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Played Quail Lodge yesterday as part of our GK Cup match with JohnnyGK and RGM2525. The entire resort is top notch at Quail. Nestled in the warmer part of the peninsula, Quail has a peaceful quaint feel to it. Layout is mostly flat with just one little elevation change that comes into play on two holes (uphill approach on 4 and downhill tee shot on 5). The course also has a few ponds that come into play on about 4-5 holes. Quail does a good job at providing some open fairways mixed in with some tight ones require a more strategic shot placement. I believe the Quail website describes the layout something like “friendly enough to be enjoyable by all golfers with enough bite to challenge even the best players”. I’d say that describes the layout perfectly.

Conditions are always excellent at Quail Lodge and yesterday was no exception. Greens were easily a solid 10. They rolled extremely smooth without a bump or pitch mark to be found. Greens rolled at a perfect medium-fast speed. Greens at Quail are manageable for the most part but do not get too complacent as there are a few that will jump up and bite you with some tricky undulations.

Quail Lodge offers some of the best fairways in the world. They were in the middle of doing some minor maintenance on the fairways with each hole having a dozen or so patches the size of a coffee table being verticut. We played these areas as GUR but I never ended up in one of them. The rest of the fairways were in prime condition. Nice and level, lush and deep green. There is absolutely no excuse for hitting a bad shot from the fairway at Quail.

No issues at all with the tee boxes. Level, lush and divot free. Easily rated in the 8.5-9 range. Sand traps…. Perfect. Bunkers had nice fluffy sand that was ripe for holing out for birdie. Skirt area around the green is also in superb condition offering you the choice of putting it from 20’ off the green or chipping it.

Staff friendliness sets the bar for others to follow. Everyone from the hotel to the Pro Shop is genuinely pleasant.

COVID- All grass range was open (Max distance ranges from 200-230 yards depending on where the stations are at. Putting green open with no flags in. They gave us the option of single or double occupancy carts. We chose single rider. Cups had plastic rings in them to keep the ball from going all the way down. Carts had sand bottles in them and the bunkers had rakes. Assistants aren’t allowed to handle your clubs at drop off or clean them afterwards.

Additional: Restaurant is closed on Mondays and Wednesdays. Quail usually does a huge Breast Cancer Awareness display in October with pink cups and flags but they had it scaled back this year with Covid restrictions in play. Also, they didn’t have any shirts in my size ?.

I highly recommend Quail Lodge both the hotel and the golf course. The hotel is pet friendly and has a great 9 hole putting green for some added entertainment.
Played Nicklaus Club / Pasadera Country Club. About every three years this place changes it’s name when new owners take over. Memberships and conditions had been down a few years ago but both are on the rise lately. The facility is top notch with a pro shop, spacious locker room, indoor (closed due to covid) and outdoor dining areas. There is also a small 4 lane lap pool and some bocce ball courts on site.

Staff is very friendly but… Since they can’t actually touch anything (load bags etc) they tend to be out of sight and out of mind. Checking in at the gate and pro shop was simple – just provide our names and off we went.

First tee was a disaster. It was a busy Friday (late morning tee time) and there was no starter to organize the groups. There were 3-4 groups of us at the tee box initially ready to tee off. Luckily we just all figured it out based on group sizes and playing abilities (one of the members had his young kid with him and opted to go off last).

Some of the signage is obscure so knowing where the next tee box is at or if you are actually on the correct tee box can be a bit confusing as well. Especially since the course crisscrosses in a few places on the front nine.

Now for the highlights. Course is a blast to play as it is built on the side of a hill so there’s a TON of elevation changes. Yardage doesn’t mean a whole lot on the scorecard as there are a number of holes that are UP HILL with Elevated greens. Of course there are also some super fun downhill holes as well.

Pasadera has some great par 3’s with some forced carries over water and then the “signature” par 3 14th over the canyon.

Condition wise, the course was just a tad under what you would expect from a Monterey private course. Greens were still healing from recent aeration so there were some bumps here and there. No big deal on that. Greens are fairly tame but have some tricky subtle breaks in them. I had the speed dialed in from the get go but constantly got fooled on the break.

Fairways were a mixed bag. Overall they were rated in the 8 category. Some fairways were in the 9+ range being perfectly lush and deep emerald green. Other fairways were a little brown and tighter lies. All were very playable. Rough was thin and patchy in numerous areas.

