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Conditions are starting to slip a bit. The greens on the Front nine rolled fairly slow. The back nine was much improved, rolling at a medium fast pace. There were 2-3 greens that had sanded areas where they had done some maintenance work.

Fairways are starting to brown up here and there with more and more thin areas developing

Rest of the course is the same. POP was slow due to an older couple holding things up a few groups ahead. Often we had 3 groups on a tee box waiting for them

It’s hard to get mad at the Elderly but frustrating when there’s only 6 groups
On the entire course and 4 of us were all stacked up behind them. Course layout is still fun and unique with a good mixture of target golf and scoring holes
Looking for some sun on the Peninsula, I headed inland and played Carmel Valley Ranch on a picture perfect day. I often forget about this great course and don’t know why. It’s a spectacular track. I played 36, once from the brown tee’s and once from the orange. The course was super quiet and I felt like I had the place to myself except for about a 4 hole stretch where I ran into a grandmother and her grandson who seemed to be oblivious that there was actually someone else on the course!

Condition wise the entire place is just short of a 10! In fact one could easily justify rating it at a 10. The greens were awesome. The rolled super smooth at a nice fast pace. It was a pleasure to play on greens that rolled fast like this. The best part was that the greens kept a consistent pace throughout the entire day/course. The only reason I didn’t rate the greens a 10 was that they were a tad firm on approach shots.

Fairways were in that 9.5-10 range and I gave them a 10. Fairways were nice and lush and emerald green throughout. There was one fairway that was damp and swallowed up tee shots preventing any rollout. Other than that, Perfect.

Tee boxes were perfect. Level, lush, very few divots (which were filled in with sand). Sand boxes had high quality sand. Rough was very manageable. Yes this is a resort course and plays like such, but it’s a gem with water hazards on the front nine and elevation changes on the back. I need to put in on my rotation more often!
I played Spring Valley yesterday with an afternoon tee time. Greens were much much faster this time around. In fact they were probably the fastest greens I’ve been on in the area. They rolled nice and smooth at a medium-fast pace. Everything else was very similar to my previous review. Fairways had some brown areas throughout but still very playable. POP started off nice for the first 8 holes then got very slow. Finished in 4.5 hours.

The course sits on a hillside like others but is still walkable (as I did yesterday) and doesn’t really have any dramatic elevation changes. Overall, it’s a decent course for a decent price.
I checked off another area course when I played The Bridges on Saturday afternoon. This is another great conditioned course set in the hillside of the East Bay just off Highway 680. I didn’t really explore the clubhouse/restaurant as there was a wedding going on but it looked sizable and very nice. Pro shop was fairly small and the attendant provided excellent customer service.

The course really winds through the hills and neighborhood, but except for crossing the occasional street during transfers, you don’t really see the houses. They are set back enough to be a non factor for the most part. Very few holes are adjoining and those that do run parallel to each other are separated by barranca, gully or a natural terrain center median that all but prevents you from reaching the opposing fairway.

As with other courses in the area, they have used the hillside to create some unique and challenging holes that are all different from each other and others in the area. Marketing has billed The Bridges as the “toughest course in Northern California”. I’m not sure about that but they definitely have their name in the conversation. I brought my “C” game and lost 5 balls in the first 12 holes. but then once I got my swing on track, made 3 pars and 2 birdies on the back nine alone. It’s definitely target golf. It didn’t help than none of us had ever played the course before so we had no prior course knowledge. There is GPS on the carts which helps with course layout.

Condition wise, the entire course was pretty much in great shape. Greens were very receptive to approach shots and pitch shots and rolled true. The practice green was lightening fast, yet the actual greens on the course were manageable. Most had moderate slope to them. They did get a little spongy in the afternoon. Fairways were excellent. Good solid lush coverage throughout. Tee boxes had amble coverage but most had some moderate unevenness to them. Enough that it was noticeable throughout the day. No issues with the sand traps. I was surprised there was no beverage cart out being that it was a weekend. Maybe because it was in the afternoon. POP was slow as is the the case with all the courses in this area. We finished right at 5 hours which seems to be the norm around here. I’m not used to the long rounds that’s for sure.

The Bridges sits between Callippe and Wente Vinyards in the price range and for the money may just be the best value. I will be back again for sure!
Played Callippe yesterday afternoon in warm weather with little wind. This is about my 3rd-4th time playing the course and the “local” knowledge certainly helps navigate this fun hilly layout. The course really puts an accuracy over distance. Especially on the back nine. There are unique hole designs that I enjoy, but I could see how others might find them gimmicky or difficult

Condition wise the course is pretty solid tee to green. The greens rolled smooth at a medium-slow pace. Most greens have moderate slope and are double tiered. Enough to challenge you but not so severe you are cursing them out

Fairways were nice. They were lush with good coverage throughout and only a few thin areas. Most tee boxes were level with lush coverage, though a couple were a bit uneven. Nothing too bad though. Sand traps were fine and the rough was decent enough. A couple spotty areas but mainly good coverage throughout

POP was painfully slow. Right at 5 hours for a late afternoon round. Customer service was great. This is tough course to walk but doable.
I finally made it out to Cinnabar Hills after all these years and being so close to it. I can tell you right away that this wont be my last time playing here. What a great course! I’ve heard so much about it with everyone always raving about how good this track is. Well, I’m here to say they were all right. It’s a gem!

