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Played here, first time, 9/11/20.

Really enjoyed the course, and given this place had been closed for several years, and has only been opened for a few weeks, I thought condition was very good. Certainly rough around the edges, but if I'm only rating the course, 'between the ropes' so to speak, was impressed, and will not nit pick a great deal. Glad to see the course open.

No driving range here, but a nice putting green next to where starer is. A short cart drive under thru the tunnel, and off you go.

As mentioned in other recent reviews, soggy in spots, especially on the front. I hope the course can keep the cart traffic under control a little better, (i.e. Install enter and exit signs to fairway, or ask for 90 degrees with carts) otherwise, they may lose larger sections of the turf to mud and deep cart tracks.

Tee boxes were very good, level and good coverage, but a good amount of unrepaired divots.

Fairways were a little greener than described in recent posts. I found them to be well covered, and green, but again, too wet in spots. Very little roll, and some balls that nearly plugged and bounce backwards.

Greens were excellent, smooth, rolling nicely, with dense coverage. Too soft in spots, so again, deep ball marks which are tricky to repair adequately. Very nice green complexes throughout. I'll repeat the previous opinions: The highlight of the course. A pleasure to play on.

Bunkers were not raked well, but as my temporary (albeit, slightly illegal) solution has been, during the low sand maintenance period caused by an epidemic, I simply move a little sand around to create a decent lie and play it from there.

I really enjoyed the layout, the challenge, and even though some distractions with construction, and areas of neglect around the course, will give it another try very soon.

Beverage cart out, and on course Ambassador was visible and doing a nice job keeping the pace going.

From what I understand, the old buildings will be taken down, and the original 3rd (9) will be transformed into foot and disc golf. I'll look forward to the process improvements, but still can recommend play now.
7 Likes.
Played here Thursday 8/27/20.

Overall in good shape but overly soft and wet. I counted 6 balls that completely plugged (near green and just off fairway).

Tee boxes were chewed up, lots of un-repaired divots. I've always felt it is a 50/50 responsibility between players and course crew. and I think players are failing badly at filling / repairing divots on tee, fairways and greens.

Fairways were thin matted down grass in many areas, on top of soft ground or mud, to the point my group of 4 decided to play the ball up (lift, clean, replace) on the back side. I hit several approach shots from fairway with mud on the ball on the front side.

Greens were also super soft, and while they (obviously) held shots, were slow and only smooth in spots. Many ball marks throughout, made for difficult day putting. Pool noodles in cups, which is less than desirable but I understand.

Bunkers were very good, with only a couple of exceptions. Full of sand and raked well. Course provided a rake on every cart as part of the covid protocol.

Fun layout with front 9 more tree lined through homes, which do not come into play. Back nine though a much more natural setting and plays about 300 yards less from blue tees.

Patio open for lunch ad drinks, was a big plus. Very good service throughout.
10 Likes.
Played here, first time, 8/12/20.

After playing at the very green, lush, tree-lined, lake view Coeur d'Alene, I made the 3 hour drive, west, on mostly 2-lane highway, to Gamble Sands. I knew going in, what to expect here. A links style David McLay Kidd design, which would be a completely different experience than the day before. As expected, it was, in many ways.

I still can't quite figure out if I enjoyed this course or not. Mixed with some elevation changes, blind shots, and fast, super firm turf (and more left to right winding holes than any other), I left somewhat puzzled and somewhat disappointed, but also had an eagerness to play again, armed with more intelligence and strategy.

I chose the Sands combo tee set (Back and Regular combination) at about 6400 yards. I think course will always play shorter than yardage with the firmness of the fairways. Course stretches to 7227 at the tips. I had excellent weather, warm, and breezy as the day went along. Started at 840am.

Conditions:

Tee Boxes were excellent, and many tee options to choose from. As with every other part of this course, tee boxes are firm and firmer. (I bought the yardage book in Pro Shop and recommend for first time out, although fairways have a good number of easily located markers.) Even with fairway markers, you'll benefit from the book and the slope / hill indicators.

Fairways were the fastest and firmest I've ever played. Great for runout and extra distance, however, that extra distance can sometimes lead you directly into a very difficult fairway bunker. I saw a few dead straight, down the middle drives from my group, that ran and ran and ran, right into trouble. (One frustrating aspect). One the other hand, it lend to a nearly 380 yard drive on #18. So some give and take.