The skirt area round the greens were in excellent condition and rated at a 9.5-10. If you missed the green you had a great opportunity to chip it close. Bunkers were decent. Nothing spectacular but easily playable.

Tee boxes are small in size as in very small. Tee boxes had been aerated and sanded lately and will no doubt be super lush in a couple of weeks. A couple of the tee boxes did have some unevenness to them.

COVID – No bag assistance, optional single or double occupancy carts. No rakes in the bunkers, Cups had plastic rings in them about halfway down, masks required indoors, no beverage cart out, practice green open no flags. Range open and grass. Range maxes out at 240-250 yards.

Not the best of the bunch, but Pasadera holds in own with the abundance of great private and public courses in the Monterey Peninsula.
Played Monarch Dunes this morning for only the second time ever. In fact the only other time I’ve played here was 5 ½ years ago a month after I first started playing golf. We tee’d off just before 10AM in cool damp overcast weather. We finished in the same conditions. Never saw the sun all day but there also wasn’t any wind.

The course is a great design. Lot’s off elevation changes throughout plus several water hazards to negotiate along the way. A couple of the par three’s have forced carries over the water and other holes have water left and right to make shot placement key. The course does have some quirky fairway bunkering both in the middle of the fairways and on the edges. I managed to avoid all bunkers (fairway and greenside) during the round, but they could easily put a hurt on your score.

Conditions were nice all around. The course is built within a housing development which is off the beaten path so the entire place has it’s own little private community type feeling.

Greens are spacious with numerous tiers and undulations. Greens rolled smooth for the most part and rolled at a medium-slow speed. We were a bit shocked at the speed and thought they would be rolling at a much fast pace. The greens had a few pitch marks here and there but nothing major.

Fairways were green and damp but offered decent roll out. Fairways are very similar to those at Bayonet/Blackhorse so you have to be comfortable hitting off of thin lies. Tee boxes were green and lush but a couple did have some lumps and humps in them.

Nice staff in the pro shop and all around. There is a nice outside deck area for eating as SLO county still does not allow indoor dining.

COVID: Shared cart which has plastic barrier between the two riders. Masks required inside the pro shop. Putting green open with no flags in. Range was on mats today. Pins had plastic rings about halfway down in the cup. Cart did have bottles of sand.

Definitely an enjoyable course worth the admission price (especially with the golf moose voucher for two players). I can say that I’m very confident that I will play it again and a lot sooner than five years from now.
Was trying to decide between an afternoon bike ride or a walk around the course. Since there has been talk of making Del Monte part of an upcoming GK team match, I decided to go check out the course being I haven’t played it since the covid restart.

First, a little background on why Del Monte was so late to the party after getting the ok to re-open. When golf courses got the green light in Monterey County to re-open in May, Del Monte waited until October before deciding to open. This was due to increase water charges from the City of Monterey. Management decided to wait until fall when temperatures are cooler (apparently those 4 degrees make a difference?) and the course would use less water.

As I’ve mentioned in my Spanish Bay reviews, they have cut back some of the fairway to conserve water. Del Monte has done the same but in an extreme way. Whereas at Spanish Bay they just let the first 50-75 yards of grass go brown (in a Palm Springs dormant style), At Del Monte it’s quite a different story. The fairway’s don’t start until about 200 yards off the tee box. The dirt area between the tee box and new fairway beginning, is chewed up gopher hole ridden lumpy dirt. Very unappealing to both the eye and the safety of walkers. I frequently chose to walk on the cart path in order to avoid twisting and ankle, knee or breaking a hip (I’m at that stage of life where that’s a concern now).

I completely understand the need to save some costs in order to make a profit during these unprecedented times. But, I think they went a little too far with this new look. I posted some pictures on the GK app but they don’t do justice to how rough and unstable the ground is in the brown dirt areas.

As far as the rest of the course. The greens were awesome. Greens at Del Monte are small in nature with most having either a front to back modest slope or two tiers that are pretty manageable. Greens rolled smooth at a fast pace. I’d say they were even fast than the greens at Spanish Bay this past weekend (that could be due to the moisture/fog in the morning). The only thing keeping the greens at Del Monte from being a 10 was that they were a tad on the firm side so getting even well struck shots to stick was tough.

The parts of the fairways that were watered were green and lush. The rough was a mixed bag. Some areas were thick (only 2”-3” tall) and other areas were patchy and thin. Once off the fairway, it’s hardpan dirt with thousands of gopher holes.

