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Had a great time at Boulder Oaks on a sunny, warm and windy day on Sunday afternoon, 4/23/17 – a GK Plays outing and I was lucky to be paired with dcricket and rstang06, and their son mdkaplan90 - always a pleasure to see those guys. This course had recently undergone a significant renovation and rerouting, and I had never played the old layout. I’d seen some iffy reviews from other GKers on the quirky new setup, and the renovated yardage (<5,800 yards) was a little below what I’d normally go for, but the opportunity to get with other GKers was too good to pass up.

We had a noon shotgun start and I was lucky to get paired with veterans of the revised layout (for tips on play lines and green slopes) and to start on some of the less-tricky holes (we started on the short par 5 #3, followed by the flat par-3 #4) – starting in the wrong place here could quickly put a dent in your score and your enthusiasm. The course is very slopy and the wind is a significant factor, as many fairways and hitting lanes are narrow, wind can quickly blow you offline and affect distances, and seemingly good shots can quickly catch slopes into trouble. There are blind tee shots on several holes - repeated plays are definitely necessary to get the correct hitting lines and where to position your ball in fairways and on greens.

Some of the greens remain from the earlier course configuration, and others are newly constructed. As far as I could tell, most of the older greens had better turf coverage and held shots, while some newer greens were thinner, firmer, and didn’t hold as well. All the greens are very slopy, with significant runouts on downhill downgrain putts, and position is key to being able to comfortably putt to the hole, as most greens have a lot of subtle movement. Separate from the new/old situation, green speeds seemed to be inconsistent through the course, and none of our group had a good putting day. [The practice green was very smooth and consistent, resulting in a lot of jarring confusion once we got out on the course greens.] All greens had a lot of unrepaired ballmarks, with the front of green #18 being especially bad.

Fairways were in generally good condition and lies were good. But most of the fairways are pretty narrow, and players need to be aware of danger areas as they go along. In many cases adjacent holes are very close, and there’s some danger involved with balls flying offline into other playing areas. Lots of unfilled divots and we were very busy with the sand bottles. Most of the tees are fairly new and level, well-turfed, and playable. Par-3 tees were pretty torn up, especially the black and blue boxes on #13. Traps were generally pretty firm with only a thin playing layer.

Generally enough water available on the course, although the water jug on #5 tee was empty at 1230pm. Cart paths are in need of some serious work to repair damage and simplify the cart routing – many newer gravel paths need some grading and dust suppression. Areas beyond the rough/mulch areas are primarily hardpan/crushed granite, with lots of new plantings trying to take hold. These granite areas need additional cover and routing protection from rogue cart traffic to mature and improve appearance. The effect of recent heavy rains is evident from widespread runoff damage/erosion in these areas. No cart girl or ranger today. There is no driving range.

The clubhouse is older, left over from the country club, but with a friendly vibe from the staff. The grounds surrounding the clubhouse, and scattered areas of the course interior and surrounds, need a cash infusion and lots of TLC for a cleaner more appealing look.

The course is pretty unique and challenging in its conditions. I don’t think I would travel down to Escondido again just to play here. Unless Donna and Willie called again!
11 Likes.
Had a great time with the GK Gurus here at 11am on Wednesday, 4/19/17, on a mostly sunny, breezy warm day. Thanks to GKers gary00, leef2020, and Itslikeimsayin for an enjoyable day – Orange County heading down to San Marcos for the round. I played this course only once, around 20 years ago, and it seems like it’s really filled in in terms of the lushness of the vegetation in the creeks and hazards – of course, some of this may be related to the rain the past couple months. When you are on the holes bordered by the creek or heavier vegetation, the wind is almost completely blocked out – away from the creek or on the higher elevation holes the wind is much more of a factor.

We arrived in time to warm up but found the range closed for some type of grading. No practice bunker or chipping green unless it’s up by the range. The putting green was crowded as the course was pretty stacked up with foursomes going out in the hour ahead of our time, but the starter was friendly and worked to get us out ASAP after our foursome was complete. As they were crowded, the pace on the front nine was 2.5 hr, and not a lot better on the back. Pro shop was apologetic about the range availability and threw in a yardage book (ordinarily $15 ??!! – must be gold-laminated). Newer carts are basic but comfortable; no ball washer or cooler, but a very nice VISAGE GPS system that is interactive. Good graphics on the GPS, but it doesn’t tell you where other carts are, which would have been useful on a couple holes with blind shots or hidden areas beyond downslopes. Also, the pin position is shown as front/middle/back (the course uses that rotation), but often doesn’t indicate when pins are pushed well to the side of a middle line.

