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Played here yesterday with a 2:44 TeeOff.com “Deal” time for $34 after 20% off promo code. If you know me, you might know I’m rarely interested in playing golf if I’m not going to finish, but this was a really good deal for a weekend and I decided to take the chance that I might not play all 18. I arrived around 2:00 to hopefully get out early, and actually did get moved up one group to 2:32. (Careful what you wish for.) Got paired with three nice guys, but also three guys who showed no sense of urgency at all. One guy was constantly playing with his smart watch and submitting all three guys’ scores after every hole, another one was practically a beginner and way out of his league playing the Babe, not to mention the blue tees. The first guy I mentioned often couldn’t find his ball and would be searching literally 50-60-80 yards away from where it actually was. On top of all this, he was also playing what seemed to be Christian Country music really loud all day. (Who has the nerve to think everyone wants to hear that?) Additionally, the carts on the Babe seem very sensitive to where you drive, and my cart often slowed down to like 2 mph even though there often weren’t signs in the fairway about how close you could get to greens and/or slopes. On most holes, I had hit my tee shot and was back in my single-rider cart before any of the other three had given any thought to what club they would hit or anything. After about seven holes, I started saying how we needed to pick up the pace if we wanted to finish. I don’t think that changed any behaviors, but thanks to three of the last six holes being par 3s, we eventually finished right as it was getting dark. A patience-testing round if I’ve ever had one. Overall POP was just under 4:30, but we had no one in front of us and could’ve played so much faster and eliminated any doubt about whether or not we’d finish.

Phew.

Conditions are quite good! As you might expect on a busy course late on a weekend afternoon, greens had their share of unfixed ball marks, which is aggravating. Aside from that, they were mostly smooth, medium-fast and pretty soft, accepting both full shots and chips well. Fairways were good. Rough was in good condition, too, maybe 2 inches deep. I wasn’t in a bunker but took a good look at a few and they seemed to have sufficient sand. They did have ample footprints, though – no rakes due to COVID. Tee boxes are MUCH nicer on Babe than they have been recently on Ike. No complaints.

This was my first time playing Babe since a junior tournament more than three decades ago when I embarrassed myself by hitting my first two tee balls OB left and had to walk back to my bag each time to fetch another ball. That opening tee shot – and memories of frighteningly narrow corridors on several other holes – scared me away ever since. I kept my drive in play yesterday on No. 1 and improved my score by three shots (from 10 to 7 haha). My recollection wasn’t wrong about some of those corridors, too – Nos. 2 and 9 are ridiculously tight off the tee. And No. 11 is just a dumb hole, a par 5 where you can’t see the green until you’re within about 60 yards because it’s the most severe delayed dogleg left in the history of golf holes. (Or perhaps tied with that one at Anaheim Hills that lotrgolfer loves…jk hope you’re doing good Matt.)

I was tempted to throw 9 out as a “bad” hole, too, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot since yesterday and I think maybe it’s a hole that just needs a mid- to short-iron off the tee (something 150-160-ish) to put it in play and then have enough room to maneuver around that tall tree fronting the right side of the green. I hope to get back out there again soon to challenge it again. (And maybe knock another stroke or two off my score on No. 1.) Wish me luck.
13 Likes.
Played here in the first of two #GKReviewGuru groups on Thursday afternoon with JohnnyGK and sixpez. I don’t even know what POP was because I didn’t care; it was so beautiful out there I didn’t want it to end. (Ok, just checked… it was about four hours even, although things backed up a tiny bit both on 10 tee and again toward the end of the back nine.) We all rode in single-rider carts. Marshals and pro shop staff were all friendly.

Conditions are quite good! I think the fairways are a little greener and more lush than my last round right after they re-opened. Really nice to play from in most spots. The greens are still quite spongy, not quite as pronounced this time as my early morning round on August 29. They roll smooth at medium/medium-fast speed and accept full shots extremely well. The rough is some good, some bad. I don’t recall being in a bunker, although I think Keith mentioned they had good sand. Tee boxes were good/decent.