Bunkers were excellent with top notch sand in them. Tee boxes were also of top quality. Level, lush and divot free.

As I’ve mentioned before, the course is very easy to walk. Except for the new bumpy dirt areas anyway.

I’m undecided on whether or not I would recommend playing Del Monte right now. For the rack rate of $110 plus cart, I’d have to say pass on it. For my rate it’s 50/50
Another quick monthly update. Conditions remain top notch at Spanish Bay. I’m getting used to the “new look” with the front fairway grass and some of the side areas now brown for water conservation. Overall conditions are 9-9.5 from tee to green as mentioned in my last review. The one thing I realized I’ve never mentioned about Spanish Bay is that all flags are red in color regardless of position. Don’t think because it’s a red flag it means the pin is in the front of the green.

We had an 8:20 AM tee time and the first few holes were in the fog making it extremely difficult to impossible to see your ball. After that, the sun was out and it was beautiful day.
I was planning on playing Ridge Creek today but had to be in Visalia for business to I opted to play Valley Oaks. Overall conditions were average muni like shape. Greens rolled nice and smooth at a medium pace. A few of the greens had some unrepaired pitch marks but most were clean. Greens at Valley Oaks are fairly docile with a general back to front slope or a small ridge in the middle to separate the green into an upper and lower level. There’s just enough slope in the greens to make you pay attention and to prevent them from being a snore fest.

Fairways were in ok shape. Decent coverage with some brown and thinning spots mixed in. Rough was horrible. Very patchy and thin from place to place. Tee boxes were level but most were heavily riddled with divots. Even the longer Par 5’s had a number of divots in them.

I was only in one sand trap (on the edge) so I can’t really comment on their condition. Tee’d off mid morning so I missed the early crowd (but caught up to them with 4 holes to go). I was still able to finish in 3 hours. Course is completely flat with minimal transfer distance so it’s an easy walk. Even with the fires in the area, walking wasn’t too bad.

COVID- Plastic rings in the cups, based on other groups, I assume single rider carts. No rakes and only two patrons at a time in the pro shop. Range is open (mat) as is the putting green.

I played the Lakes-Valley combo. The lakes has a couple of water hazards that come into play in three of the holes plus a fun Par 5 with a creek and trees in front of the green that make it all about angles trying to get on in two. The valley nine like it’s twin sister the Oaks, is flat with some nice dog legs to keep it from being completely boring. All three nines are tree lined with some fairways being tight and others having a generous landing area.
Monthly update for Laguna Seca. Course remains in almost identical condition as my September review. The only real difference would be the fairways are starting to show a little more brown. This should improve once we get some rain. I've been playing on Sundays (best part of football season) and pace of play has improved a bit. POP was just under 4 hours yesterday. The other major change is the head pro has left. Dave kept the daily operation at Laguna Seca running perfectly smooth. It'll be interesting to see what happens down the road.
I played Pheasant Run Friday afternoon and what once was one of my favorite little hidden gem is now in sad condition. I can’t comment on the greens as they were recently punched. My guess is they did them earlier in the week. The fairways is were the course is really showing the poor conditions. Fairways were very thin with several “GUR” portions marked out due to no grass at all. Tee boxes weren’t too bad. About what you would expect for a typical muni course. I was happy to see that the sand traps were improved from the last time I played here. Bunkers actually had a playable amount of sand in them.

I still like the layout of Pheasant Run with all the water features. The par 4’s are all long in distance. Usually a long iron (or hybrid) for your approach shot. Once the greens heal and the temps cool off so the fairways have a chance to rebound, I might give it another shot. But it’s definitely a skip it for now.

COVID: cups are turned upside down, no rakes, single rider per cart, only two people allowed in the pro shop at a time, outside patio dining only for the restaurant which has a limited menu. No flags in on the practice putting green.
The last round for the weekend was at Coyote Moon. DeepSea14 has raved about this course, and now I can see why. Absolutely stunning. Set in the Alpine forest, fairways are lined with tall mature pine trees. And just for added challenge, there are a couple of holes with trees in the middle of the fairway. Adding to the beauty of the course are the numerous huge boulders lining the course and greens. When I say huge, I’m talking the size of a large SUV or small house. Course is set on a mountain so there are plenty of elevation changes both up and down. Whereas Grizzly Ranch mainly goes East/West across the mountain, Coyote Moon goes North/South to really accentuate the topography of the mountain. A few lakes are added in for some bonus beauty and challenge. And just incase the scenery itself didn’t “wow” you they throw in plenty of chipmunks and coyote sightings.

