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Played in the combined GolfMoose/GK outing at Morgan Run Resort on 9/20/21, teeing off with the shotgun start at 10am on a beautiful clear, sunny day with light winds. There were several groups of GKers in the event and I didn’t meet any new people, as the setup contributed to a show up/play/leave type of day. Minimal effort by the resort to welcome players, engage participants, extend services, or generate future interest.

Morgan Run is a flat, walkable course set in a broad floodplain; the layout/setting reminded me of some of the older Palm Springs-area resort courses. Overall the layout and surrounds are scenic, with some large older homes set along the margins and higher up on the river escarpment.

Played with Gary, Perry, and Sal, a great group. We were able to commiserate with each other on the sticky rough, steep-faced bunkers, and many putts sliding by the hole. Greens were generally moist and lush, with consistent speed and good coverage; only a couple of random greens were more dry/firm and had thinner coverage. There are plenty of bunkers fronting these greens, with good sand that is usually damp in the bottom. Many greens had soft, wet conditions in the front run-up to the putting surface, not conductive to running the ball on during approach.

Rough was sticky and ate up any roll. Mounding along some holes and areas around green entries had longer, juicy rough – we “found” several balls on these mounds just by stepping on balls other golfers were unable to find. No GPS or book; only difficult-to-see fairway plates and some path markings, so bring your own yardage tools.

The 1-hcp hole (on the North 9) is a brute – >400 yards, an elevated plateau green; heavy rough in a swale area in front of the green; a very narrow ‘ramp’ entry that doesn’t really let you run the ball on; and a deep, sloping green. Easily the toughest hole on the 18 we played. (The East course greens had been sanded and that 9 was closed.)

Plenty of waiting after the first few holes, with the stack-up on the South #6 tee the worst, for whatever reason. POP just over 5 hours.

Great company, pleasant conditions and surrounds, an old-style course without any really interesting holes. Recommended, but not a destination play.
Played El Dorado Park GC on Thursday, 9/2/21 in a practice round and Wednesday, 9/8/21 in an SCGA qualifier. Played the Blue/White combo listed on the course scorecard (6,331/70.2/125). Thursday weather (late afternoon) was sunny and clear with light, steady winds. Wednesday (8am) started clear and sunny, got overcast, then busted out the sun again on the back nine. Wind on 9/8 was never really a factor. Like the other Long Beach courses it’s all kikuyu all the time here. The course is basically dead flat and an easy walk. Most of the greens are pedestal greens pushed up from the fairway grade and fronted by traps. A few holes have ponds adjacent to the line of play and a couple holes are fronted by creeks.

Green were generally in good condition, with good coverage and rolling at medium+ speed. Way too many old unrepaired ballmarks. Fairways were generally OK with scattered bare areas. Rough was cut fairly low and was generally pretty benign, but lies were chancy in clumpy areas and further from the fairway (and under trees) you could get large bare dirt areas or thick grass. Tees were spongy and badly needed to be cut closer. Traps were terrible – all traps are basically damp cement with no playing layer, machine dragged to smooth the surface. You are probably better off chipping from the greenside traps, rather than risking a blade rocket. On 9/8, the course had put some effort into generating a miniscule playing layer in the bunkers – I managed to avoid them; you should also.

Joined an internet golf group I belong to at Tijeras Creek GC on Monday. 9/6/21, at 320pm. We teed off on time (starter had it all under control) and finished in 4+ hours, finishing #18 just at dark.

The entire course was pretty damp - turf throughout had a “just-watered” look. Greens were very soft and receptive, with good coverage and rolled at medium speed, but all had lots of old unrepaired ballmarks. Fairways were a crapshoot, generally thin with some good lies but frequently we encountered semi-bare or bare areas. Rough was 2-3 inches deep and sometimes better than the fairway to hit from. Sand with adequate playing layer but pretty wet; rakes were out and the course also puts a rake on the cart(!). Tees were OK – the Blue/White markers were pushed forward; after about 4 holes we figured out that the White tees were on the Green markers (5,797/67.9/120).

Carts with a very nice interactive TFM GPS; but it doesn’t show other carts locations, which would help on some of the blind shots encountered. Some sprinkler heads are marked, and there are 200/150/100-yard plates in the MOF. The course uses an entry/exit gate system to manage cart wear on entries to the fairways. Water jugs were available!! We saw lots of deer on the back 9!

Course is very playable right now.
Joined my high school buddy for a round here after at 130pm on 8/31/21 taking a few weeks off after the heat wave down at San Vicente Resort. Weather in SoCal has been strange this summer with hot periods interspersed with overcast cooler monsoon weather, and we were lucky to catch a very pleasant afternoon. Course was steady busy and we teed off on time and finished in just under 3.5 hr on this shorter, par 60 course. Paired with two locals who knew each other and yakked the entire 18 holes, to the point where we were 1.5 holes behind on #7, but we picked up the pace after I said something. Still don’t know how you can play golf in flip-flops!

