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Played the “all-kikuyu all-the-time” Diamond Bar GC with my monthly club on Saturday, 9/15/18, at 10am. The day was clear and hot with not too much wind until late in the round, so the 3-hr front nine, and total 5.5-hr round, were especially hot and wearying. We waited on every shot all day. The drill sergeant starter made sure we got out right on time so we could immediately join the waiting queue.

Conditioning was LA County casual. Greens were the “best” part of the course, mostly firm with good coverage, rolling at medium-fast speed. We saw some bumpiness throughout the round, and all greens had many old and new ballmarks. Fairways ran the gamut from soaking wet areas to lush and good to thin and hard to bare. Rough was the same way, with the added challenge of dry/clumpy/ball sits down. Throughout the course any lie in fairway or rough was a crapshoot regarding what you would get. Sand was generally thin and firm. Trees were mostly flat bit looked pretty ragged.

The course uses a Red-White-Blue pin rotation. Because of where they fall in the hole order, 3 of the 4 par-5s had red flags today– the course needs to use some imagination to break up that pattern and provide better variety. Saw a cart girl a couple of times - snack bar at #10 tee closed. Staff was friendly but a couple of “ambassador” carts seen around the clubhouse were never actually seen on the golf course.

Nothing we got for the round was unexpected.
I was looking for a non-kikuyu location that hadn’t yet aerified their greens for a relaxed round on Tuesday, 9/11/18, and Glen Ivy fit the bill. [They are punching this coming weekend.] I found a GN deal at 2:04pm for $25. I had played here a few times in the past, and it’s a fun play that seems shorter than the yardage card from the Blue tees, perhaps because a lot of the longer holes have downhill tee shots. The clubhouse area was very busy when I arrived with many players, a couple of high school women’s teams getting ready to go out, and quite a bit of construction activity. Weather was sunny and warm with an unusual(?) NE breeze.

Greens here are generally small; some were firm, some were very receptive – you were never sure coming in how to play approaches to the greens. A couple greens had scattered bare spots along the edges. They rolled with some bumpiness at medium+ speed. Fairway lies were good – the turf was almost fluffy and could use a tightening with a mower. In most cases you won’t have a level lie, with the ball above or below your feet and/or being uphill or downhill, due to the course being pushed up against the hills to the west and interior gentle mounding. Rough condition ranged from thick/fluffy to thin/dry. Sand had good quantity, but greenside bunkers were all damp and fairly well-compacted. Many of the Blue tees were sloping, most behind a right handed golfer. Just for fun, the tee on the par-3 #5 sloped away in front of me!

There’s a big expansion underway at the clubhouse – a two-story banquet area is being added, so there’s lots of construction activity around the clubhouse and some traffic rerouting is in effect on the course around hole #9. The driving range is getting a solar roof over hitting area and they are adding access to parking right at the range. No yardage book is currently available, but many holes have colored yardage posts, and some sprinklers are marked. No GPS on the carts. The staff is friendly.

I played as a single as no one else was going out at that time. I played through a twosome on #5 and then breezed through the rest of the front nine in 1:30. But, oops, they were putting late players and golf teams out off BOTH tees at 3pm, so I ran up against the back of several groups on #10, and wasn’t waved up, so I poked around the back in 2:20, waiting on every shot. Overall pace just under 4 hours.

While the course was generally fairly dry and firm, there were many areas along cart paths and on road under-crossings where water had pooled and needed to be avoided. Ball washers are located on white tee boxes, so Black/Blue players are stuck with dirty balls. Brush growing tall in front of the #14 tee boxes needs to be trimmed down. The lake at the clubhouse on Hole #16 is still dry and ugly.

The course uses a Red-White-Blue pin rotation. Because of where they fall in the hole order, all 4 of the par-5s had blue flags today, and 3 of the 4 par-3s had red flags– the course needs to use some imagination to break up that pattern and provide better variety.

The tee shot on #18 is still a lot of fun on that “Ray Guy”-like driving opportunity. Where else can an old low-ball hitter like me move one out there 330 yards!!

Recommended for a casual, fun round.
Played at San Clemente on a warm, sunny Saturday, 8/25/18, at 2pm with GKer lotrgolfer48 in our GK Cup 12 Round 3 match. It’s all kikuyu all the time here, which is why I rarely play it. Lies around the course varied from lush/soft to thin/ropey to very thin/bare/clumpy. Greens were in good shape, fairly firm and rolled well at medium+ speed - Matt obviously liked them a lot. Sand was in good condition. Tees (blue) on 5/7/12/17 were badly sloping behind a right-handed golfer – why do tees always seem to slope that way, and not in front of a r-h golfer?

