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Had some business in Ontario late Thursday morning, 10/4/18, and hopped over to Goose at just before 2pm. Got the $40 afternoon twilight rate and was paired with 2 regular players having a running match/smack talk session – amiable guys and fun to play with. We never caught anyone ahead until the approach shot on #18, and never saw anyone behind us except a fast single who played thru on the #12 tee. We finished in just over 3 hours. Weather was warm with some cloudiness – no wind to start, with the breeze freshening around 3pm.

Be aware that Goose Creek’s annual heavy “maintenance is coming” – the course closes Sunday, 10/7, for a week. Everything is punched – greens, fairways, and tees. They re-open Tuesday 10/16, and it will be cart path-only till the end of October. Tees were already shaved down today and the fairways had been cut close, with scattered patches of scalped ground. I expected drier, firmer conditions as the course dried out leading up to punching, but fairways and greens were fairly soft, with little runout on fairways and receptive greens. Maybe due to the rain showers Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Also saw a lot of tree-trimming going on throughout the course, lending a more open look everywhere. No mix containers on the carts so they didn’t expect you to fill divots – those of you who have played with me know that this resulted in an ongoing twitch in my arm the entire round!

Even as they prepare for maintenance, Goose is in better shape than many local courses in their prime season. Fairway lies were mostly good, unless you happened to land in one of the scalped areas. Rough was not as lush as usual but could be 2-3 inches deep. Tees were flat! Yes, flat – like they are supposed to be everywhere! I wasn’t in the sand, but partners played out a couple times and I heard no complaints in between the smack talk. Greens did have quite a few old and new unrepaired ballmarks.

The tightened fairways and softer turf, combined with vagaries of the wind, resulted in my leaving several approaches short, especially to front pins. Those several situations really brought out to me how pushed up many of the green platforms at Goose are to the green approaches, something you don’t necessarily see from a short-to-mid iron distance out in the fairway. I often was only 5 yards short of the green, but several feet below the level of the pin in an area where the green was running slightly away from me over the front edge. My wedge/putting game was found wanting in these circumstances!
Joined the party today for the GK Cup 12 final match – congrats to Ron for joining the Cup winner fraternity. Had a great time playing with Greg, Tom, and Gus, and seeing other old and new GK acquaintances. Conditions were similar to my round last Tuesday, but the course was drier and firmer throughout. And unfortunately, the POP was much worse – overall 5.5+ hours with a lot of waiting on the back nine in the hot sun. Saw the cart girl several times, as well as a marshal driving around but not making much impact. Excellent breakfast burrito before and club sandwich after in the grille.
I was looking for someplace to get some swings before the GK Cup 12 Final this coming Sunday. Many of the courses near me in south OC are too $$ or in poor shape (based on GK reviews), so I opted to go to Eagle Glen to preview the conditions for Sunday. I got a $25 rate at 2:00pm on the course website on Wednesday, 9/26/18, and when I booked Monday the tee sheet looked pretty open. But on arrival it looked like the wild west – one cart guy running around repurposing carts for players as others finished their round, no starter and the marshal was leaving for the day at 2pm. The first tee was busy and the twosome I was assigned with was not around, but a twosome scheduled at 1:30 but delayed waiting for a cart joined me. We waited on every shot and finished in 4.5+ hours. Weather was sunny and hot without too much wind.

Overall the course is in pretty good shape – it might play slightly differently for a morning round Sunday than in the late afternoon today. Greens were in good shape – receptive, rolling pretty smoothly at medium+ speed, and I don’t recall any obvious thin or bare areas on the greens. The usual number of recent and old ballmarks. Fairway lies were generally good but there were numerous scattered thin/bare patches as well as wet areas. Rough was all over the place depending on where you were on the course, ranging from bare/rocky to lush and 8” deep. Sand was in good shape but firm and thin, with many unraked areas. Many tees were lumpy or sloping (Blue).

New GPS systems on my cart and the twosome were not working. The group in front of us (1:50 tee time, in case the course reads this) was slow, loud, and were driving carts right up to and alongside greens. Many blue tees were back at the black plates today. R-W-B flag rotation, so 3 of the 4 par-5s were the same color. Adequate water available, and the refill rack on #10 had sand available for the first time I can remember. A doe and two fawns munching grass on fairway #2 didn’t pay us any attention.

Pace is often an issue here because the first 5 holes are very challenging in terms of forced carries, prevalence of ESAs, and sloping terrain. So, it’s easy to get off to a poor/slow start, backing up those behind you. Likewise, holes 16-18 also have a lot of trouble around them, ensuring a slower finish.

