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Good times out at Black Gold Golf Club Sunday with GK’ers Mattias, roarksown1 and kassper7.

Sunday was a great testament of how much I like this layout even when I was looking for my tee shot on the majority of holes. My driver was as bad as I can remember as far as accuracy and let me tell you this course will eat you up on a day like that. However, take a drop, or two (lol) and play out the holes, enjoy the great views. I still had fun with the approach shots, be it many different angles than I am used to. The challenging green complexes and putting greens.

As for the conditions, very nice for October. Like roarksown1 I was expecting the golf course to be a little on the brown side but rather it was green. Good lies when I found the fairway. The rough was hit and miss as far as lush long or thin in areas. We played after the big rain on Saturday so it was still damp in places. Damp + Kikuyu grass is a tough combo! Noticed many greenside bunkers with new sand. Played a couple shots from them. Very nice. Tee boxes in good shape. Some were closed for what appeared to be nothing more than just giving them a break to grow in more. Last but not least the greens. They were in very good shape BUT very soft for Black Gold standards and consequently a bit bumpy and slower than I’ve experience in the past. I’m sure it has to do with the fact the greens were softer due to aeration 4 weeks ago combined with heavy rain the night before. Add to that we played in the afternoon on full tee sheet of players before us. You put all that together and still get very good greens, you know these greens are going to be rolling fast and smooth again likely by the time you read this review.

Service was excellent all day. Check-in, starter and on-course beverage service. After our round there was a wedding taking the whole clubhouse but normally I always enjoy their food/drink on the patio. I might try to get back out here again this fall/winter. Need to redeem myself for my poor play but more so just love this place.
Found myself in Santa Barbara late afternoon yesterday, 10/8, so decided to swing by Sandpiper Golf Club for a late TW round. Beautiful weather, clear day, played as a single. Teed it up at 3:45pm. Hardly anyone out there that late. It was a surreal experience. Fabulous views. Peaceful sounds. I can’t recommend a late TW round at Sandpiper enough.

Golf Course conditions are very good despite very dry Summer/Fall weather the region has had. Greens in super shape despite some tiny hole venting aeration (no sand). The tiny holes did not affect the putts whatsoever. Fast, holding approach shots, running out on pitch shots and smooth. Fairways in very good shape. Firm with a good padding to the hit the ball from. Light green with occasional light brown areas. Primary rough is cut low just above fairway height. There in no longer tall secondary fescue rough, likely to conserve water so they can focus resources on the fairways, so if want to cut the corner a little bit on hole 15 go for it. Bunkers in good shape, firm but decent sand. Light brown coloring in most traps. Tee boxes in good shape. Lush, groomed with some tee boxes (played the gold tees) needing to be more level.

Finished in 3 hours. I only had to skip one hole to play through a foursome. I also had to stop playing to take a couple phone calls which resulted in 20 minute delay. Add to that I took a ton of photos which I will post some on GK this week.

Some might feel like for a golf course that expansive, and actually if you are a tri-county resident (live in Ventura, Santa Barbara or San Louis Obispo County) it’s a significant price break, that conditions should always be fantastic. I disagree. The high green fee is 100% justified by the experience of playing a very fun layout with some of the most beautiful golf course ocean views anywhere I've played. In addition the peaceful unique ambiance of the place is special. The stretch of holes 10 – 14 on the cliffs of the ocean is simply spectacular. Holes 5 & 6 on the front nine are also excellent ocean golf holes. You can see the ocean from almost everywhere on the golf course if you look in its direction. Just a handful of holes that are mediocre in my opinion such as 8, 9 and 15. Some might not like that 18 is par 3 but its an fantastic par 3 IMO with one the toughest greens on the golf course. I love this golf course. It’s one of my very favorites. I highly recommend it.
Had a meeting at Angeles National on Tuesday that pleasantly turned into 15 holes of golf. Been a while since I’ve played it. I was also curious how it looked after the brush fire damage from last year. Have to say looks even better. I love how they’ve incorporated wood chips, gravel and landscaping (lots of blue agaves which I dig) into the layout. Plus it’s nice to get a free drop from those wood chips bordering some of the fairways ;)

Golf course was in great shape for this time of year. The fairways are light green, excellent coverage, a few thin spots, firm and dry. Which is to be expected. I talked with the superintendent Matt before the round and found out the course in built on very rocky terrain where they only have about 6 inches of top soil. What this means is the fairways roots can only go so deep and doing a deep fairways aeration is impossible as the rocks will break the machine. However they do 3 shallow holes aerations on the fairways per year to keep them healthy. I thought they played very well and enjoyed the extra roll.

