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Played on Sunday, 2/11/18, in a GK Cup 11 match with lotrgolfer48. Great time with Matt, Jim, and Ron with very good course conditions. One of my favorite tracks in San Diego County. Other than holes 1 and 4, greens are great – firm, held shots, rolling at medium+ speed. Not too many old ballmarks. Fairway lies were consistently good. Rough generally cut short and firm, but with scattered bare areas and bushy patches. Always recommended.
Played Friday morning, 2/9/2018, at 10am in a shotgun start with my monthly club. This course allows outside play on some Fridays, and our club plays here every February. Conditions were pretty good, with good fairway coverage, greens looking good with only scattered bare/rough spots, and sand damp but adequate to hit from. We played lift/clean/place, so even where we had deeper bushy rough we were able to get the best lie possible.

The facilities here don’t set up too well for larger shotgun tourneys – there’s only a hitting cage with 5 mats, and the putting green up at the cart area is very small. There’s another larger green down by the first tee, but outsiders might not know it’s there. Carts now have a ball washer and a small interactive GPS (F/M/B only, not distance to the pin location), and there are colored distance stakes on many holes. Scattered divot mix refill boxes, some with scoops.

Shotguns can be slow, but we were our lead group, finishing in ~4.5 hr and about 2 holes in front of our next group. Good for a relaxed play.
Played with my monthly group at 8:15am on Saturday, 1/13/18. Crazy warm weather for January – 80*+ today with clear skies and no wind. [Another 1 million people from the Northeast just decided to move to CA – great!]. As previous posters noted, the clubhouse and shop are undergoing extensive renovation – the new outdoor patio looks nice, but the shop is skeletal right now, and bathrooms are only in poorly-maintained porta-johns – ugh!! Range balls are chipped/cut/worn, and mats are also pretty worn. Putting green is in very nice condition. Started on time behind a couple 5somes and pace was expected 5 hrs. Not much divot mix provided initially, but we filled up from a bin on #8. Lots of unfilled divots in fairways and rough.

At that time of the morning everything is very wet, and the course still shows the heavy rain we had a few days ago, as the soil here is mostly clay and dries very slowly. Almost every shot wound up with mud on the ball. Fairway and rough turf is dormant and/or thin, with lots of scattered bare areas. Not a lot of rollout in the damp conditions. We played winter rules (LCP) but good lies were sometimes hard to find. Tees are also thin, and being wet they were quickly torn up between the markers even this early. Many were also sloping, with the worst offenders the 4th (to the right) and 18th (to the left, when you really need a L>R shot there!).

Greens were the best part of the course. They all had good coverage, rolled well at increasing speed as they dried out, and were pretty firm but receptive. Not too many unrepaired ballmarks. I didn’t remember this much slope on some of these greens (I play here just once a year), and the guy setting the pins chose some very slopy areas today! The position on hole #8 was really unfair – just below the crest of the runup to the upper tier. There was almost no way to stop the ball near the hole in any direction, and even putts from directly below the hole stopped near the hole, then rolled back 6-8 feet. I think the 5some in front of us took 18 putts!!

Sand was in good condition, ample in all greenside areas, fairly dry, and raked.

OK for a casual round.
Another great day with GKers at the wonderful Rams Hill GC – I grouse about the long drive but love the course and the great conditions. I think the thing I like most is that on almost every hole you can pull your driver and not be nervous about a disaster unless you totally wig out. There’s room off the tee on every hole – you can be rewarded by a good drive with a look at the green and a chance for birdie with a good second. I hit a couple poor offline drives and found bunkers – from there you have to work to make a score, as it should be. But the overall approach is relaxed and enjoyable.

All aspects of course conditioning were great, especially compared to other SoCal courses recently played. Greens were more receptive this year than in some past years, and rolled great at consistent speeds. I think the practice green was a little firmer/drier than the on-course greens, and we spent much of the day fearing the runouts and leaving putts a little short, especially on the slick downhillers. Fairway lies were great everywhere, and rough near the fairways was cut fairly short and playable. Tees were good, with some being a little more wet than others. Sand was consistent and wonderful – after having to chip out of concrete greenside bunkers last week at Hidden Valley, sand in these was ample and consistent.

