Golf Course Reviews
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Played Soule Park yesterday with GKers kviser, rgm2525 and GDR23. Super time. Beautiful weather in Ojai on a fantastic golf course in great condition. My previous round at Soule Park was in August 2020. Wow has this place grown in popularity and what I love is they are putting that success back into the golf course in the form of even better turf management as well as major clubhouse renovations/improvements. I don’t think I can call this place a hidden gem anymore. Very happy for Soule Park GC and more so for golfers that are playing it.

Conditions are impressive given how dry the region has been. Greens running fast, smooth (with exception to ball mark damage) and holding shots. Aprons (remember Rustic Canyon in the early years with tight cut aprons ... that’s what they have here now) mostly smooth and fun to play off. Fairways mostly lush with some dry areas. Rough, little over fairway height in most places, hardly penal, unless you find some the 1 to 2 foot fescue secondary rough. Sand traps, great shape with quality sand. Some holes contain newer sand which can cause many fried egg or partially plugged lies. Tee boxes, we played the Orange Tees, likely the most popular at Soule Park, had some divot damage and at times not very level but overall lush and a pleasure to play from.

As far as layout, this place is a blast. Grip and rip but with serious consequences if you go too far off line. Lots of variety from hole to hole as far as doglegs, elevation changes, length and green complexes. And herein lies the biggest fun factor of the layout, the green complexes. They come in a large variety sizes and shapes with low cut aprons around them allowing many creative short game shots. Once on the greens, get ready for some roller coaster putts requiring excellent reads and distance control. Do your best not to be above the hole and be on the correct sections. I had a four putt on hole 4 being on the wrong side of the green in regulation (happy roarksown1? - lol).

Beyond the fun layout is of course the location which features a peaceful ambiance loaded with gorgous scenery/views. Rather than me describe it verbally please check out the photos I just posted.

Highly Recommended
12 Likes.
Teed it up at The Saticoy Club with GK Gurus on Wednesday as well has playing my GK Cup 17 match with roarksown1. If you ever get a chance to play this historic Billy Bell Sr. design, go for it. The layout is a masterpiece in traditional beauty demanding length, a fantastic short game and positioning shots. I’d like to emphasize positioning shots because on EVERY shot, on EVERY hole there is a place in the fairway and greens you want to be and a place you do not want to be. You are not always awarded for hitting fairways or greens in regulation. And if you are not in the right position be prepared to be able to shape shots around huge mature trees or face diabolical putts and pitch shots. That to me is the essence of great layout and test of golf. You need to bring ALL of your game and mind to play well here.

Conditions excellent, especially considering the harsh drought this year. Greens, normally around 12 speed were running around a merciful 10 speed. However most of the time they are lightning fast. Smooth and holding shots. I pleasure to play. Fairways had lush bermunda turf full coverage with little roll out, making an already long course play longer. Primary rough was lush with some thin areas and God forbid you find the 2 to 3 foot high secondary rough because its likely going to a lost ball. Bunkers in super shape, consistent high quality sand and groomed.

I’m super excited about the upcoming Golf Moose/Greenskeeper.org outing I’m running here on 10/4. Its sold out but I would looking into getting on a waiting list by contacting Golf Moose.

Check out the photos I just posted.

Highly Recommended.
9 Likes.
Had a super time running our GK Plays outing Sunday at Indian Wells Golf Resort Players Course. Working on posting a recap in the forums. In the meantime posted a bunch of photos of the golf course. Thank you to everyone that braved the heat to come out.

A few months back when I booked this outing I knew the golf course was going to be in excellent shape, well, because Indian Wells Golf Resort is always in excellent shape, but I think this time around was the best shape I’ve ever seen Indian Wells Golf Resort in the summer. On the other course (Celebrity) they were hosting a Toyota Cup Jr Championship so that gives you an idea of the high standards.

We caught the last day of what appears to be the last extreme heat wave of the summer so unfortunately despite the morning tee times it still got well over 100 degrees. Consequently the greens were a little long and mostly slow. However they ran smooth and held shots. I wish I was comfortable playing bermunda greens because I missed a lot of putts I wish I could have back. Fairways were pure. Perfect lies all day. Love how the ball sits up on bermunda turf. Rough was thankfully cut down to 2 to 3 inches, super lush and dense. So dense my ball hardly ever sat down in it which I was thankful for. Bunkers nice white sand, some a little firm, but most fantastic. Tee boxes great, like the fairways and rough, lush, groomed and level.

