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Played with the GK Gurus at 8am on Friday, 8/18/17 – thanks to Matt and Nick for a fun round. I had never played here and was interested in seeing the course (I know many military courses are very nice tracks), as well as getting together with GKers. I found the conditions and facilities to be very good, and the price is great, but it’s bad news as far as the course and my game matching up. We had a nice day with clouds fort the first 6 holes, clearing and warming for the rest of the round with only light breezes.

It’s wall-to-wall kikuyu here, and with my low ball flight I wasn’t getting any runout on the (few) good drives I hit, so I was left with very long approaches into these greens. (Additional difficulty – I moved back to the blue tees with Matt and Nick [6,865 yards]; my game would have been much better off at the white tees! [6,443]) The kikuyu grass definitely makes the course play longer than the card distances. The par-3s play especially long from the blues, and there are a number of par-4s over 400 yards, and my game wasn’t up to that task on this grass.

Course conditions overall were very nice. There’s an all-grass range with flat teeing areas and good grass to hit from, and nice club/tee holders for each station. The large putting green doesn’t have a lot of slope, but speeds were very indicative of what we found on the course. Also a couple of practice bunkers available. In addition, there’s a nice little 9-hole pitch-and-putt course along the hillside next to hole #9 – distances range from 60-120 yards. I couldn’t tell what kind of quality the small greens were, but if they are like the big course they would be very nice. We were treated to a sleeve of quality balls, divot tool/marker, and chilled water. Carts are pretty basic otherwise, and there’s no yardage book, but there are plates in the fairways and marker sticks for distances approaching the greens. Conditions were fairly wet to start, drying out somewhat as the day progressed.

Greens were in very good condition, firm and rolling smoothly at medium speed. Greens don’t have a lot of undulation, mostly sloping from the back, but some greens had quite a bit of slope in the front half, and a few greens were crowned slightly or had distinct tiers. Nothing crazy, and the putting lines were generally right in front of you. Just remember that everything generally goes down the canyon. We didn’t see that many old ballmarks, and greens were pretty receptive to well-struck shots. Green complexes are relatively simple – nothing tricked up, although #15 green has some interesting moguls and swales surrounding it. Most of the greens are slightly elevated as you approach from the fairway.

Fairways gave good lies, although we saw scattered thin/bare areas. Rough was 2-3 inches deep and could be challenging when wet or if the kikuyu was stringy! In areas where the kikuyu was deeper the feel under your feet could be pretty squishy, and the stance was uncomfortable. Sand traps were great – the recent renovation is very attractive and in-bunker conditions were good. After the renovation, the course re-turfed the bunker margins with another (non-kikuyu) grass, so you get a little different feel immediately adjacent to the sand. Not sure why they took this approach. Tees were level, although a couple of the par-3 tees were uneven in the teeing area (#14) and some were slightly sloping.

The GM stopped by after the round to get feedback – he also talked about future improvements they are planning. Very good food values in the grill after the round – they were crowded as they get outside business from Base personnel as well during the lunch hour. This course is likely flying under the radar because of a lack of general advertising emphasis and its “hidden” location on the Marine base, which makes access a little more difficult. This isn’t a “drive by” course. While I thought the course was in great condition, and an excellent value, I don’t see myself returning very often only because the grass type doesn’t fit my game, but I’d recommend the course to friends without hesitation.
Played with my monthly club at 8:45 on a hot, clear Saturday, 8/12/17. We play here every August. Management continues to tweak the facility – since I only play here once or twice a year, but have been coming here for 30 years, I notice some of the changes as “new” to me. Carts had a simple GPS last year, but it’s gone this year, leaving only the colored plates in the fairways. More trees/brush areas look to be cleared out. The pitch-and-putt area next to the parking lot is gone. They’ve removed the ball machine – get your baskets at the desk.