As for the greens, really good shape, fun, mostly smooth, not as firm and fast as some of my previous visits but I expect them to speed up moving forward due to coming cooler temps. It’s a hot climate so makes sense to not cut them down yet. My favorite aspect of Angeles National are the green complexes. They are very big yet diabolical. They allow you to get creative with all the contours to play a large variety of shots. On every hole you can find a spot where you could enjoy practicing your short game for hours. Makes the golf course a blast.

Tee boxes in great shape. Lush, cut tight and level.

Bunkers are well groomed but need more sand.

Rough, there really is not much. Through the green the golf course is pretty much fairway height. Definitely puts more demand on the tee shots and approaches to keep it in play.

As for the views and ambiance of Angeles National, love it. Yes there is some freeway noise but that becomes unnoticeable, at least for me, after a couple holes. The backdrops of Angeles National Forest Mountains are stunning. You feel like you are on a desert golf course at times. The clubhouse is beautiful. You know you’re at a high end golf course from the level of service and amenities that immediately greet you. They have an excellent driving range and practice facilities.

Check out the photos I just posted.

First thank you everyone that came out to be a part of the GK Cup 12 Final and those that participated this year! Also want to thank Eagle Glen Golf Club for hosting our GK Cup Final. I always felt it would make for a fun championship due to its challenging layout, awesome closing holes and excellent clubhouse which includes a restaurant overlooking the property. Worked out great.

I was in the last the group, the finals group, teeing off at 11:00am. They were running a little behind and we teed up closer to 11:15am. Pace of play was slow as they had a full tee sheet Sunday morning. But wait, it was Ryder Cup Sunday, oh yeah, it was over when everyone woke up, so let’s go golfing!

I thought the golf course was in very good condition. End of September can be a challenging time to find a well-conditioned golf course in Southern California due to many in maintenance, prepping for maintenance or dried out from the summer heat. So given Eagle Glen aerated their greens in the beginning of September, I was confident they would be healed and I was right. With exception to the very first hole, as I had the same feelings as Itslikeimsayin's review, the remainder of the greens were rolling moderately fast, mostly smooth and holding shots. The rest of the golf course played mostly firm, was light green, had occasional light brown/thin turf, yet overall provided a good surface to play from. I was only in a few bunkers and they were well groomed with quality sand.

After the round we got together in the restaurant to celebrate HmtGolfGuy’s GK Cup victory. I could not help seeing the patty melt Itslikeimsayin was about to dive into (there I go again referencing Mark’s review, feel like such a copy-cat! – lol) so I ordered it, super good tasty. Seemed they only had one, maybe two staff working the bar/restaurant so service was slow however professional. I’ve ate here before and always enjoy the food. If it was not so hot Sunday I would have liked to be out on the balcony looking over the course, its good dining experience.

Thank you again to everyone that came out!

btw - was also a very special day for me, please see my Pebble Beach forum post :)

Squeezed in one more round on the NorCal trip teeing it up around 3:00pm at Corica Park Golf Complex South Course on Thursday. This was my second time playing the course and I enjoyed the layout even more. Great variety of fun holes with not one letdown. Last time teed it up for a shotgun start on the 13th hole during its grand opening. This time starting on hole 1 playing as it was designed felt better. The front nine is pretty open allowing you to grip and rip. The back nine quickly contrasts the front with tighter layout bringing many trees and at times OB in play. The closing stretch 15-18 is fantastic. Two signature Par 5’s (15 & 17) reachable in two with a tough final hole Par 4.

As for the conditions, it’s in great shape.

Greens, bent, were smooth, fast and firm. The only bumps you run into are not properly repaired ball marks but due to how firm the greens are the ball marks are not deep. These are huge greens with many undulations and very challenging. They were a blast to play.

Fairways, santa ana bermuda (does not go dormant) mostly lush, full coverage, except some spots in front the greens that are being worked on, firm and tight. Exactly how they should be for this Australian links design.

