Golf Course Reviews
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I was happy to join GKer itslikeimsayin when he posted a Meet-Play for Oak Valley at 1:52 on Sunday, 10/15/17, as I really like this track and wish it was a little closer to me so I could play it more often. As I found from my ongoing head-scratching at trying to hit these greens and get putts near the hole, repeated plays here are necessary to better appreciate the correct sides of the fairway from which to approach the greens, and to get more familiar with all the subtle movement on the greens and the best way to approach various pin positions. I generally like Schmidt-Curley designs, as I think their green complexes “make sense”, but there was definitely a lot more movement and green segmentation at OV than I remembered – just because you are “on the green” doesn’t mean you have a putt at the hole. Combined with this is the abundance of uneven lies throughout the course, as it plays out into shallow washes and back – a level lie, even in the middle of the fairway, is pretty rare here, so this also must be factored into shotmaking.

It was hot and windy, but not that crowded as we queued up behind a couple of foursomes. We waited only a little bit on the first few holes, then play stretched out after about hole #5 and we rarely even saw the group in front again, and weren’t pushed from behind. Early on we were concerned about the amount of wind we were seeing around the clubhouse, but once on the course it wasn’t as bad as we feared, and the Santa Ana condition made many of the longer holes play downwind. You had to factor in the wind in club selection, but it wasn’t punishing at all. The humidity was so low that I think the ball was flying better than normal – we had several instances where balls flew much longer than we anticipated.

Greens were in very good shape (subtle movement and all – LOL!); I thought they were smooth and rolled well at medium+ speeds. I did notice some differences in firmness between greens – some were very receptive (Mark’s approach plugged in place on the elevated #4 green), but others were firmer and you could get a stiff bounce. This pattern continued throughout the round, and you were never quite sure what kind of reception approaches would get. Green speeds were fairly consistent, I thought. These greens also have some pretty steep runoffs into collection areas that generally were filled with deep lush grass, making recovery chips challenging. The course uses a red-white-blue flag rotation, but they weren’t slaves to it today – the par-5s into the wind today all had red flags, making landing on those small green-front areas challenging.

Fairways and rough were generally in good shape, and could vary from dry/firm to lush/soft, depending on the vagaries of the irrigation system. We generally got quite a bit of runout in the fairways, especially downwind. Sand looked to be in good shape everywhere. I was in 2 fairway bunkers where the sand was fairly firm, though depth varied. The greenside bunker behind #15 was also pretty firm and could use more playing depth, but anyone who knows my sand game may be skeptical of any comments.

Tees were the most questionable part of the conditioning. We immediately noticed areas of distinct uneveness and/or sloping on the first few holes – they generally got better further into the round. The recent maintenance had left the tees with obvious post-punch patchiness, but finding a good spot was dictated by terrain, not foliage. Many of the par-3 tees had no divot mix boxes, and were pretty torn up, with #14 being especially bad. Some tees with divot mix boxes had no mix in them. And some off the shorter par-4s, where players might use an iron or a hybrid, could also use divot mix boxes. And just to add to the mix, many of the tee box surrounds appear to be the favorite hangouts of the local gopher population.

Carts are basic – no GPS (a yardage book is offered; some sprinklers are marked; and there are colored monuments in the fairways) or ball-washer, but there is a cooler. Restrooms on the course are very basic, and they had capped the sink in the men’s restroom on tee #6. There are no sand refills available at the turn or elsewhere, so many divots went unfilled. Water jugs on tee #6 and tee #8 were empty. The clubhouse was closed when we finished just after 6pm, so no bathroom or water before the trip home.