We were very fortunate to catch the back (Mountain) nine in the most beautiful late afternoon sunlight. Holes 12-18 were absolutely stunning, especially 15 & 16. It was fun to play it with Keith and Johnny, because Keith and I have played here quite a few times together, and Johnny had never played it. Seeing his reaction to the beauty and challenge of the course was exciting. A great day on a great course!
6 Likes.
Played in the first group of Thursday morning’s #GKReviewGuru outing with Johnny, Nick and Daniel. Fun times. Started right on time and played in a little over 4:00, with each of us using single-rider carts. Carts are equipped with coolers, ice, and two bottled waters. They also had tees and a rake.

The course is in really nice shape for the time of year and prior to closure for overseeding. The bermuda greens are smooth and quite firm, but accept full shots well. They roll about medium slow speed, but the good news is they aren’t scruffy at all, just slower than they look. Bermuda fairways were very nice. Same for the rough: nice conditions, not too penal. Each cart having its own rake makes for really nice bunker conditions, despite COVID regulations. I was in quite a few bunkers and they were all good; only minor knock is that they were a little inconsistent from one to the next on how much sand was in them. (But that’s getting really nitpicky when many courses have landmines for bunkers right now.) Blue tee boxes were good; don’t recall ever having to think about where to tee the ball due to any problem areas or anything.

It was my second time playing here. The first time was in prime springtime conditions where the course looked incredible in late-afternoon sunlight. This time was late summer grass mostly under midday sunshine, so the aesthetics weren’t nearly as nice, but it still played really well, and the fantastic layout is fun either way.
7 Likes.
I would’ve loved to join the fun at the Desert Willow event, but forecasts of a 108-degree day scared me off. Instead I ended up finding a great TeeOff.com “Deal” time for 1:00 at Candlewood CC. With 15% off promo code, it was only $39. Amazing deal! Checked in around 12:30 and was told I’d be playing with another single and a twosome. No problem getting single rider cart. Range balls were included; I hit a few off the “irons only” section. Both practice putting greens were open; one of them was packed so I continued to the other one and had it all to myself. Started pretty much right on time and there was no one in front of us for about 3 holes (when we got to the 4th green a single was teeing off on 7, and there was no one else between). So we made our own POP and finished in just under 4:00. I believe I was the only one in our group who’d played the course before.

COVID stuff: Pro shop door had a sign about mask wearing; employees were wearing masks both in the pro shop and outside around the clubhouse. All tee markers were out. No rakes in bunkers. First time I’ve seen this: Holes had no insert, so the ball fell all the way to the bottom, but the pin had a metal contraption that you lifted up to eject the ball. Industry Hills has something similar, but better. Two reasons why I didn’t like this system that much: One, the metal rod runs parallel to the pin, making the hole visually smaller and intimidating. In fact, one guy’s putt hit the rod and bounced out. (He took it as a holed putt, but I don’t like another “barrier” to keep balls out of the hole.) Two, the handle that you lift up is supposed to have a rubber or plastic covering on it, but only one or two still had it, so the rest were all bare metal and it seemed like I was going to scratch the paint on my putter trying to lift that handle with my putter head. Also, they’re a little tricky to operate, and sometimes it was just easier to reach in the hole and grab the ball than to get this thing to work well. (Not a big deal. Just trying to be thorough.) No beverage cart. Pretty sure the snack bar was open. Sign near the pro shop that said no water is available on the course, so to stock up or call in if you need anything… not sure what happens if you call. Carts were nice but no GPS and no cooler. They were stocked with free tees in the cart.

Course conditions are very nice! I was very happy with just about everything. Greens definitely have some imperfections and healing ball marks, but mostly rolled smooth and fast while accepting shots very well. Fairways had great coverage, no issues for me at all. Rough seems a step down, maintenance-wise with some inconsistencies from one area to the next. Most of it is pretty thick kikuyu a couple inches deep. I think I was in three or four bunkers and they were probably the best I’ve encountered recently. Other than no rakes, I wouldn’t have even noticed it was covid-era. Tee boxes were all decent to good.

