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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.
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.
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.
GKer weber would not be too happy with AT right now – greens are VERY slow. Even after all the rain this winter, greens and fairways are all thin and tight – on fairways, it means balls sit close but get good runout on shots. However, minor imperfections or old divot areas mean quirky lies. For greens, it means approach shots don’t hold and you can see the underlying dirt beneath the green grass. With that hard base and thin cover, it’s hard to believe they can roll so slow.

Got out on super twilight at 5pm on Thursday, 6/27/19, joining amiable men’s club member Wes for a relaxed round. They put the junior clinic players out around 430 but we played through them without too much waiting, and really didn’t see any other golfers on the course. Breeze from the SW was pretty fresh to start but dropped as the round progressed. Cart girl last call around 630. We finished right at dark as the last group on #18, around 815.

Tees were mostly level and divot damage wasn’t bad. Rough condition depended on how far offline you got – there’s plenty of ESA here to lose balls, but around greens and alongside fairways it was fairly short, dry and playable. Sand was in good condition everywhere, but playing depth varied from hole to hole. [Also, the left greenside bunker on #3 has some BIG rocks embedded in it!]

Plenty of water available. Carts are comfortable with a very nice interactive GPS system. Live music at the restaurant as we finished up. I like the layout here and always recommend AT.
Got out early at 6:30 on Wednesday, 6/19/19, to join GK jefe Johnny, GK legend weber, and Andrew1 for a relaxed, fun round. The course ownership is obviously putting resources into the course and facilities – the driving range has been expanded, roofed, speakered, lighted, and otherwise improved; a banquet/meeting room has been added to the clubhouse; carts look new and have a small but high-quality interactive GPS; and course conditions are very good.

Greens looked great, held shots, and rolled consistently at medium+ speeds. We saw very few old ballmarks. Fairways gave good lies, although not rolling out as much as in the past due to improved turf quality and some early-morning dampness today. Rough on fairway margins and around greens makes you pay attention. Past problems with the bunkers here have been addressed and all traps I saw looked to have adequate sand, although some were pretty wet this early.

Tees were mostly level and fine, but some marker placements put you on a slope or restricted your teeing options. Some markers on the back nine had not been replaced after mowing.

Divot mix in bottles on the cart to start, but I didn’t see a refill rack. In general we didn’t see that many unfilled divots. Plenty of water available, and restrooms were clean and nice.

The course uses a Red-White-Blue pin rotation. Because of where they fall in the hole order, all 4 of the par-5s had white flags today, and 3 of the 4 par-3s had blue flags– the course could use some imagination to break up that pattern and provide better variety.

Highly recommended in current condition.
Played with my monthly group at La Mirada on Saturday, 6/1/19 at 9am on a cool, cloudy day without much wind. Range on mats and main putting green was closed. One shop guy working hard to keep up but a great attitude. Not that busy at that time but clubhouse area was packed as we finished 5+ hours later.

We debated during the round about the translation into “golf English” of “La Mirada”. The prevalence of no grass in many playing areas of the course led us to think it could mean “the bare dirt”. Based on our experience today, we all agreed that it could mean “the bad lie”. All holes had scattered or large bare areas where the ball could rest in a multitude of flat/ridged/muddy/cratered forms, but bad lies could be had on “grass” or in the non-fairway areas, as well. My experience in the front bunker on #2, where my ball came to rest in a deep trench that looked like it had formed from a dozen golfers blasting out and not raking behind them, led me to think that the translation could be “the ditch”.

Greens were the "best" part of the course, fairly firm and not showing many ballmarks, but bumpy and rolling at medium+ speed. Coming here over the years (once per year or less) it seems to me that the size of many greens continues to shrink as American Golf continues to tighten its budgets. Fairways where we found grass were thin and tight, rolling out OK but giving uncertain lies. Rough ranged from bare/thin to more lush in lower areas of the course. Most bunkers had adequate sand (but see above!) but it was often very wet and/or packed. We played the Blue tees and they were OK, but frequently pushed well forward of the Blue plates, especially on the par-3s.

OK for a slow casual round.
I wanted to get some swings in before a tourney this weekend, and after the unhappy pro shop experience at Tijeras Creek a couple weeks ago I decided to try down at Talega. I really like the layout down there but have been put off by recent reports of poor conditioning – it had been 24 months(!) since I’d been down there. With the recent wet winter I hoped that vegetation would be in better condition and the course had had time to address the bunkers and some other conditioning issues.

It was the first sunny day we’d had for a while in south OC and the warm weather and only light breezes made for a pleasant afternoon at 2pm on Wednesday, 5/29/19. I was paired with a threesome of vacationers from the San Fernando Valley who had played the course in the past. They were anxious to get started, so we jumped out early with no warmup – we started on #10 as the shop told us they were doing bunker work on the front nine. I paid $42 with cart on GN, which apparently was less than the threesome paid.

