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Turned the golf course into a board meeting on Wednesday by taking out some work colleagues to Oak Creek with 1pm tee time on a picture perfect OC afternoon. We played the gold tees while riding their exceptional carts (with a GPS screen like a Tesla) for a somewhat pricey $135 per player greens fee. But luckily the course was in very good shape to help justify the cost.

First, some of the issues though. POP on the front nine (which happened to be the back nine yesterday due to early maintenance so that was lame to miss out on the great 18th hole at Oak Creek to close the round) was very slow behind an older group that really took their sweet time despite so many gaps we allowed them to get ahead. No marshal anywhere to police them. Also, the tee boxes were very narrow and many of them were unlevel, but the coverage was fine.

But there were a lot more positives so it's important to highlight those as well. First off, the greens are the best I've ever seen them here in my limited visits. They rolled true and medium fast speed and held shots well. Really nice coverage overall and a joy to putt from for the day. Fairways are also in good shape with the occasional thin lie, but mostly really good surfaces. Rough areas a little bit of everything from thick to light, mulch to hardpan - keep it in the middle. Bunkers were unraked and had lots of footprint evidence, but no problem if you can move them onto a flat area. The sand itself was in very good shape.

We had cart service at various points through the day and driving range/practice area is really nice, although it's a nice little walk right now from where you pick up the balls to the hitting area since they're trying to repair the area closer to where you park your carts.

I much prefer the layout as it's been for the past few years with 18 being that wonderful par 5 downhill with water along the right side on approach, but the layout here either way is really fun and offers up a great challenge. The par 3s are a lot of fun, the par 5s can be gotten and there's a great mix of par 4s but none really reachable off the tee. I would definitely recommend this course right now if you've got the time.
Foursome booked at Costa Mesa this past week since I found a better time than my original LA City booking, and bonus was that it was the Mesa Linda 18 that I had never played before. It's the shorter version of the Los Lagos 18 at the same facility, but the 1000 or so yards less is made up for with trickier, smaller greens.

I actually really enjoyed this track and think I prefer it to the Los Lagos side, which is something I did not expect. It just feels like it has a bit more character and is a fun change of pace with more par 3s thrown in and very reachable par 5s in many cases.

At present you will find some good coverage in the fairways as well (a few bare areas here and there to be fair), and some deep but not severely penal rough. The tee boxes (we played from the blue tees) are in good shape (maybe a bit shaggy on some) and I found the bunkers to be quite playable. Greens were also in good shape but some of the angled, sloping pin placements here are devilish, making for a horrible day out with the flat stick, but fun nonetheless.

Paid $60 greens fee + cart which is acceptable and a good rate at an optimum time in the OC. The carts are very basic so make sure to have a GPS of your own as some of the transitional routing can be a little confusing, especially the transition from the 15th to the 16th holes.

POP was actually pretty good despite waiting on a good numbers of holes. It was a pretty perfect day out there weather-wise so a few minutes waiting here and there was not a massive issue. Overall, just a nice place to play some golf and dial in some of that short game, but you're not being spoon-fed the journey to get to those greens. You still have to bring your best in order to get out of here with a great score.
Played my GK Cup match yesterday at Montebello with t8fish after reading some positive reviews of late. I've only played here a handful of times but have always found the layout pretty fun and conditions, while not optimal, absolutely serviceable.

Yesterday was no different. First off, in terms of routing, they've switched the nines which makes for a very disappointing finish on the old #9 hole, but this is ultimately prime first world problems. We played from the blue tees and I rode for a $45 greens fee, which is absolutely worth it. Good mixture of holes here.

Conditions are decent but top marks go to the greens. Although there are way too many ball marks from lazy golfers, the surfaces are nice and well-maintained and the speeds are consistent. Rolls felt pretty true and the greens were very receptive to good approach shots.

Fairways were in pretty good shape but you're not getting out of here without finding some thin lies here and there, and also depending on which hole and which part of the fairways or rough you find. Speaking of the rough, mixed bag as per usual round these parts, but some of it off the greens was nice and thick, other areas thin and hardpan.

Bunkers, as previously experienced, remain absolutely abysmal here. Nothing but hard dirt and occasionally some standing water in a few of them. There appears to be no effort put forth whatsoever to rectify this issue, so just understand before you go that you will be hitting chips from the dirt all afternoon. Tee boxes were good on some holes, bad on others.