This was my second time playing the course, and I was saddened to see they lost the namesake Candlewood tree on the par-5 7th! No one mentioned that in any reviews! It used to sit in the middle of the fairway about 100 yards short of the green, which made that a more interesting (and much funkier) hole. I played pretty well today, so maybe that contributed to it, but I really enjoyed the course today. Yes, it’s very tight in spots and unforgiving of balls that go astray. But it’s also quite fun with some nice elevation changes, the need to move the ball both ways, attractive bunkering in spots, fun greens to putt, and a cool old-school look and vibe.

Highly recommended right now if you can get a good deal like I got.
7 Likes.
Decided to duck out of work early today and nabbed a 2:44 TeeOff.com "Deal" time to take advantage of the 25% off promo code that expires tomorrow. With the savings, I paid a whopping $21.75 to play Ike. Not bad! Checked in a little early and they asked me to come back in 15 minutes to get my cart key. I got paired with a twosome and another single, and we followed a threesome ahead. Pretty much teed off right on time and POP was 4:10 with no waiting and no one on our tail. Weather forecast said it was to be 95 degrees in City of Industry today, but I think the smoky air blocked the heat of the sun. It was quite comfortable all day, although very eerie and weird with orange, smoky skies. It actually became sort of disorienting for me after being out there a few hours. My eyes were playing tricks on me and it was difficult to tell what time of day it was.

Anyway, seeing I was the last to review the course, conditions are similar to that review from a few weeks ago. I'd say the greens were better today -- not as many unfixed ball marks and rolled mostly smooth at medium/medium-fast speed, although they weren't super pure so late in the day. Very soft and accept shots well. Fairways play really good but seem to have become more splotchy in appearance in the last few weeks, although the weird sky may have contributed to that perception. (Everything was ugly all day.) Rough is still a grab bag of various conditions. Bunkers had decent sand and millions of footprints... hard to believe those were all created today. Not sure if they're raking/maintaining the bunkers to start fresh each morning or not. Tee boxes showed slight improvement from last time, but still have a ways to go in condition and consistency from one hole to the next.

Hard to beat this quality of course for less than $22!
8 Likes.
Played here today with dconnally with an 11:50 TeeOff.com “Deal” time for a very attractive $45 pp. Paired with two others. All had our own single-rider carts. Sent off right on time. Started on No. 10 today, which is a much less stressful first shot than starting on No. 1. (I still messed it up, tho.) First nine was right on track at 2:15, second nine a little slower for total 4:40 POP. The course was busy and we pretty much waited on every shot all day. Weather-wise, one of the ugliest golf days I’ve experienced in a long time – hot, humid, overcast, smoky, no blue skies or direct sunlight; just dreary/bright grey sky… blech.

Typical COVID stuff: Masks required around clubhouse and in the pro shop. Foam noodle in the cups. No rakes. Otherwise things felt pretty normal. When we made the turn it sounded like there were lots of people enjoying the back patio. Bar/snack bar looked open when I walked by to the bathroom. Beverage cart came around two or three times.

Course is in good condition. Grass on the greens is in good condition but they are absolutely covered in ball marks in various stages of disrepair. As long as the ball marks don’t get in your way, the greens run smooth at medium fast speed and hold full shots really well. If you hit one or more, well then it might make your ball bounce or knock it off line. Not sure if it’s lack of players fixing them or these greens heal slowly or what. Fairways are really nice, great coverage, sufficient lushness under the ball. Rough varies from thin spots to some weird half dirt/half grass spots to lush, thick bermuda where the ball sinks down in. Tee boxes were all good. I was in one bunker behind the 18th and it was the best conditioned sand I’ve encountered in recent memory. Soft, loose and abundant.

