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Had a reservation at another course for Saturday afternoon but got a better time and course at the Ike instead last minute on Thursday. Our foursome played from the long blue tees (6800+ yards) and we got a nice 11:10 tee time on a super hot day. Greens fee was $99.

The course right now looks a bit more end of summer than end of spring. Maybe it's the lack of rain this winter but a lot of the course is quite dry and yellow, but there are still a lot of good lies to be found as well. The difficult and entertaining layout definitely makes up for some of the condition issues, but not so much for near six-hour POP. That was a shocker and we waited on a lot of holes all afternoon. Things simply moved at a snail's pace.

Greens were the highlight of the round and I had forgotten how tricky they are at Industry Hills. So many tiers and tricky dropoffs to manage, all while the ball is rolling at fast speeds but holding its lines very nicely. In short, greens are definitely what's getting top billing here right now.

The bunkers are a mixed bag but mostly on the thinner side and a bit crusty in lots of places. I managed to find about four bunkers for the day and only one seemed like it was in optimal condition. The tee boxes were also a little more beat up than one would expect at a 'premium' course like The Ike. The rough just off the fairways was in good shape though and made for some interesting decisions on club selection.

We had cart service a few times throughout the round and that was essential with temperatures in the mid to high nineties all afternoon. Carts are in good shape with GPS to help you sort out a lot of those tricky holes. The layout here is a real challenge so make sure to use every aid you can to find the right spots. There are serious elevations here, lots of doglegs and blind shots, and plenty of water features to keep you on your toes.

In short, The Ike is a great course but right now it's not quite in its best shape. Still worth the visit though and can't wait to try my luck here again in the near future.
Did you ever notice how many golf courses go out of their way to make sure the first hole looks really nice and then things gradually deteriorate from then on for the rest of it? Rancho Park turned this notion on its head this week with the first tee box being an absolute disaster, then hitting into a pretty dry and thin first fairway. The rest of the course, to varying degree, followed suit but got better as the day went on.

I was truly excited when I found a late single tee time for my 'home' course that I rarely get to play anymore thanks to the crazy busy schedule that is LA City Golf, but was disappointed to find the course in far less than optimal condition, with the one exception of the now mostly healed greens that were running quite nicely.

I was paired with two gentlemen and another single who were all not the fastest players around, but we still managed to get through all 18 at Rancho in less than five hours, so that's always something to celebrate. As previously mentioned though, we cannot celebrate how dry and beat up so much of the course looks. You're going to find some good lies later in the round and sporadically across this LA classic, but it's been in far better shape before.

The tee boxes are truly disastrous right now, at least from the blue tees which I played. I magically avoided every single bunker on the course so I can't speak to them too much, but did watch those in my group hit from numerous sand traps with no major complaints. The greens are good to go though and played quite quickly and held lines well.

There was no cart service on a busy afternoon and the snack shop at the 12th hole was completely closed, so that was upsetting and will see some points knocked off the course's GK rating. I walked but I did hear once again about GPS issues from our other single, who then switched carts at the turn.

And once again, the 18th hole here with its 1000 range balls in the middle and off the fairway as you inch towards the narrowed green is an absolute nightmare. It's simply no fun to hit a good shot and then spend 3-5 minutes sifting through every range ball while looking for yours and worrying you won't find it in time as the group behind you closes in. Make the fence higher for the love of God!

I'll be back though for sure and hoping things improve.
With a convention out in Las Vegas this past week, some work and casual friends joined together and we ventured out to the adventure ride that is Cascata. Our original plan was to get on to Shadow Creek but it was sold out for months to come, so the next option was definitely this unique gem up in the mountains around Boulder City, well off the beaten path.

We arrived early to take full advantage of all the nice amenities that are required to justify the very high cost for this bucket list experience. You've heard it all before - valet service, locker room customization, the indoor waterfall, the top-notch service from start to finish - and it's all more or less true. The cart barn is a wonder as well, like a Disneyland ride, and the carts are top shelf.

The practice areas are tremendous and it's one other reason to arrive early to take full advantage of the facilities, and of course to watch some big horn sheep grazing on the range as you try to avoid smacking them with wayward shanks. There's a large putting green as well and two chipping areas that are a nice simulation of what you'll find around many of the greens. We also got some solid tips from our caddy and off we went with our afternoon tee time in very hot and later windy conditions.

Cascata is a course of extremes. There are perhaps two or three 'flat' holes at most here. All the rest are either extreme uphill or downhill with no shortage of intimidating carries over desert waste areas. There are some unique water features on a lot of the holes with some creeks bordering many of the fairways and even some waterfalls coming right out of the surrounding mountains. Some of the sightlines at Cascata are amazing, with my favorite being the par 5 16th with its sliver of fairway crawling up the canyon's edge. The 18th is a tremendous closing hole that does absolute justice to the rest of the course.