Conditions were great all round. Greens were very smooth and rolled at a medium-fast pace. All greens had double tiers with a few having multiple undulations to navigate. The greens were a challenge but not gimmicky or ridiculous. Enough, that you wanted to be on the correct tier, but not so severe that if you weren’t, you were staring down a 3 or 4 putt.

Fairways were very green and nice and lush. Pretty much the perfect combination of generous roll out yet offering a plush hitting surface. Tee boxes were level and lush. No divot issues on the par 3 boxes.

First and second cut of rough were both manageable, outside of that and you’re in the forest. 50/50 chance of finding you’re ball unless of course you’re Rob1563. How we kept finding some of his shots is beyond me!

Staff was very nice all around.

Etc/ Coivd: No range, but they do have a two station hitting bay into a net. Carts are gas powered with no GPS or sand. If using a GPS/Phone app be patient. There were a few times it would take a few seconds for mine to lock on. The numbers would bounce around before settling in. Cups had foam noodles and no rakes. They did allow us to ride double in the carts. Masks required inside the pro-shop. Restaurant is take out only.

Definitely a highly recommended course. I’m already planning a trip for next season and taking a mountain bike up to throw in the mix with golf.
I finally got to experience Grizzly Ranch. And what a wonderful experience it was. A huge shout out to Matt P. for setting it all up. The setting is up in the forest about an hour outside of Lake Tahoe. I stayed in Reno and it was about a 40-45 minute drive from there.

The entire course is framed by pine trees and there are a couple of water hazards on the course as well. The setting is very peaceful and serene. With only a few cabin style houses (maybe 10?) throughout entire place, you have a feeling of complete tranquility. Just you and the wildlife. Plenty of deer roaming around the course and I’m sure coyote sighting are normal in this place.

Naturally there are plenty of elevation changes throughout the track as it’s build on a mountain. Having said that, there’s nothing extreme or gimmicky about the elevation changes.

Course conditions were very nice from tee to green. Everything was in the 8-9 range. Staff was outstanding as well. The greens on the front nine or fairly tame. The greens on the back nine have a lot more "bite" to them with multiple tiers and undulations.

A definite must play and worthy of a destination course tag. My only complaint is that I didn't get to see a Grizzly Bear (or any bear for that matter).
I was looking for a course halfway to Reno to break up the drive for the upcoming Grizzly Ranch weekend. I chose The Reserve at Spanos Park because I had heard decent things about it and I had to cancel playing here twice earlier in the year.

I’m sad to say that the course conditions are below standard right now. There is a ton of water features on the course (especially on the back nine) which I obviously liked. Other than that the course was a yawner. Most holes are dead straight, though the water hazards and waste areas (a la Poppy Hills) help put a premium on accuracy. Fairways are generous in the landing area for the most part.

Staff was friendly and the price includes a bucket of balls for the all grass driving range. I walked on the easily walkable flat course.

Greens all had disease, pitch marks and then of course the late afternoon back nine had spike marks. A number of putts in our group were effected by bumpy greens.

Fairways were thin with a lot of brown spots throughout all fairways. The back nine seemed to be better conditioned somewhat. Tee boxes were ok at best. A couple of the Par 3 tees were garbage. Speaking of par 3’s. No imagination whatsoever in the design. Whereas the course had a ton of great water features, none were in play on the Par 3’s. All were flat in the 150-170 range.

Because of the friendly staff and all the great water features, I might be inclined to play again if I’m in the area. But if driving through…. Just keep driving
A quick update since my recent review. Course remains in the same shape as before, though greens were rolling super fast on Tuesday morning when I played. I elected to take a cart as the smoke from the nearby Creek Fire was heavy on the morning I played. Staff said some days are better than others depending on the wind. NOTE: An email was just sent out and they are aerating their greens next week (9/29).

COVID: Dragonfly is inching their way back to normal operation. None of the employee’s were wearing masks. Pro-shop is open though they do have lines for customers to stand back 6’ from each other. The small indoor seating at the café was blocked off. Putting green didn’t have small flags but I think that’s normal for there anyway. Still no rakes in the sandtraps. Cups are back to normal with no noodles or rings. We left the flagstick in on every hole but that was more of our doing. Not sure about carts as I was a single and joined up on the 5th hole with another single.
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