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Driving home to the LA area from my weekend in the Roseville area with an old Vegas work buddy on Monday, 11/11/19, decided to stop at Castle Oaks based on Top 25 rankings and past reviews, walking on at 715 and was paired immediately with a father-son team from Toronto who had played the course several times, so I got the benefit of some ”local” knowledge. Started out brisk and chilly on a clear, sunny day that warmed up nicely, and we had almost no wind. The first tee was fairly busy and we kept pace, finishing in around 4 hours.

Both nines start out here with challenging holes with a combination of length, lakes, trees, narrow openings, and elevation changes. You need to be hitting crisp, straight shots right away to avoid getting into a scoring hole early. The final 4 holes (15-18) are also a challenging mix of shotmaking needs, including a long iron approach over a deep swale to a deep, sloping green (15), a terror-filled short iron over oblivion to a perched shallow green (par-3 16), a tee shot over a group of 3 oaks where you can bite off as much as you dare on the dogleg (17), and a decision to go the long way around or hit to an island fairway between 2 lakes to cut down the distance on the approach shot (18).

While the layout is diverse and challenging, the greens were easily the best part of the course, with wall-to-wall lush coverage, firm but holding well-struck shots, and rolling smoothly at medium+ speeds. Fairway lies were usually good, although the ball could occasionally set low. Rough early on was wet and could be treacherous, although later after drying out was much more playable. Some tees were sloping to the rear of a right-handed golfer, and no divot mix boxes were provided on the par-3 tees. Tees looked like they might not have been moved after Sunday’s play. Sand was in good condition, though a little damp this early.

Carts are basic. Saw the cart girl a few times today, even on a Monday morning. Didn’t use the driving range. No GPS, but a yardage book is available, and colored posts are located on most holes. Bathrooms are just basic but useable. The course nicely uses old railroad ties for an interesting mix of slope control, cart direction, and aesthetics. We quickly used the sand refills in the carts and there was no refill rack, so at the turn we pilfered some full sleeves from the waiting carts. The course uses a red-white-blue pin rotation, and needs to mix it up a little on the pin placements, to avoid giving golfers similar looks as you go through the round (first 3 par 3s were red flags; red flags in similar positions on holes 2, 5, and 14 with similar green shapes; etc.).

The course is pretty far off the beaten path in rolling hills west of the foothills of the Sierras, but definitely worth a play if you are in the area. Definitely recommended.
7 Likes.
Scenic and playable course in a retirement community that is in very good condition for the third round of my golf weekend with an old Vegas work buddy on Sunday, 11/10/19, at 1154 am on a warm, sunny day with almost no wind.. Front nine (Lakes) plays in a loop around housing development with scattered water features, and the back nine (Oaks) plays through a very nice oak woodland. Nash/Casper design – they do many of the Sun City courses in the Southwest – has some teeth to it in terms of some narrow hitting lanes, many bunkers, some imaginative green undulations, and use of trees and water (on the front) and large oaks on the back to dictate where the best position for your ball is. [However, the 18th hole is poorly designed and needs some reworking to make it more fair and give players more options.]

Conditions were very good. Greens were lush, fairly firm but mostly receptive, and rolled smoothly at medium+ speed. We saw very few old ballmarks. Fairway lies were mostly lush and good. Rough was 2 3” with mostly good coverage – on the back nine, under the oaks, you could get bare-ish lies and lots of debris. Tees were flat and in good shape (I played Blue). Sand was damp but groomed and in good condition.

No GPS, but a yardage book is available, and the course uses 150-yd poles and some plate markers for distances. The course was fairly busy and we played in ~4.5 hr. for $35. Recommended.
4 Likes.
Second round of my golf weekend with an old Vegas work buddy on Saturday, 11/9/19, at 1050 am on a warm, sunny day with almost no wind. We played with a MeetUp group he belongs to and played Whites in just over 4 hours. Rudyclub’s recent review hits the high points. Greens were punched several weeks ago and had healed well – greens had good coverage and rolled well at medium+ speed.