The putting green didn’t have much slope to it, and was a little fuzzy and bumpy – I think the on-course greens were a little quicker. The course overall was pretty wet and soft when we started, and dried out some as the round progressed. Early on the fairways were fairly wet and soft, getting firmer/drier as the day progressed. Even so, we encountered quite a few areas during the round with apparent sprinkler/drainage issues – these areas were very soft and wet, in some cases being muddy/mushy and a challenge to play from. Alternately, we encountered many thin/dry area in fairways and rough, with almost no cover vegetation. The course doesn’t play very long, but most holes have hazards along one side or are crossed by drainage structures, and the course is in hilly terrain with a lot of mounding and sloped fairways. I recall from my only previous round here that green approaches were heavily watered and soft at that time, as well.

Greens were generally in good condition – no bare spots, generally good turf conditions (some thinner areas), and rolled at medium to medium-fast speeds. They varied in firmness throughout the round, with some accepting shots well and others being firmer and less accepting. Most greens are pitched from back to front, some more steeply than others, and most are reasonably flat, with only scattered tiering and occasional low bowls. Many greens are fronted by steep rises above the fairway leading up to them, and with the wet/soft conditions that makes run-on approaches more difficult.

Fairways generally gave good lies, although we saw scattered wet or bare areas. Many fairways are significantly narrowed by traps or mounding/rough-cutting at the outer limits of good tee shots – hitting past these areas frequently encountered deeper rough, steeper slopes, and significant downslopes into runoff drainage areas. Several fairways, especially on the front nine, could slope significantly toward the vegetated hazards, so you need to be wary as you choose your hitting line. Rough was cut fairly short and very playable, although drainage margins could be much more lush and problematic. We saw lots of old unfilled divots in fairways and rough – there’s a refill rack for sand bottles on the #10 tee, and we used them liberally all day.

Tees were generally level and gave ample playing room. There are several boxes on each hole – some boxes have monuments/plates corresponding to card yardages, and even a picture of the hole features. But I only saw this on 2 or 3 holes – maybe I missed them, or maybe they were a relic of the course opening, and have slowly vanished. Traps were marginal – the fairway bunker on #18 was pretty firm with a thin crusty top layer (OK playability), but the greenside bunkers I was in had thin coverage over a wet heavy base, and you didn’t have much to work with. My playing partner said a couple of greenside traps he was in had deep soft sand – the opposite of my experience. With the rising approaches to semi-plateau greens, some of the fronting bunkers are very deep, with steep faces between you and the greens.

First tee is pretty noisy with driveway, parking lot, putting green, and clubhouse in the immediate proimity. No cart girl - there's a snack bar at the turn. Bathroom on the back nine is a port-o-pottie. Adequate water available. No ranger. Overall a fun day with other GKers, with pretty good course conditions. Recommended with a good price.
9 Likes.
Played at 10am with my monthly club on Saturday, 4/8/17, on a day that started mild and calm, but later got breezier and warm. A morning of mild temps, partly cloudy with minimal wind, morphed into freshening breezes and a steady west wind that had to be factored in on all shots. The course was not too busy and we went out close to time behind intermixed groups of 3, 4, and 5. Pace was pretty normal for LA County courses on weekend mornings, and we finished in just over 5 hours.

In recent years this course has had some capital inputs that have resulted in a cleaner look, more open hitting areas, several tees and greens being rebuilt, and an overall improvement in playability and ambience. The 11th green has been rebuilt since my last visit – it is much larger than before. On the 18th green a temporary replacement is coming; the main green will likely be renovated. A sand circle is currently located in the fairway about 50 yards short of the current green for the temporary green. The bathroom after hole 14 has been nicely redone.

Range on grass. There’s a small chipping and sand area near the first tee. The putting green had lots of spike marks, and some wet/soft areas. Great deals on sandwiches available in the snack bar adjacent to the bar – I didn’t even know there WAS a snack bar until last Saturday.

Greens were semi-firm, medium-fast to fast, but bumpy – all of them with a lot of old marks. The greenskeeper apparently had a very bad night on Friday night. The placement of the pins today was the toughest I’ve ever seen at this course – almost all were pushed to the green edges on significant slopes or on a saddle in the green. Combined with the firmness and pace of the greens, this made for a long day of putting. In these locations, there’s a huge amount of movement in the immediate vicinity of almost all the cups. My playing partner’s ball, from below the cup on the 10th green sloping to the right, did a slow-motion horseshoe around the cup and came back toward him – without ever touching the rim of the cup!!

The last few greens very firm/thin, and looked quite dried out. Hole 17 (a relatively new green) had an unbelievable amount of old ballmark damage. Greens here are generally small, although the rebuilt 11th and 17th are much larger than their predecessors.