No frills carts with no GPS or any other amenities, but they do go in reverse when necessary, so that's a plus. Driving range is across the street and adequate, but there was no cart service all afternoon and only a small, makeshift snack stand near the updated turn transitioning from the old #18 to the old #1. It works well enough.

POP was a bit haphazard but nothing too terrible to write more about. Still, despite all the negatives, there are enough good things about this course to make me want to come back another day.
Lucky enough to play out at Ironwood again this week and once again the experience did not disappoint. It may have actually been in better shape (if that's possible) than when I played here a few weeks ago for the first time.

Greens absolutely immaculate and putting just perfectly. I'm not sure how but I got the speed down pretty well and managed just 26 putts for the afternoon. It sure does help when you pick a line, hit the putter square and the ball goes where it's intended to. Pure bliss.

Fairways and rough deep carpet and lush, while the bunkers have rakes and are very exquisite. Tee boxes? As you would imagine - absolutely perfect. We played from the blue tees again which is plenty of challenge.

Plush carts but no GPS. Fantastic amenities everywhere to be found. We did catch up to a slower group in front of us for a little bit longer POP than is customary here, but we caught a picture perfect high 70s day in Palm Desert and enjoyed every second of it out there.

Never miss an opportunity to check out this dazzler.
Back out to Palm Desert area for a few days and played a twilight round at Shadow Ridge again. Not much to report different from my last visit here a little less than a month ago, but a short recap.

Greens are actually in really good shape now and a bit faster than they were on the last visit. All the rest of the particulars - fairways, rough, bunkers and tee boxes - are all in great shape and playing superbly.

POP was actually the biggest disappointment of the day as we waited on most holes because two groups ahead of us were not in any hurry whatsoever. Most frustrating of all was getting to the 18th tee box and seeing three groups out there still - one on the green, one waiting near the bailout area left of the green, and the group ahead of us short in the fairway. This is not normal here.

Other than that though, great experience and a highly recommended visit when in the area. Super fun course that's almost always in great condition. What more could you want?
Played at Anaheim Hills yesterday with my monthly golf group and had a great time with the exception of some pretty shoddy bunkers, or at least the maintenance of them. Other than that, the course was in very good shape and the operational flow was quite good, although POP was not great being behind a slow-moving, heavy-drinking men's club tournament.

We had five groups and all rode in carts (which are nice with GPS) starting with a 10am tee time and we played from the white tees as is customary for this group. Easy check-in, short walk down to the driving range, practice putting green open for business.

Quirky layout with a lot of holes defying convention, but still quite fun if you're playing somewhat accurately. The lake that comes into play on holes 12 and 13 is currently drained and playing as a hazard if I'm not mistaken. There are some really nice holes out here as well and the scenery/weather was pretty perfect so no complaints.

Greens are in terrific shape, rolling true and holding shots quite well. I would consider them medium-fast but very consistent and fun to play on. Course is quite green right now with plenty of good lies throughout but the occasional thin or mud spot (like the one I found on 18 that scuppered the rest of my good round!). Rough is varied but fairly thick and you may want to bring a rescue club to cut through it in some spots. Tee boxes were in good shape - flat and level. The bunkers were a disaster though with lots of bumps and footprints, very grainy and wet - far from ideal. Not sure if it was an over-watering situation.

As previously mentioned, POP was slow but we were having a good time either way. Cart service came around numerous times so that made it much more bearable. I believe the fee with cart was around $78 which is right on the border of a bit too much but you're going to find a well-maintained track with plenty of character - both good and bad - and very nice amenities and service to keep you entertained.
Played a twilight round at Rec Park with a buddy and was pleasantly surprised by the current conditions across the board. I was surprised when I posted my score that it had been over three years since the last time I played here, so it was nice to get back. I had forgotten plenty of the little intricacies about this place.

The most important one? Stay below the hole! The greens are currently in really excellent shape and running pretty darn quick. The slopes and breaks are subtle but strong here, so it was very difficult to get the distance right on lag putts and had way more three-putts than in normal rounds. Very tough but very nice play.

The course is also quite green right now and you'll be finding lots of good lies in the fairways with the occasional thin area near or around the greens and in the popular landing spots. Rough is in good shape as well and can be somewhat penal if you're in the trees. Lots of mulch areas as well around those trees so be ready to hit ball first out of some awkward angles.

