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I played here on Friday, April 7. The course was as crowded as I've ever seen it, I suppose because the weather was perfect. We had a slow start, but by #4 things cleared out, and we had to wait only a few times after that. Service is about average. Always friendly in the pro shop, the starter is friendly and efficient, it's marshaled well when needed, like it was yesterday, and the beverage cart came around regularly, although not as often when the course is less crowded.

All of the greens, except for maybe one or two, seem to have healed completely from the aeration of a few weeks ago, and rolled slow to moderate, but were consistent. Fairways and rough were in very good shape, with nary a bald spot. The more I play this course, the more I like it. I even hit it well enough to reach the new waste area on #13 but had no trouble hitting out of it on my second shot.

It's a little out of the way and is priced accordingly, so it's a great course to play regularly if you live within a half hour or so, and close enough from south Orange County and San Diego for an occasional round. And there are lots of deals out there to make it even more attractive.
I played with the gurus, but I was in the 2nd group with Johnny, Art, and Jerry. The hillsides were lush and covered with wildflowers so things were looking good. The course has some extreme elevation changes and long stretches between holes.

With the 5-year drought courses have been switching to drought tolerant grass that don't look as lush as courses where it, well, rains, so we should probably judge lushness from that perspective. With that in mind, I'd say the course was lush. The bunkers were in pretty good shape, there was nary a bad lie in the fairway, unless you get unlucky and land in a divot. The greens were lush by any standard. They were a little slow but seemed to track well, and generally held shots, except for Johnny's 2nd shot into the par 5 15th, which left him short-sided with a nasty little shot out of thick rough. The greens are confounding but fair, so expect at least a few three putts, unless your iron game is so good you can stick it close every time.

Overall, one of the better tracks in the area, and if you play it regularly they have a pretty decent frequent players card.
I played here 3/23 with fellow GKer Gary00. He left such a comprehensive review that I didn't think it was necessary to write review. But I was looking back at my review in December and conditions were so much better this time that I decided to write an update.

Back in December things were a little dry since it was late in the season. With all the rain we've had conditions in March were much different. Fairways were still short and played nicely. The rough was much more lush, although cut to a height were finding your ball was not difficult (unless you hit them where I hit a few). The course is in a wonderful setting, but after the rain the wildflowers were in bloom, and the old oak trees lining the fairways were just spectacular. A few of the bunkers could have used a little more sand, and I had a heck of a time reading the greens, but all in all the course is in great shape.
I played here on March 12 with a tee time at 7:30. The fog was so thick we could not see the fairway across the ravine on the first hole from the tee box, nor the flight of the ball, so we had to guess where our ball landed. Only one of the four balls was found. We also could not see the green, let alone the flag, from much more than 100 yards out, so it was a real guessing game. It wasn't until the 8th hole that the fog lifted and our frustration ended.

The head pro kindly returned my call afterward and explained that they do not do fog delays. So my advice is to check the weather if you have an early tee time and decide if you want to deal with it.
I played here in the men's club on Wednesday morning. The course is good shape, but getting ready to aerate next week. The greens were being watered between groups, which made judging speed tricky. I'd like them to water some other time so that the greens were of uniform speed. And I don't care for the new waste area on #13, where they apparently can't grow grass. Big hitters playing from the proper tees probably can't clear it, and can't reach the green in two if they come up short of it, so the waste area takes a lot of the fun out of it. On the other hand, I don't worry about it, and if I hit into it I'll be happy I hit it that far, and hope I have a decent enough lie to hit out of it.
I played with Gary and Art in the GK Guru event yesterday. Both of them gave very comprehensive reviews which are similar to what I would have said. I'll focus on the few things that stood out for me.

Course conditions were overall pretty good, particularly the bunkers, which were in much better shape than the last time I played here. I don't recall seeing a beverage cart all day, nor a marshal, but we never had to wait, even as a threesome. The greens were in good shape and seemed to roll true, with not too many unrepaired ball marks. If you like solitude and nice scenery you'll like this course. A few houses around but which don't come into play, and a hole or two is close to Hwy 76 but the traffic noise is not bothersome. I don't recall seeing much drinking water on the course, but there's an ice machine and water by the pro shop.

