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After multiple and ongoing tries to arrange a GK Cup match (various frustrations with weekend only; I’m out of town that weekend; I already committed to my Men’s Club) I went out to Goose Creek as a solo on Friday, 6/5 at 1:27pm for $60. The weather lately is so strange – Wednesday 6/3 was in the low 90s here, but by Friday afternoon it was high 60s, scattered rain (IN JUNE!!) and blustery winds in the 1-2 club range. I was matched with a walking single and we were caught on the 7th tee (#16 – they started everyone on #10) by an amiable 2-some, and we enjoyed a casual round in 4+ hours.

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered bad conditions at Goose in 20 years playing here, and today was no exception. Greens looked great, held shots, and rolled at medium+ speed. Fairway lies were great. Rough around fairways was pretty short and playable. Only one tee was obviously sloped – we played IV (Blue). [Don't get me started on tee 'numbering'!] I wasn’t in a bunker.

No water on-course but we saw the cart girl 2-3 times. Bathrooms are open. Marshall was monitoring play and filling divots (HOMBRE!). Pro shop open. Range and putting green now open, but chipping green was closed today. You can remove the flag from the inverted cup, but the big center post/flag ring will repel your ball if you come in too hot. Does that count as 'in'?

Goose is always recommended.
Met GKer gary00 at one of my favorite SoCal venues for a Cup 15 match, joined by GKer rat-patrol also playing Gary. Other reviews spot on with good course conditions coming out of the lockdown. Good lies in fairways, greens receptive and rolling well, but wish we could do something about the traps. Often wet, or ungroomed, or devastated by footprints. We played ‘smooth and place’ in the traps (course also suggested GUR), so no problem, but golf is hazards and hopefully this will be addressed soon. Fun round in great weather with great company; $40 at noon weekday incl. cart is a great deal for this course.
First time back out since the virus shutdown. I wanted to play local and Tijeras Creek was the only course I could find that would let you book a single online. For singles, Arroyo Trabuco wants you to just show up and wait in the lot to see if a spot opens, and Talega makes you call. TC was crazy expensive ($88) at 3:42pm on Monday, 5/18/20, but I wanted to get out. The game was pretty ugly after 11 weeks off, but at least the front nine here gives you a chance to work out some of the kinks without too much damage.

I was paired with a family group of father and 2 sons, one of whom is a member of the golf team at St. Margaret’s in SJC. They were pleasant to play with but not talkative and all very deliberate, so we were pushed hard the entire round by the quicker foursome behind us, but for the most part we were in position, and finished in just under 4 hours.

All the virus protections were evident – golf shop closed with check-in at the entry door, calls to carts 10 minutes ahead of your tee time, well-spaced times, range open with distancing [range NOT!! included with green fee!), foam ring in the cups, no water/sand refills/rakes. At least they had the bathrooms open, and we saw a cart girl a couple times.

Greens were in good shape with complete coverage, soft and a little bumpy and rolling at medium speed. I was disappointed to see quite a few unrepaired ballmarks on most greens. Fairways had good coverage and were mostly fine, but some areas are drier/thinner. Rough was maintained but we’d had some showers the previous night and that morning and it was wet and ate the ball up quickly. Sand was pretty wet but adequate to play from. Tees were generally in good shape.

Course uses entry and exit gate areas for carts to manage damage to turf. No GPS but plates in the COF at 100/150/200 and some sprinkler heads are marked. Overall well-maintained conditions but I seemed to find every overly bushy/bad spot – poor shots result in poor lies, I guess! Only one hole was path only – hole #6, which always seems to be in that condition. The Blue and White tees were pushed forward one box on most holes – I wound up playing the White plates, which most often corresponded to placement of the Blue markers.

Recommended, but hopefully you can get a better rate.
I waited a couple days to post this – I’m trying to get over my thought that I may be through with SDCGC after last Saturday, 3/7/20. Played with my monthly club at 9am on a cloudy, breezy day that surprisingly cleared up and was mildly warm by noon. Since almost every course in SoCal is dealing with the realities of a dry winter (firm dormant turf, dry conditions), you can virtually count on dry turf and firm greens. The rub (for me, at least) with advancing age and various inconvenient medical issues, the more slopey courses built against the foothills become problematic in terms of my being able to navigate the physical challenges and stay focused on the shot execution.