All parts of the course displayed a feast or famine motif today – greens, fairways, and rough were either very dry and firm or overwatered and soft/wet. You could have dry/bare conditions in the rough next to a muddy/rutted area. Fairways were generally good but there were scattered areas of very thin or bare lies. Greens generally had good coverage, but were alternately very dry/firm or soft/wet, making judging speeds difficult from green to green. Pitches to the softer greens stuck immediately or backed well down any sloping areas. Speeds were generally medium, but lots of fresh and old ballmarks. Many rough areas looked like they had been allowed to grow quite long, then were scalped down, leaving brown, thick-stemmed rooty material.

Tees were generally OK, although par-3 tees were pretty torn up. The course provides refill buckets there and some (but not most) previous players had used them. I wasn’t in a bunker, but playing partners had remarks about variable conditions.

There wasn’t as much wind today as I normally see in the late morning/afternoon here – as a result, it was very hot and the darned thick kikuyu really holds the moisture and contributes to muggy conditions. Fortunately, plenty of water available. Carts are very basic – no wind screens, no cooler or washer, and the cart guys were sending carts out with empty sand refill bottles, so I had to go searching for some. Saw a cart person making the rounds a couple of times, and a “ranger” drove by a couple times. Pace was OK for this venue on a weekend – we started about on time and finished in about 5 hours. We saw several groups going out before us using the blue tees – they likely “always play blue”. Here, however, the blue tees are almost 7,200 yards!! Better take a look at that scorecard beforehand! That likely contributes to longer rounds.
Back down to the Crossings with the Matt/Sal GK Cup 10 match, joined by rgm2525, at 2:15pm on a sunny warm Monday, 8/7/17, refreshed by a breezy afternoon. Jumped at the chance to play with legendary GKers. Sal hit the high points in his review, and conditions were very similar to when I was here 10 days ago with Lee and Larry. Greens were receptive and rolled well at medium speed, getting a little bumpy as the evening approached with scattered shoe debris and badly holding cleat marks. Fairway lies were good and rough was cut low. Sand quality around greens varied from good/fluffy to thin/wet. Tees were fine.

I think the new GPS systems on the carts don’t like me. After some problems 10 days ago, this time I was unable to get any interactive distances, and couldn’t even get the ”green view” tab to work. We occasionally caught the group in front of us and finished in just under 4.5 hr. Excellent club sandwich in the grill afterward.

Always recommended.
Went out on Saturday afternoon a while behind GKer leef2020 at 3:50pm on 8/5/17. I had planned to book elsewhere but fought a losing battle with the website, so ended up at TC. I was paired with a group including a low-handicap grumpy guy, his prospective son-in-law, and a woman who stated that the grumpy guy wouldn’t marry her, although together for 20 years, because he was 0 for 2 in marriages. This made for a strange dynamic, with plenty of alternately weird and hilarious comments being traded through the round. As typical on a weekend afternoon play was pretty slow, with the group in front of us taking lots of practice swings and standing about talking, while our group was all quick players, and we waited constantly and finally got run off the 18th tee by a grouchy ranger as dark settled in.

The Creek gives you 4 downwind holes to get warmed up, then at #5 turns into the prevailing breeze for the next 9 holes, so be prepared. A brisk breeze to start dropped off to mostly nothing around 7pm. Humidity must have dropped after the past few days, because the ball was flying well and we got good rollouts in the fairways. Greens were firm, were all badly peppered with old and new ballmarks, and rolled at only medium-slow speeds – we were all amazed as downhill-rolling putts slowed and stopped on the slope. Fairways were mostly OK, but all holes had some thin/bare areas. Rough was short, dry, and could be bare/clumpy. As leef2020 mentioned in his review, there are scattered resodded areas around some greens and along fairways. Players are not repairing/refilling fairway andrough divots. Par 3 tees are very torn up; divot mix is provided but not used. Greenside sand on #10 was good; but in a greenside bunker on #15 there was no playing layer, just packed wet sand.

