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The main reason for my trip was for the NCGA outing at TPC Stonebrae, which was held on Monday afternoon. It was a full crowd of 120 players on a very tough course with very tough conditions (blustery, windy and cold), so it was no surprise the pace was brutally slow around 5.5 hours. That was the only major negative about the experience, though.

The course was in fantastic condition, playing fairly firm and fast as intended. Tee boxes, fairways and primary cut of rough were all beautifully maintained and I never had a bad lie. Then there are a lot of deeper native areas and gnarly deep/tangled fescue lining the bunkers that you want to avoid at all costs. If you are heading toward a bunker, pray you end up in the sand because the rough lining will absolutely eat you alive! The greens were firm and moderately fast. The bunkers were full of soft (maybe too soft for me) sand that was nicely maintained.

This is one heck of a course designed by David McLay Kidd (Bandon Dunes) and it is not one everyone will enjoy because it is so over the top and demanding. Reminded me a little of Arcadia Bluffs in Michigan as a links-inspired course on steroids. The front nine here eases you in somewhat before the challenge and quirkiness start to ramp up. By the back nine, it just gets super insane. My group got thrown right into the fire starting on hole 10, so it was an adventure right away.

The layout is hard to describe and may be too unique/difficult for some people to enjoy. I actually think it's not as challenging as it seems, so I am sure members benefit from getting to play here a lot and learning what to do (and more importantly, what not to do) on some of the more intimidating holes. There are numerous blind shots and it will be uncomfortable for any first-time player. The setting is spectacular atop a hillside overlooking the East Bay. Even on a gloomy day we could see the city. There is some construction going on around the early front nine, so it's a bit less scenic. The back nine is totally unencumbered by houses or anything, so it's pretty special.

If you ever get a chance to play here, take advantage because it is a truly unique and entertaining experience (even if the course beats you up a bit the first time through). I wouldn't mind a rematch with it someday!
10 Likes.
Played here on Monday morning alongside GK'er, Bgarcelon, who works here and set up a 6:00 tee time for us. We were joined by Craig, who was the head teaching pro here for over 30 years and shared a lot of course history. We were joined by another course regular at the turn. We finished in about 3.5 hours as the second group out.

The course is in nice overall condition, highlighted by excellent greens that were receptive and rolling smooth. They have a lot of undulation and slope, so I got lucky with a softer/wetter morning round compared to how they typically play in the afternoon. Either way, you never want to be above the hole here. The tee boxes, fairways and rough were all in generally good condition with just a few weak spots here and there. Also a lot of goose "stuff" on/around the tee boxes. They seem to like whatever seed is in that turf, so that's where they're doing the most damage. Bunkers were pretty good, as well.

Definitely a very enjoyable layout with a fairly secluded location and some nice views, even on a very dark overcast morning. Very hilly and plenty of big doglegs, and I mentioned the big/undulated greens that really provide the course's biggest defense. Overall a very recommendable local course if you are in the Walnut Creek area.
10 Likes.
I was able to squeeze in 9 holes here after the GK event. The driving range and practice areas were super busy (lots of kids - First Tee facility), but the course was pretty wide open and I got around easily with plenty of daylight to spare. I don't even remember what I paid, but I remember it seemed somewhat more reasonable to walk than Pleasanton earlier.

Of all the courses I played this trip, Fremont Park was probably in the weakest condition. It is pretty rough around the edges. Tee boxes adequate enough. Fairways a little spotty. Rough even spottier. Greens had just been aerated, so they were sandy and slow. Looks like they should be fine by the time they heal up. Bunkers not terrible, but not great either.

As for the layout, this is a more interesting short course than I expected. It offers some nice scenery early on and the layout is quirky, but kind of fun. A handful of tricky par-4s to go with a decent mix of par-3s. Plenty of hazards in play, enough to keep you on your toes. Overall a good layout, but conditions left something to be desired when it seems most Bay Area courses (even the cheap shorties like this) are rounding into form heading into summer.
7 Likes.
After finishing Skywest so early, I raced out (pun intended) to Pleasanton GC to squeeze 9 in before the GK outing at Corica Park. This was one of many East Bay short courses I wanted to check off my list this trip. Getting here was a little confusing as my GPS first took me to the driving range, which is on the opposite side of the fairgrounds. I ultimately found my way over to the course, which is located inside the horse racing track infield. You do want to drive through the tunnel (that doesn't look like a car will fit) and park inside the track.