Had a great time with Steve, Keith, and Dave – although the K/D ongoing in-depth discussion of Phoenix-area golf got a little old after a few holes. Good food and many great prizes available afterward, and good to see familiar faces again. As usual, we’ll see about making the trip next time(!).
Started the year on January 1st at Hidden Valley with a $26 GN Hot Deal at 11:50 am on a sunny, warm day with very little wind. Even after playing HC a few times I’m still amazed when I drive in and see the incredible amount of elevation change across the course – standing on the practice putting green, the 13th tee looks like it’s built on a sheer cliff face many stories above, and below that are the terraces of the 12th green and then the 18th fairway. Those types of views are all over the course – looking way up at other holes, or down across several holes as the layout sprawls down the canyons before you.

I was down at the first tee on time (pro shop has been moved to the events building while the restaurant renovation continues), but the Rodriguez threesome I was originally assigned to didn’t show. An Asian threesome was just teeing off, but declined to allow me to join them after the starter approached them. Eventually I was paired with a local father/son and another local guy. (The f/s name was memorable – pronounced like ‘kahoots’, but with a un-rememberable Czech spelling.) The father had two sons who had played Norco HS football (including the son in our group), and the third guy had played at Norco as well. Nice enough people, but it was constant chatter about Norco HS football - past, present, and future. For 18 holes. Almost non-stop. On the 11th tee I finally had to ask them to STOP TALKING! Who knew there was so much to discuss about Norco HS football!!?

These guys were pretty casual golfers and not that skilled. HV’s first hole was a bad way for our group to start 2018 – our foursome probably logged a total of 40 strokes on that sloping par-5 with many hazards about. I think we donated about 6 balls to hazards just on that hole. And that trend continued for the rest of the day. Eli Callaway was smiling from the grave with the several sleeves of his namesake balls donated to the wild by these guys today. I’m sure the group behind us was thrilled to watch this preview of their round!

As I stated in past reviews, I really want to like Hidden Valley. There are a lot of fun holes and a mix of short and long, and some drives where you can really let out the slack. And where else is the number 1-handicap hole a par-3?! (Hole #5) There’s not a level lie anywhere at HV, including on most of the tee boxes. When you have a course with this much slope everywhere, and you are trying to control shots to sloping fairways, and you are often hitting downhill onto steeply-sloping greens, the course has to be receptive, especially the greens, or it quickly becomes unplayable. That’s the case it’s getting to at HV, where the greens are extremely firm, and full shots frequently leave only slight indentations. And if you can’t control your ball coming in, you often wind up with downhill putts on the firm, very slopy greens – these greens are crazy fast downhill, some of them silly fast. So lots of defensive putting, 3- or 4-putts, slowing play and making golfers unhappy.

Man, these greens are slopy! At this firmness and these downhill speeds, even 3-footers require a high level of attention. Greens had good coverage and rolled consistently. Several greens had lots of small rocks thrown out of bunkers scattered about near the traps. I don’t know if it was the end of the day as clouds gathered and temperatures dropped, but the 18th green was more lush than any of the others, and speeds were noticeably slower – I actually left a downhill/downcanyon putt short on my birdie attempt.

Fairway and rough coverage were spotty. Turf in those areas was generally short, dormant, and tight. There were many scattered bare areas, but there were also scattered sloppy wet areas around malfunctioning sprinkler heads. It was frustrating to see scattered sloppy/wet areas next to thin/dry/hard “fairway” or rough. Many fairways had areas roped off or festooned with colored flags to keep carts away, usually showing areas with problems from the watering system.

Tees were all very thin; some were almost bare dirt in many places. Most were sloping or uneven, some severely so. Some par-3 tees had sand in the divot refill boxes, but some had no scoop! Sand traps were terrible everywhere. You really had to chip from all greenside bunkers encountered – they had only a thin dusting of coarse sand over a hard base, and you couldn’t get a club under the ball. The right front bunker on hole #12 had a large trough in the bottom - anything in the bunker wound up at the bottom and was unplayable, unless you've spent time practicing flop shots from inside a milk crate!

The new GPS on the carts is nice – it is interactive, but distances are given to the center of the green, not the pin position. The GPS also doesn’t show the position of other carts – with the many blind shots at HV, it was difficult to know when to hit, another factor that slows play. Those comfy cushions on the carts come in handy, as the cart paths and driving areas need some serious attention. The onboard club cleaner/ball washer is nice. With all the sloping cart paths and steep hills, the carts’ speed governors were working frequently, but not that well.

Many holes have colored yardage stakes to give you a feel for placement on the holes. The course puts a yardage book on each cart, but my experience with this book in the past was that many of the yardages were incorrect. With the ongoing renovation of the main building, it’s a long way over to the temporary pro shop and a bathroom at the turn. No cart girl today, basically the end of a 3-day holiday weekend. There was no water jug on hole 5 tee – only an empty cooler rack.

