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Played Monterey Pines as a twosome and had a couple of pleasant regular players join up on the back nine. Pace still 4 hrs or less. Greens, bunkers, fairway and tees in great shape. It's been a sloppy holiday season here in NorCal and there were a few mud/tread marks in the fairways, but the turf was otherwise excellent. The ball sat up like a resort course in the fairway. Perfect 60+ degree day, light winds and sunny skies. The course is largely flat and very walkable (front nine more so). A couple of elevated par 3's on the front, and the back nine is definitely more exposed to the wind. The holes are close together but you don't get any sort of cramped feeling in the transition from green to tee. A good amount of thinking goes on from the tee box - driver isn't always the club on 4's and 5's - and the greens are challenging with speed and slope. The airplanes taking off right over head from the adjoining Monterey Airport are fun to watch. The other side of the course is county fairgrounds and RV parking. The greens this day were nearly perfect. Great service from the pro shop and bar and grill. A terrific value on a bad day, the early January weekday we played was superb. Have played it before and will play Monterey Pines again. Check it out.
8 Likes.
Been meaning to play this course for awhile and kicking myself for not making it happen sooner. Mid-week, morning tee time is the first test, as just getting there in Bay Area traffic was a challenge. Customer service was great in the pro shop, got out on time with three other players. First impression is the perfect looking fairways. All of the turf is the same color making depth perception difficult. There is no rough at all on this course, which makes the visual fairly stunning. The greens were excellent, rolled smooth as glass, but were not super speedy due to what appeared to be recent sanding and generous morning water. Didn't impair the enjoyment a bit. Watching the small airplanes take off from the adjacent airport is kind of interesting too. Wind was down this day, but was told it can kick up in the afternoon (the course is basically on the bay). Fairways were a joy to hit from, ball sat up like it was on a tee, rolled out well and, like the visual, were uniform throughout the course. Hard to miss a fairway as the they are wide and level, with the requisite links style mounds and moguls throughout. Fun par 3 (two are in the 230 range from the black tees) and 5 par fives. Big difference from the black to blue tees. Black is about 6800 yards and wind will make some holes play very long. Beside the wind, the only defense this course has are the undulating greens (a lot like Blackhorse/Bayonet in Monterey). Most are well protected by bunkers. If you are going to run a ball up to the green you better be accurate or like sand shots. Pace of play was OK (about 4.25 - 4.5 hours) with our foursome (2 good players and a terrific little kid with his mom watching from a cart). Great warm-to-hot weather day with low winds made for an extremely fun and rewarding round. Playing well helps, but the wide-links style fairways makes for a great day. Rode in a cart, but it is an easily walkable course. Nice bar/restaurant/clubhouse/merch. Check it out.
8 Likes.
Resort golf at it's finest - with a some tough shots (mostly off the tee) tossed in. A beautiful course (three nines), trees, trees and more trees, with some water/creeks to keep you from wailing away too much. Played the blacks, but we also had a senior playing the reds and he had a great time as well. We played the Thistle (short, pretty easy) and Pinecone (longer with those interesting tee shots). It's not long, but, because houses and roadside OB is prevalent, can be penal with wild tee shots. Their largest tournament of the year was literally leaving the course as we teed off around 2:30 on a Thursday in late July. Perfect weather (mid-70's, light breezes). Oh yeah, no driving range, just nets (yuck), but the putting an chipping areas were more than adequate and accurately portrayed the course greens. Greens, fairways, bunkers were very good. The greens were a joy to putt and must have been at their peak due to the big tourney, The hearty and lush fairway grass was some of the most pleasant I've played in a long time, well above average for typical daily fee golf. It's actually amazing how good the course looked considering the elevation of the Mt. Hood area (the town is "Welches"), the beating it must take from rain and snow. Was told the "Foxglove" nine was kind of soggy from recent rains, so we elected not to play that set. The Pinecone/Foxglove would be the most challenging 18. All in all a great day of golf (walked 9, rode 9) and could have easily walked the whole course. Very nice and accessible cart person, pro shop was very helpful renting clubs for my nephew and parking is a breeze. Didn't go into the restaurant. Great "mountain" course with tons of beautiful trees and views. It's fun; I'd play it again. Also recommend the funky "Brightwood Tavern" in the tiny town of Brightwood, just west of Welches.
4 Likes.
Plumas County is one of my favorite areas to play. Never played Grizzly Ranch but will definitely be back. The attractive cabin lodging was booked, but planning ahead a little earlier would have remedied that. The area is full of excellent courses and this is the best I have played so far (Nakoma will be in the rotation next trip, to go with Whitehawk Ranch and the venerable and fun Graeagle).

