Golf Course Reviews
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Played this morning 5/16, and was disappointed to see they have aerated again and sanded the greens. Not sure when they did it but seemed like a few days or a week ago. I was surprised because they had already punched and sanded in late March (?), and there was no notification about the maintenance when I booked. No idea why they felt like they had to punch again but oh well. Overall I guess it was fine but putts were extremely inconsistent in terms of line. Other parts of the course were fine. The rough is long again which is a penalty but still annoying because I lost a ball that really should not have been lost, just buried under grass and impossible to find. I would wait a few weeks to play Chester.
I played Chester Washington on Thursday 4/11, the first time in a while and a few weeks after they aerated the greens. The greens are healing nicely. You can barely see the punching grid pattern at this point and overall the greens rolled decently. You can't really blame missed putts on the aeration. The fairways are in the best shape I've EVER seen them, like perfect carpet with the right amount of give and firmness for both hitting irons and giving rollout on tee shots. Also, and this is a big story, the rough has been cut down to a reasonable length so balls aren't impossible to find when you miss a fairway -- haven't seen it like this ever either. Pace of play was surprisingly good -- we teed off at 8:40 and finished close to 12:30. I'm guessing in the next week the greens will pretty much be perfect, and I might get out again next week because I enjoyed it so much. Highly recommend Chester Washington right now.
Played on 2/17 first group out. Conditions are very good considering the recent weather. One thing to note is that the greens are exceptionally hard and fast, almost like they are compacting down. Approach shots will repel off the greens unless you aim for the very front. Just keep it in mind when you play and you’ll be fine.
Played Woodley at 7:10 on Saturday 10/21. Course conditions were decent, a little soggy and over-watered in some spots, but very playable. No signs of any aeration, so it seems that none of the city courses are doing it this season. Greens were slow from moisture when the day started but very even and putts held their lines well. They sped up just a bit with some sunshine but not a whole lot. They do look beautiful -- like carpet. Fairways were bare and brown in some spots so we played winter rules. I was only in two bunkers and they were both full of nice fluffy sand. Tee times are even harder to find when we lose daylight in the early mornings, so I'd give Woodley a chance if you can snag a time right now.
Just a quick note about the condition of the greens. I played Hansen on the morning of Thursday 9/21, and all the greens had been punched with very small holes. Most of the greens had the shallow-line type punches, and a few had small holes (3mm diameter?) that went straight down into the ground. It made the greens somewhat slow and unpredictable. No sand which was good. Mostly playable. That is all.
Played Balboa on Memorial Day at 6:40 am. First time in a few months as I stayed away during the very rainy season and waited until post-aeration to give it another try. I would say the course is decent and will probably play pretty nicely during the hot summer months. The two notable aspects at the moment are (1) the greens being quite slow, and (2) the rough being quite long and penal. But really the course is quite playable and the rough being long at least puts a premium on tee shots hitting the fairway. Bunkers were unraked and were lumpy like going to the beach, but hey at least there was plenty of sand in them. I recommend Balboa if you go into the round with the right expectations.
Played Verdes on Wednesday 5/24, 7:00 tee time. The course overall is in ok shape but to echo the prior review, the greens are really not great right now. On Wednesday, they were quite shaggy and slow, but the concerning part is there is some kind of growth that is spreading around to many of the greens that is creating a bunch of brown/orange spots almost like little potholes. They are at times 6-8 inches wide and makes the putting surface extremely bumpy and uneven. It’s not on all the holes but a good number of them (maybe 12/18?) especially noticeable on the back nine. Every other area of the course is playing fine. It’s a tough layout on the side of a hill so hitting fairways and getting an even stance is always tough. It would be a shame if they can’t figure out what’s going on with the greens.
Played Rancho yesterday (Thurs May 18). 6:10 tee time. Arrived at the first hole as a single and found another single waiting for our group. The group in front went out as a 3-some, and we were about to go out as two since no one else seemed to be joining us, but another single from the 6:30 tee time decided to jump ahead and join us. Unusual for such a busy course to have so many open slots but it was great for pace of play. Had a great time with a really nice group of strangers. The course is playing great. Greens are pretty much back to great condition, some were quite speedy. Fairways were really good with green grass and nice run out. The rough was penal in places. Bunkers had good sand. Overall it's great right now and would highly recommend.
Played Hansen Dam on Sat May 13, probably second or third group out at 5:50 am. The course is playing pretty nicely right now, with the greens maybe needing just another week or two before returning back to their normal above-average conditions. You can just barely see the punch marks from aeration season and there's just a little sand remaining in your pockets at the end of the round. But otherwise things are really good and the putting is just fine. Fairways are mostly green and lush, and the rough is not too penal. I wasn't in any bunkers all day so can't comment but they looked fine. Definitely recommend the course right now.
This review is a week late but figured this course hasn’t been reviewed in a while and it’s worth an update. I played on 5/11 Thursday, my first time since the course was under water from all the rains. Happy to report that the course is playing like it used to. Fairways were mostly nice to play from, no more standing water, and generally very green. The greens were also in good shape, had been lightly sanded a few days before but otherwise very puttable and nice rolls. The bunkers were pretty poor, some with standing water in them and all pretty thin and/or muddy. But the course is definitely playable and I might play again in a few days.
Played Encino on Saturday 4/29 early morning. First time since the heavy rains earlier this year, and wanted to see how the greens were healing since aeration a few weeks ago. The course overall is looking pretty nice. Tee boxes were just ok, but fairways were really nice and green. The rough is pretty penal which seems to be how every course is at the moment, so getting drives into the fairway is worth it. The greens are doing pretty well but probably need about 1 or 2 more weeks before they are perfect. Right now they are quite shaggy and slow, and pretty bumpy. It’s definitely playable and enjoyable but putts are somewhat inconsistent and will move in different directions depending on which part of a recovering aeration hole you may hit on the way towards the hole. The putting surfaces aren’t too sandy though which is a great thing. And the fairways are so good right now it’s worth playing for sure. Pace was a little slow because we started to run into the back nine folks on the second half of the round but finished in around 4 hrs 10 mins so not terrible.
Played Wilson on Thursday 4/27 for the first time in several months. Was curious to see how the greens were healing after aeration a few weeks ago, and I'd say that they need a couple more weeks. Visually the greens looked pretty good, a little bumpy, but they played rather slow (and bumpy) and still quite sandy. It was pretty wet when we teed off at 6:05 am, so the greens felt especially slow when mixed with the sand that was still apparent on the surface. The one thing is that approach shots into the green would just land and stop, so they were very receptive and you could simply go at pins without too much worry that the ball was going to get repelled off into the rough. In some ways it made the greens easier to navigate than usual, but in our group not a single person made a putt longer than 4 feet so that's the other side of it. The fairways were pristine all around the course, but the rough needs to be cut down a bit. A number of times our balls were hard to locate in the rough and quite penal to hit out of. Pace was excellent with such an early tee time on a Thursday -- about 3h:45m and quite a leisurely pace. This is a great course that will be just about perfect in 2 weeks I imagine.
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