Greens were again, as firm as I've ever played. Starter warned all of us to play 20-30 yards short and don't attempt to fly shots to the pin. He was right. Green complexes are gigantic, and in a lot of cases, you could putt from 30-50 yards out or even more. Easy to get GIR, but difficult to 2 putt, as you are likely to have many 100 footers for birdie, and many 8-10 footers for par.

Bunkers were difficult and some had many small stones in them. Conditions of sand varied a lot. First greenside bunker at #2, was deep (as most are) with wet dark dirt. Others were much lighter and drier. Avoid if you can.

The layout is the tricky part to assess fairly. As mentioned above, I'd like to play a second round, the day after the first time here, as it'll get you to thinking your way around better. I arrived the night before my round, and played the next morning, however, I'd suggest staying at the resort guest rooms 2 nights, and play the course, at least twice.

Lots of twists and turns, a few odd blind approach shots, sometimes from the middle of the fairway, and a 160 yard par 3, 4th, which if you follow the Pro Tips in the yardage book, requires a firmly struck PUTT (?!). I didn't notice the recommendation when I teed up an 8 iron, and now wish I could go back, just to try the putter off the tee. Very low rating and slope from the Sands tee (69.4 / 111) and I'm guessing next time I'll be more efficient, but I did not find the course to be that easy.

There are very nice rooms available on site, right next to a huge, and fun 18 hole putting course which offer a west facing view of the Columbia River, and great sunsets. I stayed in one of the 37 available, very well appointed rooms.

There is another 14 hole short course to be opened soon (Quick Sand), and from what I understand, would have already been completed if not for the C19 annoyance.

As I write this review, I've now decided, I'll certainly give it another try, stay a couple of nights, and play twice. Great food at the Danny Boy Grill near 18th hole. Get a group of (4) and enjoy. Not a particularly easy location to get to, but I recommend for all, and especially for those that enjoy treeless, link-style, close to ground play.
13 Likes.
Played here 8/11/2020.

First time here, but this has always been on my must play list. Flew into Spokane, easy flight from LAX. 35 Minute drive from Spokane airport, to CDA.

First impressions were as great as I expected. Course sits right on a beautiful lake, pine trees and green grass throughout. I love the smell of pine and cedar in the morning. Friendly staff / caddie to greet you in parking lot. You'll see the famous floating green as you walk towards proshop for check in.

Huge selection of gear in the ProShop. Again friendly check-in. Pricey ($250), but overall, I thought it was worth the fee. Price includes caddie fee, range balls, cart, and 5-minute pre-round sitting massage, outside adjacent to driving range. That's correct, a nice warm up massage before you play.

Conditions were excellent throughout.

Very well maintained grass driving range, with, again, the famous 14th always in view. The range is set up to hit balls into the lake, and are the limited flight variety, so adjust your pre-round intel based on that. (Was explained in the ProShop, so no surprises). Large putting green and good chipping area, all right next to range, as well.

Tee boxes were near perfect, level and lush. Variety of tees to choose from. I chose Tan as did my playing partners. (Short, at 6000, but still plenty of fun and challenge).

Fairways also excellent condition. Amazing bent grass, which IMO, is the best surface to play from. You'll see un-repaired divots, unless you are the very first group out,, but policy here is to leave them alone, and as Caddie (Gus) explained, they 'pay people to take care of those', so all good there.

Bunkers were excellent as well, very full with slightly heavier sand than I was expecting. Quite deep greenside bunkers, penal, in a fair way, but try to avoid.

Greens were firm and fast, and mostly smooth. I didn't stick and bite many shots. Seemed best to play a little short of hole to avoid runoff to back of green. Our Caddie was very good with dispensing caution when needed.

The layout is interesting and fun. After a mild downhill, downwind par 5 to start, back into the breeze towards the lake for tough par 4, then three par 3's out of the next four holes (3,5, and 6). The par four 4th was very short dogleg right to left, and only required a mid iron to landing zone. From 7-18, much longer and tougher, with all inward holes towards the lake, always into the prevailing wind. 13 is a very cool short par 4 (280-340) with lake to left, and water crossing twice, from tee to green.

On to the famous floating 14th. On this day, quite windy cornering from left to right (worst wind for a right handed player, especially with short left pin), only playing about 135, but with wind about 150. I hit the green on first tee shot...barley. Tee shot held line along left edge and made the surface by about 3 feet. Chip and putt for 3. (I was allowed to hit another shot, and actually found the green again on right side. The most fun hole I've ever played)

Caddie was very helpful (one caddie for the four players) and pleasant. I didn't hang around much after round, as I had a 3-hour drive west to Gamble Sands, for a round there, the next day. (I'll post review asap)

Loved this course, and will try to get back again.
Enjoy.
18 Likes.
Played here Monday 8/3/20.