Saw a cart person at #9. Friendly greeting in the shop. Adequate water available. No GPS or yard book – colored posts and plates in the fairway. Lots of subtle undulation and movement throughout the course, and you rarely have a level lie. Small greens with lots of subtle movement.

OK, but not my preferred palette.
Finally got a chance to play Rustic after years of seeing enthusiastic reviews on GK. I was in Ventura for the SCGA Senior 4-Ball Net Championship M/TU, 8/13-14/18, and decided to stop at Rustic on my way back to Orange County on Tuesday afternoon. Because of the distance from OC, the need to drive across Los Angeles and back (always best avoided!), my family situation, etc., I rarely if ever get up into that area anymore, and likely won't in future, so I decided this might be my last chance. Drove over from Ventura and booked for a twilight rate at 2pm, playing with a local who had only played here once. He had very little recollection of the course – I had looked at the course on Google Earth and I bought the yardage book, so at least I had a “map”. No GPS on the cart, but many sprinklers are marked and there are some yardage plates out there. The yardage book was most helpful. Repeated plays here are a must to know where to hit it off the tee and how best to approach the greens, depending on pin position. The course was not crowded on this hot Tuesday afternoon and we finished in just over 3 hours.

Course layout and topography at Rustic reminded me of Arroyo Trabuco/Talega/Black Gold in Orange County. On the recommendation of some GK friends I played Blue (6,628/71.6/128), which brought many more forced carries and difficult sightlines from the tees into play, compared to the White tees. I was glad I had the yardage book on several holes to help determine best playing lines, but after 3 par-5s on the front, the back nine has several tough par-4s that require long, precise tee shots and strong approaches. And after conditions at Olivas I had a great deal of difficulty adjusting to the green/apron design setup at Rustic. The aprons right now are almost indistinguishable from the greens both in color and texture, but the greens are firm and the aprons are soft after recent verticutting. You can easily putt across them, but apron speeds there are different from those on the greens.

Greens generally had good coverage and rolled well. Some are pretty small, and some are very deep and/or wide. Some greens are almost dead flat, and others have significant mounds, swales, and ridges. Knowing where to miss around the greens is important. The canyon effect on putts must always be considered, as putts consistently broke sharply down the canyon axis, along with the effects of wind and the canyon sidewalls. It’s hot and dry here, and fairways are thin but coverage overall is good and we generally had good lies. Rough along the fairways is thin to bare to sand. The native areas can quickly get “lost ball” and should be avoided. (“Snakes” signs were out!) I was in a couple of bunkers and sand was dry, small-grained, and easy to play from, but some of those narrow “slit-trench” bunkers look evil! Tees are large and generally fine. No sand refill boxes on the par-3 tees.

I loved the design and challenges of the course, but don’t know if I’ll ever have an opportunity to get back here. Recommended.
Played Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, 8/13-14/2018, in the SCGA 4-Ball Senior Net Championship. I hadn’t played here in ~10 years and had good memories of the course and layout (and had seen many positive GK reviews!), so was eager to get back and was not disappointed. Conditions were very good and the weather cooperated with sunny, mild temperatures and not too much wind.

Greens were in great shape – good turf, pretty smooth and running at medium+ speed. Only the many recent ballmarks on most greens detracted from the greens. Fairway lies were great; lies in rough were OK in the close-cut stuff but don’t get into the longer native areas. The dry native rough is tough to escape; the lush stuff is just a ball eater! Most greens had shaved areas surrounding the greens where you could putt or bump the ball easily, but beyond the shaved areas the rough was grabby and you had to focus while chipping. All the water features are dry and you can frequently play from within the red lines. Tees were usually OK but par-3 tees were all torn up and lumpy/unlevel/sloped (we played from the White markers). Sand was in good shape.

Large driving range with grass and mats – on mats for this tourney. Large putting green with realistic contours, although a little slower than on-course greens. Large chipping green with sand bunker. Adequate water available. Divot sand bottle refill rack and bin on #10. Single bathroom building but located at perfect intersection to service both nines. No clubhouse, just a trailer office. The trailer bathroom module needs attention – one men's toilet stall for the entire staff and shotgun tourney.