It was a bit busier than I expected with several players waiting to tee off. With my time crunch, the pro shop guy was nice enough to let me jump out to hole 3 ahead of the groups. I finished 3-9 quickly and then played 1-2 with a single to wrap up my nine. $18 to walk seems very steep for this course.

Conditions were solid. The tees, fairways and rough were in good shape. Bunkers OK and the greens were actually very nice. Somewhat firm and rolling faster than expected for a course of this caliber. Pretty small and sometimes domey greens, so can be hard to hold.

Like Fairgrounds GC up in Santa Rosa, playing inside the race track is perhaps the only memorable thing here. I doubt they allow play during races and during certain fair events, but not sure. Otherwise, a very basic and simple layout in an open field. They could use some more yardage markings on the few par-4s because I found myself guessing without a GPS or scope. Decent beginner's course and home to local First Tee programs I believe.
9 Likes.
Played here Sunday morning. Was able to book a 5:52 tee time the day before. $55 with cart, though this would be a great walking course because it's so flat and not spread out at all. Either way, one of the more "affordable" options in the Bay Area for weekend rack. I was paired with a local couple who play here a lot and claimed to be fast players. They lived up to my own extreme definition of fast and we finished all 18 in about 2.5 hours as a threesome (with some waiting on maintenance, too)! Couldn't have worked out better.

The course was in very good overall shape. It was very lush, green and well-maintained throughout for a low-end muni. Tee boxes and fairways generally great. Rough pretty consistent and not too much challenge. Greens soft and rolling a bit slow with morning moisture, but good surfaces. Bunkers the only real weak spot. The sand was decent, but it was wet and really packed down like wet concrete. Probably just needs a good "fluffing."

The conditions were nice. The layout is pretty basic with a back and forth routing and not too many interesting points. Back nine gets a little tighter with houses/streets in play on a few holes. Pretty traditional muni kind of course, but it's somewhat reasonably priced and for whatever reasons not quite as crowded as others will be on a weekend morning.
7 Likes.
I'll get caught up on the rest of my reviews when I'm back home, but wanted to talk about the GK Plays at Corica Park yesterday on the newly renovated South course. The course was just as enjoyable as when we played last year for the grand reopening fiesta. Only drawback this time was the slow 5.5-hour pace as others have mentioned. Otherwise, a good time on a windy afternoon with my GK friends, Alex326 and rgm2525, in the lead group behind the most frustrating and confusing (yet oddly entertaining) twosome ever!

Conditions were excellent. This course is designed to play firm and fast, and that's what you get. Tee boxes a bit too firm (hard to get tee in ground sometimes), but great fairways with generous roll-out and good lies to hit from. I'd like to see them shave down around the greens even more to allow more links-style putting options as the design dictates. Primary cut of rough good and then you want to avoid the deeper fescue and native areas. Greens super firm and rolling well at ideal speeds. Bunkers generally good with super soft sand, except one fairway bunker I was in that was a bit more firm (which I prefer anyway).

Thanks to the staff at Corica Park for having us out on a day when they clearly have no problem getting regular business. The place was packed and it will be even nicer once the North Course is fully renovated by 2021. Bathroom and parking lot renovations would certainly be nice, too : )
11 Likes.
Played here today. Called ahead and they put me at a 10:37 tee time. It was very busy as expected on a Saturday at one of the area's most-played courses. They were running a bit late, but I was able to move up a couple tee times (paired with another single and a twosome) and we teed off around 10:40. Didn't seem as slow as it was, but right at 5 hours. Kind of what I expected. Definitely "Bay Area overpriced" at $69 with a cart.

The course was in pretty good overall condition. The rain brought in a lot of nice turf and it's been drying out enough they can start taking care of it heading into summer. Tee boxes and fairways were generally pretty good with nice roll-out on drives. Rough not deep, but good coverage throughout and just enough to make you work. Greens looked like maybe they were aerated 3-4 weeks ago and are almost fully healed. A little bumpy and slow-ish at times, but overall fine and should get better over the next few weeks.