Definitely recommended, as long as you expect the greens to be severely pock-marked but still play pretty good.
11 Likes.
If you asked me what course I’ve played the most in my lifetime, I’d have to guess it’s either San Clemente, Casta del Sol or Moreno Valley Ranch. I loved MVR and was very bummed when it closed in 2015. As you might’ve noticed in the GK forums, I’ve visited the course a few times since its demise to report any progress to everybody here. I was very excited to hear they were opening this past Wednesday and promptly made plans to visit as soon as I could, which was this morning at 7:15. At first mpisarski01 was going to join me, but unfortunately he had to bail out.

I arrived around 6:50 and checked in, paid the $74 remaining after the $1 pre-paid booking reservation, and was told I’d be paired with three others. They also told me to check in with the starter out near the practice green. He was really friendly and the practice green is very nice. We did start a few minutes late, however, but it worked out well. They are waiting until the group ahead has teed off to even let you leave the clubhouse area and drive under the street over to the first tee (former Valley No. 1). Then additionally, the starter asked us to wait until the group ahead was on the green before we teed off. We did so and never had to wait all day. In fact, after the other guys I was playing with stopped at the turn for a bathroom break and drinks, I don’t think we even saw the group ahead of us at all on the back (former Mountain) nine. The group behind us was waiting on us a few times. Total POP was about 4:20.

Before I get to course conditions, I’ll mention Rancho Del Sol has the most relaxed Covid precautions I’ve encountered since I started venturing out to play golf again. Nothing egregious, but there was a water bucket to wet your towel, there were the little pins in holes on the practice green that everybody grabs to get their ball out, sand containers in carts, an ice-filled cooler on the cart, and free tees in the cart. On-course pins have a PVC pipe insert to prevent the ball from dropping down far. I did get my own cart without having to ask or anything as a single, though. Starter and clubhouse employees were all wearing masks.

Conditions are good, with the course playing better than it actually looks. The greens are very smooth, medium speed and extremely soft… super spongy and squishy feeling like you’re standing on a mattress or something. Full shots stopped quickly and made deep ball marks that I couldn’t really fix satisfactorily because they were so deep. (Makes it tempting/instinctive to use your divot tool to pull up on the grass, but we all know that’s the wrong way to fix a divot. Don’t do that.) Fairways have really nice coverage of light green and yellow grass. They are lush and play great, just not visually extra appealing. The rough varies from extremely lush, deep green grass cut a few inches deep, to bare spots, to really nasty deep stuff around some bunkers and adjacent to some fairways. On both the fairways and the rough, I found some wet areas but that’s to be expected with such high temperatures. Tee boxes were very good/great. I wasn’t in any bunkers but I took a good look at a few and they looked sort of wet and compacted. Not sure that’s fair to say because maybe they weren’t, but that’s how they looked to me. Overall the course plays great! I hope the extreme sponginess goes away from the greens, though.

Design notes: The card lists black tees as the tips but they weren’t out today, and at least one hole (13, formerly 4 on Mountain) had the top tee boxes closed, which makes it play much straighter and easier than I was used to. The 18th hole is now a par 3, and surprisingly to me it uses the old Mountain 9 tee boxes rather than the green complex. They basically built a new green complex out in the middle of a giant field that used to be the fairway of Mountain No. 9. For a par 3 finisher, it’s a good hole. Pretty sure the par-5 3rd green complex is dramatically different from how it was before. Now it has more of a modern “trendy” linksy look to it with gentle mounding and trees all behind the green rather than Dye’s original, more severe mounding I seem to recall.

Other tidbits: The course has no yardage markers whatsoever and no GPS in the carts. Unless they are partly owned by Bushnell, this seems like a bad idea and a recipe for slow play. Hopefully they can add some plates in the fairway or rocks along the side or something. Also, I love the course so much, I had hoped to play 36 and knew they had tons of available times in the afternoon, but when I inquired about a replay rate they said it would be $45. Which brings me to the rates in general. Obviously I want the course to succeed and remain in good condition, but I do think it’s slightly overpriced. The guy who offered the $45 replay said green fees go down to $55 at 3:00, so he’d be giving me an even better rate than that, but when temps are near 100 and the tee sheet is mostly open, I’d think they might attract more play with lower rates. I opted to come home and watch golf instead of playing 18 more in the afternoon heat.