Bunkers were in good shape with plenty of foot traffic reminders in them, but still no rakes. Tee boxes were probably the worst part of the course right now but nothing too terrible. Overall it's just in good shape for as much traffic as this place gets all the time.

Decent variety of holes here but the front does only have one par 3 and one par 5, so it's a bit repetitive, but the lengths vary enough on all the par 4s to keep you on your toes. There are also a few elevations here which you wouldn't expect, and a few bomber holes where you're going to have to hit an excellent tee shot to get home in two fairly regularly.

The intangibles are where the course suffers just a bit right now. The carts are very basic and no frills, as is the odd and segmented driving range, but the large putting practice greens are nice and actually open. There was no cart service all afternoon which was a bit disappointing, and there's no real convenient snack opportunities at the turn if the small snack stand is closed (which it was). The 10th tee box is right next to the 9th green so it's somewhat inconvenient to go all the way back to the clubhouse to grab something.

But yes, overall it was a very positive experience and I was glad to get back. POP was a little bit on the slow side as we waited on quite a few holes, especially the par 3 5th where we were stacked behind two groups. Always enjoy the Long Beach Rhombus of Lakewood, Skylinks, El Do and Rec Park, with each jockeying for top spot depending on course conditions.
Headed back to Harding this weekend for the first time in a spell. Got a cart and played from the blue tees for a $56 greens fee. We had an 11:20am tee time and got paired with a nice young gentleman to complete our foursome.

Didn't have any range time but there is still a food truck over by the first tee for Wilson. Putting green in front of the clubhouse still closed for some reason.

Front nine still showing signs from aeration and had some sand on the greens as well. Not sure when they switched but don't remember seeing any of that on the back nine where the greens were in good shape, rolling true and medium-fast speed. Held shots quite well.

Fairways are in good, not great condition. Very playable and you'll even find some lush areas, but mostly thin/just enough. The rough is not penal and plays nicely. Bunkers were somewhat crusty and had lots of bumps and depressions, so it was mandatory to move any shots in there to a flatter area. Tee boxes were in good enough shape in terms of being level, but not great coverage.

POP was really good with the groups moving very nicely and came in at just over four hours, even though it seemed like longer. Was really wishing for more holes when we got to 18!

I still prefer Harding's fun layout to Wilson's, but that's just personal preference. I always just love also being in the Griffith Park area, only this time we did not see any deer or coyotes anywhere on the course. Really fun closing par 5 as well, but the rest of the course is quite pleasant too. When all the greens are healed up and maybe get a little bit of rain, this track will be back in optimum shape in no time.
Made it back out to Rio Hondo this weekend, grabbing a late solo spot with a 2pm tee time, playing the blues and riding. Paired up with a lovely older Korean couple and this 80yo had some good stories to tell and game to boot. Fee with cart a very reasonable $56 for this place.

Unfortunately caught the tail end of the recent punching so there's still ample evidence of it on the greens, and still a good amount of sand on them to make matters more complicated. Green speeds of course were quite inconsistent and unreliable, but not enough to sour the experience. You adjust like you do other greens on any course.

Fairways are in relatively nice shape overall with a few thin areas to contend with in popular landing areas or near the greens. But you're going to have plenty of opportunities to get off clean shots off good grass. Rough was not too penal at all so nothing to worry about there, while the tee boxes were mostly in good shape and level. Avoided bunkers all day but saw them to be in nice condition where I noticed them.

POP was very nice at just over four hours, and also had good cart service once or twice during the round. Did not hit balls before my round but Rio Hondo has a pretty nice dual-level driving range with yellow balls that often find their way to the 18th fairway.

The layout? You know the story here ... easier back than front, but lots of narrow holes that will test length and accuracy. Good variety of lengths and looks for the par 3s here. Tree trouble always abounds and plenty of water features throughout to keep you sharp. Very good public golf at a reasonable price. Can't go wrong coming here right now, or even better in a week or two when the greens are healed up.
Snuck out late yesterday with a buddy for a twilight nine at Harbor Park. When you can get in a regulation 36 for $11 on a well-maintained track, it's a steal. And the course is in pretty darn good condition right now, so add that bonus.