Grizzly is a big, brawny well thought out course with acres and acres of property in the mountains. We played as a 4-some on a Friday mid-morning and barely saw other golfers. That is mostly because the holes are so far apart (well spaced) due to the huge property. Hell, the long cart rides through beautiful forest from hole to hole is as interesting as any place I've played. The front 9 is longer and more difficult than the back. You will appreciate that after the two 600+ yard par 5's in the first 12 holes.

The basics: Great grass driving range and practice area with comp stripers. Beautiful scenery, tees are flat, lush and huge, which certainly helps with strategy. Great fairways and some large bunkers; greens smooth, fast but not ridiculous and held well-struck irons. If driver is your favorite club you will have a blast at this course. Best driving course I have played in memory and some of the most fun and challenging par 5s anywhere. Plays long from the green tees (about 6700+ yards) but is well worth the risk of taking driver often. Great drives are well rewarded because of the great fairway conditions here.

Super helpful staff at all levels, nice pro shop, snack bar, patio, etc. Got a NCGA discount (and only because they asked me!) Just a perfect golf getaway. Wish we scheduled this for two or three rounds. If I had to be critical about anything (and don't we all) it would be the old school loud, clunky but comfortable gas carts. Carts came with a cooler full of ice and a cold towel. You'd have to be nuts to walk this beast, so you are going to be dependent on the vehicle to get around. I walked a couple of holes for the heck of it and you will feel the altitude if you are a sea level habitant. I'm told their season ends late October, but could be extended with good weather. It is a green light destination for NorCal. Just play it.
9 Likes.
Played this course on a perfect 75-80 degree Saturday before the Super Bowl as part of a two day golf/grub/SBowl roadie vacation (Day 1 was Hunter Ranch). Today with a de facto fivesome (which they rightly don't allow. We had two riders, three walkers in the next tee time) started at ten and finished a little after 2:30. Busy morning at this muni which had a great buzz and vibe going. Didn't hit balls, but one of us said range was adequate and sort of half grass half not. Nice putting area, food service, pro shop.

Walked and carried (thewalkinggolfer.com has this as very walkable, I would say it is a bit tougher than that) and felt every year of my 57 by the uphill 18th green this day. Starts out flat and kind of easy, leading you to think, "we're going to tear this place up", but gets hilly and more difficult as the canyons swoop up and down. There are a few houses near the course but nothing intrusive. The views are basically SoCal trees and mountains to the east. Really nice.

Shortish on the card, but you have to place tee shots on the proper side to score well as big and old trees are the best defense the course has. Greens were real nice, fairly speedy and rolled true. Bunkers good or better and the fairway grass was consistent and hardy enough to perch your approach up giving confidence for the second shot. Wish we could grow this grass in NorCal. Some really short and long par 3's (that basically ruined a great scorecard for me this day) that are fun and perfect for degenerate gambling.

Pace was decent, we let one twosome through us all on the backside. Frankly the walk/carry was a bit more than expected and the sunny day made a slower pace acceptable and even appreciated. I'd play this great muni again any day. Bring your best wedge game and you'll have a blast.
13 Likes.
Played Poppy for the first time in new configuration on a warm January morning, teeing off at 11ish and finishing in 4.25 hours walking. The weather is as much the contest as the course in the Pebble area and today was no different. Warm air to start (55 degrees), then light rain for the front nine, turning into a cold misty rain and then dense fog for the remainder of the round. Fog was so thick at times that we had to yell to the group ahead of us to make sure we would not hit into the group. Either they quit on 17 or they are still out there lost in the fog. If someone is missing two Carmel teenagers, take a look around 16 green or 17 tee box. Last 4-5 holes played nearly blinded by white fog.

The course itself is beautiful and the manicured waste areas look nice, but are noticeable because of the different color earth. Not really a great look, but at least you know where you are. Didn't hit out of any of that, but partners said it was firm and playable.