GKer Andrew1 had made some comments about this being a Dye track – I knew it was Schmidt-Curley, but Mark says he thinks they were both once Dye associates, so the bulkheaded lakes, mounding and deep runoffs, and inscrutable greens at OV make more sense if that’s true and they brought some Dye influence to the ambiance. Sorry to doubt you, Andrew! Thanks to Mark and Wendy for a very enjoyable round, and I definitely need to plan on getting back here sooner rather than later.
10 Likes.
Played in the SCGA Senior 4-ball Net Championship at RBI on Monday/Tuesday, 10/2-3/2017, teeing off at 8:30am both days. You’d think that the (I hate that darn) kikuyu warmup I had a San Juan Creek last week would have helped prepare me, but when the course staff throws in overwatered conditions, scattered and frequent soggy areas, and very soft greens in the kikuyu universe it just gets even more fun. The weather was mild, with alternating sun and some cloudiness – the 2nd day was very windy on the back nine.

The course looked good from afar, but was overwatered everywhere, resulting in big ball marks and gouged-out fur pelts on green approaches. Almost every shot resulted in a mudball. Other than that, the course was in pretty good shape. Greens had good coverage and rolled well at medium+ speed, especially downhill toward the main drainage running down the shallow canyon where the course is situated. Going away from the centerline putts were slower. With the wet conditions all the greens showed spike and shoe marks all day. Most greens had evident old and newer ballmark damage.

Lies in fairways were good, but rollout was reduced in the wet kikuyu; in the rough the playability varied depending on grass depth and whether the ball sat down in the cushy grass. Sand was adequately deep and playable, although damp from irrigation. Tees varied from wide and flat to narrow and slopy and domed. Par-3 tees, and shorter par-4 tees, were pretty damaged, and players were failing to use the sand refills provided.

Pace was around 5 hr each day – the SCGA used tee times on holes #1 and #10, compared to previous years when the start was a shotgun. There is a small range on mats a shuttle ride away. The putting green is small and pretty flat, and watered like the course, so it was showing a lot of shoe/spike marks immediately. Carts have a good GPS. Generally enough water available, but on the 2nd day water jugs were not out on #7 and #13 tees.

There are hazards in play on almost every hole, and offline shots can easily find trouble. Many holes have very narrow aspects off the tee to get into good position. My team held up pretty good for 27 holes, picking each other up when the other had a bad hole, and avoiding blowups, but it all came unraveled on the back nine Tuesday, and we couldn’t seem to stop the bleeding. To add insult to injury, a sprinkler came on as we were teeing off on #16, so we had to time our shots and hit quickly to avoid being soaked!

The 1-hcp 7th hole has a swale in front of the green that funnels drainage from a large area across just in the front of the green – as a result, this area is slightly below the green level and is always wet and soft. On a 450-yd par-4 with a small green, it’s impossible to bounce the ball onto the green, as shots just die in the thick wet swale in front. This needs to be addressed by a drainage change or some other solution to make this hole more playable.

This is a fairly nice course in a resort venue, but like many SoCal courses it’s really overpriced for the conditioning and facilities presented.
6 Likes.
Played at 2:20pm on Thursday, 9/28/17 – looks like I was a couple hours behind GKer leef2020. I’m playing in a tourney next week and I was looking to get some swings in around a packed schedule – SJH is scraping the bottom of the barrel for me because I just don’t get along with the all-kikuyu-all-the-time turf here, but it fit my needs for proximity, cost, and availability. It was a warm, sunny and breezy afternoon. You can’t book a single on their website, so I just showed up during a period when their site indicated they had several open slots – I paid $39 with cart and was joined on the 2nd tee by another amicable single Jacob, and we slowly moved along behind another casual twosome, joining them on the 7th tee and spending the rest of the day behind a very slow foursome, finishing just ahead of darkness in ~4:40. Didn’t see a marshal all day.

For all the kikuyu the course was in pretty decent shape. Tees were OK, with most being level. Fairways were thin and firm, but generally gave OK lies – I was in 2 divots(!). Rough was mostly fairly short and played OK; when the grass got a little deeper on green slopes and sidehills the ball tended to sit down in the grass and was chancy to hit from. There were some scattered bare areas in fairways and rough. Sand was plentiful in all traps (I was in several) and for the most part was heavy and damp – shots frequently stayed in their pitch mark or fried-egged it, making recoveries stressful. Only in one trap did we have dry, mushier deep sand.