Rough, just adjacent to the fairway, santa ana bermuda as well, lush and tight like the fairways. Secondary rough is either 4 inches to foot tall fescue or California wild bent grass. Looks beautiful and is very challenging to escape from. Was in great shape. Although many of the California wild bent grass around the green complexes since I first played it have been cut down a little or been trampled down. This is actually a good thing from a pace of play standpoint. The times I hit my ball into the wild bent grass during my first round it was very difficult to find.

Bunkers, great shape with quality sand. Better quality sand on the back nine than front nine.

Tee boxes, cut tight, mostly lush and firm.

POP, finished in 4 hours.

Customer Service: Friendly & Professional

Love this place. I’m going to see about doing a GK Plays here in 2019. Check it out!
Next up on my 36 hole day yesterday in Fairfield was Paradise Valley Golf Course. The golf course also provides very great conditions and contrasts Rancho Solano Golf Club excellently for a second 18.

Teed it up again with Alex326 and BSF at 1:30pm. Brandon unfortunately could not join for the next 18 so we went out as a 3-some. Great time.

Before our round although we grabbed a bite to in grill/sports bar. I had a delicious Clubhouse wrap that was so big that I finished it out on the course. Recommend making a little time before your round to eat there.

For our twilight round we waited a little here and there but overall pace of play was around 4 ½ hours.

Greens, in great shape, little bit faster than Rancho Solano, mostly smooth and little bit more firm. Not as undulating and certainly not as big but definitely challenging. The greens are better guarded by bunkers and pins can be set in tough spots. You need to be careful not to be behind the pins out there. They can be slick coming back. Star of the show from a conditions standpoint and given the high amount of play this track gets, impressive.

Fairways, firm, mostly lush with occasional thin spots. It’s a level golf course so you get some good run out.

Rough, cut low, about an inch above the fairway height, mostly lush with occasional thin spots. Greenside rough is more lush and a little longer than adjacent to the fairways.

Bunkers, quality sand, little firm at times but in good shape.

Tee boxes, we played the white tees which get by far most of the play so they had some divot damage but driving by the blue and black tees, they looked near perfect, so to mixed feelings here about how to rate them.

Service excellent, very friendly staff, and talkative. Saw the cart girl many times. Everyone had a good attitude.

Highly recommended.
Every year I like to make a drive up to Fairfield, CA from SoCal and play 36 with GK’ers at Rancho Solano and Paradise Valley. Just a couple of very fun tracks that are always in great shape when I play them. Starting with Rancho Solano.

Joined by GK’ers BSF, Alex326 and BGarcelon we teed it up 7:24am and finished in little over 4 hours with no waiting. Great time! Was a beautiful morning in low 60’s when we teed off which felt wonderful to me having played Sunday in desert in 100+ temps. The golf course was in excellent condition.

Greens, running mostly smooth, medium speed (although being they are huge, with big undulations plus some severely sloped you need to be very careful on those downhillers).

Fairways, lush with good lies all day, that is when I found the fairways, was pretty wild off the tee.

Rough, fescue, mostly lush, cut down in most places to only an inch or two above the fairway height. In some places greenside higher but being I’ve been living in Bermuda or Kikuyu rough this summer, was sure nice to be able to slice through the fescue and make some great pitch shots.

Bunkers, good shape, quality light brown sand with coarse texture. Being the course was a little damp in the morning there were some tough plugged ball shots out there I saw in my group.

Tee boxes, lush, mostly level, not much divot damage.

As for the layout, I love this golf course. HUGE fun greens that I mentioned above. Hilly yet not over the top. Beautiful surroundings. Holes rarely parallel each other and challenge you with great variety. Mostly elevated tees with demanding shots. Water hazards and trees are the golf course’s main defense outside of the difficult big greens. Some challenging long par 3’s as well as short ones. Dogleg left’s and right’s but overall I think the course favors a draw. Hole #11 is my favorite and depending on the tees you play you either need to hit a big drive to get to the edge of the large lake or layup. Either way you’ll have a very fun shot to hit over a big lake to a gorgeous green. Get your camera out.

Beautiful big clubhouse. Excellent service. Treated very well throughout the experience. Saw the cart girl numerous times. Good hot dog at the turn. Alex got the breakfast burrito and it looked very tasty. I might have to try that next time.