Fairways were fairly tight, but giving good lies; too bad there were so many unfilled divots. Small colored posts (100/150/200) in the center of fairways are the only distance tools.
Rough was cut short and easily playable. Sand was soft and plentiful in the one bunker I was in. Tees were OK; some were slightly sloping. Several tees have been rebuilt – these are more level, look like they’ve been sodded, and are more lush. The new tee on hole 14 is welcome, as this tee especially needed rebuilding / leveling, as it sloped badly behind a right hander.

Watch out for lots of pine needles in the rough, especially under the big trees. Small tree/other debris can be blowing across greens late in round; you can’t clean it up fast enough to putt beforfe more blows in.

OK for a casual round.
11 Likes.
Had a great time with the GK Gurus at the Crossings on a mild sunny afternoon with only light breezes on Wednesday, 4/5/17. Thanks to Johnny for setting this up, and to GKers weber2323 and gary00 for an enjoyable round. Also had an opportunity to meet GKers grantar2 and jmo1pro2 for the first time, and to see Broomy after a long interval. Check-in was easy but they lost my towel. Range balls provided; range was on good mats, as gary00 noted (but I’ve never seen the tees on grass here). Basic comfortable carts (no ball washer, cooler but no ice or water), and a very nice interactive TKV GPS system that shows other carts in your hitting zone. Many sprinkler heads also marked.

Greens were very good – accepted shots and rolled at medium-fast speeds, although they were a little bumpy in the afternoon. We saw scattered old ballmarks on each green. Fairways looked semi-dormant but lies were very good, although we saw many unfilled divots on each hole. Rough was cut short and very playable. I wasn’t in a bunker, but playing partners looked to have OK conditions. Tees were level and in good shape, with par-3s a little chopped up. The course provides sand bottles at each par-3 tee and on shorter par-4s where you are more likely to hit an iron (but some were empty).

We burned through the divot mix canisters on our cart quickly with all the unfilled divots we found. A rack of divot mix canisters at the 8th hole parking area (for layups on the short par-4) were all empty. There’s a refill rack for divot mix on the 10th tee. I’ve always had a good experience at the Crossings and recommend the course.
11 Likes.
Played at 1:37pm on a clear, warm and breezy Friday, 3/31/17, in a GK Cup match against apisarski. First time meeting Alex and we had an enjoyable round, joined by a local retired single. Greens were punched 10 days ago but were in pretty good shape – a little soft, a little bumpy, but rolled OK at medium-fast speed, getting faster on the back nine. Many old and recent ballmarks. Lies in the fairway kikuyu were good, although you don’t get a lot of rollout. Many unfilled divots and slashes. Rough was generally pretty short and could be dry and crusty or patchy lush. One fairway trap that I was in was very firm. Tees were OK, generally level, and par-3s (esp. #13) were pretty torn up. No sand bins on the par-3s.

Pace was surprisingly good at just over 4 hours – we asked the group in front of us on #6 tee to move a little faster, as the hole was open. Despite the unhappy response, they seemed to keep up better. Saw the cart girl once; there’s a snack bar at the tur. No marshal. A solid course for $27 walking on a Friday afternoon.
14 Likes.
Played today in an SCGA qualifier. Course in good condition - greens firm, only hold wedges, roll medium-fast. Good lies in fairways, rough generally 1-2 inches. Good quality sand, though damp. Tees generally OK - some issues with level, and divots on par-3s. Cart girl out roaming, snack bar at the turn. Lots of maintenance going on, and workers sometimes drive into your group while hitting. Range on mats but good quality. Recommended.
12 Likes.
Played here in an SCGA Member Outing with a 10am shotgun on a cloudy, warm day with only light breezes on Monday, 3/20/17. I had played the North Course here several times in fundraiser events >20 years ago, but had never played the South. Many thanks to GK legend weber for giving me his yardage book and letting me do some homework before the round – I really didn’t have any big surprises that I ran into. I was fortunate to be assigned to group 1B, so I got to play the course as designed. Based on my long-ago memory of the North, the South is a little shorter and more narrow, with smaller and fairly simple green complexes (no real significant tiering or crazy greens). The front nine plays south down the Coto canyon but is up on the slope on the east side of the creek, and is generally higher than the back nine, and many holes play downhill. The back plays back to the north along the west side of the creek, and has more holes that play uphill, and is considerably less open than the front, with several holes having narrow aspects off the tee and encroachment by trees, doglegs, and dense vegetation. We played Blue (70.9/130/6,336), and the markers were generally set up right on the blue plates.

