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Played The Glass this morning with a 9AM tee time. Weather was absolutely perfect. Nice and sunny from start to finish with only an occasional very light breeze. With the beautiful clear weather it was nice to enjoy the numerous ocean views throughout the course. Yes, the first 5 holes are on the water but there are another ½ dozen holes with views of the bay as well.

Conditions were pristine but not quite immaculate. Tee to green it was a solid 9-9.5. Greens rolled smooth and super fast. Greens were soft and easily held well struck shots. Make sure to get a pin sheet at the pro-shop or from the starter.

Fairways were excellent though just a slight (make that very slight) bit under the normal spectacular carpet like condition I’ve seen them in the past. Fairways were soft and didn’t offer a tremendous amount of roll out.

Tee boxes were great as usual. Rough was a little thinner than some of the previous times I’ve been out. No issues with the bunkers. Sand was superb. Nice and fluffy.

Spyglass is always one of my favorite courses as it checks off all of the boxes. Great conditions, ocean views, water hazards and elevations changes.

COVID & etc. Range balls are included with green fee. Range is stocked with TP5 & TP5x balls. Putting green is open with plastic rings in the cups to allow the ball to drop about the depth of a half ball. Cups on the course were set a little deeper but not much. This was the one area, I would like to see changed. Set the rings deeper please. No rakes in the sand traps and masks are only required inside the pro shop which they limit to only a few people inside at a time.

Drink cart around several times and they prefer to take credit cards. Caddies are still not allowed to touch/carry clubs or clean golf balls. Caddies can only spot errant shots and read the greens. They have opened up some of the services like shoe cleaning after the round. Not sure how long this will last with covid restrictions starting to tighten up again.

Spyglass Hill is obviously a great track and well worth the walk.
I had a little bit of an opening (finished with 2 minutes to spare) in my schedule so I decided to squeeze in a round at Ridge Creek. Check in was super quick with the friendly staff member in the pro-shop. He gave me the option of waiting the 15 minutes to join the others in my tee slot or jump right out and see what I could do as a single. I lasted all of 3 holes getting through one group before joining a threesome and waiting on just about every shot as we hit the busy mid morning Friday log jam.

Fairways have definitely gone dormant with only a smidgeon of green tint left. They still played fine offering a nice hitting surface and providing with a decent amount of roll out.

Greens were their usual medium-fast pace and rolling smooth for the most part. Greens were soft and very receptive to holding approach shots. Even as busy as it was in front of us, I didn’t see too many unrepaired pitch marks so that was nice.

No issues with the tee boxes and as usual the sand traps were in need of some dirt/sand. One that I was in was more rock (pebbles) than dirt. The others were mainly hardpan.

The weather has finally co-operated, and I can now walk the course. Between the summer heat and the fires, walking wasn’t really an option (or a smart one anyway). It was nice to get out and stroll around the easily walkable course.

Ridge Creek always places a premium on accuracy with the fairway pot bunkers that need to bee avoided and the deadly rough (almost always a lost ball). Definitely a recommended course to play when in the central valley, or passing through on Hwy 99.
Conditions are starting to slip a little. My guess is they are cutting back on water in anticipation of rain. I would expect with the cooler temperatures and the little bit of rain we have seen so far along with the upcoming rain, the conditions should start to improve.

The biggest change is customer service. Horrible. As expected once Dave left, things went downhill. In fairness it's just one person in the pro shop. Johnny tries to ruin a tight ship. No worries on that but he has no people skills. Many people, myself included, have commented on his attitude.

Course has a super fun layout, but the price (rack rate), average conditions (at best) and poor customer service equals a non recommendation. Play somewhere else if in the Monterey Peninsula
Was in Southern California and wanted to play a new course. Decided on Sand Canyon since it was close to where I needed to be Thursday morning. I chose to play the Mountain/Valley nines since everyone else seemed to review the desert / valley nines. I arrived early and headed to the range… which is odd. Range is on mats which is no big deal. But the rest of the range is artificial turf. I’ve never seen that before.

Initial check in was simple and pleasant. I had apparently paid on line in booking it directly through the course website. I was told they were running a bit behind due to a frost delay and that I could get my cart just before my tee time.

At about 15-20 minutes before my tee time I went to get a cart. The older gentleman organizing the carts was overwhelmed. He was very pleasant but it took me 15 minutes to get a key to my cart.