I can’t recommend Hidden Valley until conditions are more receptive, given the severely sloping terrain and conditions.
Thanks to Johnny for setting up a fun GK event on a warm Saturday afternoon, and thanks to my playing partners (Eddie, Joel [c'mon, guy, join up!], and Ron) for a pleasant, enjoyable round. My course comments of 11/30 still apply, although our pace was a little slower than 10 days ago behind a walking threesome and a slowish foursome. We started on #5, and after making the turn back to #1 had to sprint to get finished ahead of the dark.

Good venue for the after-party, with plenty of room after overcoming the resort's confusion, and with plenty of service. Better situation there than the very noisy bar area with limited staff last time. Plenty of prizes and good cameraderie on the patio.

Even the discounted rate of $75 for this course seems a little too high for me given the conditions and design/challenge.
Played with the GK Gurus on Wednesday, 11/29/17 – thanks to Steve, Bob, and Gary, a very relaxed group and enjoyable partners. We went out as the 2nd Guru group behind Johnny’s rabbits, and almost never waited on them, and rarely even saw the group behind us, finishing in under 4 hours.

I played the Champions course here for the first time at the GK event last September, and this was my first time on Legends since walking some of the holes watching the old PGA Tournament of Champions back in the 1980s (Watson, Trevino, etc.). This is a resort-style course, fairly flat with the opening holes on each nine playing downwind away from the clubhouse, and both nines finishing into the breeze, making the closing holes play tougher as the wind freshens. The course generally has small greens, and many have ridges and swales separating different portions of the greens, creating small target areas if you want to be aggressive with the pins. Blue pins were often found in small isolated areas of the greens and some were in red-light locations! The number and severity of the sand traps are less forbidding than at Champions, especially along the fairways. We played the Member tees (6,135/70.7/127) – there are no uncomfortable looks off the tees, and things are fairly wide open. Forced carries are generally only with short irons. The course was fairly wet to start; there was small-area watering going on in several fairways during the round and we had to drop away.

Some greens early in the round were very thin and had fairly large patched areas as well as a light dusting of sand, that looked worse than they played – greens were fairly firm but held shots, and all rolled at medium-fast speeds, and you had to be very careful of downhill runouts. We were also fooled several times by the amount of slope on some of the greens that affected lines and runouts; repeated plays would be beneficial to better know how to position shots and putting lines. Greens were badly holding spike marks on the front side; green turf improved on the back side and we didn’t have those problems.

Keeping with the resort vibe, fairways are fairly generous without as many confining traps and hazards as on the Champions course. Many holes have mature trees to be avoided, but options are easily available to avoid being blocked out. Rough was cut short and easily playable; there were some scattered wet/mushy areas to be avoided with carts or on foot, generally well off the playing line. Tees were all pretty level (we played White) with only a couple slightly crowned; there were no divot mix boxes on most par-3 tee boxes. Traps all had very good sand that was easy to play from; they were somewhat damp early in the morning.

There’s a nice interactive GPS on the carts, but distances are given to the middle of the green only, not the pin position; a yardage book is available. The course uses the entry/exit gate system for carts, which I think minimizes and better controls cart wear on the course margins. The range was on mats today; a large chipping area is also available. The practice green had a lot of slope – golfers be aware!

The course uses a red/white/blue pin rotation, but it’s not strictly followed. The “order” switched at #10, but the result was that the par-3 holes all had blue flags – the course needs to use their imagination to address this. There was no refill rack for divot sand; we finally cannibalized an infrequent sand box on the 14th tee to refill our bottles.

This is a nicely-conditioned course, and a relaxed fun play in good conditions. A stiff wind would make the finishing stretches on each nine much more beastly. The price we got for the Guru round was a great value – players would have to decide if rack rates are worth the cost.
I’m not sure how much longer Los Serranos can keep flogging the “Course of the Year” award from 2012 – it’s all over the cart logos and banners in the parking lot. Conditions now remind me more of El Prado than Goose Creek.