Played the “all-kikuyu all-the-time” Diamond Bar GC with my monthly club on Saturday, 9/15/18, at 10am. The day was clear and hot with not too much wind until late in the round, so the 3-hr front nine, and total 5.5-hr round, were especially hot and wearying. We waited on every shot all day. The drill sergeant starter made sure we got out right on time so we could immediately join the waiting queue.

Conditioning was LA County casual. Greens were the “best” part of the course, mostly firm with good coverage, rolling at medium-fast speed. We saw some bumpiness throughout the round, and all greens had many old and new ballmarks. Fairways ran the gamut from soaking wet areas to lush and good to thin and hard to bare. Rough was the same way, with the added challenge of dry/clumpy/ball sits down. Throughout the course any lie in fairway or rough was a crapshoot regarding what you would get. Sand was generally thin and firm. Trees were mostly flat bit looked pretty ragged.

The course uses a Red-White-Blue pin rotation. Because of where they fall in the hole order, 3 of the 4 par-5s had red flags today– the course needs to use some imagination to break up that pattern and provide better variety. Saw a cart girl a couple of times - snack bar at #10 tee closed. Staff was friendly but a couple of “ambassador” carts seen around the clubhouse were never actually seen on the golf course.

Nothing we got for the round was unexpected.
I was looking for a non-kikuyu location that hadn’t yet aerified their greens for a relaxed round on Tuesday, 9/11/18, and Glen Ivy fit the bill. [They are punching this coming weekend.] I found a GN deal at 2:04pm for $25. I had played here a few times in the past, and it’s a fun play that seems shorter than the yardage card from the Blue tees, perhaps because a lot of the longer holes have downhill tee shots. The clubhouse area was very busy when I arrived with many players, a couple of high school women’s teams getting ready to go out, and quite a bit of construction activity. Weather was sunny and warm with an unusual(?) NE breeze.

Greens here are generally small; some were firm, some were very receptive – you were never sure coming in how to play approaches to the greens. A couple greens had scattered bare spots along the edges. They rolled with some bumpiness at medium+ speed. Fairway lies were good – the turf was almost fluffy and could use a tightening with a mower. In most cases you won’t have a level lie, with the ball above or below your feet and/or being uphill or downhill, due to the course being pushed up against the hills to the west and interior gentle mounding. Rough condition ranged from thick/fluffy to thin/dry. Sand had good quantity, but greenside bunkers were all damp and fairly well-compacted. Many of the Blue tees were sloping, most behind a right handed golfer. Just for fun, the tee on the par-3 #5 sloped away in front of me!

There’s a big expansion underway at the clubhouse – a two-story banquet area is being added, so there’s lots of construction activity around the clubhouse and some traffic rerouting is in effect on the course around hole #9. The driving range is getting a solar roof over hitting area and they are adding access to parking right at the range. No yardage book is currently available, but many holes have colored yardage posts, and some sprinklers are marked. No GPS on the carts. The staff is friendly.

I played as a single as no one else was going out at that time. I played through a twosome on #5 and then breezed through the rest of the front nine in 1:30. But, oops, they were putting late players and golf teams out off BOTH tees at 3pm, so I ran up against the back of several groups on #10, and wasn’t waved up, so I poked around the back in 2:20, waiting on every shot. Overall pace just under 4 hours.

While the course was generally fairly dry and firm, there were many areas along cart paths and on road under-crossings where water had pooled and needed to be avoided. Ball washers are located on white tee boxes, so Black/Blue players are stuck with dirty balls. Brush growing tall in front of the #14 tee boxes needs to be trimmed down. The lake at the clubhouse on Hole #16 is still dry and ugly.

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 blue flags today, and 3 of the 4 par-3s had red flags– the course needs to use some imagination to break up that pattern and provide better variety.

The tee shot on #18 is still a lot of fun on that “Ray Guy”-like driving opportunity. Where else can an old low-ball hitter like me move one out there 330 yards!!

Recommended for a casual, fun round.
Played at San Clemente on a warm, sunny Saturday, 8/25/18, at 2pm with GKer lotrgolfer48 in our GK Cup 12 Round 3 match. It’s all kikuyu all the time here, which is why I rarely play it. Lies around the course varied from lush/soft to thin/ropey to very thin/bare/clumpy. Greens were in good shape, fairly firm and rolled well at medium+ speed - Matt obviously liked them a lot. Sand was in good condition. Tees (blue) on 5/7/12/17 were badly sloping behind a right-handed golfer – why do tees always seem to slope that way, and not in front of a r-h golfer?

