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Bing Crosby was attractive, unforgiving and cruel. I only assume this is true based on the tenor of his namesake course. Played an SCGA outing here a couple of days ago and am still reeling from the experience. We started on the back 9 which is prettier and therefore meaner than the front. The hilly slanted holes are only made more difficult with the hard ground and low rough. Balls roll out like fallen skiers on an icy hillside - who knows when and where your ball will stop. Half of this course probably has never had a divot on it while 20% has had 80% of the divots. Maintaining a place like this must be difficult and it showed here and there.

Fairways in general were fine a bit hard and thin in spots with various marked GUR areas and unmarked areas that I would have moved my ball from because the grass had seams of missing grass here and there. Rough was only a couple of inches and this course needs more of it it areas where your ball is likely to roll through. Sand traps are super deep and penal and usually in good shape. I think one of the deeper ones fronting a green I was in gets a LOT of use and probably needed a top off due to all the swings people have been taking in it. Greens were smooth and medium fast. The real issue is here is the false fronts, false backs, false sides, lumps and tiers that make one feel silly sometimes trying to get to the hole.

Overall, I played great and that helped my enjoyment a lot. I would have probably scored 6-8 shots better somewhere normal but I could have shot 20 shots worse on a bad day. There are a bunch of fun holes where you can watch you ball keep rolling and almost reach the green with the right kind of drive. There are some great photo opportunities along the way. I'm going to hold onto my positive experience and not ruin it by ever coming to play here again.
13 Likes.
Haven't played here in 8 years and had no idea what to expect. Seemed a little better than I expected. Tee boxes seemed good, fairways mostly good grass to hit off, greens had hints of a past aeration but rolled decently smooth medium speed.

Off the fairways - there is 5-20 feet of rough then mostly dirt which isn't fun to look at. It seemed like at least the scruffy areas had been mostly cleaned up and while not as pretty as foliage, much easier to recover from. The routing is quite the mix of hard holes and easy holes, boring holes and interesting holes. Little far for me to be a regular at - but if I was closer, I'd play it regularly.
9 Likes.
Sal's review is the one to read but if you still are interested in another perspective on this course, here goes.

It's a place, in my opinion, built around the concept of money rather than golf. Yes, the golf has to be perfect, because that kind of money expects perfection. So, the course is perfect.

Driving on the cart paths is like the Radiator Springs Racers at Disneyland. Rockscapes and waterfalls and a cart that can accelerate to the point that a wheelie seemed possible. Hold off taking a drink until the cart has come to a full and complete stop.

The layout is the best I've ever played without having that "special" feeling. The feeling I got playing Pebble, Aviara, and Rams Hills is missing. Too many straight holes with varying lumps, at one point , I though we had accidently stopped at a hole we already played. Hole 18 is the obvious finishing hole because it had everything you'd want in a hole visually and playing wise. A couple more holes like that and I'd probably think differently about the course being special.

Never having played with a caddy, it was incredibly odd. I stood there until he came over and told me what yardage to hit and where to aim. It sometime felt like I was a golf swing robot - (an often malfunctioning one). At the same time, I stood over the ball with less thoughts in my head and could focus on the shot at hand in a way I rarely ever had before.

For a place that doesn't need to let the outside in, I wonder a bit why they let the SCGA play there every year. But, from the outset, they treated us well and I appreciated that.
11 Likes.
What's the best thing to do when your premiere Southern California course is starting to look a bit raggedy? Apparently, it's not course maintenance, it's "raise the price".

I've played the IKE a bit in the last couple of years and this outing had the worst overall conditions. The fairways were brown and sticky or brown and hard. The whole place had a slightly unkempt feel. But the greens, bunkers and tee boxes seemed normal, so maybe this is just the wrong time of year to play here.

The IKE is a layout where I basically like every hole. Unlike it's neighbor where I don't care for most holes. It's weird that two courses on the same property can feel SO different.
8 Likes.
Puzzling. Why remake a par 59 course with short holes but heavily bunkered and relatively difficult greens? Pretty frustrating for any beginner trying to learn golf with the hard greens, hard grass, difficult bunkers.

That said, I like Birch Hills - nice place to play. 20 bucks to walk on a beautiful Friday late morning was just what I was looking for. Fairways and greens were the best thing about the course. The greens were a bit too hard but smooth and medium speed. Around the greens was the worst part of the course - hardpan and thin and/or clumpy grass made chipping difficult - even more so with the hard and sloping greens. Any miss of the green would travel quickly away. I would imagine it would be easier to take care of the bunkers if there weren't so many of them. Some were decent and some a bit hard but none were good.

I'd probably take a beginner someplace with flatter greens, less bunkers and more grass but if you like a good short course, this might fit the bill.
8 Likes.
Don't know if I've ever played out this way during "peak" time but I can see why some would travel and pay to do so. Firecliff was immaculate, I wouldn't change a single thing about the conditions. Everyone who worked there was helpful, polite and comfortable to deal with. The practice facilities made me wish I'd gotten there even earlier, and even the price for my Gatorade was reasonable.

The lack of houses and wonderful landscaping led to picturesque holes and while the layout has a couple of lulls in it, the course rightly deserves to be in any top 10 list of where to play in the desert.
11 Likes.
First time playing the Champions layout and I have to say that I had an almost visceral negative reaction to the Back 9 holes that they were starting groups out on that day. Frost delay caused a nearly 1 hour delay pushing my 10am tee time to nearly 11 as we sat around the 10th tee and chatted with the started for over a half an hour. By the time we teed off, the earlier warm up had gone cool and the whole group struggled with all the tilted, skinny, over bunkered and uninspired holes on the back 9. The front 9 felt a lot more open and natural and counterbalanced the back 9 - so overall - not a course I hate but would play the Legends and the course across the street every time before playing here again.