Many holes at SDCGC offer narrow aspects off the tee and make the golfer really think about where to place the ball. With the course being not overly long and with current turf conditions driver is not always required, and good placement of shots is often preferable to sheer length. That said, there are factors here at SDCGC that really impact playability – many holes have significant tree issues in terms of narrowing landing areas and restricting lines off the tee; and, MOST of the teeboxes (we played White) are BADLY sloped or domed. Boxes had been punched but that really didn’t present a problem – the main issue was the severe sloping, behind a right-handed golfer, that affected my ability to shape the required shots (as much of the trouble here is along the left side of many holes) and avoid tree trouble. And this wasn’t just minor sloping, but severe sloping. Even across the box and within 2 club lengths from the markers a good spot could not be found.

Greens were very firm and showed only small ballmarks. They had very good coverage and rolled mostly smoothly at medium-fast speeds, and you had to be aware of where the foothills were and watch the downhill rollouts. Many pin positions had some serious breaks right around the hole locations, frustrating our entire group. Fairways and rough were thin and dry, and frequently patchy/clumpy/bare. Rough was dry and bumpy - travelling over many rough areas in the cart was teeth-rattling. We played lift/clean/place so I didn’t rate the course. Sand was in great shape in all bunkers I was in or saw partners in. Tees – see above.

Carts have a ProLink Solutions GPS but the screen was too dark to be very useful; two of the carts parked together showed a 9-yard difference to the same pin position. GPS has 10 buttons but only 3 are labelled for use, so who knows what features we might have missed (approach view; menu to report problems; etc.). Hole 14 is so stupid (layup off tee short of the pond, then long iron/hybrid into the wind) that players were bombing drives into 15th fairway and then playing back to the 14th green– it reminds me of Hidden Valley #12 (tee a 5-iron short of the ravine, then hit 5-iron to the green).

Many distractions today, which is likely a combination of course conditions and lack of concentration due to my advancing age – harder to focus. It was windy and we had a mix of people in our group who preferred the flag in or flag out while putting, so there was a lot of moving the flag back and forth while we all missed short putts. Directly behind us we had the noisiest group on the course, who also hit into us, drove next to greens, and was yelling at us to hurry on #16 (we were in position). Public golf!

I’m trying to decide if SDCGC is just too slopey and quirky for my taste, aside from fighting the poor conditions. We’ll see.
Joined the GK Gurus at Eagle Glen at 11am on a warm, sunny, breezy Wednesday, 2/26/20. Also played a GK Cup 15 match with Nickesquire. Overall conditions are pretty good right now, although everything is pretty dry. Greens are very firm and barely show ballmarks, although we saw occasional old unrepaired marks. Greens on the front looked like they had been cut closer than those on the back, but all rolled well at medium-fast speeds, and you really had to be careful on the downhill, downcanyon putts. Fairways were patchy and all lies were pretty tight on the dormant grasses. Rough was either cut very short, was bare/sandy, or lush and wild. Tees were firm but level. I was in one greenside bunker (#15) with very good sand.

Check-in was easy and starter was on top of things. Saw a marshal several times and the cart girl at least 3 times. Carts include GPS and an ice chest. GPS is nice and interactive, and gives hole location, but after hole 2 the hole locations on the GPS were wrong. Also, our unit froze on hole 12 and would not reset. Maintenance staff was out working but very courteous in terms of pausing for players to get through. Very good club sandwich in the grille.

As an older golfer with a bad left knee, I was disappointed in that quite a few holes or fairway areas were roped off and played as Path-Only, when conditions did not seem to warrant that approach. The hilly terrain at EG can make for some tiring walking under these marking conditions.

Met up with my old Vegas golf buddy on his way through the area for a very pleasant round at SL at 10am on Thursday, 2/20/20. Booked thru the SL website for $58 but was charged only $48 at the shop – maybe a senior discount(?). I like the layout of this course and it’s pleasing to the eye – it’s a ‘development’ course in that it’s routed through the surrounding housing, but homes are well off the line of play, and the location on a broad sloping bench gave the architect plenty of room to create elevation changes and design features that keep the holes interesting. Weather was sunny and warm with only light breezes – perfect golfing weather. We joined a twosome of parents in town from the Midwest to watch their children play in an annual high-level club basketball tourney.

Recent reviews talked about very firm greens – greens today were pretty firm but held high shots and played consistently. Green speeds were also consistent through the round, running at medium+ speed. Unfortunately, we saw quite a few new and old unrepaired ballmarks on all greens, seemingly increasing on the back nine. Greens looked great and had full coverage. Fairways are dormant and turf is patchy, dry and thin. Lies are tight and in many places you are basically sitting on dirt. Rough is cut low and very playable, but can also be dry and patchy. Sand was adequate but damp and heavy. Tees were fine.