Cart girl came by and stopped in the wrong places – this is a common problem on most SoCal courses. TC uses an entry/exit gate system that improves conditions in cart entry and exit areas. The course uses a 4-location pin system; but 3 of 4 of the par-5 holes had the same pin location, so a little imagination is needed. Usually expensive, the twilight rates here are a much better deal.
Joined GKers leef2020 and larryq2001 at 1:48 pm on a warm Thursday afternoon, 7/27/17. Many thanks to Lee, a Crossings member, for the invite at member rates. Went off on time behind a twosome and threesome, who joined up after a couple holes so we had some occasional waiting during the round, but not too bad. The course was in very good condition. Weather was great, wind a little less than usual, and we had a relaxed, enjoyable round in just over 4.5 hr. It’s easy to get relaxed watching Larry’s smooth, easy swing.

Greens were in very good shape, fairly soft and receptive, good coverage but a little bumpy. They rolled OK at medium speed. Our group stunned the numerous spectators by making a number of longer putts! [No, there were no spectators – WE were the ones who were stunned.] Fairways gave good lies. Rough was mostly cut low and playable; around greens, it was deeper and grabby, making delicate recovery pitches difficult. Fairway sand was adequate and firm, good for escapes, while greenside sand was playable. Tees were level and firm – par-3 tees were pretty torn up, and while the course provides divot sand bottles on those tees, few people use them(!). Sand was also provided in the layup areas on a couple of short par-4s (but same non-use problem). The blue teeing area on hole #12 had been recently watered and was soft, and good footing was difficult to find.

Saw the cart girl a couple of times. Our GPS wouldn’t respond in interactive mode (touch the screen to get a distance, etc.). Pleasant roving ranger tried to reset our GPS on hole 3 (no luck). We got a new cart after #9, but same problem. New carts are comfortable otherwise. Refill rack for divot sand on #10 was full and sand was not all wet/clotted up - yea!

Highly recommended.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times at Eagle Glen at 1:40pm on a hot sunny Friday afternoon, 7/21/17. Got a GN Hot Deal for $14 and couldn’t pass it up. I joined a threesome of mid-handicap buddies from Riverside who rode each other mercilessly the entire round about the state and execution of their golf games. It was all in fun, and they warned me ahead of time, but the overall effect was relaxed and fun, and we had an enjoyable round. Golf AND a running comedy show!

Conditions were Jekyll or Hyde on almost every hole here – conditions were very good, or conditions were wanting, sometimes on the same hole. Greens were generally pretty firm and had good coverage, but were either lush and held shots or were drier and showing a lot of old ballmark damage. Many fairway areas were lush and full, and gave perfect lies, but other areas were drier, thin/bare, and gave chancey lies. We saw a number of turf patches in some fairways. Rough was either lush and wet/muddy, or cut low and playable, or dried out/patchy/clumpy. Sand was plentiful and good to play from (I was in the front bunker on #5) or impossible (the front bunker on #3 was just semi-wet sandy mud with no playing layer). One of the guys gave up after 6 tries in that bunker on #3. Tees were okay except for being very torn up on par-3s.

We went off right on time just after the starter packed it up and the tee was not crowded – a few holes in we started being passed by singles who were zipping around the course. Saw the cart girl a couple times on the front nine, but she was off after 3pm. There was a wedding setting up as we finished in 4.5 hr, so the parking lot was blocked off and we were sent on a detour to turn in the carts. Shop was closed after 6pm.

I arrived fairly late and basically met these guys on the way to the first tee. They decided to play white and I said that was fine. I hadn’t looked at the card, and had always played blue in the past, so it wasn’t until hole #5 that I took a good look at the card and was disappointed at the yardage differential between blue and white (6,279 vs. 5,552!). It’s awkward to play from different tees than your group, but 5,552 is much shorter than I prefer to play, and in my opinion really alters many of the strategic aspects at EG. The white tees are recommended (on the EG GPS) for handicaps 12 and up (I think), but that looks like a lowball to me. I’m sure people lose a lot of balls out here, and the elevation changes, arroyo crossings, and ESA all contribute to that. But there are a couple of extreme examples of tee distance adjustment under the current card here: the white tee on the par-5 5th hole (the 1-handicap hole) has been moved across the service road and now plays 457 yards. What I believe was the old white tee is back up near the blue – the ball washer is still up there where the tee used to be (it’s no longer watered and the grass is dead). This is a beautiful downhill par-5 to an island fairway, then crossing an arroyo to a heavily bunkered green. Putting the white tee at 457 means it’s 200 yards from the white marker to the end of that island fairway, but a carry of 280 to go for the lower fairway. So you are teeing off on this par-5 with a 5-iron!

