Golf Course Reviews
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Played the LONG #1 course in an SCGA qualifier on Thursday, 9/10/20, teeing off at 820am and playing in just over 4.5 hr. Which was pretty torturous, as all the fires made the air brown and smoky, and we had NO wind and high humidity, making the round very uncomfortable. After the high heat of the past couple weeks, the course (yes, all that lovely kikuyu!) was very wet from early watering, and for some reason SCGA set us up on the Blue tees (6,711/72.5/129), making the long day even longer.

Greens were the best part of the course. They were fairly firm but held good shots, had good coverage and rolled smoothly at medium+ speed. We saw scattered old ballmarks on each hole but it was manageable. Greens on the back nine are a little sloppier than on the front, and a couple of pin placements yesterday were on the edge of the precipice – my downhill putt on #10, struck with appropriate speed for what we saw on the front nine, rolled past the hole and continued off the front of the green 30 feet away! Fortunately this was the exception and not the rule! [Please HOLD the comments on my putting!]

Fairway coverage was variable throughout the course – you could get lush/spongy kikuyu, tight/firm kikuyu, thin/patchy lies, or bare spots. Rough was similar in the variability encountered, but was much more likely to be on the thin/bare side. And farther from the fairway you were in loose dirt. Tees were generally OK but were set up pretty narrow, so cleat damage built up fairly quickly, and frequently were pushed to the side of the tee box, where bordering trees could intrude (go, American Golf!!). Sand was barely adequate – a very thin layer over wet, packed base. It helps that SCGA lets you play lift and place within one club in competitions, but you still have the thin sand problem.

I hadn’t played #1 in 20+ years, so I was happy to see a TFM GPS unit on the good-quality cart. COVID measures in place – don’t touch the flag, no rakes, masks in the clubhouse, and putting green closed. But the range was open. As opposed to the courteous staff at Arrowood a few days ago, staff here just keeps working/driving while you are hitting.

Recommended, but play the correct tees, and wait for the fire residue to clear out.
Wanted to get some swings in with a couple of competitions coming up, but heat restricted what would be possible. GKer Itslikeimsayin scored a great deal at Arrowood, one of my SoCal favorites and a location known for cooling ocean breezes. We teed off on time at 1150 on Labor Day, Monday 9/7/20, joining a couple other singles and playing in just under 4.5 hours with more waiting on the back nine. Started on #10 for “front-side maintenance”. Comfortable carts with ball washer and lots of pep even though they had just been recycled from earlier rounds. Shark Experience GPS (but $10 more for single rider cart). Active starter and saw a marshall on the course a couple times. Quite a bit of maintenance activity early in the round but workers were aware of golfers – very nice.

This is one of my favorite courses and I like the layout. The course is very green overall with a variety of grasses sometimes giving the course a mottled appearance. Greens had good coverage, were soft and very receptive. However, this is probably the worst overall ballmark problem I have ever encountered on any course. Some courses have a few holes where you hit a lot of short iron approaches that show lots of ballmarks – at Arrowood every green had dozens of new and old ballmarks. You literally had to do repair work on every green to give yourself a reasonable route to the hole. There were recent marks fairly easily fixed, but many of the older damage had dried edges and craters that were resistant to repair. This was the most disappointing aspect of the entire experience today.

Fairway lies were generally good and coverage was good, although pretty dry and thin in some areas. Rough was mostly cut short and playable near the fairways, and more variable if you strayed too far away. We saw some very deep footprints in the sand that players had made no attempt to smooth, and I had a bad experience in a footprint when I forgot the “lift, smooth, and place” COVID rule. Tees were set up very wide and no problems finding a spot to tee up, although some tees could use a smoothing out.

COVID stuff in place around the clubhouse – masks needed except at the grill, handle your own bag, carts assigned soon before your tee time. $8 for a small bucket on mats at the driving range, but the mats were in good condition. Pin positions use a 6-location wheel which seemed to result in a lot of “back” pin locations today.

Always recommended – but, please, fix your ballmarks, people!!!
Joined the GK Gurus at the Legends course in the short-hitters group at 12:06 pm on a warm, sunny Thursday, 9/3/20. Really enjoyed the round with GKers gary00, caligolfer1031, and sr129. We all encouraged, dissed, and kidded our way to an easy round in just under 4 hours.