I wish I lived closer so I could play this fun, well-conditioned course more often. Highly recommended. But #16 is a beast!
Played on Saturday morning, 8/4/18, at 0830 with my monthly club – we play here every August. Weather was hot and humid, and we didn’t get much breeze to take the edge off the heat until the latter portion of the back nine. 5-hr pace, behind slow groups of drinkers/music players didn’t help.

I’m not sure how hot it’s been in Chino lately, but the course is in struggling condition. At this time of the morning everything was very wet from overnight irrigation. Many mushy areas in the fairways. Fairway areas pretty soft and you don’t get a lot of runout on drives. Greens very damp/soft, to the point of badly showing footprints and spike marks on the front nine – putts were bobbing and weaving on the way to the hole.

Overall greens had good coverage and rolled at medium speed. They were bumpy early on from the footprints, but conditions on the back nine were better as the greens dried out and firmed up a little. Fairway and rough coverage was very spotty – you could have a great fairway lie feet away from a bare area – there were large bare areas in fairways and rough scattered throughout the course. Many tees were unlevel and/or spongy from thick, wet turf. Sand we encountered was generally good.

The GPS system discussed on the GK board was deployed on our carts. No info from the shop on options or use, so it just sat there during the round. Lots of ads and news – only one line with hole info (hole #, par, distance). Yardage was stated as “to the pin” but several checks indicated that the yardage was to the center, so user be aware.

No cart girl – there’s a snack shack on the 7th/16th tee. Water fountain between #12/13 was not working. The group in front of us was two holes behind on the 10th tee, after going in after #9 to get drinks. We asked the starter to help move them along, and he sent a marshal out to talk to us – marshal said he would ‘monitor’ the group. Not sure what this means, as after he drove up to check their situation he was seen driving back to the clubhouse – must be ‘remote monitoring’? Maybe he was using a drone?

Same marshal drove into our group while we were hitting our approaches on #1, then gave me crap when I mentioned this to him. New management group must be trying out a new customer service model.

I like the course but conditions are very rough right now.
Out to the Goose on a hot, breezy Saturday afternoon at 230pm on 7/28/18. Course is in overall very good condition. With heat and wind, course looks dry from afar but once out on it the fairways and greens are pretty moist and soft, as management keeps them watered to keep from burning them out. Drives without a lot of runout, and greens are receptive with deep pitch marks.

Greens were generally good, but many had scattered brown/bare spots – some are particularly bad (#16). Unfortunately, all greens showed many old and recent ballmarks. They rolled well at medium+ speeds. With the softness, greens were badly showing shoe imprints near the end of the round. Fairway lies were good. Rough along the fairways was cut short and pretty benign. Tees were level. Sand in the one greenside bunker I visited (front left, #17) was a little thin with damp, firm material underneath.

Cart girl was leaving for the day as we teed off. Plenty of water available. Some of the most assertive marshalling on a course that I’ve seen in some time. Pin position was stated as #3, but was inconsistent through the front nine – fortunately, we had other yardage tools. Back nine was more consistent. Goose Creek is always recommended.
Played with my monthly club on a hot, sunny Saturday, 7/21/18 at 10AM on a surprisingly uncrowded course. Maybe everyone was home watching the British Open. [LOL – I have a running semi-feud with our tourney scheduler about major championship Saturdays – he was 3 for 5 this year with outings scheduled on Saturday during the Masters, Players, and British! He says he’ll try to do better next year {5 for 5!!?}. I say ‘STOP!’]. As we were finishing up, a big 80-person shotgun was going off – stay hydrated, folks!

We had very little breeze to start, and only got some significant breeze on the last 7 holes. Fortunately, high thin clouds came in around 11AM to take the edge off the heat. Plenty of water available and you can find shade along most fairways and cart paths. We saw the cart girl several times, and the 9th hole swings back by the snack bar.

Greens had good coverage and looked great. They were receptive to shots and rolled well at medium-fast speeds. We had good lies in the fairways. Rough was very playable, but could be clumpy around the greens, so recovery shots could be challenging. I wasn’t in the sand, but bunkers looked good and playing partners had no complaints. Tees were level and in good shape – a few were punched and sanded, but OK to hit from.

Excellent breakfast burrito to start the round. Our tourney also got a giant hot dog and chips (yes, as a matter of fact, it is pretty giant!) and a $10 voucher for the pro shop. The latter isn’t that great, as it’s one voucher per person and only good on a single item >$20, so doesn’t work for a sleeve of balls or a glove. To get clothing or something useful, you have to spend quite a bit more to make it work.