I was happy to finally check this one off the list. I've always heard good things about the layout. It's a very hilly,old school target-style course that I enjoyed. Great scenery with no houses around. Lots of big trees and nice views of the watershed. Freeway very loud on a few holes, though. Most fairways slope hard one way or the other (and so do some greens), so aiming toward the high side is generally recommended. Notoriously crowded course and a bit expensive as a muni, but I can understand why it gets so much play. Recommended, but don't expect a quick round here most days (especially weekends).
11 Likes.
Our final stop of the trip was at Cypress Lakes. When we mentioned playing here to other North Bay folks at other courses, we were generally greeted with blank stares. Hardly anybody knows this place even exists. It is the Travis AFB course, but it's not actually on the base and is open to the public. It is a bit off the beaten path and the layout isn't anything terribly exciting, though, so I can understand why it's not well-known. We teed off a little before 4:00 and zipped around as quickly as we could. We had to make up our own routing to avoid players lightly scattered around the course, but we finished all 18 in about 2:20. The twilight rate was $29 with cart.

I was pleasantly surprised with the conditions. It was pretty nice from tee to green—other than the bunkers. Tee boxes good. Fairways very good. Rough had just as many weeds/clovers as grass, but it was cut consistently and played fine. Bunkers were not good. One I was in had pretty soft sand (though I was in a footprint) and the other was hard as cement. The greens were good, though, rolling well at medium speeds.

The layout is about what I expected. It's a military course that's surrounded by farmland, so it's long and straightforward. There are some good holes, water hazards and decent features throughout, so it's not completely boring. I would compare it to the Navy Course in SoCal or a number of "classic" rural parkland courses I've played throughout the Central Valley. Fine layout, decent value, good conditioning and probably easy to get a round in most days. Not a destination course, but perfectly fine for what it is.
8 Likes.
Time to backtrack a little. This was actually our first round of the trip on Monday. Thank you Johnny for adding it to the database. I'll get some pictures up as soon as I can, as well, along with the scorecard. This was the first GolfMoose private club outing I have attended and they did a nice job. They are doing a bunch of these in Norcal now, so it's another way like the NCGA/SCGA to get on private clubs and nice resort courses at reasonable "member for a day" rates. This one was $99 (and we also had $25 GK certs to make it even better). It was originally scheduled for February, but was rained out and postponed until April. We started on hole 6 in a full shotgun and we finished in right about 4.5 hours. I expected it to be much slower because it was cart path only and the rough was crazy deep (more on that later).

I wasn't sure what to expect from conditions given the super wet winter, but Sonoma was in great overall shape. There were definitely a lot of soft spots and mushy areas. However, the playability was generally quite good from tee to green. Fairways not cut too tight, so not much roll-out on drives. And as I mentioned, the rough was insanely thick, lush and deep. Our group (and I assume every group) lost a lot of balls. When you did find it, all you could do was hack it out and try to advance the ball. It was brutal, but kind of sadistically fun to play rough that might make even the USGA blush. Surprisingly it didn't seem to slow down play as much as expected (thank you new 3-minute search rule). The bunkers were good and the greens were also pretty good despite being aerated within the past couple weeks. They were fairly soft and rolling well at medium/fast speeds.

This is a pretty old school club and course in the heart of wine country, so it definitely has a special quality when you get to play it. The clubhouse is pretty awesome and the facilities are nice. The layout is fairly traditional with no changes in elevation. A creek runs throughout the course and comes into play a lot. It's a nice classic style course in a beautiful valley setting, so I would easily recommend it if you ever have a chance to play it.
9 Likes.
This was the second round yesterday and it ended up being my favorite layout of the trip. We had a 10:06 tee time and were paired with a single. Several men's club groups were out ahead of us and they were busy all morning, so we expected a slow round. There was no marshal out and it was indeed slow at a 5-hour pace. Also slow service in the grille at the turn, despite calling ahead our orders. The price was great as another killer GolfMoose twosome deal ($69 for two players).