As others before me have noted, course conditions were good. Greens had a light dusting of what looked like fertilizer but held solid shots and rolled well at medium speed – the greens looked a little faster than they played. Fairway lies were very good and the ball sat up nicely. Rough varied from a little drier and easier to play from to damper and pretty juicy – this grass type can really pillow the ball and don’t count on much run when you get into the rough. It looked like a couple of larger trees might no longer be adjacent to some holes, based on my faulty memory. Tees were mostly good and sand was playable, although around the greens I would like to see a little more depth.

Carts are newer and have comfortable seats, GPS, ball washer and cooler with ice. However, my GPS unit never booted up. Starter was friendly but we didn’t see a course employee after that. Many holes were CPO inside the 150 marker, with notification on the GPS. Water and ice available at the clubhouse and at the bathroom that services several holes.

The big difference today for me, compared to several earlier rounds at La Costa, was understandably related to the current COVID measures in place. The resort is spread out and bag drop, parking, and golf shop are well-separated. Today there was no valet parking and no one handled your bag, so you had to drop your bag at the drop and head back to self-parking. It’s a good hump back to the bag drop. Then down 2 flights of stairs to the cart area. After the round, you have to do it all backwards, except it’s all uphill – LOL. For an old guy with a bad knee, this was the most stressful part of the day!

Still recommended for conditioning and GK camaraderie. Once the world gets back to normal, access will be a lot easier.
Back out to Mesa Linda with a high school buddy at 4pm on 8/25/20, trying to escape the inland heat. Temps were mild with not very much wind at the end of the day. Paired with a couple young bombers/sprayers and we had a relaxed round. Too relaxed – the two groups ahead of us were sucky players and SLOW, driving all over creation on every hole (shared carts – now a bad idea!), so we dawdled on every shot and had to abandon the round on the 17th green in darkness. Bummer! And so unnecessary. I complained to the marshal on hole #6 and he harassed me repeatedly over the next few holes. $37 incl. cart not too bad for conditions here, which were similar to my review from 8/1/20. Greens firmer today after all the heat we had the past two weeks.
Played at 3pm 8/18/20 on a humid, warm day with little wind in 4.5 hours. Similar conditions to my review posted 7/15/20. $60 still steep.
Played with my monthly club EARLY, 6:26am on Saturday, 8/8/20, on a clear day that warmed up quickly. The course was pretty wet to start with but dried out on the back nine. COVID protections in place with masks near clubhouse, outside food service only, limited people in the shop at one time, and the starter gives you a cleaned pen to sign in!

Course is in good summer shape right now – greens are pretty lush, held shots and rolled well at medium+ speed. Tees were level and fine. Sand had been machine groomed and it looked like it was adequate to play from, although pretty damp. Fairways/rough were a little less consistent – most fairways were fine and lies were good, but there are many scattered areas of differing grasses or pretty much bare. Some rough areas are mushy wet and/or have some tall grass scattered about.

Didn’t get there in time to hit balls. Putting green open but no pins in the cups. No ranger; snack bar on #7 tee open. No water available on the course. Single carts were available for no additional fee if you wanted one.

Our club plays here every August and conditions now are good compared to many previous years. I see the course is managed by JC Golf now. Almost no wind today, which really makes for a different feel than many years in the past – makes a big difference in club selection and strategy. That darn kikuyu will get you, though. Groomed tight it can be very playable (see Black Gold GC), but in many places here the course lets it grow lush and deep and it just feather-pillows the ball when you hit into it.

Played with an internet golf club on Saturday afternoon, 8/1/2020, on a warm breezy day. Both CMCC tees were busy but we went off pretty much on time, and played at a steady pace in just over 4 hours.