Hole 1 and 10 have been path-only for as long as I’ve been coming here, but I don’t see any good reason for it. Staff and cart girl driving through groups while hitting should be addressed by management. The course uses a red-white-blue flag location rotation – today, 3 of the 4 par-5s had blue flags. The course should mix things up more.

Sierra Lakes is one of my favorites in SoCal as it fits my eye, has a nice mix of elevation changes and holes, and I’ve always found it to be in good condition. Recommended.
[Posted almost 2 years late, as this course wasn't listed back then!]

After our wonderful time in Banff, the wife and I decided we really didn’t need to swing through Calgary, Alberta (“down on the flat”, as they say there), and so suddenly a day in the itinerary opened up.

After posting my plans for this trip, I had been messaged a couple times by avid GKer 24hourgolf about stopping at a course in Eureka, Montana. Where the heck is Eureka, you might ask? It’s 6 miles south of the Canadian border – turns out that in Eureka there’s a pro-quality golf layout associated with a high-end 2nd/3rd home development in the middle of nowhere!! Eureka is about 80 miles north of Kalispell, MT, the nearest regional airport. We were having trouble with the resort’s website on this Wednesday evening, so we just showed up at the gate – fortunately, there’s a person there until midnight(!), so he called the GM and we were treated to some nice hospitality in getting a room and some food. (And a good thing, because there’s not a whole lot available in the Eureka area.)

Turns out The Wilderness Clubis is rated the #1 course in the state of Montana! It was originally developed as a private club with 2nd/3rd homes and opened in 2007. Bad timing - the housing crisis hit, bankruptcy ensued, and new owners picked up the property cheap. Now they are moving the development toward more of a family resort model with stay/play options for golf. There are on-site accommodations for small and large golfer groups, and only some scattered (many of them large) homes, but there are also many “Sold” signs on the empty lots.

The GM hooked me up with a less-than-rack rate for the room and unlimited golf, so I played on Thursday, 9/29/16 at 1120 am, joining a member from Calgary and his guest from Chicago. (The original developer was out of Calgary, and many of the owners are Canadian.) There’s an all-grass range that’s not large, and a large chipping green, incl. a practice bunker. The putting green was extremely fast, unfortunately indicative of the on-course greens – my first practice putt took an unexpected left turn and rolled off the green!!! Those of you who know my putting game can guess the eventual outcome!

We played the Gold tees (6,550/71.4/125), but I probably should have moved up to Silver (6,119). They offer a yardage book, and many sprinklers are marked, but there’s no GPS. Weather was cool and mostly cloudy with no wind – the GM tells me that the location is in a warmer “island” of weather than much of the surrounding area, so was attractive for this type of development. The course was closing for the winter the following week.

TWC is a Faldo design and in my opinion was designed and built for single-digit handicappers – I think that was the demographic they were hoping to lure from Canada and the U.S. There are many par-4s that are long DL left or right with hazards inside and outside the elbow, and play to well-defended greens. The course is in a lush and beautiful setting with primo conditions from tee to green. One of the most obvious attributes is the almost total Silence!! you play in there.

The course has mainly large, rolling greens that are smooth and very fast. Most putts have more break than it initially looks like, especially near the front of the greens. And being in the wrong place on a green means a runoff into a collection area or a putt over a huge swale or nose. In my case, because of my innate putting disability (and that harrowing experience on the practice green), almost every putt was defensive, but I did manage to get through the round with only one 3-putt.

Low-handicap par-4s play tough from any of the tees – these all have dogleg driving areas framed by trees/sand; and approaches to angled greens bracketed by slopes/sand/water. Even well-positioned drives are faced with long-iron approaches over threatening hazards – holes 14 through 16 are a brutal stretch (hcps 4, 8, and 2, respectively).

Here's an example at the 16th (handicap 2): The tee shot is steeply downhill on the 434-yd par-4 to a fairway beyond a huge pine, with bunkers on the far side of the elbow to the right. The pine tree on the inside of the elbow is backed up by an enormous bunker – you can try to fly the bunker or cut the corner, but it’s hard to see the large POND left of that big trap.

After the tee shot, from your nice lie in the middle of the fairway to the right of the tree, you only have about 180 yards(!) into a diagonal flat green with sand in front and humps/swales behind. Have fun!!

On reflection, I think the 125 slope from the Gold tees is too low!