Hole 9 is a challenging ridge runner with a mean crosswind – the blue distance of 357 is reduced to 267 at the white, eliminating any arroyo carry. On hole #10, a downhill par-3 to a large undulating green, the white tee is now at the bottom of the slope, across the cart path – 98 yards! The blue tee is at the back of a long box (152 yds) where I’m pretty sure the white used to be, on the forward end of that box. Hole #13 plays 282 and that really takes the cross-bunkers out of the hole – a carry of 150 yards is all that’s needed. #16 has been defanged.

There’s a real need for a white/blue combo set of tees to get up around 6,000 yards and preserve many of the challenges of the design. The card shows a blue/black combo, but no white/blue combo, so any attempt at that would be pretty random and without benefit of rating/slope. After we encountered some of the shorter hole setups we did play some more distant tees, and a couple times the white markers were moved back. I hit from the blue on #5, we played black (185) on #10, blue on #11 and #16 (the 2-hcp; moved across the creek to 280 yards[!], eliminating the arroyo carry). And I hit from the blue tee on #18, the finishing par-5 with an approach over the lake, on which the white tee is now placed at 411 yards!!, which again means a tee shot on a par-5 of <200 yards, unless you can bust one over the lake! (>240).

I like the challenging and varied layout here. I’ve seen conditions better here, and worse. Still recommended.
Back with my monthly club at 915am on Sunday, 7/9/17. We got out a little early as the course was not crowded. My review from last week is still operative – course is in great shape and fun to play. It was hot and humid this morning, and with no wind it was like playing golf in a sauna! Got some breeze going on the back nine to take the edge off, but we sucked down a lot of water and eased along in 5 hr. No cart girl today. Staff continues to randomly drive into or through hitting groups.

Greens were good, faster than the practice green, and still with variations in firmness. Rough as you got off the beaten path is deep, wet, and sticky. Sand is wet and heavy early in the day. Bushes in front of the blue tees on #15 still need trimming.

No rating since I did that last week. Still highly recommended.
Back to AT for super-twilight during the heat wave on Friday afternoon, 7/7/17. Mission Viejo overall was pretty hot, but AT’s location down at the south end in that arroyo means it gets a nice coastal breeze that really makes a difference. I arrived just after 3pm to get on their ST list (4pm), and starter Hal was able to pair me and another walk-on, amiable Nigel, with a twosome and we got out a few minutes before ST started, at 3:45. The two guys we were paired with were also likeable – one was very deliberate, the other a bomber but totally wild – he went through 5(!) sleeves during the round. If you get offline or start topping tee shots, it’s easy to find trouble here. Unfortunately, these guys also didn’t bother filling divots or fixing ballmarks, so that was disappointing. The breeze died down a few holes into the round, but some scattered cloudiness and the advancing hour moderated the temperature. We bumped around as fast as we could given the deliberate play and many(!) reloads, and finished as the next-to-last group at just after 8pm.

The course continues to be in good shape and fairly lush condition, with the caveat of some continuing issues with some of the greens (see some of the recent reviews). While some greens are very lush and surfaces are great, some greens still show significant thin/bare spots, and these are also mostly pretty soft. So you get varying green lushness, firmness, and speed as you go through the round; most rolled at medium speed, but were pretty bumpy. A couple greens were getting watered by hand as we went around. Lots of ballmarks on all greens. We also saw wet/rutted areas adjacent to several greens where mowers were not able to get – you needed to avoid those to not get sloppy/impossible lies and muddy shoes.