Played all (3) nines.

Very good conditions throughout with exception of 3 greens on the Valley 9, which had a small portion of the surface in bad shape. That, however, did not take away much, from overall conditions.

A few tee boxes were a little long and in need of cutting, but most were good.

Fairways were very good throughout, and rough was long, a had a few over-watered and soggy in spots.

As mentioned above, with exception of 3 greens on Valley, I thought greens on Desert and Mountain were excellent.

Enjoyed the layouts of all 3 nines, with good variety, elevation changes, and challenge of each.

Good service in clubhouse. No on-course cart today.

Recommend.
10 Likes.
Played here, first time on 7/13/20.

After playing 18 at Eagle Crest, stopped by Reidy Creek for first time to play the 18 hole, par 3 course.

Overall, excellent condition.

Very friendly and well managed clubhouse. Card payment only on this day, no cash.

Not a pushoever par 3 course by any means. From blue tees, only one hole under 100 yards, all others 115 plus, and 8 of those are 150-190 range.

Fun course, walked in 90 degree heat, but for only $12 (an error in judgment on my part to walk, given a couple of long transitions from green to tee, and only an hour after completing 18 holes in the morning)

Greens were excellent, a little soft, but very receptive. Rolled very well. Sneaky tough pin placements throughout, which added to the challenge. A couple of semi blind tee shots also added to the difficulty. Cool double green for holes 12 & 14.


Tee boxes were also very good / excellent. In most cases, I just dropped ball on the grass and played like a fairway approach.

Bunkers firm, packed. As with Eagle Crest earlier in the day, I 'created' decent lies in bunker by loosening up a little sand a playing it that way, rather than drop outside of bunker.

Very much enjoyed this course, will try again when in the area, and with more energy than I had on this day.
10 Likes.
Played here, first time, 7/13/20.

Most of what is described in previous review, is still accurate. Greens are the highlight, although a couple were marked up significantly with divot / ball damage.

I'm assuming the standard 14th hole tee was back in play, as previous review mentioned it was changed to short par 4. Played on this day as downhill, big left to right dogleg par 5.

Some fun interesting holes but firm, dry fairway conditions made for difficult control off the tee.

Bunkers were still in poor condition, but I 'created ' good lies by loosening some sand. I'd rather play out of the bunkers, so creating a lie (albeit completely illegal as the rules of golf are concerned) made more sense than dropping a hard pan outside the bunker.

Very friendly service in Pro Shop. Well protected and managed within the C-19 guidelines.

I can imagine this could be a much more enjoyable course if conditions improved.
9 Likes.
Played here 7/9/2020.

As one of my top 5 favorite courses I've played in SoCal, always a treat to play here, albeit a long drive from Brea. If this course was closer, I'd -play it every week.

Great links style design, in a canyon setting. mostly flat and a course where local knowledge and ability to play creative shots around the green is a must. Premium on approach placement to get best angles into the greens.

Excellent condition throughout.

Tee boxes level and lush.

Fairways fast and firm, a little thin / tight in spots, but overall very good.

Greens (and huge aprons around greens, which play as fast as the green itself), excellent condition, although seemed a little slower than I recall, later confirmed by two RC regulars I played with. Still rolled nicely, but necessary to play shots low to the ground. High pitch and wedge shots are not the optimum shots around here. Fall offs on most greens and getting out of position on the green can make for very tough two-putts. Love the undulating and rolling green complexes. The highlight of the course, IMO.

Bunkers are designed to be natural rugged and deep. Played from two with good sand among wispy grass. very good condition, but very penal.

Great service inside and out. Beverage cart out and around often.

Played back 9 first on this day, which is the much longer, tougher side. It may be a slight advantage to play the back side first as prevailing winds create for some long tough shots into the wind on the back, later in the day.

Highly recommend as always, IMO the best value (quality and design to cost ratio) in the area.
11 Likes.
Played here 1st time on Saturday 6/6.

Overall conditions were below average to poor, especially on the greens.

Check in was easy, very friendly staff inside proshop, however, did find water and an unopened can of red bull in with warm water in the onboard cooler, prior to heading down to driving range.

Range was open but grass was quite long although very green and lush.

Encountered a fairway bunker on 1st fairway, which had some standing water on small pebbles, Very thick stick red clay in this bunker. Other bunkers which I found greenside had softer white sand, however, again lots a small pebbles and even dime sized small rocks.