Service exceptional as always. Such a pleasure for an organizer to have a host course staff all on the same page and everything staged perfectly before arriving. After the round they gave us a private room, with multiple servers and excellent food/drink. Absolutely will be back for another outing. Check out the photos I just posted!

Highly Recommended.
11 Likes.
Out with GK Gurus reviewing Morgan Run Resort before the coming Golf Moose/GK Golf Event on Monday, 9/20.

We were anticipating reviewing the North/South combo as that is their current best 18 holes and the one being used for the golf event on 9/20. However every Monday the superintendent closes one of the three nines for dedicated maintenance and this week it happened to be the North nine. So we ended up playing the South/East combo which was also a treat. I toured the North nine after my round and found the layout to be very interesting in as fantastic condition as the South nine. Would love to go back to play the North nine.

First time here, teed it up at 2:30pm on the South/East with GKers FirstFlightFX-101, rgm2525 and lotrgolfer48. Great time! Straight forward traditional design with a total SoCal feel/vibe. Beautiful Southern California ocean climate, hazy sunshine, low 70’s, little bit of wind, perfect. Lots of palm trees. The resort clubhouse is small with a low key relaxed atmosphere. The practice chipping/short game area is huge. Fun circular practice putting green. Friendly staff. Felt very comfortable for a first experience. Liked that.

We teed off the South nine first and I very much enjoyed it. Mostly wide bermunda fairways in immaculate condition. Some water hazards to contend with. All greens well-guarded by fronting bunkers sloping back to front. Fun undulating poa greens rolling smooth, med/fast and holding shots. Rough was lush kikuyu and penalizing. 3 to 4 inches and defined the fairways well putting a premium on a straight tee shots. Bunkers all contained high quality med/soft sand and were well groomed. All the bunkers were very full with small lips so it was easy to escape them provided I didn’t get a fried egg lie. Tee boxes were mostly lush with some thin areas at times. But all level and with no issues playing.

The East nine was a great layout as well which I thought was more difficult than the South due to less wide fairways and at times more severely undulating greens. The East nine was somewhat a different story regarding playing conditions as it is clearly struggling with its bermunda base in the fairways with many bare areas. However most of the time you're going find your ball on a lush bermunda lie in the fairways as there was at least 75% coverage. Come the Fall starting 9/13 – 10/8 Morgan Run will close the East nine to overseed the fairways with winter rye. So expect October – April the East nine fairways to be in great shape. They don't close the South and North nines for overseeding and let the bermunda turf go dormant. Greens on the East nine had the same speed and bite as the South nine. However they had more ball mark damage and consequently less smooth. Bunkers on the East nine were in same condition as the South nine. Tee boxes were mostly lush with a little more thin areas on the East nine compared to the South nine. Overall the East nine was in very good condition.

I would rate the South a 9 out of 10. East a 7 out of 10. North (based on my tour not playing) 9 out of 10.

Check out the photos I just posted!

Highly Recommended!
11 Likes.
GK guru round with MrKich, kviser and rgm2525. Also kviser and I played a GK Cup 17 match. See results in the forum post. Great time.

Beautiful weather on a late Thursday afternoon. We rode the Blue Tees. About 6400 yards Par 71 from the Blue Tees. Plays all of it. Many tees are elevated and you don't get much release/roll out with your driver from the kikuyu fairways. Very fun green complexes well guarded by bunkers, slopes and hazards. Many of the greens are amoeba shaped greens with lots a places to tuck pins. Hole #8 pin placement, par 3, up front, I thought to myself I've never seen the pin that up front before ... now I know why! - LOL. We played in just over 4 hours teeing it up around 2:30pm

Overall condition of the golf course is very good shape. Greens the highlight. Medium/Fast, mostly smooth and holding shots. Fairways all have full coverage from a variety of turf types and play well. There is some all season turf overseeding taking place on Holes 5 and 7 with those areas designated as GUR. The fairways are predominately kikuyu/bermunda turf. The rough is spotty lush/thin/bare on 1/2 holes as far coverage adjacent to the fairways but around the greens its lush and challenge to pitch from. Turf is predominately kikuyu. Tee boxes are lush kikuyu/bermunda, level, a little long and in great shape. Regarding the bunkers, good shape. Quality sand and cared for. Not the golf course's fault but golfers need to do a better job raking them after playing them.

Sterling Hills GC is always a good option to play, especially if you are trying to escape the heat of the SFV.