Overall the course was in pretty good condition. Fairways had pretty good coverage, the usual tight turf that promoted runouts off the tee, and the ball generally sat OK. Rough was generally 3-4” deep and you had to pay attention to get a solid strike on the ball. We played the white tees, which were frequently pushed forward of the white plates, and tee turf was generally good. As usual the tee on 17 was torn up and bumpy.

Greens were firm and rolled at medium speed, with good coverage. Greens on holes # 7 and 17 were badly marked up with unrepaired marks and scattered small bare areas. Sand traps we were in were in generally good condition, although frequently wet and packed down. The left front greenside bunker on #3 had plenty of sand but the underbaggie was showing in some parts. Greenside bunkers were marked as GUR on #s 2 and 5 and improvement work was evident.

Cost cutting at Talega continues. The basic carts had a cooler but no water/ice, and no club cleaner/ball washer on the cart. The GPS is downgraded now to a simple ProShot with basic yardages. The main building men’s bathroom accessories are gone. Many ongoing changes that affect the visual and strategic aspects of the course continue – on the right side of hole #2 several traps in the driving area have been removed. On #4 along the right side of this “driveable” hole traps have been removed or made smaller. Traps in the driving area on #11 are much smaller. The greenside trap on the right front of #18 is smaller, and the large trap behind the green has been eliminated.

I had pleasant playing partners but they were very casual in their approach– hitting a 2nd ball, freely giving putts, and PICKING UP MY BALL WHEN WE WERE SEARCHING FOR IT, etc. A nice touch is divot sand refill boxes – I saw them on #5 tee, #8 tee, # 10 tee, and after 11/15 greens. The course uses entry/exit gates to control cart wear on fairways. Lakes were full and the course had an overall groomed look.

The light was out in men’s bathroom behind #4 green – the locked door was propped open with the soap holder. The safety mirrors at the entrance to path tunnels after #1 and en route to #10 were missing.

Recommended – the blind teeshot on the par-5 #15 is still the most visually intimidating tee shot in SoCal, and without a 'picture' GPS or a yardage book, you have no idea where you are going.
Had a great time at the GK event Saturday, 5/18/19, at Desert Willow Firecliff. The weather was golf-perfect and the course was in wonderful condition. Played with 3 new (to me) GKers and we really enjoyed the round and the company. Thanks to GKers Rich, Esper, and Phil for a great time – Phil hadn’t played in several months and his game was scattered to the four winds, but he kept a good humor and even came out ahead on golf balls.

Greens were great – fairly firm, great coverage and rolling smoothly at medium-fast speeds. We saw almost no ballmarks. Fairways were like carpets and rough was very consistent, just deep enough to make you pay attention. If it gets some dampness it will be much tougher. Tees were flat and good except for a couple of par-3s that had some damage. Sand was in great shape (we all remember the event a couple years ago!!), although deeper and softer than most of us along the coast are used to!

Large grass driving range, chipping green and putting green with realistic and frighteningly fast conditions. Starter got us out on time. Saw the cart girl several times. Cart guys were very helpful as we finished up. Plenty of divot mix available on cart and refills, although they don't put containers on the par-3 tees.

Fun time seeing others at the grill afterward, although crossed signals meant that it was tough to get food or drinks as the bar closed earlier than expected. Nice prizes for all – AndewZ28 was praised from afar. Thanks to Johnny for setting up this great venue and a nice event. It's a long hump for me but love the venue and the company.
Wanted to get some swings in before the GK Desert Willow outing so walked on to TC around 3pm on Wednesday, 5/15/19. Golfnow offerings for the 3pm-4pm time period had been running for $39, so was stunned when stoic, unmoved staff memeber in the shop told me $60! GN does not let you book a single, and I don’t have the Creek card, so I asked him to match the online rate but was told “next time book with GN”. Was able to finally get a $53 rate, which was still disappointing given the GN advertised rate. Overall an unhappy interaction to start the afternoon.

I was hoping for a nice afternoon, but the weather was cloudy and breezy, getting pretty cold as the clouds increased – where are we, Puget Sound? The wind finally dropped off some on the back nine, although you still have to be very aware of the crosswind on the narrow, challenging 12th hole. I was paired with a twosome and we were joined by amiable local Pat, who was fun to play with and we had a relaxed round, finishing in ~4 hours. Recent reviews of TC have been good, and we found the course in good shape, playing the white plates (6,206/69.5/125) – many of the blue tees were up at the white plates, or even in front of them.

Greens were in pretty good condition, with good coverage, firm but holding well-struck shots, a little bumpy in the afternoon and rolling fairly slow at less than medium speed – we continuously left putts short. Many greens had LOTS of old ballmarks.

Fairways had good coverage but the ball sat pretty tight. Rough ranged from short and benign to 2-3 inches that grabbed the club and made distance control difficult. Fairly shaggy collars around the greens made putting from off the green pretty impossible. Tees were flat and in good shape, except for a couple of par-3 teeboxes that were torn up, and there was no divot mix container or it was empty. Sand was ample and in good condition, although pretty damp out in the middle of the bunkers.