The greens were beautiful to look at but played slow from start to finish. It is a true test to hit many of the greens that are crowned and ready to repel seemingly GIR approach shots. Hit short part 3 on the back only to see it spin a little, roll to the right fringe... and off the planet - gone down a creek canyon and into poison oak hell. My bad, won't do that next time. Stay left.

The fairways remained firm and fast and were a joy to hit from. Good yardage markers (no GPS in partners' cart). Bunker sand was wet but consistent and very enjoyable with no debris. Tee boxes were good and the rough was much easier than I recalled several years ago. Kind of a weird scorecard that 50-year old eyes struggled to read. Hey NCGA, go ahead and make those numbers bigger and darker, eh?

Not long from the #2 tee box, generous driving landing areas and many, many perfectly placed bunkers to suck in slightly off center tee balls. Great practice area, putting green, grill, pro shop. I walk/carried it easily with only a couple of holes having longish walks from green to next-tee. NCGA price was $100 for a Friday and it was a thoroughly enjoyable and unique day. Just don't ask me to describe many holes after the fog rolled in, I didn't see 'em. Visibility was less than 100 yards and frankly I was guessing where to hit my next shots (thanks 18th approach gully). Excellent course, worth the greens fees, car drive and day. Maybe check the weather if you want to take photos.
11 Likes.
I played with three friends at this wonderful golf club on a sunny Saturday between two wicked California storms the day before the super bowl during our annual holiday weekend trip. The setting is rolling hills among vineyards, creeks and other pleasant natural habitats. The course, as expected, was a bit soggy and was cart-path-only. I walked and found it was very walkable from the blue tees. Pace of play was four hours, with no push or wait.

I've played here twice in the past and found this winter round to be just as fun and challenging as the warm weather rounds played here. There are no repetitive holes or tee shots on this course, and as a person with limited time for the game, I find this very important in the assessment of all golf courses. The fairways, tee boxes and sand traps are all in good to very good condition. Standing water in only a few traps, and lift clean and cheat was necessary on only a couple of instances. The greens were a 10. Maybe due to the reduced amount of play because of the ridiculous rain we have been getting in CA, but still, minimal ball marks, true roll, great speed. A little local knowledge will go a long way here.

The clubhouse and bar & grill experience was top notch, parking easy, practice areas large and accessible. If you are in the Central CA 101 corridor this is a must play. Only negative - the directional signage on the 17th tee box. I couldn't figure it out, hit a Drumpf-crazy tee ball well left of the proper routing of the hole and threw up on my shoes to kind of wreck my card. Aim more right....
20 Likes.
San Juan Oaks is as good a reasonably priced public golf facility as you will find anywhere. Great practice areas (I've driven the hour each way just for extended range, chipping and putting work), clubhouse golf shop, beautiful restaurant & bar, and always excellent staff.

We played mid-week during a heat wave and with a raging wild fire (smoke in the air, particularly late in the day) an hour to the south in Big Sur and we were the last tee time on the sheet at 10:30 a.m. I'm sure those two factors were responsible for the meager turnout on such a fine summer day.

Once again, the practice areas and course met my high expectations and experience here. Tees and fairways were lush, well maintained and fun. The rough was cut down a bit and not as penal as usual. The set up can be wicked if they let that wet thick stuff grow. The greens were in great shape and rolled true, fast and have enough movement to send you muttering to the next hole if you don't pay attention. Just a blast to play this course.

The downside is the bunker situation. It appears they are letting them get hard (to hard-pan) without much upkeep, or weeding. We speculated that maybe a major overhaul is coming? I didn't check the website for info on that - maybe it's there. Cleats from my spikeless shoes didn't even make a mark and raking wasn't necessary other than the scuff mark made by the club. After a card crushing disaster I finally figured out how to not meet with said disaster and actually holed a "sand" shot (thanks to a stout flag stick, dead aim and some luck). But there is clearly an issue here. It is universal throughout this great course. I should have asked somebody about it. It did not detract (much) from the entire experience, but left us with questions and more than the usual sand trap head-scratching.