This is a very nice, fun course in a beautiful, idyllic setting, with homes nearby but not intrusive, and lots of lush vegetation, hazard stakes, and sand. Perhaps because aeration has just occurred last month, or the prevalence of creeks/arroyos/ESAs throughout the course, the overall look of the course was a little scruffy, like the week before a haircut and beard trim to clean things up. Not the “groomed wall-to-wall” look you get at a Pelican Hill, for instance. Red stakes and/or water must be crossed or plays adjacent on almost every hole.

The small putting green (reserved for the South course patrons) shows the aftermath of punching 4-5 weeks ago (visual punch-hole outlines, and scattered dry-edged debris), but rolled smoothly at medium to medium-fast speeds. On-course greens are similar – they show varying degrees of the aftermath of punching, some more than others. Many greens have the scattered dry-edge debris, likely a combo of punching aftermath and mower activity. Speeds were fairly consistent over the course, although the green speeds increased as the day went on, and were especially terrifying downhill down the canyon. There was also some variation of green firmness through the course – some greens held shots well, and others were firmer. We saw only a couple unrepaired old ball marks per hole.

Fairways were green and pretty lush but did not have a “clean” look, but lies were generally very good. The course uses an entry/exit gate system, which I think contributes to less wear on the fairway margins. There were many unfilled divots – although there was plenty of fill sand containers scattered around the course. Rough was 2-3 inches deep and generally very playable; farther offline the lies could be patchy/clumpy/dense/bare. Sand was damp but generally medium texture and adequate depth, and there’s a lot of it scattered around the course. Tees were level, and very firm - some had been recently punched.

The clubhouse is large, very attractive, and luxurious. Locker rooms are nicely appointed. There was no cart girl today, but there’s a snack bar at #7/#13. Adequate water was available. For this outing we were provided with a nice box lunch, including a sizeable turkey wrap. We played in 4.5 hr (surprising for this format and the course challenges); we never really pushed the group ahead of us and never saw the group behind us.

The cart was ok – comfortable, with a cooler but no water, no ball washer (I don’t think I saw one all day!), and no GPS. A yardage book is available, and many sprinkler heads are marked. The small putting green was not conducive for large shotgun tourneys, as they can’t be accommodated on the putting green – the driving range is larger. The guests were on mats today, but they were in good condition. Unlimited balls. There was a short-game area adjacent to the range that may be marked “Members Only”. The course uses a front/middle/back flag rotation with no imagination – par-5s are holes #3, 6, 12, and 18, so all 4 of them were the same color flag. Par-3 holes are #4, 8, 10, and 16, so 3 of the 4 are the same color flag.

Very nice challenge if you get a chance to play it.
13 Likes.
Played at 915am with my monthly group on a warm sunny day with very little wind until we hit those “into the …” holes #13-14, on Saturday 3/11/17. The first tee looked open for a long time as our tee time approached, but a shotgun of novice golfers had gone off the back nine at 7am, and they cycled out just in front of us, and by hole #4 the lower part of the course looked like the Harlem Globetrotters in carts, weaving back and forth across the fairways and stacked up on every tee. Overall POP was a horrific 5.5 hr. But, hey, the weather was nice!

Course conditions range from nice to horribly hard/bare/bumpy. Greens were the best part of the course, rolling fairly smoothly at medium-fast speeds, although the firmness and receptiveness varied through the course. [They plan to start aerating ½ of each green beginning 3/20.] Fairways were fairly lush to thin and hard – the ball sat pretty tight everywhere. Rough was variable but generally drier and harder. Sand was fluffy everywhere – great around greens but challenging from fairway bunkers. Many tees are sloping, and par-3 tees are very torn up.

Prolink GPS that looks OK but is not interactive, and it was so dim in the bright sunlight that it was basically useless. Starter said it couldn’t be adjusted for brightness. And, OMG, please stop with the on-screen messages (and beeps!) – like 3 or 4 per hole to “keep up”, “repair ballmarks”, “wave up on par-3s”, and “thanks for playing, return carts to the barn”! STOP!! (No, you can’t adjust THAT either!). Carts are basic. Sand bottle rack on #10 was full ..... of empty bottles. We flagged down a wandering marshal to get more sand. Warm-up area is mats hitting into a net. Two fairly large putting greens will put the fear into you before the round, especially downhill.