Played on a clear hot Saturday morning 11/25/17, at 10am, paired with a traveling couple who found LS on GolfNow – we booked on the course site for $60. Much less wind than I’m accustomed to at LS made the day hotter, but wasn’t as much of a usual factor in shots. Overall, I was disappointed with course conditions. Greens had good coverage and held shots, but were very bumpy, rolling at medium+ speed that increased as they dried out. Fairways and rough were disappointing – you either got wet/lush growth or dry/hard/bare dirt. All fairways had scattered small and large bare areas. Balls in the fairway tended to sit tight, even where there was adequate grass cover. Rough was lush primarily around greens, but along fairways and (especially) under the numerous trees there was generally little to no grass, firm conditions resulted in balls running forever, and lies were a crapshoot. Some rough areas have been converted from grass to mulch. There are lots of sand traps here and they were in good shape, although local golfers are apparently unfamiliar with the concept of the rake. Many tees are sloping, and par-3 tees show lots of use (we played Blue). At least the course provides divot mix boxes on the par-3s – if only golfers would use them!

Basic carts. Range on grass today. Adequate water available. Snack shacks in operation on #s7, 13, and 16. Ponds fronting par-3s #10 and 17 have been removed since I was here 5 years ago, as well as the pond left of #12. We waited on most shots and finished in just over 5 hours – fairly typical for a weekend morning here. Saw one marshal who was not doing anything to move play. He did give us some refilled sand bottles on #10 – the refill rack on the 7th tee was empty.

Except for greens, overall turf conditions here are poor. There are numerous areas scattered around the course which are sloppy wet and badly rutted from equipment – I assume these are related to leaky points in the irrigation system, so there are lots of areas needing attention. Maybe some of that saved water can go to the dried-out fairway/rough areas that apparently get little water.
Back out to my favorite course in SoCal on a clear, hot and breezy Wednesday morning, 11/22/17. I had an Underpar certificate that expired about a week ago and wanted to just get $$ credit against the green fee, but shop said I had to address that with UP. No tee time, so I just walked up at 10am and got a $55 senior rate, and wound up being paired with a threesome going off within 30 minutes, so no time for warmup. Course looked busy in the parking lot but our group managed to go off ahead of several other carts waiting up top. Carts are nice with well-padded seats and a good GPS system, and a club/ballwasher attached.

First time for me playing OQ in a Santa Ana wind condition, so many of the holes played very differently than what I’m used to here – tough par 4s like #s 7, 11, and 13 played downwind, really changing the way these holes are approached. I found myself having to hit quite a few wedges at odd yardages and having to factor in some strong downwind/upwind considerations.

Coming out of overseed everything continues to be very wet, including the bunkers – tees, fairways, and rough are wet and soft, but bunkers are pretty much unplayable(!) – wet with puddles in the bottom, sandy/muddy like new cement, really impossible to get the club under the ball in the traps whether in the fairways or (especially) around the greens. There was even some scattered small area watering in progress.

Greens were rolling medium-slow and pretty were bumpy, but were soft and receptive, resulting in very large ballmarks when we hit them – and there were not that many old marks. Fairway lies were generally OK and rough was generally pretty short - in areas that had been allowed to grow longer, away from greens and playing areas, mowers were active cutting in the rough areas. Tees were either shaggy long or bare/torn up, so they are needing a dry-out and mowing; many tees were sloping pretty badly (we played White) and need leveling.

Overall conditions are just OK, with bunkers being a huge negative. If the course needs to maintain everything in a wet condition to come out of the overseed (which is understandable), the bunkers HAVE to be deep-raked regularly to dry them out and make them be playable, at least. Otherwise, wait at least a couple more weeks for conditions to improve further.

We had a lower-skilled and slower group in front of us and we waited frequently, finishing in just over 4.5 hr. It’s really a crapshoot about who you are going to be paired with when you walk on as a single – our group included a father-son (~11) pair that was local – the kid really didn’t have any business being on a full-length course, especially one like this where elevation changes and hazard areas are prevalent. And the father was wild and all over the place, so for the entire round I was never sure where he was going to wind up, and the kid was running around back and forth to his ball. The older 4th guy was a regular here and very competent, but borderline rude with driving away from the tee even before we had all hit, or driving ahead to his tee shot while the kid was still moving up to the red box. Both were playing loud rock music in their carts (WHY??!!) but I really didn’t hear it except to the tees. As everyone knows I’m a pretty serious player, and these guys all had a very casual attitude (toward play, toward etiquette, toward divots and ballmarks, etc.) that really put me off – combined with the wild shots and the kid running all over the place, I really had difficulty maintaining any kind of concentration.