We had good lies in all the fairways, but popular landing areas have many unfilled divots. The course is still watering too much in the tee-shot landing area on the long par-4 #12 – you really need that rollout on this 467-yd, 2-hcp hole! Rough was lush and very playable when dry – all the ESA areas were thick and lush, and looking for balls was pretty futile.
I found the sand traps to have good coverage, but with only a fairly thin playing layer over a damp firm base. Par-3 tees were pretty torn up; all tees were mostly level – the slope problem seemed to be on holes with a narrower teebox setup.

They might have had a competition earlier in the day, as many pin positions were tucked in challenging locations or on knobs. We also noted that some pin locations on the good-graphics GPS were very off from actual locations on several holes – use of your own tools as backup is recommended. The cart girl came by on hole #3, but that was last call at just after 4pm. Plenty of water available, which was good. The course still needs to address the extensive cart path damage you find on many holes.

I enjoy this layout and conditions are generally very good.
An outing here with my monthly club is coming up next week, and recent reviews on GK have been good, so I got out to SL with my brother at 9am on a sunny warm Saturday, 7/1/17. I had received an email blast from the course, and when I booked on their website the rate came up even lower than the email - $57; a great rate for Saturday morning prime time. I’ve always had a good experience here and enjoy the layout and conditions of the course – today was no exception, as conditions were very good and we had very little wind most of the day. We got off only a few minutes late, paired with a couple of younger guys who work locally and were very amiable, and we had an enjoyable round. It didn’t seem like we were poking along and we waited only occasionally on the group in front of us, but overall the round took 5 hours, longer than I realized.

Greens are somewhat firm, look great and roll great, and with no obvious thin or bare spots. We overshot the hole a couple times early on after the practice putting green fooled us into thinking about a slower speed – on-course greens started medium+ and got quicker as they dried out, and downhill rollouts could be pretty substantial. Generally, greens accepted shots well, although I noted differences in firmness between greens and even on the same green. We saw an average number of old and new ballmarks. Greens and rough were a little damp to start the morning, resulting in after-mowing dried grass debris on most greens, although it generally didn’t affect putts.

Rough was 1-2 inches deep and very playable, although early on the wet rough really grabbed your ball and made it sit down. Fairway lies were generally good, with the grass close-cropped, although we occasionally had the ball sit down pretty good in the fairway. Lots of unfilled divots in all the popular areas. I wasn’t in the sand but playing partners looked like they had good conditions to work with. Tees were level and not badly damaged on the par-3s.

Even on Saturday morning the course was not that crowded and many spots were available on the small range mats. Excellent breakfast burrito in the grill. We started out with a short ration of sand in the divot refill bottles and ran out quickly – we didn’t see any refills and the roving marshal wasn’t carrying any on his cart, so I wound up stealing a little bit on the 13th tee for our own divots. That same marshal drove into our group as we teed off on hole 18 – clueless. Bushes have been allowed to grow too high in front of some blue tee boxes and unfairly restrict hitting lines (holes 12, 15, and others).

Still recommended.
Played the Crossings with Johnny and the Gurus at 1:40 on Thursday, 6/22/17. Reviews by Lee and Alex really sum up conditions well. We caught a good break on the weather – much cooler near the coast than in most inland areas, with sunshine on the front nine and encroaching marine layer chilling things a little bit on the back, with the result being a pretty steady breeze that played as a crosswind on most holes.

The course was in really good shape and looked great from all angles. Green firmness was a little variable but overall they were great. Good lies in fairways and rough, although rough could be clumpy. The usual issues – many ballmarks on most greens, par-3 tees torn up and not level, sand bottles provided but not used for the many divots in some approach areas (par-3 tees, hole 8 approach, etc.). My only bunker experience was in front of hole 6 – while groomed and smooth, there was only a bare wisp of playing layer over a damp firm base, so I opted to chip out.