Course conditions were pretty good. Greens were receptive with good coverage and rolled at medium+ speeds; they were getting a little bumpy as the day wore on. Unfortunately found many unrepaired ballmarks. Fairway lies were mostly OK with scattered bare areas; rough was cut fairly short and was benign. Kikuyu around the greens made chips and pitches challenging, especially for my wedge disability. I wasn’t in a bunker but they looked OK and rakes were out. Many of the tees are sloping and need leveling.

Hole #9 continues to bedevil me and there’s no good way to play it, with the hole bisected by the huge drainage ditch 100 yards short of the green on the 315 yd hole. The problem is that anything more than 150 off the tee is on the downslope of the ditch, cut as bushy rough to keep you out of the creek but you are on a steep downhill lie to an elevated green. I hit 9-iron off the tee to stay on the flat but that left a 4-iron to the green, and had misadventures in the kikuyu border, so lots of frustration on this hole. And most of the “layup” area severely slopes to the left so even a layup has no guarantee of a good lie. I think the course needs to look at modifying the slopes with a series of benches that will preserve the flood control aspects of the ditch (the reason it’s there in the first place) while giving golfers more options to play the hole.

Overall a relaxing play.
Played with the GK Gurus at 240pm on Thursday, 8/5/21. Read Robert’s (roarksown1) detailed review that captures all my thoughts as well. My first time here and checking out last year’s renovation of the greens. I like the look and presentation of the greens/traps complexes and like the variety you find in the course. Very scenic setting but you’ve got to be able to control your ball on approaches. New greens are very firm and you must take that into account when planning your approaches. Unfortunately we also saw a LOT of unrepaired ballmarks, especially on the back nine, some within a foot or two of the hole (!). Greens have a lot of subtlety and repeated plays are needed to know how and where to approach various pin positions. A definite recommendation and I’d like another crack at the course (hopefully in cooler weather!!).
The potential GK Guru round didn’t ever happen, but I found a GN Hot Deal for $59 at 10:50am on Thursday, 7/22/21, and was joined by GKer tocho261 on a hot clear day with not too much wind. We joined a local buddy twosome and had an enjoyable round.

As earlier reviewers noted, the course is currently in very good condition. Greens were receptive and were watered/soft enough to show recent ballmarks. They rolled well at medium+ speed. Fairways are also being cared for and evidence of watering is distinct – fairway lies were generally good, although there are scattered areas that are thin or bare. Large areas on some holes look to be recently groomed/seeded – these areas need to be marked as GUR to keep carts/players off them and allow the turf to grow in. Much less in terms of roped off areas than when I was here in April, which helps with accessibility for the mobility-challenged. You can tell the course is getting water as we saw deer in two places, rabbits and roadrunners, and scattered coyote scat.

Rough here is variable but was generally pretty short. Bunkers had rakes (!) and were playable with a thin layer over a damp, packed base. No problems with tee except the Blue tee on #11 was very lumpy and uneven.

Starter Frank was very efficient. We saw the cart girl 3 times on the front, but not at all on the back. It was hard to tell if play was backed up or the group in front of us was just slow – we finished the front nine in ~2.5 hr, and just over 4.5 hr overall. I will note that holes 1-5 here can really bite you and slow down play with lost balls.

Met up with GKer tocho261 to play a GK Cup 17 match of dueling big-metal left knee braces at Goose Creek GC on a warm, cloudy afternoon, 6/29/21. A nice breeze kept things from getting too hot. Teed off on time around 2pm on time as the course was crowded and played in just over 4 hours, getting behind a group on the back nine playing the tips. I played from the White (III; don’t get me started!) tees (6,150/69.4/122) and Tom played the Blues (IV; 6,560/71.2/126). Course is getting back to normal with no mask requirement, inside check-in, 2 players per cart, sand bottles on carts, rakes in bunkers, and pins can be pulled. No water jugs out yet, though. No drink cart today.

The course is in very good condition everywhere. My biggest concern was the greens. The large putting green in the practice area looked almost burned up showed many areas trending toward almost bare conditions. The front side greens were a lot like that. We discovered while playing that the course has recently verticut and rolled the greens on the back nine. Compared to the front, these greens are softer, slower, and bumpier. All of us had challenges adjusting to the new conditions; everyone generally left putts short on the back side, and putts tended to wiggle all over the place. The back nine really showed up the unrepaired ballmarks, although we saw many on the front nine as well. Fairway lies were good. Rough was generally short, dry, and easy to play from. Tees were flat and bunker sand was good.