Saw a cart girl several times. Refill rack of divot mix on the 10th teebox. Basic but newer carts – no GPS, no cooler, no ballwasher. Many sprinkler heads marked. Staff started warning us on #15 green that we might not finish (carts must be in before dark), but we were able to complete the round ahead of the last couple groups. TC is pricey and the shop experience was not great for me – that’s why I only play here about once per year.
Played with my monthly group at (supposedly) 9am on a warm, sunny Saturday, 5/4/19. Course was packed and overbooked as we teed off 45 minutes late, then struggled thru a 6-hr(!) round. MM is probably in the best shape I've ever seen it after this winter's rains. Landing areas are more receptive, rough around the edges of the course doesn't allow errant shots to run forever into oblivion on dry hard ground, and greens are receptive, although still quick.

Fairway lies are fairly tight but mostly good. There are scattered bare areas throughout the course. Tees were flat and in good shape, except for the white teebox on #13, which is lumpy and uneven. Rough is fairly low and benign unless you get well off the line of play, and can then be thick and juicy. Sand was in god condition, a little damp but with good playing depth. Greens were uniformly very good, with no bare spots and consistent coverage, semi-firm but receptive, rolling at a medium+ pace.

A couple of major changes (since I last played here) on holes on the back nine substantially change the approach and difficulty of those holes. On the par-5 11th, which wraps severely left around a tree-covered hillside, several large trees have been removed along the left side. Although blind, the drive is much more open along the left and amenable to a bold drive along the treeline, with the slope then moving the ball to the right. The second shot, uphill to a perched green, is also wide open with the removal of a couple of large trees that were about 125 yards out - the hole is now a realistic 2-shotter for the longer hitter. On the par-4 18th, a tree/bunker combination along the right side, in the landing area of tee shots, has been removed. The tree/sand previously constricted the landing area and made this closing hole very challenging - now it's a much more wide-open short par-4.

Adequate water available. We saw a cart girl several times. "Marshals" generally rode around not interacting with players. Range on good quality mats. Putting green doubles as a chipping green and has taped "putting course" laid out on it to further interfere with warmups. Recommended in current condition, but the shop doesn't care how long it takes you, so be aware.
Played Redhawk at 916am on Wednesday, 5/1/19, with GKer Andrew1 for a senior rate of $45 with cart. Weather was sunny and mild with little wind until the last few holes. Small bucket was $5 on OK mats on the range; however, the path/steps from cart parking down to the range was one of the most uneven and treacherous that I’ve ever seen. There are 4 different putting greens ranging from flat to Matterhorn. Basic carts, cooler but no ice, and no GPS, but a yardage book available. Striped poles at 150 in the fairways, and some sprinkler heads are marked. After all the rain over the winter the course generally looks lush, and rough was fairly deep and juicy.

Greens were in very good shape – full and lush, smooth and holding shots, rolling at medium speed with not too many ballmarks. Greens are surrounded by deep/steep swales and grass bunkers that were generally lush and damp, a challenge to play from. However, we did seen several areas in these grass bunkers that were dry/thin/clumpy that would make recovery challenging. Fairways were generally good, with tight turf but good coverage – we saw only scattered bare areas. Tees were generally OK, but some sloped behind a right-handed golfer. Lots of sand here looked OK from a distance, but we encountered varying conditions in 4 greenside bunkers – thin/wet/packed in one and damp/fluffy in others.

No cart girl today. No marshal. Shop does not offer a posting computer. Divot mix bottles had many small rocks (and a few bigger ones!) mixed in with the sand. Refill rack on #10 tee.

The course needs to address the huge hump in the road on the exit road with appropriate signage and paint for better visibility before a motorist leaves the entire underside of his car smeared across that hump!
Played with a high school buddy on Monday 4/8/19 using an UnderPar certificate, $33 each at 1pm, which is a decent deal. The course had punched greens 2 weeks ago – the practice green showed a lot of sand-filled holes but was cut tight and wicked fast. On-course greens were found to be a little slower and the punching marks were much less obvious, but it took us a few holes to dial back our terror and start getting the ball to the hole. Some fairway areas, mainly leading up to greens, have been punched in the past few day – the holes are empty and the punch cores are laying out on the turf.

Not my favorite type of course with the wall-to-wall kikuyu, but overall conditions were OK. Tees were level – we played the white plates, as all the white markers were moved up. I wasn’t in any sand. Fairway lies were generally good but some holes were fairly wet, others very dry. Rough could be cut short or juicy and damp. Greens are small and the overall slope of the property toward the Santa Ana River prevails.

Lots of red stakes around if you stray from the line of play. Most holes are pretty steeply uphill or downhill – “flat” areas are frequently significantly sloped along the prevailing hillside gradient. Carts with a nice interactive GPS, and a yardage book is available. Many holes have some distance stakes in use.

We played as a twosome ahead of a threesome in a little less than 4 hours. Two-level range on mats hitting down into a hollow. Friendly service in the shop and the snack bar. OK for a casual round.
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