The course is wedged into a minimal area and there are several places where trees and protective fences severely restrict lines and options of play – probably not trimmed since opening. While distances are not great, many holes are extremely narrow and hazards and OB are very close by. Be careful on the narrow par-5 #17 – left of the cart path is OB within a few feet of the path, and balls headed left of the fairway there get quickly onto very firm bumpy ground, so there’s no real margin for error. The course used a front/middle/back rotation on the front nine, the changed it up on the back to be unpredictable (but you can get pin position on the GPS ..... oh, wait! [See above!]). With par-5s coming at holes #3, #6, and #9, and with the pin on hole #12 being back, all four of these par-5s had pins on the back.
7 Likes.
Back to Arroyo Trabuco for super-twilight, 2:09pm on Friday, 3/10/17. Thanks to GKer sngernz for his invite to join him. We had a relaxed enjoyable round in warm, almost windless conditions, finishing right at dark. We were paired with a member at AT and his guest – the younger guest was constantly either on the phone or in the ESA, while the older member was hard to like. Music playing in his cart was occasionally annoying. And these guys hit out of turn, drove the cart up the side of the hole when others were hitting, and didn’t fill any of their divots.

The course is still in good shape as detailed in recent reviews. Greens were a little softer than recently, holding shots well, but really showed footprints and cleat marks badly as the day progressed. Lots of old and recent ballmarks on all greens, so greens were medium-fast and pretty bumpy. Good lies in fairways, but many unfilled divots. Stew was in a couple bunkers and sand quality seemed OK. Had a skeeter attack on the 18th hole after all the rain and next to that lake as darkness closed in - I haven't slapped that much since the last time I was in East Texas!!

Still recommended.
12 Likes.
Played Tuesday and Thursday, 2/28 and 3/2/17, in the Las Vegas World Amateur (see my forum post).

Greens were very firm, and rolled perfectly at medium-fast speed, with speed increasing somewhat as the sun and wind dried them further – you couldn’t really make a ballmark, and I think I repaired 2 or 3 old ballmarks during any of the rounds. Green speeds were consistent throughout the round, which was great, and getting the speed correct on these greens is the key to managing your round and score. Most of the greens are slightly crowned, and many are elevated above the fairways and surrounds, exposing them more to the wind and challenging players to hold greens and control their putts. We saw a few more ballmarks on Wolf on Day 4 (Thursday) – some of the greens had softer areas (were they watered?). The greens were still firm, although green speeds were fast on day 4.

We had good lies in all the fairways; most of the old divots had been filled, either by players or staff. Rough was generally cut low and very playable, but further offline you are in the desert and lies are very chancy. Sand was deep and soft around the greens; balls could easily create their own depression, making recovery more difficult. Tee boxes were all level, even par-3 tees were in good condition.

We saw the cart girl several times each day and enough water was available on all courses, as well as having snack shacks at the turn.
10 Likes.
Played on Monday, 2/27/17, in the Las Vegas World Amateur (see my forum post).

Greens were very firm, and rolled perfectly at medium-fast speed, with speed increasing somewhat as the sun and wind dried them further – you couldn’t really make a ballmark, and I think I repaired 2 or 3 old ballmarks during any of the rounds. Green speeds were consistent throughout the round, which was great, and getting the speed correct on these greens is the key to managing your round and score. Most of the greens are slightly crowned, and many are elevated above the fairways and surrounds, exposing them more to the wind and challenging players to hold greens and control their putts.

We had good lies in all the fairways; most of the old divots had been filled, either by players or staff. Rough was generally cut low and very playable, but further offline you are in the desert and lies are very chancy. Sand was deep and soft around the greens; balls could easily create their own depression, making recovery more difficult. Tee boxes were all level, but on Sun Mountain tees were small and set up very narrow – however, even par-3 tees were in good condition.

We saw the cart girl several times each day and enough water was available on all courses, as well as having snack shacks at the turn.
10 Likes.
Played Wednesday, 3/1/17, in the Las Vegas World Amateur (see my forum post).

Greens were very firm, and rolled perfectly at medium-fast speed, with speed increasing somewhat as the sun and wind dried them further – you couldn’t really make a ballmark, and I think I repaired 2 or 3 old ballmarks during the round. Green speeds were consistent throughout the round, which was great, and getting the speed correct on these greens is the key to managing your round and score. Most of the greens are slightly crowned, and many are elevated above the fairways and surrounds, exposing them more to the wind and challenging players to hold greens and control their putts.

We had good lies in all the fairways; most of the old divots had been filled, either by players or staff. Rough was generally cut low and very playable, but further offline you are in the desert and lies are very chancy. Sand was deep and soft around the greens; balls could easily create their own depression, making recovery more difficult. Tee boxes were all level, even par-3 tees were in good condition.

We saw the cart girl several times and enough water was available, as well as having a snack shack at the turn.
9 Likes.
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