All in all, it was wonderful to be back and I can’t wait to return again, although I’ll likely be looking for a Hot Deal next time. Check out my Instagram post and Stories for a bunch of pictures from today.
21 Likes.
Played Ike today with a 1:32 TeeOff.com "Deal" time for $56 after 15% off promo code. As others have mentioned, you get your temperature taken at the bottom of the hill before even being allowed on the property. There is then a starter sitting outdoors but you still need to go inside the shop first and check in to get a receipt to give to the starter. Oddly, no one else was there when my time came around and the starter had instructed me to just head to the tee, so I played by myself all day. I didn't mind as I didn't feel the need to wear a mask and I could take a bunch of photos. Being a single stuck behind foursomes ahead, pace seemed sort of slow but actually wasn't bad at 4:10 total. It was very hot and humid for the first six holes or so, but then a breeze made things more tolerable for the rest of the afternoon. A few par 4s are CPO: 4 & 14 for sure, maybe one more?

Conditions are decent. Greens are in good condition, soft, mostly smooth and medium to medium slow. There were tons of un-repaired ball marks, which is a shame. Playing by myself and knowing there was nowhere to go, I often fixed 5 or 6 per green and could've done many more. Fairways are probably the highlight, pretty lush with good coverage and nice cushion under the ball. The rough is all over the place, from numerous bare spots to ugly crab grass to lush deep stuff. I was in several bunkers and didn't think they were as bad as a couple of the most recent reviews, although they were very inconsistent from one to the next. (They are hazards, though.) Tee boxes are pretty bad, a mixture of grasses, cuts, etc. Way too much crab grass out there in the rough and tee boxes for a course of this caliber.

All that said, I always love this layout and had a great time.
13 Likes.
Played out here this morning at 7:20 with rob1563. We got a TeeOff.com "Deal" time that made it about $53 pp after promo code, which is a good deal for a prime morning time here. Glad we played early with the heat wave. Paired with a friendly twosome (they said they've considered playing in GK events before so we encouraged them to do so) and started right on time. Pretty much waited on every shot all day, but pace was decent, finishing in just under 4.5 hrs.

Conditions are very playable, if not the the most attractive I've seen this course. The first green scared me a little bit with lots of imperfections, but the rest seemed fine. Greens were soft, accepted full shots really well and rolled medium to medium fast. Mostly smooth although I wouldn't call them pure. Fairways have good coverage that is a mix of light green and yellow bermuda (I assume). Not exactly lush but sufficient cushion under the ball. I didn't notice any really penal rough, mostly pretty short. Tee boxes were decent. I was in one bunker and it was quite good... a little crusty on top and sufficient sand underneath.

Fun morning! Recommend the course if you get a decent rate.
10 Likes.
Wanted to "splurge" a bit for my birthday so I was considering a couple places like Journey at Pechanga, etc., but it's been so hot so the idea of spending a day in Big Bear and "splurging" on a near $50 9-hole course appealed to me, so I booked a 3:45 TeeOff.com "Deal" time here for today. It was $50-something but I had a 15% promo code so I think it was around $44. Checked in a little early and was told I could head straight out. Turned out there was another single who'd just teed off and another who pulled up right behind me, so we all joined up and played as a threesome. Waited pretty much on every shot, but still moved decent, finishing nine in a little under two hours. It was my first time here.

Conditions are decent, highlighted by really nice greens. They are smooth, fast and accept full shots well, even though they're pretty firm. With the course built on a mountain, everything runs really fast toward the lake, which is sort of deceiving. Fairways were decent, mostly good, thin coverage but some iffy spots too. Rough was a couple inches deep and pretty lush. There are some nice-looking tall grasses if you get far off line on some holes. Bunker sand was surprisingly nice for having no rakes. Tee boxes definitely the low point, but you've got a tee anyway, so no big deal.