Starting with the clubhouse, you think you are in a private country club setting not some public muni course. In fact the clubhouse is so nice they have TV’s in the urinal walls. There’s also a shower in case you want to hose off after the round in the hot weather.

Pro shop attendant in the morning was having a bad day and was a bit grumpy. Afternoon staff was fine. We played the the Lakes / Mountain combination. Both 9’s were similar in style in that they had fairly open fairways sans a couple holes that had tight landing areas or gully’s to navigate. Course is on a hillside so there are plenty of elevation changes. Sort of like Carmel Valley Ranch, Cinnabar has most of the holes playing downhill. They have you drive up the hill to the next tee box so just about 90% of the holes play downhill.

Practice green was super tricky. However we found the green complexes on the course to be great. They rolled at the perfect medium-fast pace where downhill putts were slippery but you could get aggressive on uphill putts. I will say that I think we had more than our share of generous pin locations which helped tame the greens. There were a few tough pins but most were accessible

Fairways were being treated with some fertilizer that didn’t affect play too much, more the smell and aesthetics. Still, they were lush throughout. A couple fairways were soggy which prevented roll out.

Tee boxes were mainly level with lush coverage and divot free for the most part. Bunkers had great quality sand, though a few hadn’t been properly raked. We tee’d off at 10AM so and weren’t in any hurry at all so we slipped back a hole as to not pressure the group in front and we never had anyone behind us all day. The next group was easily 3 holes back.

As I said at the beginning, this was a blast of a course and I can see why people rave about it. I too will be one of the one’s raving about Cinnabar Hills!
I’ve played here a few times now and the place is starting to grow on me. Conditions remain just ok. Nothing that is going to wow you but not a dog track by any means. The layout is unique and challenging with plenty of scoring holes mixed in with survive and move on. Having said that, it’s all about accuracy here at Bay View. Color between the lines and you are rewarded with a manageable approach shot that generally isn’t too difficult. Everting here is about being in the correct position off the tee. After that, the greens are fairly accessible.

Greens are moderate in size with modest slope with a few being double tiered. Today they rolled on the slower side. Somewhere in the medium-slow zone. the last few times they rolled faster at a medium + speed. I played in the afternoon today so pace was slow (as it was a few weeks ago on the weekend) and the greens got a little bumpy towards the end of the day. There were also plenty of un-repaired pitch marks on the greens.

Fairways were average. Pretty decent coverage throughout with a few thin areas.

Tee boxes were a bit chewed up and some had some were unlevel. The tee boxes were the definite weak link on the course.

Take the afternoon bumpy greens out of the equation along with the holiday weekend slow play and you have a winning course that gets my recommendation.
I finally made it out to TPC Stonebrea and it took a Golfmoose outing to do it. Like others in the area the course sits way up on the hillside east of Hayward in a very nice gated community as you would expect for an elite CC of this nature. The views from the top of the course were awesome, and I could only imagine what dinner at night is like from the clubhouse. The pro shop is fairly small with just enough items to fill your souvenir bag/closet with an item or two.

Range (for us) was off mats with traditional yellow range balls. Carts had GPS and a cooler. What the course doesn’t have are any marking on the tees to tell you what hole you’re on. Nor where there any trash cans out on the course/ tee boxes. I imagine that was due to wildlife?

They had recently aerated the greens about 2-3 weeks ago and some had healed quicker than others. Within a week to 10 days all should be good to go. As of today, most were a bit slow (but not nearly as bad as Poppy Ridge) and then you’d find a typical medium-fast paced green. Greens are on the larger side with multiple tiers or at least all having a double tier. Because of the pronounced undulations and the slope of the hillside, most greens were easy to read, but some seemed to break against logic.

Fairways were nice and lush. Nothing spectacular but certainly above average. Fairways are fairly wide open but there are some dog legs and twists and turns to them that keep you honest. No real trees to get you into trouble but definitely some steep hillside (lateral hazards) that will steal a ball or two from you if you get wild off the tee or chose the wrong line.

Bunkers were a little thin. Playable but not the fluffy soft sand you’d expect from a course of this nature.

Overall it was a very fun and challenging course. With all of the elevation changes and some long transfers, I doubt you’d want to walk this course. Especially in the heat. It was worth the price tag and I’d play it again for sure.
Met up with Nor Cal GK’ers MKo and DeepSea14 yesterday for a little Nor Cal Birdie Battle, Peter coming off a hot streak in July with a string of birdies, me with new sticks and Mike fresh off a 5 birdie round. This is my second time playing Poppy Ridge and we played the same 2 nines (Zinfandel and Cabernet) as we did last time

Overall the course was in decent shape and very playable. Fun layout, that sits in the hills so naturally it has a ton of elevation changes. Unlike Bay View, Poppy Ridge traverses the hillside vertically so there’s no nasty side roll once you find the fairway which are normal in landing size.