There are some long treks between holes so walking is definitely not an option. There is also no return to the clubhouse until all 18 holes are completed, but there is of course top notch cart service throughout the round and it's well-stocked every few holes with water and snack stations and restrooms - something you would certainly expect for the price being paid here.

Now I would love to give all the conditions a perfect 10, but unfortunately I can't do that. It doesn't take away much from the experience overall, but it was a little disappointing from an aesthetics POV to see many of the greens suffering from damage. They rolled overall just fine but optically there's a lot of work that can be done. I'm sure it's just incredibly difficult to keep them looking like Augusta in the extreme desert weather, but honesty matters. They were still very quick and there are a lot of difficult but not gimmicky reads to make. I just wished they looked better.

Fairways and rough on the other hand were in pretty perfect shape from tee to green on every single hole. There's really not a single complaint to make there. It was an absolute joy hitting pure shots off the lush carpet. Amazingly I managed to avoid every bunker but one on hole 9, but there the sand was quite perfect and I never heard a single complaint from my playing partners about the others so I'll assume they were the same. Most of the tee boxes were in excellent shape with the exception of some of the heavily cut up par 3s that showed some trouble spots. But all were level and you could always find the right surface to hit from for the day. We played from the blue tees, by the way.

POP was great and we never waited on a single hole, however we were quite deliberate and there was a threesome behind us that we flirted with letting them pass us, but it never became so apparent they were in a rush and we always carved out space time and time again throughout the round. Our caddy was a seasoned pro and was definitely a helpful piece to the puzzle that is Cascata.

The bottom line? This is a bucket list stop without a doubt but I'd be wary of paying top dollar again for the experience. I think this is definitely a premium course that every golfer should take in at least once, but I've no doubt the high price point will keep a lot of golfers selecting other options. If they could somehow get the price down to the $250 range then I guarantee a lot more would visit and even more come back for more. But the cost aside, it's a truly momentous day of golf that I hope everyone gets to try out soon.
Quick review after Friday twilight round at Encino ... walked from the blue tees with a friend and had two others join us. Another buddy who was supposed to play today cancelled this morning due to illness so thanks to the very accommodating starter's office for waiving the cancel fee with another player on the wait list ready to go.

Greens are not quite fully healed from aeration two weeks ago. I was hoping they would be a little crisper and run better, but they need about a week more and some hydration, then should be quite fine. Fairways and rough in decent to good shape with lots of good lies but also lots of thin ones depending on your luck. Bunkers were definitely more on the hardpan side than fluffy, but totally playable. Tee boxes all level but slightly beat up.

POP was pretty steady but came in around four hours and forty-five minutes. No cart service all afternoon but plenty of good stuff in the snack bar near the starter's office. No time on the driving range so can't speak to that.

Encino remains a great option for a fairly straight-forward golf round with minimal fuss and frills. It always gets the job done.
Having found an earlier tee time late in the week, three of my friends and I opted to take the 8:20am tee time at Chester Washington on Saturday to try and have more of the day free after the round than our original 12:20pm start time. It was a wise choice.

We got off and running a little later than our scheduled tee time, which is pretty par for the course here, but found the course to actually be in better shape than normal so that somewhat made up for the eventual five hour POP. We were all walking but definitely had many holes to wait for the group in front of us, who of course were hamstrung by the group in front of them.

As for the course though, conditions are better than normal here with the exception of the recently punched greens which are still a bit bumpy and in need of some healing time. They're manageable though and should be fine in a few weeks.

The rest of the course was quite more lush than usual, including the fairways and rough, but of course you'll always find a few burned out or thin spots out here. The tee boxes were mostly level and serviceable, while the bunkers still had some standing water in a few of them and were a little less fluffy and grainy than past visits.

No cart service on a busy Saturday is always a check mark against this place as it has an incredibly inconvenient snack bar that tends to keep players waiting much longer than they should at the turn. It's just never a smooth transition if someone wants to grab a bite or a drink before heading to the 10th tee box.

But overall it was still a better than average experience at C Dubs and, as long as your general expectations are held in check, you should have a nice time here in the near future, but give yourself an extra hour or two at the end just in case.
Friday twilight round at Rio Hondo with a buddy, walking from the blue tees and paired with another twosome. Greens still recovering from latest punch so there are still some hazards to navigate there but should be healed nicely within the next two or three weeks.

As for the rest of the course, it's in pretty good shape overall but definitely not at its absolute best as seen in years past. Most of the fairways have decent to good coverage and are fairly lush, but you'll also find some fairways that are quite thin and lots of GUR areas. The rough is not too penal and the bunkers were in good shape. Tee boxes a mixed bag but all level and mostly fine.

