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Got out Sunday 10/17, 8:50 as a foursome on a cool, still morning and still damp golf course. First time back to Balboa in seven months, which feels about right. Conditions are mixed, for a net rating of just OK. Tee boxes are generally level with coverage and present suitably as launching pads. My impression of the fairways was was 70 to 80% grass lies and the rest thin, bare or browned out. The grass was on the firm and tighter side but presented good lies and a fair bit of rollout. Classic muni condition of generally serviceable and a bit unsightly at times. The rough could be anything from bare, to non-punitive light coverage, to a little fuller and sticky, to occasional grabby and punitive where more grown in — mostly on the thinner or less lush side. Bunkers could have been better raked, but reasonable clean, decent sand. I managed to avoid footprints and found them firmish and playable with most I was in dry and one moist. The green-side areas were more lush for short game and the kikuyu fringes could check up in-coming shots. The greens were in pretty decent shape overall and ran at a medium-on-the-quick-side and I found them enjoyable to play.

Pace was steady and I'm guessing somewhere shy of 4.5 hrs. A beautiful, clear day, it warmed and dried out quickly, starting out windless and developing to a +1 club or more breeze at times towards the end of the round. This is quintessential muni golf — a little under-irrigated overall and less than visually pristine, but it is what it is. Not a destination course to go out of your way for, and the "just OK" rating not withstanding, I had a good time playing it. Sometimes just OK conditions is more than good enough. Good greens also helps. Mostly generous fairways, reasonable length, straightforward with no water hazards or anything tricked up about it, and very good for walking. Perry, Wendy and Tom were excellent company and thanks especially to Perry for reaching out with the open tee time.
Played in a charity scramble today 9/30, teeing off on the 3rd hole in Santa Ana winds. I'm thinking conservatively it's been 15 years since I've played this course — back before it went into a bit of decline and now again after it has recovered. Long enough that I had no memory of most of the layout and vague memory of the rest. I found the course in pretty nice overall shape. Teeing grounds only stick out in my mind when there is an issue and I can't think of any — all green at an appropriate height and level. Fairways were in good shape leaning towards tight with good rollout and if there were any brown or bare spots I don't recall them. Rough was mostly very playable. We never played out of a bunker but they were all groomed and looked nice. I walked in one and it was on the firm side, leaving only very shallow footprints. The greens were quick, clean and in good shape as was the immediate surroundings for short game.

The clubhouse is nice with a beautiful view out the back side, but they are doing some upgrades so there is a little construction going on, especially in the pro shop. The golf carts are basic with no electronics for yardage, but they ran well enough. From the golf conditions perspective, I definitely recommend the place and am glad to see it in good shape after years of negative reports.

As an aside, the tournament was a little bare-bones. No goody bags, sponsors on the tees or giveaways, no coolers around the course or even a circulating beverage cart. For $165 bucks base price I found that aspect surprising and lacking, but I would attribute it to the tournament organizer's choices/budget and not the course. The BBQ tri-tip and chicken dinner buffet put on afterward was very good and the sides and salads that went with it were worth noting, and I attribute that to the course facilities/kitchen.
Teed off at 2:10, 9/17 as a twosome joined by a single. Overall conditions are good, tempered by the fact that many fairways double as parking lots for Rose Bowl events. That means some occasionally thin or bare spots on the fairways and white parking lines scattered about. This is limited to certain parts of certain fairways and not as impactful as it sounds. With dry weather, the ground is pretty firm and takes the traffic fairly well. Teeing grounds were all in pretty good shape. Fairways overall had good coverage and rollout, rough was not especially punishing in most cases, greens were quick and in pretty good shape as were the immediate surroundings. Bunkers were firm-ish and mostly clean.

Even though I only live ten minutes away, I confess I am not a big fan of the Brookside courses but still like to get out there once a year or so just for variety and check it out. Weather was blessedly a little cooler than it has been lately, pace was about 4.25 and steady, and despite the erratic state of my current form, it was a nice day to walk a course that is flat enough to encourage it. I still won't go back soon, but my preferences shouldn't color yours, and if you've never played there it's worth a look. If you like the course, more power to you. As to the conditions, not pristine, mostly good, no serious issues and I give it a thumbs up.
Hit SDCGC as a threesome on Friday 8/23, teeing off around 3:20. Keeping this short, the course is in nice overall condition. Good teeing grounds and coverage, with good lies from tee to green. Rough is mostly green and playable but with areas of dense vegetation bordering a few holes that are unplayable and easy in which to lose balls. The bunker sand was nicer than average although it generally wasn't as groomed as it could have been. Greens were in nice shape and running a bit over medium pace which is fine. Many of the greens have some slope and contour to them such that particularly quick greens might be a little problematic.