Check-in was quick and efficient. Starter was on top of things but no ranger or cart girl. Grounds crew frequently drove into our group or was mowing intrusively as we were hitting. All the barking dogs in Southern California are apparently housed in the homes adjacent to the course. We chugged along within a half-hole of being caught up, pressed throughout the round by the threesome behind us, in ~4.5 hr. Was disappointed they didn't allow us to take our carts to the car after finishing.

Played with the GK Gurus in the first group out; combined that with a Cup 15 match with Rat-Patrol. OQ is my favorite course in SoCal and I enjoyed it once again. Earlier reviews hit most of the points I wanted to make. Greens were in good shape and will soon be more receptive. Fairway coverage was good and will get better as Bermuda comes out of dormancy. Only ‘problem’ with the current dry/firm Bermuda is that shots can occasionally run too far and maybe find trouble. Rough almost everywhere was fairly short and pretty benign. Tees were fine. Sand, a historic sticking point here, could be more plentiful around the greens and along fairways. Driving range benches could use some leveling/manicuring work, but it’s great to never have to hit off mats. Carts great with ball washer, nice GPS, and plenty of giddyup. Some cart path areas around the course need smoothing.

Met the amiable GM afterward and we had a fun discussion on the old quarry, Schmidt-Curley Golf Design, and other topics. Always recommended.
Played with my monthly group on Friday, 2/7/20, at 10am on a beautiful SoCal winter day – mild temperatures, little wind, and annoying traffic noise only on the “freeway” holes (#s 1 through 18). I realized Friday that my club had been coming here every February for the past 20+ years. Very little has changed over that time – they’ve added a hitting net where there was none, course conditions are pretty similar every year (they are pretty good this year), but there seems to be less and less play on these “public” days.

Greens were the best part of the course, receptive and rolling well at medium+ speed. We saw only occasional scattered old ballmarks. Many greens have fairly severe sloping front areas. Fairways had good coverage but the type of kikuyu here meant that the ball mostly sat a little bit down. We played LCP so that didn’t affect us too much. Rough could be cut down fairly short or be up to 6” deep and juicy, mostly along course margins and under groups of trees. Some tees were sloping a little bit, but most were fine. Sand was in good shape all over the course, although a little damp to start the round.

The facilities here are older and the course looks pretty scruffy around the perimeter. The fairly large hitting net is tattered and balls are older and dirty. Only 5 hitting mats are available but with the limited number of players it was adequate. Carts are basic but serviceable. No yardage book available, but each cart has a small interactive GPS – distances are given to the F/M/B of the green, not pin position. Most holes have colored distance stakes (200/150/100) placed along the cart paths.

OK for a casual round. Course plays pretty long at 6,804/6,531 from the Blue/White, especially when the kikuyu is in the softer/wetter conditions it‘s in now. Conditions are especially tough from the Red tees (6,098) - the women don’t get many breaks here in terms of leveling out the distance.
I saw GKer larryq2001’s review of the Member for a Day outing at YLCC – I was also part of this day, joining a Meetup Group of OC Golfers for the first time. This was my first time playing YLCC and I was looking forward to ‘country club’ conditions. The facility is a semi-modern clubhouse set in heavily-wooded hills – the vibe is semi-formal and very Republican (two of the combo tee sets are named after Republican presidents; I didn’t see any Dem-named features). We had good weather with sunny, hazy conditions and a light NW wind. The box lunch we got as part of the package was uninspiring – also, mine contained an orange! Tell me what I’m supposed to do with an orange during a round of golf, with no knife and a big, sticky mess!

My monthly club plays at California Country Club in Whittier every year, and the layout at YLCC is similar, with long par-4s, fairways lined by large pine, eucalyptus, and other trees, and large, fairly flat greens. However, YLCC is frequently much narrower, with tee lines mostly requiring good control of distance and flight. Bunkers pinch the fairways on many holes at the end of the driving area, and where there is no sand there is most often a dogleg with trees in the elbow to influence your teeball placement. Also at YLCC there is much more elevation change across the course and within holes, with many holes having significantly elevated tees playing down to angled fairways. Many greens are elevated and there are many greenside bunkers. Only 3 or 4 holes have water hazards, but OB stakes are seen throughout the course.

The shop guy said greens were all redone last summer and they were very firm. Only very high shots held without significant rollout. Greens were smooth and only about medium fast (told that stimp was ~10), except downslope especially near the front of greens (#13!!). A few greens have defined tiers, but nothing too crazy. Fairways were the biggest disappointment to me – I was hoping for more lush conditions and good lies, but fairways, while having good coverage, were generally fairly thin and clumpy, resulting in the ball frequently sitting down even in the MOF. Rough was cut short and very playable, but with all the trees you have to be mindful of roots everywhere. Tees were level and good. Sand was very good quality both in fairways (fairly firm) and around greens (very playable).