Saw a cart person at #9. Friendly greeting in the shop. Adequate water available. No GPS or yard book – colored posts and plates in the fairway. Lots of subtle undulation and movement throughout the course, and you rarely have a level lie. Small greens with lots of subtle movement.

OK, but not my preferred palette.
Finally got a chance to play Rustic after years of seeing enthusiastic reviews on GK. I was in Ventura for the SCGA Senior 4-Ball Net Championship M/TU, 8/13-14/18, and decided to stop at Rustic on my way back to Orange County on Tuesday afternoon. Because of the distance from OC, the need to drive across Los Angeles and back (always best avoided!), my family situation, etc., I rarely if ever get up into that area anymore, and likely won't in future, so I decided this might be my last chance. Drove over from Ventura and booked for a twilight rate at 2pm, playing with a local who had only played here once. He had very little recollection of the course – I had looked at the course on Google Earth and I bought the yardage book, so at least I had a “map”. No GPS on the cart, but many sprinklers are marked and there are some yardage plates out there. The yardage book was most helpful. Repeated plays here are a must to know where to hit it off the tee and how best to approach the greens, depending on pin position. The course was not crowded on this hot Tuesday afternoon and we finished in just over 3 hours.

Course layout and topography at Rustic reminded me of Arroyo Trabuco/Talega/Black Gold in Orange County. On the recommendation of some GK friends I played Blue (6,628/71.6/128), which brought many more forced carries and difficult sightlines from the tees into play, compared to the White tees. I was glad I had the yardage book on several holes to help determine best playing lines, but after 3 par-5s on the front, the back nine has several tough par-4s that require long, precise tee shots and strong approaches. And after conditions at Olivas I had a great deal of difficulty adjusting to the green/apron design setup at Rustic. The aprons right now are almost indistinguishable from the greens both in color and texture, but the greens are firm and the aprons are soft after recent verticutting. You can easily putt across them, but apron speeds there are different from those on the greens.

Greens generally had good coverage and rolled well. Some are pretty small, and some are very deep and/or wide. Some greens are almost dead flat, and others have significant mounds, swales, and ridges. Knowing where to miss around the greens is important. The canyon effect on putts must always be considered, as putts consistently broke sharply down the canyon axis, along with the effects of wind and the canyon sidewalls. It’s hot and dry here, and fairways are thin but coverage overall is good and we generally had good lies. Rough along the fairways is thin to bare to sand. The native areas can quickly get “lost ball” and should be avoided. (“Snakes” signs were out!) I was in a couple of bunkers and sand was dry, small-grained, and easy to play from, but some of those narrow “slit-trench” bunkers look evil! Tees are large and generally fine. No sand refill boxes on the par-3 tees.

I loved the design and challenges of the course, but don’t know if I’ll ever have an opportunity to get back here. Recommended.
Played Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, 8/13-14/2018, in the SCGA 4-Ball Senior Net Championship. I hadn’t played here in ~10 years and had good memories of the course and layout (and had seen many positive GK reviews!), so was eager to get back and was not disappointed. Conditions were very good and the weather cooperated with sunny, mild temperatures and not too much wind.

Greens were in great shape – good turf, pretty smooth and running at medium+ speed. Only the many recent ballmarks on most greens detracted from the greens. Fairway lies were great; lies in rough were OK in the close-cut stuff but don’t get into the longer native areas. The dry native rough is tough to escape; the lush stuff is just a ball eater! Most greens had shaved areas surrounding the greens where you could putt or bump the ball easily, but beyond the shaved areas the rough was grabby and you had to focus while chipping. All the water features are dry and you can frequently play from within the red lines. Tees were usually OK but par-3 tees were all torn up and lumpy/unlevel/sloped (we played from the White markers). Sand was in good shape.

Large driving range with grass and mats – on mats for this tourney. Large putting green with realistic contours, although a little slower than on-course greens. Large chipping green with sand bunker. Adequate water available. Divot sand bottle refill rack and bin on #10. Single bathroom building but located at perfect intersection to service both nines. No clubhouse, just a trailer office. The trailer bathroom module needs attention – one men's toilet stall for the entire staff and shotgun tourney.

I wish I lived closer so I could play this fun, well-conditioned course more often. Highly recommended. But #16 is a beast!
Played on Saturday morning, 8/4/18, at 0830 with my monthly club – we play here every August. Weather was hot and humid, and we didn’t get much breeze to take the edge off the heat until the latter portion of the back nine. 5-hr pace, behind slow groups of drinkers/music players didn’t help.