Always recommended for interesting layout and challenge, and current conditions are very good.
Played here at 1230 on Sunday, 6/11/17, for my GK Cup 10 2nd round match vs. Rat-patrol – thanks to Jim for making the trip up from San Diego and congrats for his steady performance. We were joined by GKers sr129 and caligolfer1031, so we had a GK group.

We’ve had a lot of very damp June gloom weather here in the south OC for the past couple weeks, and that contributed to the fairly wet conditions we encountered early in our round. The overall course was playing much slower/longer than last year when we were begging for rain. Rough could be longer, damp, and clingy. Green aprons were so damp/bushy that you rarely could putt successfully from fringes and beyond. That wet weather may have delayed/reduced the ability of the course to keep things groomed as close as usual, which may have contributed to Jim’s comment regarding the need for overall mowing. I know there were a couple of instances in the round where I came up well short of target areas that I had played to last year under drier/firmer conditions. We finally got some sunshine in the last half of the round and conditions dried out somewhat. And there was that steady crossbreeze to consider!

Greens looked great and were in very good condition, fairly firm and releasing most shots. They rolled pretty well with few bumps at medium speed. I saw very few old ballmarks and can’t remember any thin/bare areas. Fairways were cut fairly close and gave good lies, with less rollout than I was used to. There were scattered bare areas in both fairways and rough. Tees were in good shape except for the unfilled divots and consistent shagginess. Some blue tees were placed well forward. [Tee markers could use a little paint – there were several instances when we had to make sure to differentiate the blue and white tees. Also, some of the white tees had some pretty significant vegetation growing up in front of them, which could use trimming.] Sand was a mixed bag, with some bunkers looking like new sand and others looking like raked dirt. Some bunker areas were still marked GUR – bunkers here have been a WIP for many years, actually, if you look at past reviews. The large bunker fronting hole 17 looked like an active quarry operation! [And unfortunately there have been many bunkers removed here over the past couple of years, which has altered the strategic aspects of some holes.]

Simple GPS gives only basic distances. The course now uses an entry/exit gate system, which I like, except when cart users run over the gates and cart signs. The wet conditions resulted in some exit areas being a little torn up. Saw the cart girl a couple of times.

Shot of the day was from Greg (caligolfer1031), with a one-hop laser to within 4 feet of a back right pin on #17.

I like this layout and conditions now are very good.
Another kikuyu cow pasture. I’d never played here until today with my monthly club – and won’t likely be burning up the road to get back. I confuse this with Willowick, but I think there's a little more room here - WW is good for getting shelled from adjacent holes. Very noisy/busy course, with a lot going on around the first tee – clubhouse, putting green, driving range (VERY busy), the terminus of several hole loops, and other tees, resulting in lots of crisscrossing traffic. Indifferent conditioning, inconsistent greens, uninspiring conditions.

Many greens are crowned, and with the firmness and scattered thin grass after recent punching it’s like trying to get your ball to stop on an inverted serving bowl. Many of the greens are also significantly elevated, and are very small, so missing means delicate chips from that mean old kikuyu rough. All the greens showed damage from old ballmarks. Sand in the bunkers I was in was plentiful, although my footing in the fairway bunker on #18 was soft and unsure. Fairways generally gave good lies, but lies in the rough were chancy around the many trees and on slopes around the greens, and with some obvious water-system challenges resulting in mushy areas. Also, many fairway and rough areas were recently punched and not well-watered, so look out for the dime-sized dry holes! Tees were pretty terrible – almost all were unlevel, with the markers often set on the edges of the box where extreme slopes and uneven areas were encountered.

We saw extensive cartpath damage from tree roots all over the course. There were 3 groups on #7 when we arrived, capping the 2.75-hour front nine – we finished in just over 5 hours. No marshal. Wind is a significant factor in the afternoon, especially to those elevated greens. We ran out of divot fill pretty quickly and there are no refills available.
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