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Played on 7-7-17

This course has a fun layout that comprises an old parkland front nine and a newer 90s style back with far less trees and more mounding.

There are always excellent deals to be had and is the main reason to keep going back when combined with the always friendly and excellent staff.

The conditions continue to baffle. They seem to be making headway one month then the next it appears to reverse course. Lack of revenue is the most likely culprit.

Tees mostly good with a few bare and/or unlevel.
Fairways mostly good with a few bare areas and many areas that are severely bumpy (cart riders beware).
Rough is spotty and most off fairway areas tend to be dirt.
Bunkers have always been poor with hardpack dirt mostly. There were many with weeds, but there was a crew working on one and it was clear others had been worked.
Greens were mostly smooth but many had invasive grasses kikuyu or crabgrass IDK
Played on 6-25-17

The course uses reclaimed water and most fairways and green complexes are lush, to the point that there were over watered areas with mud and casual water. Off fairway areas are dirt in/under/around trees. Tees are mostly good with areas of damage and/or unlevel.

The greens are in very good shape right now and are nearly back to the once spectacular condition that was the course trademark for so long.

Bunkers - GROAN - as with many Valley courses the warm temps mean hard traps. They basically have no sand and although a few were worked to soften them up it only made it worse as different traps played from soft and deep dirt to hardpan, not only from bunker to bunker, but from different areas of the same trap. It was a crap shoot guessing what the crusty look was covering.

Deals abound on Golfnow and make playing here worthwhile.
Quick update

Course is in very good condition overall

Tees fairways and rough all are green and have good coverage with no areas of severe damage

Greens are healed from aeration, rolling smooth and medium to fast

Bunkers stink, hard and/or wet, this is always an issue here and I'm not quite sure why they can't figure it out when everything else is so nice. If the rating seems low this is the reason.
Played 4-27-17

This course has the bones of a 1950s CC style layout. Small greens, tree lined fairways and perimeter housing typical of the era all fit into a relatively compact parcel. The surrounding area still has quite a bit of Ag and some newer homes that also border the course. None of the housing old or new is inside the course boundaries. A 2008 redesign has added bunkering and mounding that gives the course both added aesthetics and more challenging shots requiring accuracy and course management off the tee and into greens.

Pace- it was a large Raisin industry tournament and surprisingly there was very little backup or waiting, sub 5 hours

Conditions- There were signs of aeration on the tees with the accompanying brown areas. All were level and had good coverage. Fairways were lush with only occasional areas where work was needed and/or being done. Rough was consistent at 3" or less. Sand looked consistent and firm, although we never had to play out of a bunker. Greens were in very good shape. There were occasional healing marks that were visible but did not affect roll at a club where every ball mark gets fixed by members who care. (Why oh why can't public course golfers do this?) Speeds were medium to slow and firmness was on the soft side.

Staff- every one treated us as if we were members.

Value- guest rate is 50 I believe (don't quote me).

Layout- as mentioned above the 2008 revamp has added shot value, difficulty, aesthetics and strategy to what was once a very straightforward CC layout.

Facilities- you could see the old styling in the bones of the buildings but all are well maintained and many areas have had upgrades. Large clubhouse with indoor/outdoor bar pub and a large banquet area.

Although private, if you can get reciprocal play or into a tournament etc I recommend play.
Played on 4-14-17

Course architecture fans rejoice! Fresno has a Billy Bell design that will delight. Those that know the Bells (William P. and William F.) know that their work is prolific and lists some of the best courses in California. For those that don't, I encourage an internet search on the two of them. Unlike many modern architects whom simply seek to punish and mistakenly equate hard with good, the brilliance in Bell's designs is in the playability for all levels, while still presenting a challenge for better players with angles/small greens/bunkering.

Overall - spring conditions are currently very good. Greens are smooth and firm running at medium speed with only a few areas of ball mark damage (the kind where many people hit that area and either do not fix or fix poorly) Tees, fairways and rough are all lush. Bunkers have consistent conditions.

Pace - the habit of overbooking and squeezing in walk-ups has resulted in consistent backups and even with a morning tee time we were 25 minutes behind schedule to even begin our round. Finished in 5 hours.
I have reviewed course in past so no in depth is needed. I am updating because of the currently poor conditions. I don't know if there is a lack of manpower or an equipment issue, but they are having some problems.

Fairways were long and many had rough length grass. No recent mowing was evident.

Sand was hard packed and/or dirt.

Tees were about normal with patchy coverage and many uneven lies.

Greens were worked recently, but regardless they still clearly had not been mown for a long time. They were shaggy and slow slow slow.

The rough was mostly out of control and even areas that showed signs of mowing were still deep enough to result in ball searches even just off fairways.

This is a fun scenic course and I usually recommend, but at this time I advise waiting until these issues are corrected.

Apparently my rating was so low that it didn't even show up.
Spring 2017 3-18-17

Played here for their impossible open.