I’m not sure how hot it’s been in Chino lately, but the course is in struggling condition. At this time of the morning everything was very wet from overnight irrigation. Many mushy areas in the fairways. Fairway areas pretty soft and you don’t get a lot of runout on drives. Greens very damp/soft, to the point of badly showing footprints and spike marks on the front nine – putts were bobbing and weaving on the way to the hole.

Overall greens had good coverage and rolled at medium speed. They were bumpy early on from the footprints, but conditions on the back nine were better as the greens dried out and firmed up a little. Fairway and rough coverage was very spotty – you could have a great fairway lie feet away from a bare area – there were large bare areas in fairways and rough scattered throughout the course. Many tees were unlevel and/or spongy from thick, wet turf. Sand we encountered was generally good.

The GPS system discussed on the GK board was deployed on our carts. No info from the shop on options or use, so it just sat there during the round. Lots of ads and news – only one line with hole info (hole #, par, distance). Yardage was stated as “to the pin” but several checks indicated that the yardage was to the center, so user be aware.

No cart girl – there’s a snack shack on the 7th/16th tee. Water fountain between #12/13 was not working. The group in front of us was two holes behind on the 10th tee, after going in after #9 to get drinks. We asked the starter to help move them along, and he sent a marshal out to talk to us – marshal said he would ‘monitor’ the group. Not sure what this means, as after he drove up to check their situation he was seen driving back to the clubhouse – must be ‘remote monitoring’? Maybe he was using a drone?

Same marshal drove into our group while we were hitting our approaches on #1, then gave me crap when I mentioned this to him. New management group must be trying out a new customer service model.

I like the course but conditions are very rough right now.
Out to the Goose on a hot, breezy Saturday afternoon at 230pm on 7/28/18. Course is in overall very good condition. With heat and wind, course looks dry from afar but once out on it the fairways and greens are pretty moist and soft, as management keeps them watered to keep from burning them out. Drives without a lot of runout, and greens are receptive with deep pitch marks.

Greens were generally good, but many had scattered brown/bare spots – some are particularly bad (#16). Unfortunately, all greens showed many old and recent ballmarks. They rolled well at medium+ speeds. With the softness, greens were badly showing shoe imprints near the end of the round. Fairway lies were good. Rough along the fairways was cut short and pretty benign. Tees were level. Sand in the one greenside bunker I visited (front left, #17) was a little thin with damp, firm material underneath.

Cart girl was leaving for the day as we teed off. Plenty of water available. Some of the most assertive marshalling on a course that I’ve seen in some time. Pin position was stated as #3, but was inconsistent through the front nine – fortunately, we had other yardage tools. Back nine was more consistent. Goose Creek is always recommended.
Played with my monthly club on a hot, sunny Saturday, 7/21/18 at 10AM on a surprisingly uncrowded course. Maybe everyone was home watching the British Open. [LOL – I have a running semi-feud with our tourney scheduler about major championship Saturdays – he was 3 for 5 this year with outings scheduled on Saturday during the Masters, Players, and British! He says he’ll try to do better next year {5 for 5!!?}. I say ‘STOP!’]. As we were finishing up, a big 80-person shotgun was going off – stay hydrated, folks!

We had very little breeze to start, and only got some significant breeze on the last 7 holes. Fortunately, high thin clouds came in around 11AM to take the edge off the heat. Plenty of water available and you can find shade along most fairways and cart paths. We saw the cart girl several times, and the 9th hole swings back by the snack bar.

Greens had good coverage and looked great. They were receptive to shots and rolled well at medium-fast speeds. We had good lies in the fairways. Rough was very playable, but could be clumpy around the greens, so recovery shots could be challenging. I wasn’t in the sand, but bunkers looked good and playing partners had no complaints. Tees were level and in good shape – a few were punched and sanded, but OK to hit from.

Excellent breakfast burrito to start the round. Our tourney also got a giant hot dog and chips (yes, as a matter of fact, it is pretty giant!) and a $10 voucher for the pro shop. The latter isn’t that great, as it’s one voucher per person and only good on a single item >$20, so doesn’t work for a sleeve of balls or a glove. To get clothing or something useful, you have to spend quite a bit more to make it work.

Hole 1 and 10 have been path-only for as long as I’ve been coming here, but I don’t see any good reason for it. Staff and cart girl driving through groups while hitting should be addressed by management. The course uses a red-white-blue flag location rotation – today, 3 of the 4 par-5s had blue flags. The course should mix things up more.