Greens were firm, rolled at medium+ speed (esp. downhill), and were pretty bumpy as we went through the back nine. The set of par-3s here are challenging due to length and defenses. Holes 13-15 are the “new” holes here, added after flooding in the 90s took out several holes along the river, and these new holes are very narrow and constrained by topo and homes, and overall conditions there are chancy. Lots of unrepaired ballmarks and unfilled divots, and there were no sand refills available as we made the turn.
10 Likes.
I played in the Irvine City Championship at SF on Saturday/Sunday, September 16-17, 2017. I’ve played in this event about a half-dozen times over the years – they used to hold it on British Open weekend (bummer!!), but moved to the Fall last year to try to get more participation. This year they wound up with ~60 players in championship (scratch) and A, B, and C handicapped flights. We teed off around 7am both days under cooler, cloudy skies without too much wind. (There was a little more breeze on Thursday afternoon.) I also played a practice round (included with the tourney fee) on Thursday afternoon 9/14 around 3pm. This review reflects all three rounds.

Unfortunately for my low-ball-flight game, the lake on the back 9 is dry but the fairways are getting plenty of water. All fairway and rough areas were very wet both tourney days, and solid drives were still leaving me with long irons and hybrids into the longer par-4s. Fairway lies were good, and rough at 1-2 inches was fine, except in the finer-diameter stuff the ball sat well down and was hard to control coming out. Traps were in good shape, with good material in greenside traps and fairway traps being a little firmer. (Thursday afternoon fairways were a little drier and I had fewer distance problems.)

Greens were in very good condition, fairly firm, cut tight and rolling well at medium-fast+ speeds. Speeds were consistent throughout the course and over the several days, which was nice. Most greens had quite a few old ballmarks slow to heal. I made more putts than I usually do, which only partially made up for several wayward offline tee and other shots, which can cost you quickly at SF, and I had several penalty strokes. Maybe I was trying too hard to hit the ball further to make up for all the lost roll! (I think I’ll go with that excuse!)

SF has problems with some fairly small tee boxes being somewhat domed or sloping, so it’s sometimes a challenge to find a comfortable level area. Par-3 boxes are generally pretty torn up – some boxes have sand containers on them (which few golfers use, apparently!), and some don’t have refills at all. In general players are not taking good care of the tees. Either way the course staff apparently don’t get out to take care of the boxes very well – we saw Saturday’s destruction unfilled on Sunday morning.

There’s a new pro at SF now, as Tom McCray has moved over to Laguna Woods after 15 years. I didn’t get his name, but we chatted briefly about the tourney and course conditions after the second round. My flight winner amazingly shot his best score ever on Saturday – a 10-handicap dropped a gross 74 on SF from the blue tees. Er, okay. Not that I was anywhere within hailing distance!

Still recommended, but watch out for the high rack rate!
7 Likes.
Played in the GK Event on Saturday, 9/2/17, and had a great time. Thanks to zgolfinman, rudyclub, and Brady (what’s your screen name, man!?) for an enjoyable round. I’ve read the previous reviews and they’ve hit the high points on many comments I had.

Positives – course looked good in a pleasing setting. The surrounding homes are pleasingly eclectic and not intrusive. Since the course plays up and back a long narrow canyon, it makes sense design-wise and aesthetically to use the prevailing drainage structure for design and playability features like ponds, creeks, wetlands, etc., and I thought the redesign did this well. The course uses the entry/exit gate system for carts that I feel benefits the course by better controlling cart wear. The good GPS system is interactive and gives good graphics, although distances are only to COG, not pin position. It was a hot day but plenty of water was available, and we were able to get ice at the turn and from the cart girl, who we saw several times. The cart guys at the beginning and end were helpful and enthusiastic.