The conditions were very nice and this course drains extremely well. The turf was comparable to what we found over at Rooster Run the day before, with only a few soft/weak spots found anywhere and a couple fairways roped off as CPO. Otherwise, very firm and fast conditions which were a welcome surprise given the setting and recent weather. The tee boxes were good, though hard to get a tee in the ground in some and also the par-3s a bit chewed up and sandy. The fairways firm and fast, but nice lies to hit from. The rough was lush, but a more wispy type of grass than the super thick stuff we had elsewhere. The ball sat down a lot and it was still challenging in its own way. The bunkers were decent. The greens were crazy firm and fairly fast. They definitely did not aerate yet, and they could benefit from one because it's almost unfair at times because of the severe slopes here.

Hiddenbrooke is not a Bay Area course you ever hear much about despite it being a Palmer design. It is a roller coaster ride through some very scenic and steep hills and canyons. Tight fairways, sweeping doglegs, forced carries, elevated greens and lots of undulation are found. It is extremely hilly and dramatic, so it definitely caught and held my attention through all 18 holes. Some people may not like it as much because it's so dramatic (almost more of a SoCal canyon style course than what you typically find in Norcal). Good values are easy to find here. The slow pace of play was a bit of a bummer, but it was an ideal weather day and the course conditions were great other than the greens being a bit too firm. I'd recommend this course to most people looking for something unique and fun in the North Bay.
9 Likes.
This was the morning round yesterday with ppark81, as we had another 3-course day in the North Bay before heading home. Due to the way everything timed out to piece the trip together, our only option was to book a regular 6:54 tee time and pay the rack rate of $54 with cart (this would be an easy walking course, but we like to play fast). We went off first and zipped around, trying to play through and avoid maintenance the best we could.

The course was in good overall condition. Everything was lush and soft as expected with this wet winter, but pretty good playability all things considered. Not cart path only, so that's a good sign that things are drying out a little. Still soft throughout with some extra mushy areas to avoid or play as GUR here and there. Lots of grass clippings in the semi-deep rough sometimes made it hard to find balls. They are in the midst of a bunker renovation right now. Some are done with nice soft sand, others are being worked on and some are just pretty much hardpan until they get to them. Will be nice when they are all done. The greens were soft and rolling smooth at medium speeds. I don't think they actually aerated as was noted on GK, so I will follow up on that.

Peacock Gap is one of the flatter courses you will find in the Bay Area. It's a pretty traditional layout with most of its character found on and around the greens. They are big and undulated, and the bunkering also plays a key role in the design. From tee to green, however, it's all pretty straightforward for the most part. A couple of nice water par-3s. Solid, but not spectacular layout and a bit expensive because of its location, so nothing to go out of your way for.
7 Likes.
This was our last stop today and a welcome relief after the trudge through Bennett Valley. As we booked tee times at other courses struggling with so much rain this year, many of them recommended we check out Rooster Run. We were already planning to, but it is common knowledge in the North Bay that this is the best-draining course around and it has stood up to this crazy wet winter. We teed off around 1:45. It was busy out and we waited on every shot, but still finished in 4 hours. $42 rate with cart. This would be a good walking course, if that's your preference.

Course conditions were as hyped. It was very good here and, for the most part, you'd think it was summer/fall. The tee boxes, fairways and rough were all in great shape and played well. Nice to get some roll-out on drives and have firm lies to hit from. There were some minor wet/mushy spots throughout, but nothing problematic like other courses around here right now. Bunkers were good and greens were excellent. They were somewhat firm (but receptive) and rolling true at medium speeds.

This is a good overall course. The playing conditions might outshine the layout a bit, but it's a solid design. The greens are big and there are some nice water hazards in play (signature hole is the island green par-3 15th). Most anyone should enjoy this layout. The back tees really stretch out and add some challenge for top players, while others will find it somewhat forgiving from the forward tees. The challenge today was that it was really, really windy. The front nine went out straight downwind and then back into the crazy strong headwind. Most holes on the back nine also headwind/downwind, so that really added a major dynamic. With some links qualities, I get the sense wind is almost always a factor here. Good course and a great place to play during a super wet North Bay winter!
9 Likes.
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