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In short, Stanford is luxury. It's challenging, yet enjoyable; it's one of the most pleasant walks on the farm. The tees are flat, with clear views of the challenges ahead. The fairways are soft and clean on the club-head. The short rough is about 1" long and consistent. The longer rough can vary from even 2" long to tufted grasses. The fairway and green side bunkers are strategically placed for challenging drives and approach shots, the sand is consistent - it's a white sandy beach, often with fluffy consistency. The greens are a challenge, can be difficult to read, yet they are fast and true (the stimp is about 10-11, can be slippery downhill, plenty of putting practice will be rewarded).

The course is rated about 70/131 from the black tees (the 'Cardinal' tees are the long tees). Some of the par 3s may look easy from the tee, but don't underestimate the greens. For anyone able to drive 260-280, most of the par 4s are a short iron approach shot (except 2 and 12). The par 5s are a challenge for the long hitters who can go for it in 2, because there are penalties for an errant approach shot.

Stanford is a private course. Members are able to host a limited number of guests each month. There is public access to the nearby driving range. It has reasonable rates and well positioned markers.

Stanford University Golf Course Review
Stanford California Golf Course Reviews
Played this course for the first time on Sunday, Jan 29th, 2012. The fairways are awful at the moment, but the sand traps and greens are OK. The tee boxes were fine (played the blue tees and most of my best shots were from tee boxes), the fairway conditions were lousy, and the traps and greens were OK. The layout is spectacular and it can vary a lot from easy to challenging. It can be deceptive - some of the apparently easy, short holes have some tight, well protected greens or they have some surprises awaiting in the slopes on the larger greens. The combination of poor, tight fairway conditions and significant penalties close to greens (including water hazards within 5 feet of a green) was just too much pressure to be aggressive on this course, especially when playing it for the first time. At a guess, it would take me about 5 rounds to sort out my course management for this layout. Despite the exciting layout and the prospect of a solid challenge, I'm not at all excited to return to this course until I can see evidence that fairway conditions improve. There's just no way that I can feel confident to attack this course without lush fairways. Looking at this now, it's very hard to believe that this course has been in championship condition.

We were attracted to the course by a travelzoo deal to play a round that included 18 holes, a cart, a bucket of range balls and a lunch coupon. (BTW, the lunch house is between the 10th and 11th hole, the 9th hole DOES NOT return to the clubhouse, it's weird. So call the lunch house from the 10th tee, where they have a menu board and pickup the order between the 10th and 11th hole; or have them bring it out to you - that's a nice service, when they have enough staff to keep up!)

After a lot of practice on range mats recently, it was a pleasure to practice on a grass range. The range is only suitable for irons. For example, I hit one solid 3 iron that bounced into the back of the net. The range has a few yardage flags, enough to get a feel for the low and mid-range irons. I guess they could complement the iron range with a few nets to hit a driver. The practice facility has a small green and bunker for the short-game too. It's far from impressive, but at least it's there. The practice green near the first tee is OK. I wasn't aware of the better practice green behind the pro shop until I passed through the 10th hole.

Although I've not seen this course before, it looks good from a distance, but when you get up close, the course is very dry and thin. Although it should be winter conditions, we're in the midst of what feels like a drought. We've not had the usual Nov/Dec/Jan rains this year. The last rain we had was a few weeks ago, for a couple of days. We've had a lot of sunny days in the 60s for the past few months. Most of the low lying water features on the course are looking good, but a couple are clearly low on water.

The fairways on the course are too thin at the moment, without a decent layer of grass to slide the club through the ball. I found it very difficult to feel the confidence to play a solid second shot to some of the challenging long par 4s. Although I can hit a solid 260+ drive and a good 3 iron to 200+, it was just too much to play that second shot off tight lies from the fairway. On some very challenging par 4s that require a solid drive and a long, accurate iron to tight greens, I was wanting a lush fairway. Looking at some past pictures of the course, it has seen better days. Maybe this is a seasonal issue or the unusual climate conditions, or maybe the course maintenance practices need a significant revision.

Also, around the greens, it was very difficult to play a confident wedge shot. I found that a lot of the grass was tight, with irregular nodular patches. Also, with a little rain, the soil was just wet enough to be a bit sticky. For example, after a solid drive to within 100ft of the 9th hole, an easy wedge should get close for a birdie chance. It was not to be! The wedge came up about 10 yards short and bounced to the right - I was lucky to stay out of the water hazard, but my partner lost a ball into that hazard - what a stiff penalty! Despite playing preferred lies, the conditions were just too poor for me to be happy and confident about attacking the pin.

Also, some of the grass around the greens have a tough grain or direction to their growth and if you have to chip against that grain, you can forget about getting the club through the ball. I found that most of the grass around the greens was catching and grabbing my wedges, making it almost impossible to slide the club through and get enough spin on the ball. After too many tries, I had to give up on the wedges and switch to a bump and run style of play.

It's sad to see this layout looking so thin. It's a new course, maybe it will take a good decade or more for this course to find a sweet spot in the ecosystem. I wish the course management a lot of luck in learning how to maintain this track as a championship course. That's the design for it, but somehow they need to keep it appealing to the regular golf community when they are not, or cannot, host a championship.

Eagle Vines Golf Club Review
Napa California Golf Course Reviews
Played a mid-week round, starting around 4pm. The conditions were poor - foggy and windy - with 2-3 hours of daylight remaining. These conditions were not conducive to an enjoyable day on the course.

This course requires course management. However, there is no layout or playing tips on the score card or the tee signs and there are few yardage markers on the course. It's a course that you can't expect to play well without playing it often. The course has plenty of challenges, it demands precision shot making and good course management.

The condition of the course was fair, sometimes poor. The fairway turf was often heavy and the grass was thin. Although it looks good from a distance, it feels very sticky under the club head and, indeed, the mud sticks to the club face.

The short game needs to be in great shape to score well on this course, but the course doesn't encourage good shot making around the greens. The turf around the greens is heavy, making it difficult to play precise wedge shots. The greens are small, fast, undulating and well protected with bunkers. Moreover, the bunker sand is often heavy and thin; on one bunker shot, the sole of my wedge bottomed out and bounced into the ball to make an embarrassing bladed shot. The greens are challenging, they're fast and difficult to read.

This course demands precision shot making and a sharp short-game. Bring your best game, but remember the course conditions are not conducive to good shot making around the greens.

Presidio Golf Course Review
San Francisco Golf Course Reviews
Played a mid-week round on a warm day. The conditions were good. The course seems to be in good condition, in most areas. The mid-week rates are fair. I prefer to walk the course, letting faster cart players play through, although it's a solid day out to walk the 18 holes on this hillside course. The only complaint was grass cuttings on the fairways - I adjusted by playing a preferred lie on the fairways.

Indian Valley Golf Club Golf Course Review
Novato Golf Course Reviews
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