Goose is always recommended.
Wanted to get some swings in this week, and the Players course is sadly closing after June 27th, so I booked an 1130am tee time on Wednesday, 6/23/21 to play here one last time. Always sad when a golf course closes, especially one that is nicely located and a good play. I was joined by GKer caligolfer1031; we paired up with a M/F friends team and had an enjoyable round in about 4.5 hours. Weather was warm and sunny with a light breeze early and more wind on the final few holes; the course was busy when we arrived and departed.

Conditions are pretty standard Mile Square and the course is still very playable. As an earlier reviewer stated, MS is getting the jump on closing by starting to install fence posts along and thru some holes – the future course will be a combination of some existing Classic holes and other areas that are being combined into new holes, so there will be some continuing construction and realignment. We were told there was a drawing of the future routing available in the pro shop, but I didn’t see anything on the MS website. We were disappointed that MS has already bulldozed the tees on hole #1 and the hole was playing up at 220 yards – really, you couldn’t wait another week?! And there are some minor detours and other construction activity going on thru the course.

Greens are still in very good condition and roll smoothly at medium+ speed. Some greens are more firm than others, with the differences primarily in the green fronts, which were very soft on some holes. Fairway lies were generally OK but there are areas that are thin/dry where it looks like watering has been cut back. Same for the rough. Sand in the bunkers was adequate, although most are fine sand and pretty tightly packed. Most tees are level.

This is a relaxed play where scattered water, plentiful sand, and challenging wind provide most of the interest. Sorry to see another local course bite the dust.
Joined other GKers for a GK Plays here 6/6/21, teeing off in the first group at 1:30pm. We were behind a couple groups of what looked like beginners, so the front nine moved very slowly, getting some relief when one of those groups quit after #9 (or maybe it was just the #9 green design and the front-nine pin locations!).

Weather conditions were what I think is typical at Olivas in the summer – partly sunny and mild, a steady ocean breeze, and cooling off quickly as coastal clouds roll in late afternoon. We found the course to be in wonderful condition. Greens were excellent, holding shots and rolling nicely at medium+ speed. Fairway lies were great. Rough was variable and if you got too far afield it could be bare, thin, patchy, or impossible to find. I think our group was only in 1 bunker all day. Tees were fine.

With the SoCal drought condition and a dry summer in sight, it’s unlikely the wetlands and lakes on the course will see much water soon. I’ve seen Olivas much tougher on offline shots with real water hazards and juicy rough that is tough to recover from. Always enjoy playing here and wish it was closer to Orange County.
The bones of a top-level course are there but the flesh is wanting. I’d been wanting to get out here since the old Moreno Valley Ranch course was opened back up as Rancho del Sol GC, after being closed for several years. The old Valley/Mountain 9s are currently being used. I met up with GKer Circaflex for a GK Cup match.

Booked thru the course website for 10:50am on Sunday, 5/30/21, for $64, and found that the course books their times thru GolfNow. We got out there early as traffic was light, and found that there is no driving range as that area is currently being graded for residential development. The construction only impacts the first and last holes of the old Mountain 9, so holes 10 and 18 on the current card. A large new putting green is in great shape and rolls very nicely (a little faster than the on-course greens). We were surprised that the course was not that busy on this holiday Sunday, so we were able to get out early and were never pushed from behind, catching the group in front of us on hole #6 and moving behind them thereafter, finishing in about 4 hours.

Greens were easily the best part of the course – you can tell that’s where they are putting their money. They looked good, had good coverage, and accepted shots well, rolling at medium speed. Fairways were pretty uniformly thin, dry, and had clumpy grass, with scattered bare areas. Lies were tight but generally OK. Rough was wildly variable, from bare dirt to some areas of think clover/grass. Overall the surrounds are very dry, and offline shots could easily run long distances into trouble. I wasn’t in any bunkers, but Kevin said they were generally OK. I noted that the sand in the greenside bunker on hole #0 looked very deep and fluffy. Tees were thin but almost all level.

There’s a definite overwhelming construction look around clubhouse area; the golf shop/snack bar/restrooms are currently in trailers next to closed clubhouse, and as noted the range has been bulldozed and graded. Driving in from the 18th green, there appear to be mostly new windows in clubhouse, so they may be getting it ready to try to reopen it, rather than tear down/build anew. Snack bar had a limited and poor selection of beverages.

Basic carts with no GPS or ball washer/club cleaner, and I don’t remember seeing ball washers on the tees. Friendly staff, and we saw cart girl a several times, and a ranger a couple times on the front side. The course definitely needs a big cash infusion to upgrade infrastructure and get conditions improved. That would bring it back closer to what it used to be and help generate more playing interest. That’s not likely to happen until real estate sales kick in and generate the cash needed. Hopefully, the new owners will consider improvements to the course to be in their long-term interest.