As usual, the 4th tee was really backed up – it’s a challenging tee shot to a narrow fairway, path-only all the time on this hole, etc. There were fewer water stations than usual with the end of summer conditions, so with the unexpected heat today I was pretty parched. The lakes on #s 10/11/12/13 are still dry (you can easily play from within the red stakes), with only #s 16/18 with water, and lowered levels there than usual.
Second round of the SCGA Senior Net Championship on Tuesday, 10/31/17 – 7:30am shotgun. Warm-up in the dark, barely able to see your feet on the range mat. Another very crowded practice putting green(s). I hadn’t played here in several years, and many trees have been removed over that time, making what was a very narrow course in many areas much more open, giving you more confidence to be able to hit driver without worrying about encountering Robin Hood.

Greens were in better shape than Rec Park yesterday, as ED completed their aeration several weeks ago. Greens were fairly firm, smooth, and rolled at medium-fast speeds, especially downhill. Greens accepted shots and were the best part of the course. Fairways and rough were pretty short, and lies were tight and could sit down. Most of the rough was dry/thin and could be interspersed with bare areas. Sand was in good shape. Tees were generally OK; only a couple were sloping, but most were pretty wet and easily torn up just by softspike use.

Simple GPS and some other on-course markings. No yardage book available. Pace was pretty terrible - >5.5 hrs. Snack shack out at 3/13. I like this course more than Rec Park (but not as much as the redesign at Skylinks). Pace is always an issue here, but it’s a fun play.
I played Rec Park in the first round of the SCGA Senior Net Championship – 11am shotgun start on Monday, 10/30/17. I’m in the Super Senior flight, but didn’t play so super – LOL. This course doesn’t set up well for large shotgun tournaments due to limited parking and smallish practice facilities. For 100+ golfers there are only 16 hitting pads at the driving range, and while there are 2 putting greens one didn’t have any holes cut or flags placed.

The course punched ½ of each green ~10/11, putting the pins on the unaffected area. So the affected greens had almost 3 weeks to heal. Conditions were generally pretty good on the affected portions – you could see where the small holes had been punched, and those areas were somewhat bumpier and slower than the unaffected portions. Fronts were firmer and rolled better – back areas were a little softer. Generally, greens had good coverage, accepted shots, and rolled at medium speeds. HOWEVER, the course punched the BACKS of every green, so when pins were placed for this tournament, almost every pin was a front (red) pin, so we spent the day with a lot of downhill quick putts on the front of those greens. [The fronts of the greens WERE scheduled to be punched today, 10/30. Fortunately, the SCGA insisted the course delay until after this tourney!]

Fairways and rough were fairly short, and lies were tight or could sit down. There were scattered bare areas in fairways and rough on many holes. Sand I was in was groomed and adequate. Tees were OK, with the usual damage on par-3s, and there were no divot mix boxes out. Most tees, however, were pretty wet, and even just the golfers’ soft cleats were resulting in damaged areas.

Simple GPS on the basic carts and there are some markings out on the course. Adequate water was available on this cool, cloudy day. Pace was typical for this type of tournament - >5 hours. To better level the field, tee positions on the 1- and 2-hcp holes (#6 and #10) were moved well forward. The SCGA provided dinner afterward, but the caterer ran out of food early.

Fairly typical Recreation Park conditions – OK, but it’s not my favorite place. [See: kikuyu]
Enjoyed a pleasant round with GKer Itslikeimsayin at 11:16 am on Saturday, 10/28/17, on a warm sunny day with much less of the ocean breezes I’m used to seeing at AW. The course was surprisingly empty for a Saturday morning, and we went out behind several twosomes, trailing a few foursomes. We breezed at our own pace thru the first seven holes, but caught the train on the eighth tee and waited frequently thereafter – after a sub-2-hr front, we finished in just over 4 hours.

Greens were aerated about 2.5 weeks ago and are pretty well healed – there’s still some minor evidence of punching but in general they were fairly soft, accepted shots easily, and rolled with little bumpiness at medium speed. Most of the greens showed quite a few old ballmarks. Fairways were short and tight and gave good lies; we saw scattered areas where the fairways retained a lot of moisture from watering. Rough was generally pretty short unless you got well off line; in some of those areas we saw some muddy/sloppy areas. Tees were level and could use a mowing; par-3s and shorter 4s had a few scattered divots, and few tees had divot mix boxes. Sand is grainy and fairly heavy, especially early when it’s still pretty moist.

There’s a divot mix refill rack at the turn (up near the ball machine; the rack on the 10th tee was empty). Mark had a good and bad experience with his breakfast burrito. No GPS, but the course features both colored distance stakes, Kirby markers along the fairways, and some sprinklers are marked. Saw the cart girl 3 times, and a marshal came by to keep us updated on efforts to improve pace.

I like this course a lot and try to get down here frequently. Recommended.
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