Both courses were open due to high demand and the starter said this would be the rare year that the courses actually made some money. Conditions of the greens were good - about as fast as I can stand greens with this many tiers. Fairways mostly good, we all had to move a ball occasionally due to mud or other problems. Beyond that, I would say that the course had so many places that should have been marked GUR that I'm not surprised they didn't bother. Use your judgement. Bunkers are big, deep and usually contain a puddle in them (starter said they don't drain) Where they aren't submerged, you hit from a 1 inch or less layer of damp sand.

Customer service was good but it's weird how nonchalant they can be about a one hour delay to somebody's tee time. They also were out of score cards and I guess didn't think to try anything other than saying "not our fault" when people continually asked for one. The flip side was that I told my sob story of driving 1.5 hours just to play golf here and take my score card as a memento of my visit and a manager took pity on me and walked down to his office and found one of the few remaining scorecards on the whole property for just me. (nobody else in my group got one) So, I personally have to say a big "Thank You!!" for that.
8 Likes.
Last time I played here it was summer and the course was beautiful and very lush. Now it's winter conditions and in a weird way it might be in "better" shape than before. Ok, yes, it looks uglier with the fairways losing the green and yellowing - but the closer cropped fairways are a little less spongey, the ground is just a little firmer and the lies on them sit on top nicely. It seemed ideal whereas before maybe a little too doughy.

Greens are still fine, smooth and medium speed - not as pretty as I remember but just as good and as fast as you would want for how lumpy they can be. Rough is not as consistent as summer but not as needed because of the biggest difference.

Over the summer, the areas between fairways was chock full of a beautiful mix of plant life, visually striking but no way to find or play your ball. Now all that area is dead and trampled and more beautiful because you can find and play your ball (not that I had to, this time, of course).

The quality of the golf here keeps moving it up my list of where to play. It felt a bit pricey for playing during the week but the conditions help make up for it.
12 Likes.
Lumpy. Lot's of humps, bumps and lumps to be had a Glen Annie. When the round was over, the course had given my ego a bruised lump. Based on what I had heard, I was expecting a more difficult course off the tee, but only a couple of holes felt unforgiving. The hilly course can play havoc with a mis-hit shots and the green complexes often require precision to give yourself a chance at par.

Conditions, I would describe at COVID fall/winter. Grass is turning brown and maintenince seemed a little behind. Fairways were fairly hard and fast and reminded me of hitting off a tilted driving range mat. Tee boxes looked like a grass range stall at the end of the day. I was in too many bunkers and they were a bit thin and a couple were a bit muddy. Greens seemed like they were as fast as they could be with all the tilted, tiered greens. While I saw punch marks, I never noticed the ball affected by them on my putts.

Would like a rematch with this course in the spring to see and play it with more grass. It seemed like a great course for the locals to play regularly and I'm looking forward to getting back here.
10 Likes.
Nary a tee time out by me, so my GKCup partner and I decided to check in on the reopening of this course. Chuck had played it 20 years ago and I never had. There is definitely a "work in progress" vibe here with heavy construction equipment grading the driving range area into a place for apartments.

Despite this, the course is in very playable shape with the greens being smooth and medium speed. The fairways a bit hard and dried out in spots but fine overall. Green side bunkers have been given more love than fairway bunkers as you would hope. As you leave the fairway, things start to get a bit random and ratty, but again, it's what you would expect for a course trying to start from what's most important and work it's way out.

What really shined for me, was the layout. Interesting variety of holes that had me going for par 5's, laying up on par 4's and telling my ball to "go!" on par 3's. I could see this course back in it's heyday being a real stunner. Any further improvements to the current conditions would wonderfully reveal more of it's past beauty.
15 Likes.
Pebble Beach. You are actually reading a review of this course. Why? You know it, you've seen it. Getting a chance to play here is like winning a date with a famous celeb for a day at a pricey auction. I was nervous, I stared a lot, I felt the need to brag to others about my day.

Hopefully your day with this celebrity goes as you hope. Pierce Brosnan is as good looking in person as on TV. You get to know Paget Brewster a little more with each hole. You don't look for flaws, you enjoy the company, you try and be yourself but it's difficult. Pat Benetar asks you some questions and sometimes you fumble for answers. You are just glad to be hanging with Penn Badgley.

In the end, you wish you had been a better version of yourself. You know you will never forget this day. You wish you had a second date. Probably not going to happen.
11 Likes.
Despite the scruffiness, I'm a fan of this course. Yes, the greens have weird wet sections and soft spots on them. Yes, the rough is a bit high in places and the tee boxes a bit chewed up. I would love a round of tree trimming to happen here, there are some tight chutes to hit through.

Despite these problems, the fairways are in great shape and easy to hit off of, the layout is a great mix of holes that reward shot shaping and the ability to hit off of non-flat lies, the lush rough is kinda what you need on course on a hillside and it's the kind of grass that lends itself to more predictable chips. The price can't be beat, and you almost always get to see deer wandering around the course.

I would play here regularly if it was 30 minutes or less away from my house.
9 Likes.
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