole-by-hole tip sheet that I consulted on my smartphone throughout the round (http://www.oakvalleygolf.com/HttpGate?name=ShowPage&pageId=37).

No beverage cart on the day we played, although there are a lot of water stations throughout the course. I think the folks at the snack shop are used to dealing with extreme heat, because they made my iced tea (and my refill after) with almost all ice and a splash of liquid. The staff were very nice and friendly. Pace of play was a shade under five hours. Definitely wouldn't mind going back, hopefully when my game is sharp.
6 Likes.
I was in the same SCGA Member event that sixpez was in, starting in a shotgun on the 2nd hole. I have only been lucky enough to play Hacienda a couple of times before, and the last time was way back in the spring of 1994. So I jumped at the chance to play there when I saw it was on the SCGA Member outing schedule. I remembered it as this incredibly lush course with grassy ravines, and it was definitely that. What struck me right away were the tee boxes. I honestly can't remember the last time I played tee boxes that beautiful. Grass cut low, and just perfectly level. The layout takes beautiful advantage of the La Habra Heights slope. The course plays longer than the yardage indicates, because of the lushness of the conditions, and the overcast conditions dampened things further. The rough wasn't as punishing as I remembered, it definitely felt lower and less grabby than before. I also feel like they may have removed a lot of trees on the course and opened up things a bit. Many of the sand traps had some intimidating faces, and although the quality of the sand was nice, there wasn't much of it in the bunkers, maybe just an inch or so. There wasn't much sand to dig my feet into when taking a stance, and I generally have a hard time working with shallow sand. Greens were wonderful, still quick even though it had rained the day before. The clubhouse was gorgeous, and I spent some time after the round just soaking in the history in the display cases and the photos hanging on the walls. I would highly recommend playing to anyone that gets the chance to get on.
8 Likes.
Played on a late Tuesday afternoon, 10/28. Course is in nice shape, with a few hoses out there to water down some spots. Greens were fairly soft and rolling nicely, though I was fixing my own ball mark along with someone else's on almost every green (people, fix your ball marks!). I was in one bunker on the short par-4 238 yd 6th hole, and it was BEAUTIFUL. Lovingly raked, with just the right amount of nice sand. Seriously, private country clubs could learn a thing or two about proper sand from these folks. Walked around in just under an hour and a half, playing two balls most of the way. There were other folks on the course (and seemed to be getting busier behind me), but no one was within a hole in front of me or behind me the whole time.
3 Likes.
Played this executive course for the first time, going off around 3:30pm on a Wednesday. I liked that they have both a grass side and a mat side to their range, with no price difference, the only caveat being that the grass side was irons only. I noticed that the putting green was in a tree-lined, very shady area, and I wondered if they had a hard time keeping that practice green from being too soft. Joined up with a friendly threesome for a nice walk. As other reviewers have noted, the greens were punched a couple of weeks ago. It was very noticeable on the front nine, where they were rolling very slowly, and at times were a bit bumpy. The back nine greens were quicker, rolling at a medium speed (perhaps the back nine was punched first?). It's a flat, very walk-able track. The threesome told me that they play here year-round, because they can always get in 18 holes with a twilight start since the course is lit at night. Only during the summer do they venture to Torrey Pines or Balboa to play at twilight.

Many of the tees had a slight side-hill slant to them, so it would take me a few moments to find a flat spot. There were very few bunkers on the course. I only recall a couple fairway bunkers on the 7th hole, the par-4 265 yard hole that runs next to Mission Bay Blvd. It was very pleasant weather with a slight breeze, and I enjoyed myself out there. Total time for walking the 18 holes was 2 hrs and 50 minutes. The staff was pleasant, and the friendly bartender looked like she had regulars that were visiting her after their rounds. I'd like to go back after a week or two and play this course when the greens are back to the condition that reviewers rave about.
2 Likes.
Played in a Saturday 10am tournament, on a hot and humid day. I've only played the Classic course once before, probably six or seven years ago, but I remember enjoying it more than the Players course when I did. The course's website highlights the greens as the best in Orange County, and they should be rightfully proud of them. They roll beautifully, and are very receptive to wedge shots in. Even my five- and six-irons were just taking one short hop forward and stopping. The greens are fairly large, but there's not much in terms of shelves on the greens. Just lovely gentle slopes where the ball moves wonderfully.

I was not as much in love with the tee boxes. They seemed to be the thick-bladed kikuya grass, just mowed down. I had a hard time finding comfortable footing, and the thick blades of grass made me tee my ball higher than I normally would, especially with irons into the par-3s. The fairways had a few brown patches near the rough, understandable in the heat of the dog days of summer. I managed to avoid the bunkers in my round, but many had some intimidatingly tilted up faces. Watching my playing partners, the bunkers appeared to have a good amount of sand. The trees are mature, but aren't really thick trees that will stop everything. They do have a good amount of height, which you can see contrasting the shorter, younger trees on the adjacent Players course.

We saw the beverage cart a couple of times on the course, and a pit stop was necessary at the snack shop on such a hot day. I was amazed at the number of people who were jogging around the course during the hottest part of the day. There was even saw a couple jogging together pushing a stroller. I for one was glad we had a cart, although our cart did die a couple of times on the front nine, and would restart only after waiting a couple of minutes (battery too hot?). We went and changed it out at the turn. On a cooler day, the course looks flat enough to be very walk-able. As it was, we got around in 4 hours 50 minutes, with some manageable waiting, especially on the par-3s. Folks in the pro shop and the snack shop / bar were friendly, and I enjoyed my time there. Definitely would go back.
3 Likes.
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