Pace was good at a little over four hours. The clubhouse is closed for now (had a fire, I think?) and they are operating from outside, but the customer service was good and the cart service came around several times. As the name implies, the setting is in a canyon that gives it a sightly remote feel with nice views — really a peaceful location. I have been back to this course a couple of times recently after not having played it for many years because I am finding it worth playing more often both for the setting and conditions. As I write this, imagining how much more I would have enjoyed the day if I had brought any game with me. Recommended.
Got to experience VCC for the first time 7/28 where I had my GK match with Johnny GK himself at a Guru outing. The place is close to immaculate. Long, level, green tee boxes. Not a brown or thin spot to be found on the fairways. With a couple of exceptions they are on the generous side. Rough was is good shape, predominantly green and varied from easily recoverable to some thicker stuff that would challenge the recovery shot. Bunkers were generally good and clean with some firmer than others and nothing especially fluffy. Green complexes we're in good shape for short game and the greens themselves were very clean and smooth, running at a nice quick pace. There is some altitude change down from the clubhouse area so where there is slope, it can be pronounced, but the balance of the course is pretty level.

All of it has a spacious yet private feel to it as there is limited evidence of the outside world when you are on the course. It feels like a retreat. While both nines are lovely, I rate the front nine as probably the more visually interesting of the two, but the back compensates with an especially expansive and dramatically contoured par-5 finishing hole. The carts are basic, had no screens and you frequently had to hunt around for markers posting yardages to pace it off. In a time where a lot of people have range finders or yardage apps of their own, I would think this is not an issue but be advised and come prepared if it is important to you. The practice facilities are excellent, so everything you need to warm up properly is there for you. The cart girl came around twice and the staff was polite and low key. Thanks to Johnny for the match and putting it all together, and to Pete and Ron for their company. Bottom line, a beautiful, classic course in excellent condition. (Note: while utilized by the author in the compiling of this report no shankopotami were injured in the process, although one Canadian goose will be filing charges against Johnny.)
Went out Friday, 7/23 as a twosome around 2:30. Conditions are usually pretty consistent here so for brevity, I am only going to comment as a supplement to 24hourgolf's latest review.

While the fairways are fine in the main, there are definitely thinned dry patches distributed about. There were also a few muddy spots of overwatering, although these were rare and only on a couple of holes — first and 17th fairways come to mind. The greens were softer than usual, took deep pitch marks, and ran medium which is fine but a bit sluggish compared to the norm here. The overwatered spots and green conditions both probably the result of extra watering to beat the heat and atypical.

The foursome ahead of us generally kept a good pace so there was minimal waiting. The pro shop is now open but requires masks currently. The service here is excellent and they were very accommodating when my buddy was late for our original tee time.
Got to play Spanish Hills for the first time on 7/19 as part of a scramble "tournament" outing for the Ventura County Contractors Association. Conditions were excellent. Coverage was very nice from tee boxes to the greens with the tee boxes being level throughout. The immediate rough was generally green and playable with some areas a little thicker and potentially a little more costly. Further off and you were into frequently heavy brush and wild coverage. The bunkers generally seem pretty firm although I was in one very firm and another that was drier, less compacted, and played more normally. The greens were in very nice shape, probably running around 10/11 with some subtle breaks on top of the more obvious contours.

The course is built around the crest of a hill and you eventually get the 360º view as you play your way around it. With the bit of altitude, you get some beautiful views of the area and local mountain ranges. The course itself is sinuous and on the narrow side with a healthy mix of some altitude changes. For all practical purposes I don't see it as a walking course. I thought the display performance in the carts could have been a little better thought out but that is a minor quibble from someone who rarely uses carts or the readouts. The carts themselves performed and handled nicely and had generously cushioned, stitched leather seats. Nicer than anything I've experienced on a golf course. While there is a sense of being narrow, the course is not particularly long so the vectors and distances needed to get into position are reasonable. What makes it seems narrower is that once off the fairway and green rough you are frequently into fairly dense vegetation and underbrush. A healthy slice or hook usually didn't deserve a second thought as to whether it merited a search, so more than the usual quota of lost balls can be expected. There is a target golf aspect to it that has you considering your shot placement but I found it enjoyable and adding a little challenge without being excessive. The clubhouse is on the grand side and the staff was helpful and pleasant. Bottom line, as an interesting, scenic and reasonably challenging course in very nice condition, if you are offered a chance to play here, take it.
Played Friday 7/16, 1:33 tee off with a buddy, accompanying the Roarksown1 vs. Mpisarski01 GK match. Conditions were pretty solid all around. Teeing grounds here are pretty level with sufficient coverage. Fairways were generally well covered, a touch on the tight side with decent rollout and the occasional harder/thin patch. I don't recall having to over-think any fairway shots due to the conditions. Rough on average was not punitive, but there were both thicker patches and hardpan areas that could come into play off the fairways. Bunkers were pretty clean but firm. Comparing the results from the two bunkers I visited, I had better success picking the ball with a chip than splashing out. Greenside conditions were good for chipping but skewed tighter than fluffier. The greens were in good shape and running a good medium quick — much better than the last visit here and a good speed for this course.