We had cart service come around once or twice which is great for a Friday afternoon. The rate was around $45 for a 1:20pm tee time so that seems plenty fine for me. This is always a fun course to play with a few very tough and narrow holes, but a lot of gettable ones as well once you're familiar with it. I think they take quite good care of this facility and, while it's not at its very best right now, it will be again soon enough I'm sure.
Work meeting in Rancho Cucamonga turned into a late afternoon invite to Red Hill Country Club for the first time ever, so of course saying 'no' was not an option. I only knew this was an older club (founded in 1921) that had a good reputation and not much else. I was open for anything.

What I got was a fantastic treat and surprise. This place is a real gem. The surrounding mountain scenery framing holes is epic. The design is classic and just great fun with a premium on good angles (not necessarily hitting bombs). In many ways it reminded me of the Saticoy Club in Ventura, only without the cool ocean breezes. The fairways are dense with trees that provide the most defense, along with numerous well-placed bunkers, water features and a few thin and tricky fairways. Let's also throw in a few of those middle of the fairway trees as well just for a good time. I loved it.

The conditions were fantastic with the one downer being the timing on my part to come just a week or so after the greens had been punched. They're about a week or two away from perfection, so I hope to come back when that's the case. But the green complexes are superb and you can tell that the greens are immaculate (or will be) once this process is over.

The rest of the course? Simply terrific. Very lush and slightly less green fairways than the deep and penal rough bordering the main alleys. Never a bad lie all day, with the exception of course of any shots I sprayed into the mulch offline areas. The tee boxes (we played from the back tees) were in great shape and the bunkers had very fine sand in them making them dreamy to play out of when I found myself in one. Just a sparkling piece of property.

The carts are brand new and probably the nicest ones I've ever seen. They have an excellent GPS system, USB ports for your phone and the comfiest seats you'll ever find. Just top notch all around. We moved pretty well as one would expect and finished in a little over four hours after we caught a slower moving group in front of us around the 14th hole. But with the great views of Cucamonga Peak in the distance and the warm sun on my face, I could not have cared less spending a little more time there.

All amenities were super and we also had some fabulous 'street tacos' in the clubhouse after the round while waiting out traffic to die down before heading back to the South Bay. All in all it was just a wonderful impromptu afternoon and I can't wait to play this terrific course again in the near future. Don't miss it. And yes, took some pics to add later!
Saturday round with three buddies this past Saturday at Los Amigos with a shortage of other late options to play. Three of us walked and one rode with a 12:56pm tee time. No cart service all day long is always disappointing, but the starter was perfectly lovely and got us out on time and in efficient manner.

Current course conditions are better than they've been the last few visits with no major complaints about anything except maybe the tee boxes needing a bit more coverage, or perhaps to be moved around more often. The rest of the course is in decent, almost good shape, but falling just short in terms of consistency and lushness.

Greens were actually rolling pretty nicely but chock full of ball marks on varying greens. The fairways have a little better coverage than months past and you'll usually find a good lie in the fairway, but it's not going to be a surprise to find a thin or dirt patch here or there. Bunkers were actually in good shape with nice sand, and the rough was patchwork and inconsistent but nothing too highlight in a bad light.

POP didn't seem as slow as it was so I was surprised when we finished with a five-hour time. You must always beware here the ball stealers when your tee shots are offline into one of the adjacent fairways, especially on the front nine.

All in all it was a pretty good day out at The Friends and if your expectations are in check you will have a good time here.
Saturday round at Knollwood with two buddies and joined up with a single, playing from the blue tees with a 9:30am tee time. We started a bit late but it gave us some time on the fairly nice, multi-level range that's too short for woods. Price was definitely right.

It was a constant overcast day with a certain dampness covering the course all day so there wasn't too much roll out and balls simply died when they hit any rough, so it made for tough conditions. Add that to the recently punched half of the greens and you can be sure good scores were often tough to come by.

Overall though the course is in pretty good shape with good coverage in the fairways and semi-thick rough. The healed halves of the greens are in good shape but rolling slower than normal, but could also have been due to the dampness. Bunkers were a mix of good and not-so-good with the moisture but the worst part of the course is the tee box condition. They're flat but super shaggy so they definitely are in need of a cut.

POP didn't seem that bad during the round but we waited on a good amount of holes, so I was surprised that we hit the five hour mark walking up to the 17th tee box. Did not feel like it took that long so I suppose that should be a feather in the course's cap today. We saw cart service a few times which was a nice touch.

I always enjoy getting out to Knollwood and experiencing its challenges in a unique SoCal setting. If you've never played it then I would recommend it at least once, but be aware in advance that you'll not likely finish in four hours. Buyer beware.
When I heard that one of my friend's had booked a good 8am tee time at Cresta Verde earlier in the week for today, I had a few trepidations of course based on prior experience there and other reviews, but also thought it's always a good idea to give a course a second chance. A lot can change when you visit a track for the second time with a little local knowledge and some good foreshadowing of what's to come.