There is a nice 3-tierd grass driving range with assorted targets. Basic carts, and no GPS, but a yardage book is available, and most fairways have 200/150/100 markers. Plenty of divot mix available, refill rack at the turn, and boxes of mix on the par-3 tees. Recommended for a casual round.
8 Likes.
This is a gorgeous course routed through an oak woodland laid across a broad west-facing slope just getting into the foothills east of Sacramento. Played the first round of my golf weekend with an old Vegas work buddy on Friday, 11/8/19, at 1115 am on a warm, sunny day with almost no wind. Green fairways were strikingly routed between the oaks and straw-colored rough, lots of elevation change in some holes and across the property, and pretty uncrowded for a Friday early afternoon. Many elevated greens and some narrow hitting lanes make for a challenging yet exhilarating venue.

BUT THEY DIDN”T TELL US THE GREENS HAD BEEN PUNCHED AND SANDED!! We booked online and no info provided there. The course apparently didn’t notify Greenskeeper.org because no mention on the GK site. No word from the counter guy when we checked in. All greens had been punched and sanded around Nov 4-5 after cutting them down to a nub. Many unfilled punch holes and all the greens were stupid fast like putting on a billiard table. Or linoleum. No way to control downhill putts as we often got rollouts of 10-15 feet, and many of the greens are already so steeply sloped that many pin locations were almost impossible to access.

Other than the greens, conditions were good. Fairway coverage was good with lies ranging from lush to tight. Rough along the fairways was playable at about 2 inches – further out it was a crapshoot with bare dirt, bark, trees and wild grass, etc. I was in 3 greenside traps and conditions were good, one a little thin and the other 2 with a nice sand layer. Tees had also been punched and sanded and were a little fuzzy, with several sloping behind a right-handed golfer.

No yardage book available, but the interactive GPS by GPS Industries was very nice. This seems to be really late in the season for green aeration. Maybe because of the altitude here (1,500 ft). Without the aeration I would recommend the course enthusiastically.

Didn't rate the course because of the punched greens.
8 Likes.
I really liked this course. I’m a fan of links-style courses and this one was great – firm fairways with tight but good lies, lots of fairway undulation and runoffs, and rolling, challenging greens. First time here, and I was reminded of Links at Summerly (when it was in playable condition) and Angeles National.

Thanks to GKer Alex326 who responded to my Meet-Play post and drove down from Monterey to join me at ~8:30am on Thursday, 11/7/19. Alex is great to play with and we had a relaxed, fun round.

Greens were firm but fairly receptive and rolled well at medium+ speed. Coverage was good and speeds were consistent. Only negative was the large number of old and unrepaired ballmarks on all greens – these impacted the visual appeal of the greens and required some attention before you could execute your line. Fairways had good coverage and, though tight, the ball generally sat up nicely. Rough was brutal – getting in that wet monkey grass was a definite penalty and frequently a lost ball. Tees were flat and very playable – we played White, and a couple of times moved back to where the Blue markers were to conform to the white plate distances. Sand was the one big negative – greenside, I was in one bunker with OK sand, although very thin and firm. Fairway bunkers were more likely to be groomed mud.

I had booked an 8am time and was running late driving up from Orange County. I arrived around 8:15 and the shop was great in working us out ahead of a scheduled shotgun tourney. We wound up playing as a twosome with no one pushing us in ~4 hours. Definitely recommended. Wish I could pick this course up and drop it in SoCal.
8 Likes.
Played at around 1pm on Sunday, 10/27/19, getting in a casual round around my birthday. After the hot summer and recent warm temperatures, a brisk south wind and cloudy skies dropped the temps into the high 60s, and that south wind meant that most of Talega’s holes played with a stiff crosswind, with all the fun ESA out there waiting for errant missles. I was scheduled to be paired with a threesome, but after arriving I was sent out with another single ahead of that three. Unfortunately, we were sent out right after a four-group tournament of laughing, chatty mixed couples – there were four groups on the first tee when I arrived. Any hope for a casual but routine Sunday afternoon vanished, and we waited on every shot over the next 5 hours. They sent us out in separate carts, and when not hitting my partner was on his phone, so there was not much of a social element to the round.

Course was in decent condition that was basically crapshoot lies everywhere – fairways, rough, and sand could be good or thin or bare. You got what you got. Tees were good. Greens were receptive and rolled well at medium speed.