Upon arrival, it was surprisingly quiet around the clubhouse for a Friday afternoon — a few people on the range and no one on the putting green. Pace was good on the course with minimal waiting and I'd guess to the tune of something under 4.5 hours. It was a warm afternoon but some breeze made it not so bad. The snack bar closed right before we sat down for a post-round libation, but beverages were available to be purchased from the starters office. The course has enough playing interest and some nice views. It was a good round with good company and the course is recommended in its current state.
PokerGuy0826 (John) and I played a 11:40 GK match at Hansen Dam Wednesday, 7/7 with another two-some. All are conditions are good. Teeing here is never an issue — level with adequate or better coverage. Fairways were in good shape with good lies. The par-4 fifth hole had more than its share of burnt and thinner patches relative to the rest of the course, but otherwise I just didn't notice too much of that. Rough was OK, generally not long and mostly playable. Missing the fairway within reason didn't usually cost you anything. I was in one bunker, it was in decent shape and I escaped without any issues of note. Green-side areas were generally good for chipping. The greens showed small trace holes from aeration but putted fine at a medium pace. I say that as someone used to mixing up my courses, many times munis, and adapting to pace where medium or medium quick is a good minimum. The holes suggest there is some healing left and perhaps hope for more quickness eventually. John struggled with getting the ball to the hole often because he had been playing better and quicker greens more regularly lately, so there was an adjustment factor for him which is understandable. So be advised. I misjudged some longer putts and gagged on a few short ones, it was me, not the greens.

The day was warm but tolerable with some breeze to offset the heat. Pace was somewhere around 4.5 and it was our group's pace because we really only had any kind or wait at all on two holes. No cart service but the cafe section is now open to grab drinks and food. A solid muni in solid shape. Recommended.
Part 2 of my buddy's visit from NY was Harding and an impromptu GK outing of me playing a GK match with Kviser joined by GK member mswhsu (Willie) who we were meeting for the first time. Overall conditions were very nice. Teeing grounds were level with coverage to an appropriate length. Fairways were very nice, also with good green coverage and no bare of hotspots come to mind. The rough was generally green, varied in grass and length, and so offered varying results. Where it was kikuyu on the shorter side, it could actually tee the ball up, but a little longer, or if the ball settled down even in the same length kikuyu, it could be a challenge to advance. This dynamic was on display in the closely mown areas around the green which were mostly kikuyu. The odd bounces and club grabbing that the species is famous for came in to play as well as the setting up of the ball for clean shots on other occasions. Bunkers were on the firm side and mostly in reasonable condition. The greens themselves were pretty clean, a medium pace and generally putting well and true enough.

Range, putting and chipping areas are all open. It was a warm day but a little breeze helped offset that through most of the day. Most, not all, of the fountains I encountered on the course were working. Pace was pretty good at around 4.25 hours and the company was excellent. I hadn't been out to Harding for a while and it was a very enjoyable experience to be back.
Played with my buddy visiting from NY plus a single, first off twilight at 2:00 on 7/1. There are a number of positive recent reviews and descriptions lately so I won't go into great detail on them here. Conditions overall were very nice from tees up to the greens. Bunkers were OK if a little unkempt and pitching/chipping areas were good. The greens were worth special mention because many of them had splotchy brown areas. I couldn't figure out if it was a form of fungus, or random areas of fertilizer that had been compressed into the surface. It wasn't attractive, a little disconcerting, and while it didn't seem to affect the putts overly much these areas seemed more sparse as to coverage and a touch bumpy. The worst case was the par-3 fourth hole where I had a long putt across the green on which the brown areas were predominant and I wasn't sure how my putt would react to the surface. Otherwise the green were pretty quick and playable in the bigger picture. I wouldn't avoid the course because of the mottling on the greens, but I think it helps to be aware and anticipate it.

All in all, a beautiful, challenging and occasionally dramatic course. We all enjoyed it as a special outing. The small range area is open to those with tee times and the putting/chippig green has holes but no flags. The pro shop operates from an exterior setup and you can't go in. They will fetch it from within if you need something. The restaurant is open to purchase and sit outside to eat. There may have been some inside seating but I honestly don't recall. Outside was preferable anyway.
Played a GK match with Sandrail05 on Saturday 6/26, joined by a single who fit right in. It's almost not worth getting into the particulars because the course is in excellent shape. I recall no issues with the teeing grounds, the fairways have good coverage and offer a nice hitting surface. The rough is fair and not particularly punitive unless you get further off into the more natural areas. I was in one bunker and it was clean but on the firm side. The short approach areas were well groomed, frequently on the tight side but more often a nice lie for wedging. The greens were very nice: clean, true and running consistently medium quick — there was some zip but nothing overly testy. I really liked the speed.

The pace was good for a Saturday, and with some occasional waiting it took us a bit over 4.5 hours to get it done. In addition to the current conditions, I recommend this course as a fun layout that provides some variety and contour in the mix. The beverage cart patrolled regularly and the covered patio behind the clubhouse is a comfortable place to linger after a round. It might be out of the way for some, but if you've never played there, it is worth a look. Highly recommended.
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