Overall, this is a nice place to play. Scenic, fairly-priced, and I don't ever recall a pace of play problem.
I played with other GK Gurus on Thursday, Dec 15. I play this course a few times a year because I live reasonable close (35 minutes), it's priced fairly, the conditions are usually very good, and the setting is terrific. Quiet, no homes near the course, beautiful old oak trees, and now they have vineyards running through part of it. Cell service on the course is from nonexistent to not very good, so you won't be able to track stock prices or sports scores during the round. I consider that a big plus--fewer distractions and intrusions from the outside world.

The conditions were about average for this time of year, which was a little disappointing because every other time it's been near pristine. The grass is going dormant, the rough is almost nonexistent, and the grass looks like it could use a good soaking (today's rain should help). I was only in one bunker and the sand seemed fine. The greens were in pretty good shape, but the speed seemed to vary from green to green. I hit quite a few putts much too long or much too short, but on the back I seemed to get the hang of it.

I like the layout of the front considerably more than the back, where there are a few head scratchers. Several on the back have blind approach shots. With a cart I drove up to take a look, but if you're walking, well, you might not want to spend the time and energy. By the way, this course is walkable. There are a few long stretches, like from 9 to 10, and a few hills, but overall it wouldn't be too bad, and it's so peaceful walking past those big old oaks that walking would be enjoyable. It takes a few rounds to get the hang of the course, but I kinda like that.

If this course was in Orange County it would be a lot busier and the greens fees would be, I'd guess, about 50% higher. GK and other sites often have deals where you can play for around $40, including a replay. That's quite a deal, and makes the hour+ drive worth it.
I played here on Sunday morning under sunny skies in the mid 60's with light winds. This course is a little quirky. I played it once before about 10 years ago and it seems to be a little less penal than before. There are lots of greens that you can't see from the fairway, many of which have multiple tiers, so the newbie doesn't know where to hit it. Fortunately I played with three other GK Gurus who have played the course enough times to know where to miss. That helped a little, but I wasn't hitting the ball particularly well so I couldn't take advantage of the advice. But with regular play I can see that this would be a fun course to play.

There are several holes where irons are necessary off the tee, and a few others where one might consider leaving the driver in the bag and playing conservatively, especially if you're a little erratic off the tee from time to time. The course is not unusually long, but seems quite difficult. The course designer didn't seem to want to move a lot of dirt, so there are lots of side and down hill lies. Many of the fairways sloped quite a bit from one side to the other, so balls hit up the left side might end up on the right side. Likewise, there is a lot of elevation change and slope around the greens, and balls hit to one side might roll all the way across or off the green on the other side. With experience on the course you could get this to work to your advantage. In some instances the slope was sufficient that balls would roll into small collection areas in the fairway. Unfortunately, those collections areas had quite a few divots, and thus a higher chance of getting a bad lie.

The conditions were about average for this time of year. There were a few bare spots on the fairways, rough, and greens. I was only in one bunker, on the back of #6, and there were a lot of small rocks intermixed in the sand. Most of the other bunkers I saw seemed fine, so that one bunker may have been the exception. POP was not a problem, although the marshal made regular rounds just in case things slowed down. All of the staff members I met were friendly and helpful. All in all, a good day out on the course.
I played 36 today with a buddy on a two-for-one, with a replay. I think it was $105 each. They have two courses here that rotate between the public and members, and today the public played the Champions course. My buddy played a similar deal with his wife last week, and he said the Legends course is a much nicer course. We played the combo tees with a slope of 132 and had all we could handle. It's been a long time since I've hit so many hybrid second shots, so I didn't get many GIR.

La Costa markets itself as an upscale resort course. Condition-wise, I don't think it measures up to other course in the area that I've played recently in its price range: Monarch Beach and Maderas. Tee boxes were generally good, fairways were OK, but there were spots where it was a little worn, dirt showed, and a few places of standing water . The greens were in great shape, very fast, and rolled true. Most of the bunkers I was in--and I was in a lot of them--had nice fluffy sand that was easy to hit out of. The rough for the most part was fine, but there were some areas where it could use some attention. All in all, not bad, but for the prices charged, well, it was only OK.

I don't usually play in the morning so I don't have to deal with maintenance. But the leaf blowers are really loud, and it takes some of the luster off the tranquility. And I don't quite understand why they need to cut the grass when you have to struggle to grab a blade or two to check the wind. It seems that they'd have been better off tending to other areas of the course than mowing grass that was already short.