It’s unfortunate to see the neglect of the course infrastructure over the years from where it used to be. Fences need painting and repair in many places. From afar bunkers look like salt/pepper dirt and no sand. Some bunkers are still marked GUR as the (seemingly) 10-year bunker renovation program continues. And many strategic bunkers have been reduced/eliminated. The previous good-quality GPS has been replaced by a simple ProShot with only basic distances. And the clock on mine was way wrong. And the unit kept resetting itself on each hole.

No cart girl today, or marshal. Given the temperatures, adequate water was available. Course uses entry/exit gates to control cart wear on fairways, but many golfers don’t use them.

I like the layout here, so I return occasionally.
10 Likes.
Played with my monthly club on Saturday, 10/12/19, at 9am, but didn’t tee off until 9:35 as the course was punching out 5somes and they already a half-hour behind at 9 o’clock! Weather was clear and warm with almost no wind, and course had no condition issues, so slow play was completely on the players. Overall a 5-hr round.

Conditions were typical for what you get at Lakewood – everything was just OK. Greens were receptive and rolled at medium speed, getting a little quicker as the day progressed. Only green #6 showed any signs of last month’s aeration. Fairways had mostly good coverage but you could never tell when you would get a thin or bare area or an area with critter mounds. Rough was dry/bare or ranging to thick/juicy. Sand was mostly fairly thin but playable, but partners also encountered deep/soft as well as no sand areas. Tees had various problems – boxes on 5 and 11 were sloping to a right-handed golfer’s rear; on 4, the markers were set up in the middle of a recently resodded area(!), so everything was soft and uneven; some tees had been punched with large holes and not (yet?) sanded.

Most of the white tee markers were placed forward of the white plates. Cranky starter was pushing you to get out on #1, where waiting awaited – no rangers. OK for a slow casual round.
8 Likes.
Little bit late. Played with GKer itslikeimsayin in our GK Cup match at 11am Saturday, 9/28/19, joined by mpisarski. I hadn’t played here since 2010, and did not remember some of the significant elevation changes within some of the individual holes. Repeated plays here are definitely a benefit to know the correct hitting lines and approach lines.

Greens were receptive and rolled very nicely at medium speed. Sand was a little damp but very playable. The only tee that was sloping was on number 14. In the fairway you were usually on good turf, but rough was wildly variable depending on where you were and how far off the fairway you ventured. Holes like 2, 4, 12 and 13 have difficult, long uphill approaches and are very challenging. Many of the other par fours are short and more amenable to surgical placement of drives and approaches.

We played blue tees. Simple GPS in the carts was difficult to understand and gave conflicting yardages - you’re better off with your own tools. I knew my day was going to be more difficult when my rangefinder died on hole #2. Paid $40, started on time, played in 4 1/2+ hours on a steady, slow day. Simple clubhouse has a casual, locals vibe. No range; you warm up into some nets, but balls were good and turf good. Recommended – I’d like to get back sooner than another nine years!
8 Likes.
Played Diamond Bar with my monthly club at 9am on Saturday, 9/14/19, on a very hot day with not enough wind to cool things down very much. My first round in 2 months, with my ongoing knee problems, made for a hot, slow 5.5- hour slog that was pretty standard for this course on a weekend morning. We got a little break on the front nine with plenty of shade scattered by the large trees, but the back nine is more open and that’s when we got the brunt of the day’s heat.

Conditions were the same as when my club played here last September – decent greens that were receptive all day (getting plenty of water!) and rolled at consistent speed but many old ballmarks, chancey fairways ranging from good to bare, challenging rough around the greens and really juicy stuff farther out, thin but playable sand, and many tees sloping to the back of a right-handed golfer.

We were sent out on time to join the slow queue. Our cart locked up on #7 but the shop sent out a replacement quickly. Saw the cart girl a couple times but the snack bar at #10 tee was closed again. Adequate water available. Not great, not terrible. OK for a casual round, with notations above.
8 Likes.
Not much to add to the reviews posted by other GKers for the event on Saturday, 7/13/19. Great weather and great company made the day very worthwhile. As Fastfish433 noted, the widespread ‘cart path only’ areas made play pretty choppy, and us old guys with knee replacements and knee sprains had a bumpy afternoon. This ‘path only’ condition would seem to be an unusual choice for a resort-type course catering to vacationing golfers, especially for this much of the course in hot July.