Highly Recommended!
Played Sunday 9/9. I knew I needed to pick a place special for the GK Cup 12 semifinal so did not hesitate to contact Indian Wells Golf Resort. Always, I mean every time I have ever played here, on either golf course, the playing conditions and service have been outstanding. This time was no different.

It was a scorcher so teeing it up at 10:00am pretty much gave us the course to ourselves. We did finally see a group behind us on the back nine. Despite the heat, and the extreme heat the area has been getting this summer, Indian Wells Golf Resort Players Course was in fantastic summer shape. Greens, bermuda, rolling smooth, firm and moderate speed (certainly not slow as you might expect from bermuda greens this time of year). Fairways, bermuda, lush, perfect lies all day. Rough, bermuda, lush, full coverage, cut down to just 2 inches uniformly throughout the course. Tee boxes, bermuda, lush, level and cut just below fairway height. Bunker high quality sand, both greenside and fairways, firm and compacted at times, I sampled quite a bit of them, adjusted right away to the firmness and they played well for me.

We were playing a competitive round having to putt out and concentrate more so we finished in just around 4 ½ hours. Had it been a casual round, I think we could have finished in under 4 hours.

First time experience here, we warmed up on the small driving range in the wash below the bridge leading to the golf course first tee boxes. Sounds bad but actually was gorgeous. Level, perfect bermuda with a nice backdrop. Note, I’ve been in the wash quite a few times while playing the Celebrity Course hole 9 doing the hill climb out of it. LOL. Much better experience hitting range balls instead!

One more note, they will be starting overseeding maintenance on 9/27 so expect the golf course get drier as they lead into it.

Super time as always with GKers!

Posted some photos so please check them out.
Last Thursday was a unique fun golf experience with fellow GK’ers at La Costa. The Champions Course was in the best shape I’ve ever seen it…of course starting Monday 9/4 – 9/7 they aerate the greens and do their Fall maintenance. What I found out although is they have a new superintendent that immediately addressed the issue of the greens being too soft and susceptible to ball mark damage. On Thursday they rolled smooth, ran medium fast and were mostly firm. I loved them. The rest of the golf course was mostly lush bermunda turf. Ball was sitting up great in the fairways. Rough was thankfully cut lower but still posed some challenges if you found it. Only conditions knock, and to me not that much so, are the bunker not containing quality sand you would expect from a high end resort. They were certainly playable, as found many and played well from them, but not up to Omni La Costa standards.

As much I love this golf course, the real fun for me was riding a GolfBoard and Phat Scooter for the first time. I was very eager to finally ride a GolfBoard so jumped on one for the front 9. Man, they are a blast. I was not much of skateboarder or surfer as a kid, I liked to JetSki (the standing up kind) so I immediately took up that posture on the GolfBoard. Well, not the same machine! – LOL – I needed to adapt and eventually got into a groove around the 5th hole. Still even during the learning process of riding I was having fun. I also have to say I like very much how it slowed/stopped automatically allowing me to simply step off as I approached my ball or ever felt a little out of control. I felt very safe on it. Cons were it works out muscles my arms and legs not normally used so I was experiencing a little bit of soreness after my round. Also it’s not good at tight turns. On a JetSki you can dig into the water or slide out the back – not the case with a GolfBoard obviously.

On the back nine, I tried the Phat Scooter. That was a blast also but let’s be very clear, this is a two wheeled motor vehicle and with it comes many of the same risks as if you were riding a motorcycle or street scooter. It’s my understanding a 3-wheeled version of the Phat Scooter is coming out which I think would help the safety of this ride a lot. To the Phat Scooter’s credit, it’s pretty safe IMO. Not as safe as a GolfBoard but safe. And although I enjoyed the GolfBoard much better, most of our group enjoyed the Phat Scooter much better. The Phat Scooter is easy to get the hang off, handles well and is a smooth ride. It’s got a place to hold your drink and extra golf gear. Your bag fits well on the back. It’s even got a USB port to keep your phone charged but please don’t text while riding – lol.