Greens are a little thick right now and running at medium speed, but the coverage is good and the lines are true. They hold shots very well and, with the exception of the long verti-cut running the length of the 4th hole green, look and play just fine. What you see is what you get.

Fairways have nice coverage to them right now with the occasional thin areas mostly near the greens, while the rough is thick but playable. Keep an eye out for many tree roots just under the surface if you're near the fringes. Bunkers were avoided all day thankfully because they did not look great. Tee boxes are okay, but not great. Definitely beat up with the heavy traffic.

You can grab a cart here for nine or get a push cart, but most folks just use their feet on this very walkable, but challenging nine holes. If you've never played here, and just want to get in some strokes without a lot of time or cost, then I highly recommend it.
After over a year, finally made it back out to my 'home' course and played Rancho Park this weekend with three friends. I had enough LA City points for a free round, so that was great, but paid for one of my friends and a cart for around $54 - totally worth it. We played from the blue tees with a 12:30 tee time.

Always enjoy getting back to this course so close to my home, and it's even better when they've really sorted out the tee times (10 minutes apart) so that you don't spend six hours or more out here. POP flowed all day long and we got done in just about four and a half hours - spectacular for a Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately some of the course conditions were a little on the negative side, but overall it's still a great track and facility, but they really do need to press those greens. They were quite furry and bumpy, and just silly slow. I must say though, one of the greens that was always in the worst shape (#14) happens to be in the best shape I've ever seen it, the green speeds notwithstanding. Again, nice coverage, but very slow and in need of some work.

(Edit: Just saw that they're aerating the greens this week so maybe they just had them long in anticipation of this. Fingers crossed they come out in great shape after the punch.)

Fairways were in pretty good shape but you'll find a little bit of everything here depending on your lie. The rough was thick in places, but also thin and bare in others well off the fairways. Bunkers I avoided all day but did not look too bad, nor did I hear any complaints from my playing partners. Tee boxes get a lot of usage out here and it shows, but good enough to not worry too much about.

Classic old style LA course with a bit of history and enough flair to keep you coming back. The range is also in good shape, twin levels and very popular/crowded. Unfortunately though, they've still not come up with a solution to keep a million range balls off of the 9th and 18th fairways, so that will always be problematic. Maybe net up top as well?
Finally made it out to Strawberry Farms for the first time today and my expectations were definitely off from the start. I had heard that this course was overpriced for the experience and a bit too quirky and difficult. Reviews on conditions always seemed a bit mixed, but here's what I took from it.

First off, the front nine and back nine are wildly different. While the back is very target-golf oriented and has more water in play, the front is a bit more traditional and open but there is trouble to be found on every single hole here. It's by no means an easy course, but each hole is quite unique and there are some very intimidating sightlines that aren't quite as terrifying as they look from the tee boxes.

Is Strawberry Farms overpriced? Most of the good Orange County courses are, but you definitely get a lot of golf out of this course and will be using plenty of clubs in your bag. The par 3s are all quite challenging and fun, but mostly play about the same lengths (we played the blue tees). The par 5s are long and really threading the needle, and you'll find everything on the par 4s but only one true reachable one if the wind is right.

As far as conditions, it's in good not great shape right now. The fairways play pretty nicely but there are definitely some thin spots. The course isn't very 'green' looking right now and looks like it's ripe for some re-seeding, but again, it plays better than it looks. The rough is very playable and easy to hit good shots from, while the sand in the bunkers was quite good. Tee boxes were all in good shape with flat surfaces easily located.

Greens rolled very nicely actually but, like the fairways, don't look in optimal shape. That being said, they held shots well and rolled quite true. Not a lot of ball marks is a nice feature. No tricked out greens here but some are pretty small and sloped, but no gimmicky spots which is nice. Speeds are medium fast.

We had great cart service numerous times throughout the round and the POP was really good as I don't believe we waited on a single hole after the first one. I really enjoyed the round here despite psyching myself out before taking my first swing. Speaking of first swings, the range is more than adequate even if it's a bit odd-shaped, but very convenient and organized. All the staff here were very nice and accommodating.

I would definitely love to play here again although I can see how this difficult course won't be everybody's cup of tea, especially if you're shots are off on the day. It's very easy here to run up big scores with so much OB and so many environmental hazard areas, but you will have a very fun time getting there. And if you have a good round, even better!
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