A fun and challenging play, and we’ll hope for improving conditions going forward.
Met up with GKer AndrewZ28 for a GK Cup match at 2:51 pm on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, 5/25/21, a sunny afternoon with surprisingly little wind for this course. The kikuyu is lushing up at the end of Spring and it’s wall-to-wall at San Clemente. Greens are pretty firm and look dried out, but hold shots pretty well. I thought they rolled pretty good – just ask Andrew! Fairway cuts are short and fairly tight, but the ball sits just fine. Rough has been cut low in most places and is easy to play from. I wasn’t in a bunker – AZ said a fairway bunker he was in was fine, but greenside he ran into footprint/grooming problems. Rakes were in bunkers so we played it down. Tees were OK but a few sloped to the back of a righthanded golfer, and boxes on #1 and #12 were being resodded.

Basic carts. Divot mix (sand) on the carts and refill barrels scattered around the course. Pace was good until we ran up against a backup on #13 and things slowed down – we finished in ~4.5 hr. San Clemente always seems to be in pretty good shape, and is very good right now.
I’ve been wanting to get out to Steele Canyon GC for over 30 years, and I think I re-remembered the main reasons I HAVEN’T been here before – it’s a hump and a half from my house (100 miles one-way) and the road system in east/south San Diego is a looney bin! Weekends are already bad, but between traffic, construction, a wrong turn, and general remoteness, it took me almost 3 hours to get here around noon on Saturday, 5/22/21, for a GK Cup match with GK legend lotrgolfer48. It was his first time here also, so we learned the hard lessons of the course together.

Check-in was easy with the shop and clubhouse open. Matt had picked up a GolfNow twilight deal for only $60 each, far lower than the non-res rate for me. Clubs from the bag drop were staged up to the cart area. The starter was friendly and helpful. I arrived too late to use the driving range or putting greens (both open; no flags in PG cups). Basic carts with no GPS, but sand bottles provided and plenty of refills. We were paired with a local father/son and were moved to the busy first tee a little early. We played the Vineyard/Canyon rotation (Blue tees; 6,144/70.4/132) on this 27-hole layout. The Vineyard 9 has generally much less elevation change and sloppiness than the Canyon 9. The latter lives up to its name, playing up into the foothills below McGinty Mountain, with holes pushed up against canyon slopes and long drops off some tees. Matt made some observations of similarities to some aspects of Eagle Glen and Hidden Valley that we had played in the past having similar terrain and challenges.

Greens were the most consistent part of the course. Coverage is good, but all greens were extremely firm and quick, and with many elevated or pedestal greens the conditions eliminated some types of approaches and made pitching/chipping challenging. Full shots generally released; some released quite a bit. Unfortunately, most greens showed a lot of old ballmarks. As we got up into the higher canyon elevations, the fast greens got a little silly. As Matt said in his Cup recap, he putted off the green on Canyon #3 as the downhill/downcanyon putt just kept going and picked up speed.

Fairway coverage was generally OK but the turf is very thin and tight, and the ball most often sat close. Conditions in fairways were very dry – divots taken with crisp irons resulted in an explosion of dry soil. Rough was variable between thin/dry/bare and some areas of fairly lush growth. This was especially problematic around the pedestal greens where being able to elevate a wedge pitch to the hard green surfaces was often difficult or unlikely. Tees were dry and thin but were level. Most of the traps had adequate material, although at least 1 that I was in was very fluffy, and some (Canyon hole #7) were all almost devoid of sand and very wetted, resulting in my shot bouncing out of the bunker.

The back 9 (Canyon 9) was tough for me with a lot of up/down walking on steep slopes as the cart path was often well below or above the playing areas. We encountered the legendary SCGC magic elves on Canyon hole #4, the downhill par-5 with a 100+-foot drop to the fairway off the tee – Matt sailed his ball well up on the slope to the right of the fairway, and I pulled my drive along the treeline on the left side, audibly hitting the cart path. Somehow our golf balls ended up in the middle of the fairway only yards apart! Scary! But - thank you, elves!

Local knowledge and some repeated plays are required to have a better idea of lines to take and how to play approaches and around the greens. The severe firm greens/substantial slopes on the course make the “fun factor” tough for the normal recreational golfer. Looking back on the match, I know there are several instances where a different approach to shots played would have worked better, if I was more familiar with the course. I’d be up for playing Steele Canyon again to see the Ranch 9 and to try to score better than yesterday, but any future plays might be held back by the challenges of just reaching the course.
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