Not-so-Positives – Leading up to the coming aeration greens were pretty dry and very firm, and only well-struck shots held. With the usually-elevated greens this wasn’t a critical element except on #16, which others have mentioned. Three people in our group hit solid 8- or 9-irons to the left side of that green that landed on the green but released over the back, into the trap or collar. My shot landed only twelve inches past the front edge of the green but wound up in the back sand, despite leaving a large ballmark. A golf course has to reward you for a good strike or people will get discouraged. (At least that back trap had some good sand in it – probably because it gets so much use!) Unfortunately, we saw many old and new ballmarks on all greens, and most greens appeared to hold spikemarks pretty badly.

It was a hot day and the coastal breeze we hoped for to cool things off never fully materialized. We had some breeze on a few holes but it seemed to come and then go, especially as we played the first 6 holes on the front nine. (We started on hole #1.) Not a lot of elevation change, and greens and fairways generally moved toward the center of the canyon, with more slope up against the west side of the canyon. Fairways were wide and playable and lies were good, and I was able to stay away from the deep rough some others mentioned. Johnny warned us to stay out of the fairway traps, and he was right, but we were all in some and we all paid the price, as they are deep.

I was looking at Mark’s (Itslikeimsayin) Flickr page on course photos and thought “Why is my memory of the look of these holes so different from his very nice photos?” Then I saw the long shadows on his hole #3 photo, and realized that he had played those first 3 holes almost 4 hours after I had (he started on hole #4). That later afternoon lighting makes the course look much better in that lower-angle subdued light.

Great seeing everyone afterward and it’s amazing the amount of stuff Andrew keeps bringing for prizes – better not let that guy get away, Johnny! Good food (but expensive) in the lounge. I always enjoy seeing and playing with other GKers.
12 Likes.
Played on an Underpar certificate for $89 with GKer rat-patrol at 1010am on a clear hot Sunday, 8/20/17. The course was mildly busy and we went out sandwiched between a number of foursomes, and played thru one group on #3, so pace was relaxed in a little over 4.5 hr, with quite a bit of waiting on the back nine. Staff was friendly and helpful, including engaged starters, and we saw the cart girl a couple times. The course offers complimentary water from the 1st and 10th tee, and the cart girl has free water as well – nice.

The course is in very nice condition. Greens were cut tight and are firm and running at medium-fast speed. We didn’t see too many old ballmarks. Fairway lies were good – we saw only scattered thin/bare areas. Rough was cut short and dry so it was very playable. Tees were level and fine. I was in one bunker greenside on #4 and sand quality was good.
Very nice grass range with comp balls, and a good short game area. Putting green is fairly large and has slopes that look like the on-course greens. Plush carts and quality GPS system. Cooler with water and ice.

There’s a couple holes here that I have issues with. I don’t like the layout of the 9th hole – a solid drive puts you behind a wall of oak trees with nowhere to go, unless you can fit your drive into a narrow hallway between OB right and that big oak. So maybe a hybrid off the tee on a par-5 – ugh! Hole #7 is funky in that there’s about a 30x30-ft area just inside the right bunkers where you can have a reasonable 2nd shot to a severe green. Hole #13 is still shown as the 2-handicap hole, and as a 587-yd par-5 on the card and website, but issues with balls flying into homes along the left side have forced the course to move all the tees up to <500 yards – the white tees we played Sunday were inside a 455-yd marker. The initial right bunker that was a factor from the back tees is now sitting out there pretty moot, and you mainly just have to stay short of the creek crossing. From there it’s 230 (wedge-wedge) in, factoring in the deep narrow green against the creek left. Not really the 2-hcp hole anymore, IMHO.

Always a pleasure to play here, and I enjoyed Jim’s company during the round. Lots of construction going on at the resort with a new room wing and new spa being built, and traffic in Temecula and on the freeway afterward was horrific.
12 Likes.
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.
15 Likes.
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.
8 Likes.
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.
9 Likes.
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 TeeOff.com 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.
7 Likes.
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.
14 Likes.
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.
14 Likes.
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