I highly recommend playing Omni La Costa Resort and now even more so with the additions of the GolfBoards and Phat Scooters. This place is fun. Thanks to everyone that came out to enjoy it with me!
Great time on Friday teeing up with GK’ers Daveygolf123 and rjmart at The Boulders Resort North Course. Since there was very few golfers playing, we joined up at times to make a fivesome (not allowed) with GK’ers sixpez and mpisarski01. Tons of fun.

Regarding the golf course, I think we caught the perfect storm…at the wrong time. The place got absolutely slammed the night before by monsoon rains/micro bursts. It was very wet, there were busted branches, washed out bunkers, downed cactus, and areas being cleaned up after flooding. To the golf course’s credit the grounds crew members were hustling and all over the place. Also you could tell the fairways were being less tended to with overseeding approaching (not uniformly lush as expected). So I need to circle back and play this track again. It was however in very good shape. Greens being the highlight mostly smooth, firm and moderate speed. Something tells me had they been able to cut and roll the greens instead of dealing with storm damage they would have been much better.

I’ve seen photos of The Boulders for years, however those signature pictures are almost all taken of the South Course, not the North “members” Course we played. The North course is still a very good fun layout but does not have the “wow” effect of the South Course. I snapped a few pics anyway.

Service was excellent. The Clubhouse feels like a country club and they even have a separate looker room for The Boulders members. The breakfast burrito was outstanding, thank you GK’er rjmart for picking that up for me. I did not get a chance to use the driving range but it looked nice, all grass and lush. Word of advice, use the bag drop. The members parking takes up the majority for the front parking lot and the walk from the back lot to proshop is long (especially in the summer).

To repeat, I need to play this place again and catch it when it’s in its typical condition. I also need to play the signature South Course. Maybe 36 in one day? That would be a blast.
Real fun day running and playing at Sun City West Golf Grandview Course in what originally was intended to be a casual golf get together with AZ GK’ers, transformed into a full blown GK Plays outing.

The course was in great summer shape. Lush bermunda tees, fairways and rough. Greens were lush as well, running smooth, holding shots and typical bermunda greens speed this time of year on the slow side. Sand traps were perfect being they were recently renovated. The golf course was a treat to play.

The layout is parkland style in a retirement community although no pushover. The back tees measure over 6700 yards and there is plenty of trouble you can get in if you are wild with your driver or not striking your irons well. The greens are well protected by bunkers on most holes and there is an occasional water hazard to deal with. It’s not a desert layout that will “wow” you but during season the peak rates are under $50 (good luck finding a better value). In fact everything about the price structure of the golf course is value driven to cater to fixed income golfers. Shocks you when you order food and the Gatorade you normally pay 4 or 5 bucks for at other courses is 2 bucks. Or the delicious breakfast sandwich with large OJ I got only being $5.50. Bucket of balls, just $2. All this on course with a fast pace of play and friendly staff.

I snapped some photos for you to check out.

Highly Recommended

We will be back here for sure for another GK Plays outing.
Just got back from my AZ trip tonight. Was awesome golfing + seeing so many AZ GK’ers as well some from SoCal. Was a fast track for me so did not have time to post reviews on the road. However I knew the first thing I wanted to do when I got back was post a review for Quintero Golf Club because it is truly a unique amazing track that met my big expectations.

Played with GK’ers sdgolforbust, sixpez and a GK Facebook user Jon Thursday afternoon. We teed off at 2:40pm and finished in just over 4 hours, even as a 6 players on the last 4 holes (GK’ers Uncleddboy23 and xjackflashx circled back to join us – who could blame them wanting to play more). We had the golf course to ourselves at that point racing some thundershowers so it worked out.

This golf course is an instant Top-10 golf for me and one of the most beautiful desert mountain layouts I’ve ever played. Have to admit, with my big expectations, I was not very impressed with the opening 4 holes, but holes 5 to 18 wow, so beautiful and fun. Amazing views, challenging holes trailing through the mountain landscape, super conditions, lush fairways, lush rough and lush tees. Well maintained bunkers and very good firm, smooth, moderately fast greens. Water refreshment stations every 4 holes. Clean bathrooms. Just top-notch. And to think this was the end summer experience. Can only imagine, actually will make a point to play it again, when it is in overseeded peak season conditions.

I’ll be posting photos over the next couple days.

Excellent customer service.

Highly Recommended.
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