There’s some repetition of holes as you go through: many of the par 4s are similarly laid out, as noted. The course uses a Red-White-Blue flag rotation – 3 of the par-5s were red flags. The par-3s are a good mix of length and difficulty.

I definitely recommend the course for serious golfers if you are in the area, or as a buddy trip destination. There are supposed to be a number of other fun courses in the general area, as well.
Played BG with other GKers in front of the GK Cup 11 final match – thanks to sixpez, rudyclub, and caligolfer1031 for a very enjoyable round. We had the course in good condition and great weather for a relaxed afternoon. Greens were in good shape, holding shots and not as terrifyingly fast as BG can be, with just a little bumpiness later in the round. Good lies in fairways and rough was very playable unless you got well offline. The kikuyu on holes on the back nine where they were in need of some cutting and were dried out were a little crispy when you walked on them. I was in one GS bunker with good but damp sand. Tees were recently punched but I had no problem finding a good spot. Saw the cart girl several times, and a good club sandwich in the grill afterward. Range on grass today, and starter was on top of it. BG is always recommended.
I played my first-round GK Cup 12 match here against Long4par on Tuesday afternoon, 6/12/18. We teed off just after 2pm on a clear, warm day with only light breezes for Arrowood. It was Jim’s first time here – the course looked great from the clubhouse area, with closely trimmed fairways and rough and sharp tee boxes. We got out on time fairly closely behind a boisterous group of 3 foursomes – I was concerned about pace of play, but we only waited a couple of times and then had smooth sailing, finishing in 4.5 hr. We played the Blue tee (6,292/70.5/131), joined by a course employee and another local who were pleasant to play with – I guess we sprayed the ball around enough that we never really caught the groups in front.

I enjoy playing Arrowood because I like the variety of holes, the course setting with lots of natural areas, condition and playability, and weather. The GK Discussion Board has had threads about the reality of the returning drought and resultant course conditions in SoCal – you can see that here, as it’s only June and Arrowood has very firm and dry conditions everywhere, with long runouts down fairways and across slopes. We’ll see what grass conditions are like in August and September!

Greens were in very good shape, rolling smoothly and pretty quick with good coverage. They were somewhat inconsistent in terms of firmness, with some approaches releasing and others sticking and backing up. Unfortunately, we saw many unrepaired ballmarks on all the greens. Whereas Arrowood previously used a red/white/blue flag system, they have gone to a 6-sector pin location format – a pin map is provided on the scorecard, and the pin location is posted on the first tee. It seemed to me that this had the effect of pushing the pins closer to the edges of the green on many holes, making approaches to these locations more challenging.

Fairways were firm and pretty tight, but overall lies were OK. Many fairways exhibited large aeration holes in some areas. Rough was cut short and very playable except for the extreme course margins. Tees were level and firm - only #8, recently resodded and maybe not ready for prime time, gave unsure footing. Sand was mostly very thin/firm, making recoveries chancy – most had plenty of old footprints and a lack of players raking their mess. As a result of the elevation changes, wind, pin positions, etc., I played all the par-3 holes using the same club.

The course is doing small things to make the course more playable. They have built a low berm to the right of #4 fairway in the driving area to keep some balls in play – in the past, tee shots hit to the right tended to funnel quickly into the hazard. POP is being addressed by having clocks located on tees as you progress around the course, so you can compare your playing time versus the recommended pace for your tee time. [We were right on the recommended pace.]

Highly recommended.
You know what you’re in for – the past reviews have forewarned you. About half of those are from GKer Ringworld – he must live just across the street, or he has a high threshold for pain! But I played here anyway, with my monthly club, on Saturday, 6/2/18 at 10am.

The word must have gotten around – even though it was sunny and 72* with almost no wind, the course was very uncrowded. Paid $57 and $15 for half a cart – definitely overpriced for what you get.

Driving range on good mats – no grass available. Putting green was firm and in good shape, but then on-course greens were spongy, although the were fairly quick. Runups to most of the greens were overwatered and sloppy wet – no running the ball onto the green! Fairway lies were thin. Rough could be very thin/dry/hard or lush and bushy. Sand was uniformly poor – hard base with a thin layer of sand/dirt on top – after a couple disasters, I started chipping from the bunkers.

For whatever reason, the course doesn’t provide divot repair mix in carts or on-course, so all divots go unfilled. All greens had scattered old and recent ballmarks. Adequate water available; no cart girl, but a snack bar at the turn.

I’m going to have to throttle our tourney director if he keeps picking these dog tracks. Not recommended.
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