Service was top notch. You no longer have to park a long way away and hoof it--self park is only a few hundred yards away. After the round the cart guy drove me and my clubs out to the car, which was appreciated after two rounds. The snack cart came around regularly, as did the marshal, although he wasn't needed as it wasn't crowded and POP was fine. The Italian sausage at the turn was very good--some of the best food I've ever had out on the course. All in all, it was a good day, and with the coupon fairly priced, but I wouldn't play at the rack rate.
I played today with Sal, Kelvin, and Johnny in a GK Guru event. I've played here perhaps five times before, but embarrasingly discovered that I have only one review of Maderas over the years. Shame on me.

This might be my favorite course in San Diego County, but there are still a few I haven't played yet. There are houses around--BIG houses--but they are set back so far that you hardly notice them, and they come nowhere close to coming into play. It is dead quiet out there. No traffic, no city noise. Very peaceful and serene.

Conditions are always good, and this visit was no exception. This late in the year courses begin to show their wear, but Maderas is in better shape than those I have played lately: Monarch Beach, Arrowood, and Golf Club of California, all of which are generally in better shape than most (the latter two are considerably less expensive than Maderas so you'd expect less pristine conditions). The only places I noticed any wear are where the carts enter and leave the fairway, and where carts are parked near the green.

This course is very hilly, so don't even think about walking. They have golf boards which I would like to try someday which would give you a little more exercise while still being manageable. The layout is tough. We played from the Blues, with a slope rating is 136. The golfer who just grabs his driver and heads to the tee will be in for a rude awakening on some holes. On several holes you'll score better if you play a little more conservative off the tee. Sixteen in particular is tough. A narrow fairway that slopes toward a creek is a killer. I hit hybrid, which I've done before, but this time I managed to hit the fairway (it may be the only time I've hit this fairway). Sure, I had 200 to the green from there, but I was hitting my 2nd shot instead of my 3rd.

I didn't have any trouble finding a level lie with good grass on the tee boxes. The bunkers were really in nice condition. Deep, fluffy sand that you don't bottom out on dirt and skull a shot, although I was in one that the grounds crew must have missed and didn't rake from the day before. The greens were impeccable. We teed off at 8:15 so they were a little damp, but as they dried out they got quicker but still rolled true. I did not see more than a few unrepaired ball marks, so kudos to the grounds crew and the other golfers.

This course is deserving of its high end reputation, and that is reflected in the rack rate. There are deals to be had from time to time which make it more affordable. If I had friends from out of town and wanted to show them a good time I would definitely consider taking them to Maderas. It's a little too expensive to play on a regular basis, but for a treat it's really nice to play.
I played today at 2:51. The course is in terrific shape. Very few bare spots in the fairways, the greens and rough were more lush than any course I've played in So Cal in a long, long time. Since most courses don't have much rough to speak of, due to the drought, I had difficulty hitting out of it from lack of practice. The greens were soft and very receptive.

This is a thinking players course. It's not long, so proper placement off the tee with woods and irons can lead to better scoring. Unfortunately I didn't know where to hit it until afterward, but next time... Service is terrific from the pro shop, to the starter, to the marshal, to the cart guys. Just a first class operation.

The course is very scenic with great views and no houses. The layout is a little odd in spots with looong distances between holes, so don't even think about trying to walk. Walking would add an hour to the round, and all the people in carts behind you would be cursing you.

I can't wait to play it again and get my revenge.
I played on Friday, 7-22, 3:00 tee time, high in the upper 80's. The course is starting to show some wear as we get deeper into summer. Fairways, tee boxes, and greens were all in pretty good shape though, but quite a few ball marks on the green. The fairways were punched a while ago but it doesn't generally affect play. It's in about the same condition as Encinitas Ranch, which I played earlier in the week. The heat scared away some folks so POP was pretty good. With the weather this hot I like to stay near the coast, and this is about as far inland as you can go and not fry on the hottest days. Almost always a breeze here, which makes hitting over the water on 18 a tough shot. Don't be tempted, as I was, to go for it when the pin is up.

I gotta agree with D-Con about #13. They're making a waste area right where you want to land the ball. Not much chance to reach in two if you come up short of it. Once it's finished there's probably not much chance of rolling through it, and if you can fly it, well, you're probably playing from the wrong set of tees. Management should either suck it up and fix the drainage problem, or take out those bunkers on the right to give us a place to hit our shots.
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