Like the others mentioned. Greens were very painfully slow. Bunkers were a bit thin but manageable. The layout (and great company) supersedes the defects in the playing conditions.

As for the NC BCB. Ko started it off early on hole 2. I wrestled it away from him on the par 5 Fifth hole. We both had inside 10’ for birdie on #8 but neither converted. Mike then missed a great opportunity for birdie on the 12th hole after stuffing a wedge inside 4’. I too missed a good opportunity on the 17th hole with a tee shot about 9’ above the hole. It all came down to the par 5 18th. Both were in the fairway off the tee with Ko in a perfect spot to go for the green in two. I was just outside the comfort zone and played smart hitting to 60 yards out. Ko’s second shot was about 10 yards short of the green where he promptly chipped it and tapped the flagstick settling 2” away. I hit a poor third shot and then chipped to 2’ but had to hand back the Nor Cal Birdie King his chain!

A great time was had by all and we are searching our calendars for a rematch. Likely at Yocha Dehe!
Checked off another new course in the area yesterday afternoon when I played Wente Vineyards. I’ve heard a lot about this place so I was eager to see if it lived up to its billing. First off, I’ll address getting there. Plan your tee time accordingly to traffic. What should have taken me 25 minutes took just under an hour due to Friday traffic. Lessened learned on that one.

As far as the layout, this course is awesome. Plenty of grip it and rip holes with elevation changes and wide landing areas to build up the confidence, but then there are some short par 4’s that require precision off the tee with an iron. It also has a good mixture of par 3’s. As far as layout it concerned it checked all the boxes. The switch back climb from the 9th green to the 10th tee box which was reminiscent of Alpe D’Huez was fun in a cart but all but guarantees that you can’t walk this course (and still enjoy it).

Condition wise the course was fine. Somewhere between above average and top notch. Greens rolled smooth at a medium + pace. Greens were pretty docile as far as challenge goes. Most were single tier with modest slope. Or maybe my putter was just that good (27 putts total). Fairways were excellent, Nice and lush with great coverage throughout. Tee boxes and sand traps were ok. Nothing spectacular but nothing to complain about.

Customer service - Sucked. I gave it 2 stars for customer service and that was due to the bag attendant being great. The pro shop on the other hand was horrible. They were put out by the fact that I needed change (so I could tip the bag attendant) and looked down at me because I didn’t know the exact time of my tee time. I guess it’s too much trouble to look at the computer. Anyway, for that reason alone, I opted not to buy a shirt in the pro shop.

For layout and conditions, the track is worth playing. For price and customer service, I’d skip it. Not sure if I’ll ever play it again, but if I do it’ll likely be because a friend has invited me.
Joined a couple buddies from the valley who wanted to get out of the heat. We had an 8AM tee time and no issue with avoiding the heat. Couldn’t see the greens from 100-150+ yards out due to the low fog. The course remains in fantastic shape all around. Greens were a bit slower than normal at first but still rolled at a nice medium + pace and then sped up to the traditional medium fast pace. Greens are always on the firm side here so getting approach shots to stick can be tricky. Greens rolled true throughout the large multi tier complexes.

Fairways are excellent as well. They are lush and green throughout with not a dead/thin/brown area to be found on the course. Fairways aren’t quite the same carpet like experience as with Pebble or Quail but they are easily an 9 on the rating scale.

Tee boxes were level and lush as well. Of the three greenside bunkers I was in, two were excellent and one was average. All playable without a doubt. POP was just at 4 hours and we probably could have made that a little less but we waited longer than usual in the fog for the group ahead to clear. When it did we were almost a full hole behind and finished about a 1/2 hole back.

As we have mentioned before, Poppy Hills is a solid track that is fun, picturesque, has challenging greens and has all around good conditions. Well worth the entry price. They also appear to be letting carts on the fairway on a regular basis now.
Played yesterday morning with Eli1488 and my buddy Bob. We had a 7am tee time and were the 3rd group out. Course continues to impress me with the conditions of the fairways. The are over the top excellent. The greens rolled a bit slower than normal. They still rolled smooth at a medium-fast pace but they were a bit slower than at other times here. In fact, if I had one complaint about Spanish Bay (other than the severe undulating greens) would be the pace of the greens. They seem to change week in and week out from moderate to wicked fast.

I was in a few bunkers and noticed that a couple were a bit thin with the sand. On hole 14 they have a couple bunkers under repair with piles of new sand ready to go. Hopefully they are upgrading all of the bunkers so they will have perfect fluffy white sand throughout. As of now, they are all playable but not top notch Pebble Beach quality.

POP was about 4:15 which for an early morning was a bit on the slow side but the waiting wasn’t too bad. We never saw the sun the entire round which is normal for the peninsula this time of year. No wind to speak of so that was a decent trade off.
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