Greens were perfect and had been double cut and double rolled.
Tees were all lush and level.
Rough was consistent and thick at about 3-5".
Fairways were halfway out of dormancy but all were playable.
Sand is perfect white Torrey style playable and aesthetically pleasing.
The layout is secluded and house free. The length at under 7k seems easier than it plays because of the narrow tree lined fairways and small well protected greens.

It was one of those fantastically brutal days where you get punched in the face by the course and walk away smiling. Pins just feet from edges and/or on places where missed putts resulted in long (6' and 8' and on one hole 12') second putts because balls refuse to stop on the slopes with the 13' stimp speeds. Tees were more fair this year with all level lies on short grass but were still put in places where angles called for big curving tee balls and all were at the very tips (last year many were on slopes and/or in the rough and/or stymied). Our group scores/vs/hdcp, I somehow managed 86 playing off a 9 others were an 80/1 95/10 89/4

Edit to add: Johnny I have pics on my twitter if you want to add them.
Spring 2017 3-26-17

Layout as always is excellent, top 3 public in the area IMO.
Greens mostly smooth and quick with a few areas where golfers have not fixed their marks.
Tees level and lush.
Fairways are returning to their normal firm playing conditions and the grass is coming out of dormancy.
Off fairway areas are a coin flip for even finding the ball in the native grass that is deep deep deep after the rains.
Bunkers have good consistent sand.
Practice facilities are best in the area.

The one place things can improve is pace as the multiple searches for balls slows play. I recommend the course implement a local rule to treat the areas as laterals to help speed play. (no one goes back after their 5plus minute searches anyway)

This course is worth a visit regardless of how far you need to drive.
Just a quick overview.

Course is mostly green from the rains. Tees and fairways are all lush. There are still many off fairway areas with dirt. The rough was consistent just off the fairways.

The greens were recently worked and are probably another 2 weeks from being without sand/tine marks.
The previously empty "ponds" are now actually ponds with water which add to the aesthetics and challenge. Bunkers are as usual hard hard hard.

If my accompanying rating is low it will be due to the greens and bunkers.

Fun and inexpensive.
Played on Saturday 2-18-17

My friend was able to get a 12$ hot deal with carts. Surprise! - no carts allowed and none of us were smart enough to call. Coincidentally I had taken my trolley out of the car which I never do. They were giving pull carts for free but did not have enough for the group.

Tees - some mud and longer than normal grass with some torn up areas
Fairways - some spots with standing water and many muddy areas but the grass is starting to come out of being dormant.
Bunkers - wet and hard packed with some standing water
Greens - slow but in fair to good shape overall, they still have some invasive grasses in areas

Overall the course is holding up pretty well to all the rain.
A little update after all the storms.

The course is understandably very wet, soggy, muddy in areas and produced the corresponding mud balls.

The tees are all lush and if anything a bit shaggy from not being able to mow.

The fairways are in the worst condition. The combination of traffic (carts were path only the day we played) and still dormant grass has created many areas that were very torn up and had little to no grass. Tee shots hit and stopped.

Bunkers were all wet and many had standing water. Although playing out of the wet packed sand is not difficult, they clearly need work.

The rough was BRUTAL, as the grass was not dormant off the fairways and ranged in length from ankle deep to don't even bother looking for the ball jungle.

Now for the good part.

The greens were as smooth and without any bad patches as I can remember seeing. I was astonished at how few ball marks were evident. Lack of play? Great drainage? I don't know, but they were in fantastic shape. The speed was slow, but a worthy trade off to have that quality on this highly played muni.
Overall- Above average Valley public course- The design, value and facilities are all very good. The condition of the course is mostly above average, but the few remaining greens in bad shape and the inconsistent bunkers limit my rating.

Pace- Excellent- Sunday midday and the course was ours. We never had anyone in front or behind for a nice leisurely sub 3.5 hour pace.

Course conditions- Bordering on very good- Tees, fairways and rough are all lush and if anything a tad on the long side. Occasional areas of divot damage on tees and fairways but never anything terrible. The green appearance all over the course is a welcome respite to the brown areas that most Valley courses have this time of year. Bunkers were hit and miss with some being waterlogged, some being hard pan and many that were recently worked and very playable. The greens, which had been lost and were completely gone over the last few years have mostly returned. Roughly 2/3rds were in very good shape and the others were poor at best. (Why not all of them have returned is unknown but certainly they are headed in the right direction.) All were running at medium to slow speeds, which is not bad with all the tiers and slopes.

Staff- Friendly and helpful, I had limited interaction so I cannot comment and/or rate in depth.

Value- We had a hot deal so the price was fantastic for a weekend round. Two players and cart $50

Layout- Very good layout and design. Holes encompassed; long, short, left, right, wide, narrow, big greens, small greens. The mix of holes allowed for varying strategies and the chance to use many different clubs. Technically not a links so rather than have a semantic debate lets just say that for Valley public courses the design is well above average.

Amenities- Practice areas and bar/grill/banquet areas were ample and in good condition.

This course will easily be the best in Bako and one of the best in the Valley once the rest of the greens and the bunkers have been bought up to par.
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