I hadn’t played Mesa Linda in almost 40 years and only vaguely remembered anything about it. I knew it was short, but what I didn’t expect were the tiny, oddly-shaped greens, many with a LOT of slopes and movement. Some of the greens made little sense – one was #1, the 1-hcp hole (440 yards, DL-right with trees right, into the wind) with a small pedestal green, false front, and awkward slopes. The most ridiculous green was #14, a straight par-5 – the green was about 8 paces wide and 40 yards deep, and rolling like ocean waves. All kikuyu everywhere, but it was fairly short and playable, unless you got into a bare area or a bushy area near a sprinkler head. We did see what we thought were a couple of areas spray-painted green – maybe a fertilizer mixture. Sand traps had plenty of sand, although they weren’t recently groomed so the sand was fairly compacted. Greens were pretty receptive and rolled well at medium+ speed. We saw a few scattered bare spots on the greens and MANY MANY old ballmarks. Tees are sent up wide so it’s never hard to find a good spot.

Saw the cart girl a couple times, but no ranger. Snack bar was closed by the time we finished. Pay for golf at the shop window but you could also go in and look at merchandise. Single carts were available. OK for a casual round.
Played just after noon on Saturday, 7/18/20, in the GK Cup 15 final match with kassper7, JohnnyGK, and HmtGolfGuy. Hot, breezy, and sunny weather and the course was in very good condition. I hadn’t played here since a GK event in May 2016, so I didn’t remember many details of the course. There are many opportunities here to lose balls or play from hazards/rough ground if you are offline here, especially but not exclusively on the back nine. The terrain here, again mostly on the back nine, is difficult for my limited mobility with many steep sideslopes and walks up and down slopes to get to tees, greens, and errant shots.

Greens were the best part of the course, with very god coverage and rolling smoothly at medium+ speeds. They were mostly pretty receptive, although I got a couple of hard ‘skip’ bounces when I came in a little low and hot. The 6-location pin wheel setup used for flag placements seems to result in the pins frequently being pushed well toward the edges of the green, rather than more centered. This was especially problematic when approaching elevated plateau greens with left- or right-front pin positions!

Fairways generally had good coverage and gave good lies. Rough could be very short and playable or deeper and soft. The course in some rough areas has allowed the kikuyu to grow deep and soft - hitting into these areas, whether along fairways or around greenside slopes, quickly kills any roll and can result in soft, awkward stances. I wasn’t in any of the bunkers but other players appeared to have adequate conditions. Tees were mostly level – I remember only #15 (White) sloping to the rear of a right-handed golfer; par-3 tees, however, were pretty torn up.

I enjoyed the course but it’s a long drive from South OC, and the terrain makes it difficult for me. I saw a couple of younger players walking the course and I just had to shake my head. I do recommend the course for others to play, however.
Wanted to get some swings in before the GK Cup final this weekend, so I met a high-school classmate at Talega on Wednesday, 7/15/20, at 2:48pm on a sunny, warm breezy afternoon. Joined by a local twosome of buddies. Check-in was at arm’s length – masks worn, use the bag drop, putting green closed, pay at a table outside the pro shop, and get your cart 10 minutes before your time. But we went off on time, playing from the White tees (6,187/69.2/123). We cruised through the front nine with no one in front or behind, but backed up behind a slow foursome after #13, finishing in about 4.5 hr.

The course was in pretty good condition, although it looks scruffy around the edges. Greens had good coverage but were only medium speed and bumpy and grainy at the end of the day, really showing footprints. Most still showed aftereffects of recent verticutting. They were receptive to shots, and we saw many unfixed ballmarks. Fairway lies were generally good, some thinner than others. Rough was more variable, ranging from lush to dry, bare to clumpy, carpet to doormat. Sand was adequate but usually hard-packed with footprints – however, this was a vast improvement from some of the bunker horrors I’ve seen here over the past few years. Tees were OK with only a couple sloping. There are quite a few newly-sodded areas around the course, indicating that the course is working on improving conditions.

I like the layout here and we had a pleasant round. Recommended, although $60 on a weekday afternoon just before 3pm is a little steep. The single cart was appreciated, though.
Played GKer rat-patrol at Enagic GC in our GK Cup 15 semifinal match on Wednesday, 7/8/20, at 1:45 pm. Joined by GKer rudyclub on a sunny warm day with a steady breeze – great golf weather.