Course conditions were generally good, although I can safely say neither of us hit the ball where we wanted to very often, so the areas where we DID play from were not always optimal - LOL! There were many bunkers found and most seemed to be in good condition, although some were pretty wet, even in the mid-afternoon.

The carts are nicely appointed (ball washer/club cleaner, comfortable seats) and the on-board GPS has good interactive graphics and gives distance to the pin position. Plenty of water available on-course and we saw the cart girl often, although she needs training about driving into hitting groups.
6 Likes.
It was a good news/bad news day at TC on Wednesday afternoon, 7/10/19, at 3:20pm on a warm sunny day with blustery winds on the front nine, but dropping off to near-serene conditions on the back side. The course looks great driving up. Check-in was easy compared to last time as I had booked online as a single through Supreme Golf for $43 riding. Practice putting green was similar to on-course greens in terms of speed, but with very few holes cut. I was paired with an MV real estate agent and two Asian players and we had a relaxed, enjoyable round. After puttering along on the front nine, the group in front of us pulled ahead, and we almost felt like we were alone out on the back nine, finishing in 4.5 hr.

For the most part, that WAS the good news. While looking good from afar, up closer TC showed a lot of unhappy variation in the quality of lies to be found throughout the course. While greens were a wild mix of colors, for the most part they were smooth and rolled at about medium speed. We saw some variance in firmness, resulting in some hit-and-hold and some gong-and-release – you were never sure which you would get. Some greens had very small punch holes over large areas - these greens were softer. Many greens on the back nine had a significant problem with subsurface wildlife pushing up little mounds of dirt that in some cases looked like a substantial infestation.

After the wet Winter and mild Spring I was expecting better conditions in fairways and rough. In some areas the coverage was great and lies were consistent, although with the thin-bladed grass in the rough the ball could quickly sit down, calling for good concentration and a crisp strike. However, adjacent to these nice areas and on all holes there were large and small areas that were poorly watered, dry and hard, with turf patchy and semi-bare. Lies here were a real crapshoot, either perched on a turf patch, on bare ground, or sitting down between dry turf clumps. More so on the back nine, there were also many very wet areas scattered across fairways and rough, and in the run-ups to green fronts. Many of these showed significant turf damage from maintenance equipment running through the wet areas. The most egregious of these was on the upslope to the 9th green – only a couple yards from the front of the putting surface, a mower(?) had gouged the wet turf and scraped up a mat of turf into a large, muddy roll, in addition to scraping and damaging the surrounding turf and ground. This damage had been left as is, and golfers were forced to play around it after no attempt had been made to mitigate the damage.

Traps generally had adequate sand, but again we encountered varying conditions. The bunkers I found on the front nine had a fluffier sand, while the front greenside bunker on hole #11 was very wet and packed. Tee boxes were in tough condition, with a lot of divot damage on par-3 holes, inconsistent presence of sand refill pails on par-3s (not that golfers use them!), and many boxes slope toward the back of a right-handed golfer. The par-3 tees on the back nine were especially bad in term of unevenness and lumpiness.

We saw scattered turf patches where tees and fairways were being repaired. Holes #3 and #6 were cart path only for no apparent reason. No GPS on carts, but many sprinkler heads are marked. While we played the Blue tee markers, most of the Blue tees were placed near the White plates today. Saw the cart girl a few times, the last being on #10 just before 5pm.

Fun layout, especially on the back nine. Recommended, with the above notices for conditioning.
9 Likes.
Played a GK Team Match Play on Saturday, 6/29/19 at 1130 – the weather was mostly clear, warm, and the wind got very blustery on the back nine. Classy facility with great service, nicely-appointed carts with comfortable seats and a good-quality GPS, free bottled water (none available on-course), a very nice grass practice area, and a challenging course layout.

Conditions were good throughout. Tees were mostly level; fairways were very nice, and rough at 2-3 inches definitely had your attention. I wasn’t in the sand. Greens were very firm, looked thin, didn’t hold shots that well, and rolled at medium+ speeds, especially away from the hills and down the creekbed.

Pace was resort slow. The front nine took almost 3 hours, then we pulled up to the 17th tee at 5.5 hours and saw two other groups on the tee. The match had been decided, so we bailed and went in, missing those 2 interesting final holes. Unfortunate. Still recommended for amenities, design and conditioning.
11 Likes.
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