Tee boxes were chewed up with many unfilled divots, especially bad on the par 3 tees.

Fairways in general were good to very good..in spots, but brown and dormant in others.

Greens were biggest disappointment. While rolled surprisingly smooth in some spot, the amount of dead areas or brown spots (fungus?) meant you were almost certain to navigate small hazards on the actual green surface. Some of the worst conditioned greens I've ever played on. Can't imagine they are going to improve as temperature goes up.

Layout was interesting, but given the conditions, difficult to appreciate. As first time on any St. George course, I was also a little underwhelmed with the scenic value as well.

I only played the front 9 due in part to conditions and by the time I reached the 6th hole, the pace of play slowed to a crawl.
9 Likes.
Played here Friday 5/8.

I can't imagine anyone is doing the restricted access process better than Black Gold. Absolutely flawless check in and start. Perfectly executed process. One player in proshop at a time, sign a social distance form and off you go. Arrived 20 minutes prior to tee time and aside from not being able to warm up on the range, you would not have known the restrictions were in place.

Restrooms on course were available, no water stations or ball cleaners, but masks were not required on course. (Thank you).

Option to ride solo or double, player's choice when I played.

WELL DONE, Black Gold Staff !

Course conditions are equally positive.

Clean tee boxes, smooth greens, green and lush fairways, and bunkers full of sand.

Go to BG website for all local rules / adjustments. In summary: No full size pin flags, but excellent GPS on board cart to see pin location. Small 'utility flags' are visible in each hole. Cups inverted, so easy to retrieve ball, just below surface. No rakes in bunkers but free drop allowed.

Pace of play was perfect, never waited, never pushed.

On this day, show receipt and get $5 off the limited lunch menu. They had the grill fired up on patio, and we had a great burger and cold beer to finish the day. Only standing allowed on patio, but never saw more than 4 people together.

What a great 'normal' day we had, that felt extraordinary on a beautiful warm May morning.

ENJOY !
13 Likes.
Played here 4/28/20, first time. If traveling from south of the course, allow some extra time and take the 138 / 173 route rather than 15. Very enjoyable, scenic, sometimes very curvy route.

Walked as single. Check-in was easy. I prepaid, so just had to let the starter know I was there, and off I went. All typical Covid19 precautions in place.

Tees in good shape, flat and clean.

Fairways were good to very good condition. Firm and decent roll out. Rough, as with most courses starting to re-open, was thick and penal.

Greens were almost fully recovered from aeration, and were slow and a little bumpy.

Bunkers full with sand, very good condition.

Straightforward, classic layout. Nothing mysterious, nothing spectacular, but still a good challenge.

Flags are in, with cups upside down, which allows ball to drop into hole, albeit only just enough to not have to reach into cup.

Enjoyed the round. Good for walking, but I was exhausted by the time walking up the steep 18th fairway, in 90 degree heat.
11 Likes.
Played here 8/26/19.

As much as I've always enjoyed this layout (truly a links style), the condition is what has kept me away. From excellent conditions when I first played here (2012) to what it is today. Difficult to articulate accurately, but it's not good.
That notwithstanding, its not all bad.

I really appreciate the customer service at check in and explanation about what they are trying to do with the course. Lot of re-sodding, renovations, water and work being put into and on the course. I was told honestly, that the course is still about a year away from being completely refreshed. I truly hope they continue and finish the work, I believe this course will be very popular.

On the day I played, the par 5, # 10 was completely closed. Again, staff was honest up front when I checked in.

Tee Boxes were generally in good shape. Grass a bit long on a couple but nothing to complain about.

Fairways are poor in spots (bare dirt, and thin in spots) and spotty with coverage. Overall, the most disappointing aspect on the day I played, but this is where it appears they are putting in most work.

Greens were bright spot, although very soft. Still, rolled nicely and were very playable.

Bunkers were below average to poor, nix between dark sand / dirt and some hard pan. Need more work.

This all said, players should realize, as designed, the course is not supposed to be a lush green experience. When in good shape, it stills plays fast.

As mentioned at the top, I really hope this renovation gets done and if so, I'll play much more often. The course features a burn which snakes around several holes on the front nine. You must be aware of yardage to the burn or to carry. Makes the shot selection very important and strategic.

Are around the course continues to grow. Residential (but no house anywhere on the course and in play), parks, and development. Minor League stadium right next door, and of course people jumping out of airplanes overhead. Always makes for a fun day.

Very nice grill and patio to enjoy after the round.

Keep it going Links team. I think the hard work in restoring this course will pay off.
11 Likes.
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