I agree with all the points Johnny makes in his detailed review. My first time here, and most of the things I had heard about Enagic (nee Eastlake CC) were not very good, but apparently 18 months ago the course changed hands and the new owner is determined to make it a sought-after tee time. I found the course to be pretty standard Ted Robinson, in good condition, with fairly generous hitting areas within the development and smallish greens with a lot of bunkers and mounding. The upgrade is adding length and expanding some of the smaller greens. The main interest for me was the lay of the land, on the Otay Mesa with homes on the ridgetops and the course playing through the intervening arroyos, so there’s some interesting elevation changes and angles.

Carts are new, the GPS is solid, and we saw the cart person several times on a Wedneday afternoon. Friendly staff and a good value for SD County residents – it’s a long hump and a steep price for OCers so I wouldn’t normally make that drive, but was happy to do it so I could get with other GKers and play a well-conditioned and fun layout.

Well, I’m pretty sure I’m about done with Hidden Valley. When I played here on New Year’s Day with caligolfer1031 I commented on the severe slopes around the course and my concern about my mobility being able to deal with them. None of those things have changed – I was drawn back because I had a Costco certificate for HV (that I couldn’t use on NYD) and I certainly couldn’t let that get away (dummy!). I was joined by GKer sr714 for my final GK Cup 15 match, and GKer DeepSea14 joined us for a match with sr714. We had a sunny, warm and blustery afternoon at 12pm on Saturday, 6/27/20.

My unhappiness started early when HV told us that we could not take single carts, unlike every other course I’ve played over the past 2 months during this pandemic and with the rising COVID caseload in CA. I’m in a high-risk age group, but it was $20 extra for a single cart – VERY disappointing! No starter at the tee but we got off pretty much on time.

The first hole is brutal to start the round and sets the pace for the rest of the day. A couple years ago I was in a group that lost 8 balls on the hole – the group behind us must have been dreading the rest of the day. Starting with the first hole and continuing, fairway lies were spotty and inconsistent, and rough could be bare, bushy, or almost non-existent. I wasn’t in any traps, but playing partners complained and most traps looked like lightly groomed dirt. Sr714 had to drop from casual water in a greenside bunker on #16. Tees were very poor – almost all were torn up (we played White) and some were severely sloping to the rear of a right-handed golfer.

Greens for the most part were OK and the best part of the course. Generally good coverage and they held shots and rolled well. With the recent changes due to the pandemic it appears the course has slowed the greens down from what historically has been terrifying speed when going downhill – the green were much more puttable today, although downhill putts still required care.

The carts were pretty basic but did have a good GPS unit, which is useful with many of the blind shots encountered. But my cart had a problem with brakes – the emergency brake was hard to set, and even when set the cart would inch forward/backward on the steeper parking slopes, to the point where I just had to let it roll up against a curb before exiting.

As I said, the extreme slopes here all over the course are hard on my legs, and the resulting overall mode for me is stressful. I think I’ll pass on HV in the future – hopefully the course can address the conditioning and other issues going forward.
Back to one of my favorite courses in the OC for a Guru round with Johnny and others. Played a GK Cup match with Johnny and were joined by gary00 and aakes90278 – thanks to Gary and Michael for an enjoyable round. Based on other GK reviews, we might have been holding up the GK group behind us with our pace – sorry about that, guys! Sunny, warm weather with a little bit of breeze made for a pleasant afternoon.

As others noted, course conditions were good – greens were slowed down just a touch from some other previous visits where downhill putts could be terrifying. But I thought they rolled great and held shots well. Fairway lies were good and rough was not too deep to lose balls or be impossible to recover from. I was in 3 bunkers and sand was a little damp but easily playable, with problems only in areas that had a lot of earlier play (footprints).Tees were no problem.

We played White and tee markers were pushed to the front of many boxes, so it’s likely we came in under the 6.000+ yards listed on the card. A couple of strategic bunkers have been removed, including the fairway bunker in the middle of #14. GPS was good – an earlier review said they had been removed, but cart guy told me only some units had been removed to repair wiring. New carts scheduled to be delivered in July – we’ll see if the GPS units remain – they are very useful here.

Always a great day with other GKers, and BG is a favored stop. Recommended.
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