Sierra Lakes is one of my favorites in SoCal as it fits my eye, has a nice mix of elevation changes and holes, and I’ve always found it to be in good condition. Recommended.
[Posted almost 2 years late, as this course wasn't listed back then!]

After our wonderful time in Banff, the wife and I decided we really didn’t need to swing through Calgary, Alberta (“down on the flat”, as they say there), and so suddenly a day in the itinerary opened up.

After posting my plans for this trip, I had been messaged a couple times by avid GKer 24hourgolf about stopping at a course in Eureka, Montana. Where the heck is Eureka, you might ask? It’s 6 miles south of the Canadian border – turns out that in Eureka there’s a pro-quality golf layout associated with a high-end 2nd/3rd home development in the middle of nowhere!! Eureka is about 80 miles north of Kalispell, MT, the nearest regional airport. We were having trouble with the resort’s website on this Wednesday evening, so we just showed up at the gate – fortunately, there’s a person there until midnight(!), so he called the GM and we were treated to some nice hospitality in getting a room and some food. (And a good thing, because there’s not a whole lot available in the Eureka area.)

Turns out The Wilderness Clubis is rated the #1 course in the state of Montana! It was originally developed as a private club with 2nd/3rd homes and opened in 2007. Bad timing - the housing crisis hit, bankruptcy ensued, and new owners picked up the property cheap. Now they are moving the development toward more of a family resort model with stay/play options for golf. There are on-site accommodations for small and large golfer groups, and only some scattered (many of them large) homes, but there are also many “Sold” signs on the empty lots.

The GM hooked me up with a less-than-rack rate for the room and unlimited golf, so I played on Thursday, 9/29/16 at 1120 am, joining a member from Calgary and his guest from Chicago. (The original developer was out of Calgary, and many of the owners are Canadian.) There’s an all-grass range that’s not large, and a large chipping green, incl. a practice bunker. The putting green was extremely fast, unfortunately indicative of the on-course greens – my first practice putt took an unexpected left turn and rolled off the green!!! Those of you who know my putting game can guess the eventual outcome!

We played the Gold tees (6,550/71.4/125), but I probably should have moved up to Silver (6,119). They offer a yardage book, and many sprinklers are marked, but there’s no GPS. Weather was cool and mostly cloudy with no wind – the GM tells me that the location is in a warmer “island” of weather than much of the surrounding area, so was attractive for this type of development. The course was closing for the winter the following week.

TWC is a Faldo design and in my opinion was designed and built for single-digit handicappers – I think that was the demographic they were hoping to lure from Canada and the U.S. There are many par-4s that are long DL left or right with hazards inside and outside the elbow, and play to well-defended greens. The course is in a lush and beautiful setting with primo conditions from tee to green. One of the most obvious attributes is the almost total Silence!! you play in there.

The course has mainly large, rolling greens that are smooth and very fast. Most putts have more break than it initially looks like, especially near the front of the greens. And being in the wrong place on a green means a runoff into a collection area or a putt over a huge swale or nose. In my case, because of my innate putting disability (and that harrowing experience on the practice green), almost every putt was defensive, but I did manage to get through the round with only one 3-putt.

Low-handicap par-4s play tough from any of the tees – these all have dogleg driving areas framed by trees/sand; and approaches to angled greens bracketed by slopes/sand/water. Even well-positioned drives are faced with long-iron approaches over threatening hazards – holes 14 through 16 are a brutal stretch (hcps 4, 8, and 2, respectively).

Here's an example at the 16th (handicap 2): The tee shot is steeply downhill on the 434-yd par-4 to a fairway beyond a huge pine, with bunkers on the far side of the elbow to the right. The pine tree on the inside of the elbow is backed up by an enormous bunker – you can try to fly the bunker or cut the corner, but it’s hard to see the large POND left of that big trap.

After the tee shot, from your nice lie in the middle of the fairway to the right of the tree, you only have about 180 yards(!) into a diagonal flat green with sand in front and humps/swales behind. Have fun!!

On reflection, I think the 125 slope from the Gold tees is too low!

There’s some repetition of holes as you go through: many of the par 4s are similarly laid out, as noted. The course uses a Red-White-Blue flag rotation – 3 of the par-5s were red flags. The par-3s are a good mix of length and difficulty.

I definitely recommend the course for serious golfers if you are in the area, or as a buddy trip destination. There are supposed to be a number of other fun courses in the general area, as well.
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