Recommended!

Check out the photos I posted here!
8 Likes.
Great day 8/13 with GK Gurus! Thrilled Laughlin Ranch Golf Club has come back on as supporter of our GK Community. We’ll be doing a GK Plays outing there in on 2/6/2022, save the date, as well as at our other GK Community supporter Mojave Resort GC that weekend on 2/5/2022. “Blowout In Bullhead.”

Laughlin Ranch is in the best summer shape I’ve seen it in a long time. New ownership is doing a super job reinvesting into the golf course. This also includes a refurbished driving range to be completed by October. Lush berumnda turf wall to wall. Greens understandably on the slower side because of the extremely hot summer the region has been having, but they are running smooth, holding shots and look beautiful. Fairways, recently cut, super lush, not a bad lie out there. Rough, 3 inches, lush bermunda, striking contrast with the fairways (see photos) and a challenge to play from. Bunkers, there are a lot of them, well-groomed however in need of new sand overall. Playing pretty firm. The green side bunkers are in better shape than the fairways bunkers. Tee boxes, lush like the fairways and in super shape. We played the Silver Tees. Lush and level.

We teed it up at 7:30am and beat the extreme heat. Snack bar was open for breakfast and morning golfers making the turn. The restaurant was open after golf although I did not have time to join some GKers afterwards for a bite. It’s a Troon managed facility so you know the services is going to be solid. I can see Laughlin Ranch GC being a center piece for Southwest Colorado River Region as a growing golf destination. There is a lot of great golf located up and down the river that needs to be discovered by more golfers.

Check out the photos I posted.

Highly Recommended!
14 Likes.
Great time Sunday afternoon with GK Gurus.

I need to find a way to play Ridge Creek Dinuba more than once a year and how to score well on it. Very unique John Fought Heathland Designed Layout with no water hazards, wide fairways, large greens … however over 100 deep bunkers, deep rough if you happen to miss the fairways, well protected greens and LONG. This is an excellent track kept in great condition despite 100+ summer temps for weeks straight in the Central CA Valley. The greens are showing signs of heat stress which likely explains how moist they are. I’m guessing if they don’t keep them moist, they will burn. Moist greens means significant ball mark damage at impact. The ball marks are easy to fix although which lead to my disappointed in golfers that played prior to us that day. Ridge Creek Dinuba has signs on all the golf carts asking golfers to PLEASE fix ball marks … shame those that are not are that inconsiderate to their fellow golfers and the golf course. Overall the greens were still very nice, rolling smooth when your ball did not have to deal with a ball mark, medium speed and holding shots like darts. I bet playing here on a weekday morning instead of Sunday afternoon makes a significant difference as far as ball marks.

The fairways are immaculate. Perfect lies every time, lush, decent run out. Love them.

Rough, oh boy, if you happen to miss the large fairways and find your ball in the rough, take your medicine and wedge it back into play.

Bunkers, brutal tough, deep faces in them all. That includes the fairway traps. I was in a bunch of bunkers. They all have a rugged look bordered by long fescue rough. I don’t mind the ruggedness, however I did mind that most of them had poor quality firm sand. I’m sure it would be a huge expense to replenish the bunkers given how many they have. But I know that the already beautiful aesthetics of the bunkers would become jaw dropping if they did contain high quality sand.

Tee boxes in great shape. Lush and mostly level. I think because Ridge Creek Dinuba is smart in setting up wide 30ft+ tee markers they can evenly distribute the wear and tear. Wish more golf courses did this.

Before golf some of us sat down at Jacks bar and grill. Great food and service. The patio looks upon the 9th green. It’s one of my favorite places to eat at a golf course. I always plan on having a meal there before golf or after play.

Best to get to the golf course at least an hour before your tee time not only to grab a bite to eat at Jacks but also to enjoy their massive, world class practice facilities. Large grass range, pitching, chipping and sand game area, practice putting green and even an area dedicated to hitting wedge shots to a green complex from 100 yards and in.

Ridge Creek Dinuba is a golf paradise for the public in an area of Central California few would expect. Journey to it at least once a year like I do. Sure it’s a long drive from SoCal, NorCal and the Central Coast but worth it.

Check out the photos I just posted. Highly Recommended.
12 Likes.
Teed it up with GK Gurus Thursday (8/5) at San Vicente Golf Resort in Ramona. The golf course was recently awarded by the leading golf course industry publication Golf.Inc as the Renovation of The Year (ROY). The layout and scenery are gorgeous. Check out the photos I just posted here. The new green complexes are an absolute blast to play. They remind me of Rustic Canyon, Olivas Links and Soule Park. Very much like Soule Park in fact.