I won't be giving it a third chance.

The bones of this course could actually make it quite fun to play, but the conditions simply don't allow any joy. This could easily be one of those quirky but challenging private courses if the conditions were prime, but it's nowhere near that. It's the Inland Empire's Links at Victoria I reckon at this point, but maybe I just haven't played somewhere worse.

Let's at least touch on the positives though. The staff are very kind and gracious, while there was also cart service 2-3x available on the course, which is especially great on a hot Saturday. On the course, the only really decent (perhaps even 'good') part were the greens. They are actually in good shape, roll well at medium-fast speeds and hold good shots with no issues. Unfortunately that's where the accolades abruptly end.

There are some very narrow and hilly tee shots at Cresta Verde, so when you hit a nice, long and accurate ball off the tee, you expect to be rewarded with a great lie. But alas, here you won't be. I can't even count how many times I hit good shots only to end up in dirt, rocky patches, or previous divots. You also might want to avoid the toxic dump site left of the fairway on the 15th hole. The rough is pure mayhem and there's just not enough good lies to be found when your shots find their mark.

Before discussing other conditions, the carts are archaic with ripped up seats and absolutely no frills, including, in the case of my cart, a steering box that wasn't loosey-goosey all over the place. The cart paths are a total disaster and you'll find yourself in need of a chiropractor after the round with all the bumps and bruises from either the cart paths or ditching them for the fairways with all their mounds and gopher holes.

I wasn't in any bunkers all day, and come to think of it, most of the ones I saw were former bunkers that had now been converted into grass areas. Tee boxes were very beat up (we played from the blue tees) and it was a good find when you got a patch of moss to set your ball down for your tee shot. POP was definitely on the slow side as well, but once the sun came up it was a beautiful day so that was the least of our worries.

I'd love to say more positives about this place but I just can't. I will say the last three holes, in terms of sheer design, are quite good, and 18 is a very nice closing hole - again, only in design terms, not condition. I would absolutely love to see this place get a million-dollar makeover and come even close to complimenting the design. It's a shame that, at least from the looks of things like the driving range, that's not going to happen anytime soon.
Made it back out to Anaheim Hills this past weekend with two friends with a 1:10 tee time and rode from the blue tees. We had our fourth need to drop out late but the staff was kind enough to simply let the three of us on without any penalty for the late scratch.

Pretty good course conditions all around at Anaheim Hills right now. The fairways are amply green with good coverage in most areas, but just remember that you'll be hitting a lot of non-drivers off the tee with so many quirky doglegs and odd angles and distances from the tee box.

The rough is in good shape as well but there are a lot of wooded areas that you can get yourself in easy trouble, while the bunkers have some nice sand in them and the tee boxes are slightly on the beat up side with a few too many unlevel spots, but get the job done. Greens and green complexes are in good shape right now with a few too many pitch marks needing fixing.

Carts are very basic so don't expect any frills there and we did want to lavish praise on the wonderful cart girl this past Sunday who was super fun, super helpful and a great ambassador for the club in terms of friendliness and promoting great fun out on the course.

All in all, it was a nice visit out to Anaheim Hills and I always enjoy a round or two here every year to test my club knowledge and wisdom while having a pretty fun time doing it. This course is not for everyone though and that's not a knock, just a factual observation.
Currently out in Palm Desert and doing the work/play thing with customers and staff, taking advantage of the gorgeous early spring weather with a few days at the always fun Shadow Ridge. The course is in fine late season shape and is always a must-play out here.

Helpful, friendly and well-organized staff from the moment you pull up will start your day off right. Then you head over to the ample driving range ahead of your round. Maybe the only slight inconvenience is the pro shop not quite near enough the cart staging area, but that's just a minor nitpick. Once warmed up at the practice putting green by the first hole, you're off to the races.

The greens right now at Shadow Ridge are tremendous. They're rolling faster than usual but on great lines and barely any blemishes on them. It's often hard to find your pitch mark since they're so firm, but they're still quite receptive to good shots and definitely not too tricked out, but you're going to have to be solid with the flat stick here.

Fairways are in very nice shape with just a few thin spots near the popular collection areas, while the rough is pretty much perfect - super thick but playable in most spots. Tee boxes are in fine shape (we've played both the gold and green tees so far) but we have found inconsistent bunkers with a fair share (too many in fact) definitely on the thin side so that's the only gripe about course conditions but one that will bring the overall grade down.

Cart service all day long is optimal and the carts have a nice but basic GPS on them however they won't allow you to gauge exact distances so I would still recommend your own and/or a range finder. This great Faldo design with throw a lot of different looks at you so be prepared to work for a good score, but have a great time doing it.

As always, highly recommend at this time.
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