On to the course. The mountain course has tight fairways and is mainly target golf. Short grass was only about 25 yards wide with about 10 yards of first cut on each side. Fairways had a lot of brown and thin spots mixed in with the decent coverage. I managed to find a good lie throughout. I was in two greenside bunkers and they had good coverage with a decent amount of sand. I did notice a couple of the bunkers had a ton of foot prints in them.

Tee boxes were pretty bad. All of the par 3’s were torn up heavily with multiple divots throughout. Even the tee boxes on the long par 4 & 5’s were in bad shape. Tee boxes were easily the worst part of the course condition wise.

Greens on the other had were super nice. Greens were on the smaller side with only a few having some moderate undulations. Greens rolled super smooth at a medium pace. Greens were a little firm with even well struck approach shots running 10+ yards past the landing spot.

Greenskeeper did a great job at pin placement throughout the day. There was a good mixture of tough pin’s mixed in with some in very gettable locations.

The scorecard showed the course having a few water hazards but I have to say they are pretty much non existent. I didn’t even see one of them until after driving away from the hole as I headed towards the next tee. I’m not sure if it’s a poor design or poor maintenance but the water hazards aren’t really visible from the course.

The valley course is more open with much wider landing zones. It still has a few holes requiring lay ups off the tee but offers plenty of grip it and rip it holes.

COVID: range open as was the “putting green”. I didn’t bother putting since the grass was taller on the putting green than some fairways I’ve played. No rakes in the bunkers, but carts had sand bottles. Cups were back to full depth, though we left the flags in all the time. Double occupancy allowed in one cart. Masks required inside the pro-shop and locker room. They also request masks on while walking around the facility. Masks are not required while playing.
Played Hunter Ranch today with a late morning tee time trying to beat the weather front coming in. The good news is I stayed dried as we finished in just over 3 hours with minimal waiting on only a couple of the tee boxes. The bad news is fall is here! It was chilly with a 2 club cold wind.

Conditions remain nice all around. Greens were in excellent condition, rolling nice and smooth at a medium fast pace. As mentioned before most greens at Hunter Ranch are double tiered with some moderate slope. They offer a good challenge but nothing overwhelming or ridiculous.

Fairways were pretty decent for the most part with only a few thin/brown areas. The initial rough was very manageable though a few holes had some patchy areas. Outside of the first cut and it was complete hardpan dirt. The skirt areas around the green were in excellent shape. Especially directly in front of the green. Presented multiple options on shot choice.

I was in two greenside bunkers and both had excellent quality sand. Tee boxes were fine. All were level with decent coverage and minimal divots on the par 3’s.

Course layout is great with several elevation changes throughout the track along with some water hazards and forced carries for both aesthetics and challenge. The course also offers a good mixture of wide fairways with some tight “thread the needle” tee shots.

We didn’t have any issues with either of our carts but I did notice that three other carts during the day died in the middle of the round and had to be towed/pushed back. Keep a cell phone handy in case you need to call the pro shop to come rescue you. If I remember right they also offer the Phat scooters as a cart option.

COVID: Cups are back to normal (we left the flagstick in at all times). No rakes in the bunkers, no flags on the practice putting green.

Hunter Ranch is always a fun and challenging course and today was no exception even with the cold wind blowing.
Some updates for Spanish Bay. Course conditions remain in excellent condition as mentioned before. They are now allowing carts out on some of the fairways. From now until the first rain (forecast is for some rain in a couple of weeks) they are allowing carts out on about half of the fairways. 90 degree rule in effect.

Caddies: Caddies/forecaddies still aren’t allowed to carry or touch your clubs. In fact the caddies can’t even clean you ball on the putting green. Basically all they can do is spot your drives (very helpful at Spyglass Hill) and read your putts. Looks like this will be in place until the at least the first of the year unless something drastically changes with COVID in the next couple weeks.

Front entry doors at Spanish are closed up and entry has to be made by walking around the back.

Putting green is open with no flags in. Drink cart was out and about making several rounds throughout the day. Credit card only on the drink cart. They have sanitized pens for signing the receipt that once you use them get placed into a “dirty” box until re-sanitized. Masks are required indoors. No rakes in the bunkers but the couple I were in were perfectly smooth. We teed off at 9:30 so there were a number of groups out in front of us. Either they had someone going around and raking bunkers or I just found some that no one else had visited yet.

Monterey County is still outdoor dining only. Luckily, several of the restaurants at Pebble Beach (including Roy’s) have patio dining options.
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.
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