The greens and green complexes are visually striking and beautiful. Medium sized greens, undulating in many directions, uniform bent grass (remember all new bent grass greens in SoCal eventually get poa in them so play them now for that pure bent experience), very firm (because new bent grass greens are always very firm the first year) and fantastically designed (each green unique with plenty of places to tuck pins – favorite green number 6 nicknamed “Punchbowl”). As for the conditions front nine greens very smooth, few ball marks and fast. Back nine greens very smooth, occasional balls marks and medium speed. It’s been very hot in Ramona the last few weeks as was our day of play so it’s likely the greens normally run much faster.

The bunkers were all in immaculate shape. Perfectly groomed and excellent sand quality. I was in many of them Thursday so I know!

The fairways are bermunda with a firm base so you get lots of roll. Yet there is just enough base to create consistently very good lies. They are mostly green, dry and are showing at times are light brown/blonde. Over time these bermunda fairways are going to get lusher with each maintenance season. I loved the fairways current state getting tons of run with the crisp bermuda lies creating more spin on approach shots which you need due to new firm greens.

The rough is the same turf of the fairways with similar characteristics and kept short (2 to 3 inches).

We played the white tees which measure 6346 yards, the next step up is the black tees at 6704, which IMO is too large of gap and justifies a Black/White combo. I noticed the conditions between the white tees (which were very good) had more noticeable wear and tear. The black tees had very little to no wear and tear. A few blind tee shots but I think the golf course should consider having a bell installed on hole #6, the awesome punchbowl hole, signally the green is clear. Make sure you have a player hang back on the fairway hill until everyone is putting. But overall, tee shots out there are very fun to play. There is a need to work the ball in both directions to avoid trees and at times hit dead straight to keep in play. Love that. Challenging shots.

After golf we enjoyed some appetizers/drinks on the patio on the Oaks Grille. Delicious food, fairly priced with a scenic view the golf course, surrounding area and sunset.

Highly Recommend San Vicente Golf Resort!
11 Likes.
Last time I played Valencia Country Club was 8 years ago, truly hope I don’t have to wait that long to get back on this exceptional country club with PGA Tour and Senior Tour history. Great day with GK Gurus (Wednesday 7/28) that also doubled as a preview round for the Golf Moose/GK Private Course outing I’m running on 8/16. Anyone attending that outing is in for a treat.

Despite our hot and dry summer, Valencia CC was still in great shape. Especially the fairways and greens. The greens were very smooth, medium/fast (normally very fast but due to the heat not cut down as much), firm on pitch shots yet holding approach shots. Fairways lush tight cut bermunda turf. Ball sat up great all day. Rough was mostly lush at times thin in the area where it was burned out from the heat. The rough is a blend of bermunda, fescue and kikuya. All the nasty stuff you want to avoid no matter what the length. Fortunately it was only about 2 to 3 inches because the ball always sat down every time making it challenging. Bunkers, well groomed, mostly firm with decent sand quality. Seems like the golf course is due for some new sand because the last time I played here 8 years ago it was new perfect white sand. Tee boxes in excellent shape. Lush bermunda like the fairways and cut tight. Have to say I love the traditional Robert Trent Jones Sr. runway style boxes.

Valencia Country Club is a very fun traditional Robert Trent Jones Sr. design. You have ample room to find the fairway off the tee but at the same time you need to be able to work the ball (mostly left to right) to avoid the huge mature trees on some holes. It’s a long course and almost all the greens are elevated so that makes it even longer. I played the White Tees at 6305 because I’m still without my driver. I love the front nine with its beautiful water hazards and tricky greens. But back 9 is more challenging IMO with an excellent long par 5 finishing hole. This is truly a strong test of golf. You need to be doing all things well to score. The greens have many undulations, steep bunkers, greenside water hazards. The fairways are all tree lined. The rough is normally deep. And of course the layout is long. It’s a super course that if you get an opportunity to play – play it! - Check out the fresh full spread of photos of its layout I posted.

Highly Recommended.
10 Likes.
Our second day of GK Plays Las Vegas was at spectacular Reflection Bay Golf Club. Big hats-off to our own GKer Kevbig (Head Golf Professional at Reflection Bay) and his team for really taking care of us. From check-in to leaving, Reflection Bay was on it. They even set us up in a beautiful private room while also working a wedding.