The course offers a driving range, practice putting green, and short game area. The range is small and not really conducive to the larger shotgun groups like we had Monday (120+ golfers) – the range has only about 16 hitting stations, and most of those were marked ‘irons only’ on Monday. The putting green is not overly large and has none of the slopes or contours/tiering encountered on the course. I didn’t use the short game area, but I saw that you could hit shots of 100+ yards into a full-sized green fronted by large bunkers. Carts were in good condition and had an ice chest provided, with an ice/water machine by the pro shop. Carts do not have GPS and there is no yardage book available, but many sprinkler heads are marked and there are 100/150/200 plates in many fairways.

Plenty of water available. Rest rooms on course were adequate. Many of the ball washers were located up at the red tees – not really a placement conducive to most players cleaning their ball. We played in 4.5+ hours – not too bad for an event of this type.

Recommended if you get a chance to play it.
Played in a tournament with my monthly group on Saturday morning, 1/11/20, teeing off at ~1030. Everyone was teeing off on #10 as they had a wedding scheduled for later in the afternoon, and they use the blue tee area on #10 for wedding seating. Weather was clear, warm and sunny with a little bit of breeze on the back (front) nine. Our group had a brief wait while carts were brought up – I couldn’t tell if that was due to turnover from earlier players or understaffing at the course.

My group has played here every January for the past several years, and conditions are pretty much similar each time. All surfaces on the course are very firm – greens show only small ballmarks, although there are many of them. Fairways are firm and tight, with extensive scattered bare areas. Rough was cut pretty short and was very playable. The clay soil here retains water and bare areas are packed and firm. We played LCP so I didn’t rate the course.
Tees were generally flat and OK to hit from. Par-3 tees were in pretty good shape. Sand was adequate but thin.

The putting green was in terrible condition with widespread bare areas – shop blamed a “fungus”. My question is: if you use the practice green and then go out on the course, isn’t there a good chance that the on-course greens will be infected?! Adequate water available. Some blue flag positions today were stuck back in challenging locations.

My recollection is that late Spring conditions here are much better. OK for a casual round.
Started the new year with a thud at Hidden Valley at 840 am on 1/1/20 with GKer caligolfer1031. Looking at my previous reviews at HV, I didn’t realize until today that I had started the new year there 3 of the past 4 years. There are a lot of fun holes here, but I have to say that declining conditions, and my ongoing knee problems, make it unlikely that I’ll be coming back again soon.

Greg’s review says everything I wanted to say. The sign at the entry touts HV as the NGCOA Course of the Year in 2010-2011 – apparently, after that award the course stopped putting any more money into improving the course. Water in the bunkers, after no rain, only means that overwatering is draining into the bunkers and staying there, and the course is doing nothing about it. Not that bunker conditions would be good anyway – as Greg noted, “dry” bunkers had no sand atop the mud base. Every fairway and rough lie was a crapshoot. The only level tee was #18 (white tees). Greens can’t be kept this fast if any putt from above the hole results in 8-12 feet (or more!) coming back – all that means is slow play and frustrated golfers.

Positives – VISAGE GPS was interactive and helpful. The cart had a ball washer/club cleaner.

I tried to kill myself when I slipped and sprawled on the steep cart path next to the 10th green. There’s lots of up-and-down walking required here on some steep terrain. Cart path damage and neglect is another area where HV has walked away. There was apparently plenty of money for a multi-month renovation of the restaurant that moved the pro shop to the adjacent building, but I don’t see anything going into the course. I can’t recommend HV under these conditions.
Played the South Course on Tuesday 12/17/19 on a replay from a UP certificate we used on the North Course earlier that morning. Neither of the courses were very crowded –we were on the tee of South at 1140 am (with GKer Nickesquire) within 15 minutes of walking off North course. We joined amiable local Dean, who was familiar with but was not a member – what’s up with that??!!!

Course conditions were fairly similar to those encountered on the North – see my review posted earlier today. Greens were very firm and getting the correct landing area and runout on chips and pitches was challenging. Fairway and rough turf conditions were not quite as good as those on North – we saw many more thin/bare areas on the South course. Tee and sand conditions were similar – it seemed like we found more bunkers on our round on the South.

There is much less sloppiness of the terrain overall and less movement to greens on South compared to North, despite the slope/ratings for the Gold tees being very similar. There’s no question in my mind that the South Course plays easier under similar conditions.

See my review of the North Course for comments on infrastructure and facilities. Since I played here in 2002, some holes on the back 9 have been abandoned/redesigned to accommodate housing that was built within the back 9 loop.Hole 12 has been incorporated into the practice area and a new (par-3) hole 12 built.

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