When we finished the bar was open and a bluesy rock band was playing in the main room; but no food service at all was to be had other than a fixed price menu of $32. The menu looked great, but we were looking more for a Sportsman's cocktail (check) and a burger than a chef's menu. It was late when we finished (5pm-ish) so they probably could merchandise the big menu better than the usual golfer grub. Went to the nearby bbq/burger joint and gave them our money instead. Seemed to be an odd business decision. All in all my favorite daily fee golf course in NorCal and the green parts of this place are, as always, top notch.
9 Likes.
I've played Seascape before but can't remember it being in such nice condition and my group having so much fun. My personal "Mendoza line" is "three dumb holes and you're out" and Seascape had little problem keeping that theory well at bay. The greens and fairways were the quality of courses in the area that set much higher green fees. The weather was perfect and probably a contributing factor toward the overall enjoyment of the day.

Hit a fairway and you will have a perfect lie most times. The ball sits up so nicely. Interesting layout, not long, but challenging. Lots of tiers and slope to fast-ish greens that will leave any level of player scratching their head and defend the course nicely. Pace was a big sluggish at times, but heck, it was such a great day and the place is so pretty to look at. Nice bar/restaurant (good burger), a convenient snack shack with dogs, etc. at the turn and a great cart person we saw several times during the round. Bring a 4 iron (or a good 200 yard club) for 3 of the the par 3s.
10 Likes.
Wow, two perfect (and that word doesn't do the weekend justice) golf days (Fri & Sat before the Super Bowl) at The Links at Bodega Harbor in Bodega Bay. Weather and course conditions were tremendous. Coming off heavy rain storms in the past month or so, the fairways were terrific with a couple of mushy exceptions here and there. Bunker sand was very good and traps well placed and challenging. Green speeds were quick without being too tough and rolled true. Pace of play got a little bogged down on Saturday, which clearly brought out a great many patient local and happy visiting players. Prices were very reasonable $60 (special) w/cart (and hot dog/chip at the turn - not my thing, but worth mentioning).

Don't let the yardages fool you - it's short on distance and very tricky to pull the right club or turn the ball in the right direction. Wind and elevation are your nemeses here. Like a 12th man in your face all day long.

With the luxury of hopping back into my buddy's cart, I walked most of the back nine and part of the front as they were such great days. Could walk the front but a lot of severe uphill holes to the top of the course. Views were off the charts. Could see forever in both directions, making it almost a distraction - in a good way. Liked the back better than front, notably because of the completely puzzling par 5 5th hole that I played by-the-book both days (par par) but still think I should have smashed a driver off the tee as it ultimately plays very short, whatever... The back nine offers a great opportunity to pull driver with generous fairways and plays through more unique looking houses until the differently beautiful and dangerous 16th and 17th holes. There you can make bird or completely ruin your shoes. The finishing hole reverts to a downhill blind tee shot and semi blind second (depending on pin placement) but is also a great way to finish with beautiful ocean and coastal views. Can't say enough about the location, service and condition of the course considering the recent weather. Go play Bodega Harbor and bring a camera. Plenty of rental options and things to do away from the course in Bodega Bay, Bodega, Tomales, Dillon Beach etc.
11 Likes.
Played Merlot/Chardonnay on a Wednesday morning in 5 hours. Pace slowed down on Chard, not sure why, it is the easier of the two. Great NCGA member rate (less than $60), great customer service, great practice facilities, grill snack bar, etc. Played white tees and found holes repeating in terms of distance and shape. Great day. Wind minimal, greens, tees, bunkers, fairways, views, all great. Very nice course and well worth the drive from San Jose. Pretty speedy greens with plenty of slope. Check it out.
11 Likes.
While it's not the toughest course, the Half Moon Bay Ocean Course on the day I played it again last week was visually stunning and had the most perfect weather I've ever seen on the San Mateo coastline. Played with a buddy and a single and got through 9 holes in an hour and a half. Back 9, which is more open with even better views, was about 2 hours. The greens were perfect and speedy. The ball actually rolled true & right where you aimed it - not always the case for public NorCal golf. Fairways were running nicely and looked great. Bunkers, tee boxes were 7.5 out of 10, but to be expected during this busy season. Not cheap, but worth it for a special occasion. Great customer service. A highlight was buddy snapped his tee ball on the 17th (short par three on a cliff high above the beach) onto the beach. Got to yell "fore" to people lazing on the sand who didn't know a nine iron from an iron door. A great day in Half Moon Bay. "Old Course" is next...
7 Likes.
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