The golf course was in excellent summer shape. Greens smooth, mostly firm and as expected a little slow as to fend off the blazing heat. Fairways, perfect lush Bermuda. Just a pleasure to hit from. Bermuda rough thankfully cut just above fairway height throughout the golf course. I’ve played Reflection Bay in the summer when the rough is longer and it sure makes the golf course a bear. Bunkers in very good condition with excellent sand quality. Tee boxes in great shape lush and groomed.

Reflection Bay Golf Club is one of my favorite desert layouts. Scenic and challenging. Every hole is quite unique to the others. Of course being a Nicklaus Signature design it favors a fade but there are certainly holes where draw is preferred. It’s a very fun track with risk reward holes. My kind of golf.

Prior to our round Kevbig showed a couple of us the inside hitting bay/club fitting studio. I was impressed. The clubhouse is grand, proshop large and bar/restaurant comfortable. Service top-notch. We’ll be back for another outing for sure.
10 Likes.
Finally getting around to posting my review from last week’s GK Plays Las Vegas. I always say better late than never with posting reviews.

Super time at the outings as you have seen with the outing recap in the forums and if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

We started out at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort Sun Mountain Course. Same golf course the Korn Ferry Tour played in April. But they did not have the pleasure as we did to play golf on the Hottest Day In Las Vegas History! – LOL.

Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort is such an outstanding golf facility with outstanding staff even the extreme heat could not keep us down. Golf course was in fantastic condition, very green and very lush. Greens running medium speed, smooth and mostly firm. Pao Fairways beautiful and manicured. Bermunda/Poa Rough low cut adjacent to the fairways but longer greenside. Challenging around the greens for sure. Sand as expected well groomed, good quality and firm. Tee boxes in excellent well-groomed lush shape.

From an organizer’s perspective the Sun Mountain Course is very tournament friendly with its own driving range and practice facility. The first tee of the Sun Mountain Course, like the Wolf Course, is a good distance from the clubhouse so I found myself doing long cart drives back and forth until I realized it was much better to hang out by the first tee and range. After play the service was excellent and clubhouse fantastic for food/drink/hanging out. Check out the new course photos I posted here for Sun Mountain Course. Such a super time. Really appreciate everyone coming out as well as our prize sponsors Linksoul/Golf Moose and Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort hosting us.
8 Likes.
Out yesterday, 6/29 with GK Gurus for a review round proceeding the Golf Moose/GK Private Course outing on Monday 7/19. Such a great time. Even though I remembered little from my one and only previous round at Wood Ranch Golf Club in 2010, I did remember from that previous round what a fun golf course this is…as well as challenging. How challenging? ... well back in 1987 the Senior Tour stopped coming to Wood Ranch because of difficult greens and high winds. Well, as a resident of nearby Thousand Oaks with relatives in Simi Valley, sure it can get windy but most of the time it is simply beautiful. Yesterday teeing off at 3:00pm and finishing around 7:15pm weather was gorgeous as was the golf course. I took so many photos…check them out posted here.

The layout is fantastic. Long, challenging off the tee with many fairway bunkers and hazards, many doglegs (most left-right), interesting and challenging on approach with well bunkered guarded greens, loaded with risk/reward holes, elevation changes and of course challenging undulating greens. Never a dull moment. In fact always an interesting shot requiring accuracy and thought. Above all, like I mentioned already, this is a FUN track.

Playing conditions were great. Greens smooth, moderately fast and holding shots. Fairways lush yet firm bermunda turf with full coverage other than a few ground under repair sections near the greens. Rough mostly lush but spotty thin at times. Thankfully the bermunda/kikuyu rough was cut down and very playable. I can only imagine how much tougher the course would be if the rough was up. Bunkers, all well-groomed with quality sand. The first inch or two of sand is soft but then is very firm. Totally playable and easy to hit out of but at first it took a little getting used too. The great thing is ALL the bunkers are the same sand texture so one you get them dialed your sand game improves. And let me tell you, I was in a ton of them – lol. Tee boxes in super shape. Immaculate and level.

If I was considering joining a Private Course, I would for sure, given how fantastic the golf is, the very polite service/staff, seriously consider Wood Ranch GC. If you are considering a private course, I highly recommend to check this one out, contact Janet Smith, their Membership Director at jsmith@woodranchgc.com. Super nice/professional personal.
9 Likes.
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