Funky little course that requires either smart play or straight shots, but I attempted to take advantage of that thin mountain air and hit too many drivers, etc., and played terribly. Some holes have a bit of a "wedged in" feel, but there's plenty of width if you play smart. Back-to-back par 3s at Nos. 7 & 8 are probably the highlight holes. On No. 8, the ladies get their revenge for all the cool par 3s that are neutered for the red tees, with a super-cool tee box built on the end of a pier out in the middle of a lake. I wanted so bad to hit from there! :-) Also the par-4 3rd is a nice hole with an elevated green where a hazard separates the end of the fairway and the green surrounds. If it was $25 or so, I'd definitely want to play here again. But with "Deal" prices over $50 for 9 holes, one visit is probably sufficient.

EDIT: Just looked at sixpez's photos of the course here. It's definitely NOT in that nice of condition right now.
9 Likes.
Played here today with a 1:24 tee time purchased on their site. Looks like they're getting a new way to reserve/buy tee times starting August 4. Online instructions said don't show up more than 5 minutes before your tee time and said something about checking in outside, but that wasn't the case. The shop was open as normal and as I walked in they gave a 5-minute call for my group. I mentioned who I was and the guy directed me straight to the first tee. No need to show receipt or ID or anything. Smooth and easy. Two other guys who both live very near the course played with me. The course is using 12-minute tee times to keep people spread out, which works but also has an unintended result. The group in front of us was already on No. 2 when we teed off, but then we caught them by the fifth tee, which made things feel like we hit a wall. I expected it but the other two guys in my group seemingly didn't, and they bailed by the time we got to the 7th tee because they felt it was too backed up. Meanwhile we'd played the first six holes in about 1:20-1:25. They were both riding and I was walking, so things worked out well for me. I got to take off my mask and enjoy my own pace behind the foursome ahead. Total POP was 4:02. COVID stuff: No tee markers are out, so I just teed it up aligned with the blue plate every hole. Pool noodles in cups. Seems like they're promoting single-rider carts because the group in front of me had four separate carts.

Conditions are good. Greens are smooth, medium speed and accept full shots well. Fairways are their normal lush, spongy kikuya with a mix of deep green, light green and yellow areas. Rough is a little longer but not too penal; balls mostly sat up on top. If you get way off line, you might find some deep stuff here and there. I wasn't in a bunker but they looked good. Tee boxes were decent but probably the low point today. Some scruffy areas, but with no tee markers, there was plenty of width to find somewhere decent to tee it up.

San Clemente is always a good choice and especially so when the temps get high. It felt so great feeling the ocean breeze (up to two clubs' worth at times) all afternoon and was very comfortable, weather-wise. Wish I'd played better, but really enjoyed it anyway.
13 Likes.
Played here today with a 12:50 tee time direct from the course's website for $37. My first round since March. I'd purchased a new driver during quarantine, and I couldn't think of many better courses to put a new driver to the test. Course was busy but the staff collectively did a good job checking me in and getting me out on the course on time. As a single, I got my own cart, so we had 3 carts for my foursome. No extra charge for single-rider cart. COVID stuff: Most everyone I saw around the clubhouse seemed to comply with mask requirements, but on the course was a different story. Barely anyone wearing a mask on the course. POP was decent and would've been right at four and a half hours, but something log-jammed everything on 18 and we had to wait about an extra 10 minutes or so to tee off. So total POP was probably around 4:35-4:40.

Conditions are decent. Greens are smooth but medium-slow and perhaps too soft. Maybe it's due to the heat they have to keep them really watered, but they'd play better and roll faster if they weren't so soft. Fairways had good, somewhat thin coverage and not much visual definition between fairway and rough. Rough was cut short but just more scruffy than the fairways. Bunkers were a mixed bag; some good, some crusty, some thin. Tee boxes were decent but tended to be a mix of grasses and cuts. Overall, gave the greens a 7 and everything else a 5.

Recommended, but glad I didn't pay $55 or whatever their morning rates are right now.
9 Likes.
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