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Day one of a two-day work trip out to the Phoenix area so we played Whirlwind first just an hour or so after getting off the plane. We were supposed to play the other 18 at this 36 hole facility, but it was even more crowded after a frost delay in the morning so we had the opportunity to get out on the Cattail 18 right away and took it.

It was a very cold and somewhat windy day so I'm not sure how much that factored into the day's performance, but it was certainly something one doesn't expect when playing out in Arizona. But it wasn't raining so that was a nice change from LA of late. As for the course, really nice. I'm not sure if it's quite the rack rate price nice (over $150), but it's very close to that for sure.

It's also a fun design with plenty of water in play, lots of risk-reward holes, some hilly areas but no major elevations, and lots of strategic placement off the tee that will require some assistance of the in-cart GPS. Conditions are pretty great all around, from the dark green fairways with great lies all day, to the super nice and glassy greens that were fast, true and held shots pretty well all day. Rough was a nice length to hit from and the bunkers and tee boxes were in very good shape as well. Really zero to complain about at all.

Practice range is grass with Callaway balls provided, plus there's a large chipping and sand area right behind it to test your skills. No actual 'turn' on the Cattail course, so make sure you either have enough food and drink from the start, or good chance you'll get cart service if it was around numerous times on a cold and windy Tuesday afternoon.

Overall, a really nice facility and a great day of golf, even if I did have to trade the hat for the beanie on the back nine and put on a third layer to fight the cold. I would love to come back here on a perfect AZ spring day.
8 Likes.
Rough post-storm conditions at Woodley Lakes this past weekend on Saturday. No carts were allowed on the course due to all the standing water and so all the push carts were already taken. Smart idea but poor execution.

Literally lakes roped off in the middle of at least half of the fairways. Very frustrating to hit nice shots that would just end with a big splash and no roll whatsoever - not the course's fault for the rain per se but this is not a course that drains well at all. Bunkers were also filled with water in many spots. Tee boxes were mostly all set up in one area to minimize damage, so those were pretty beat up by mid-day.

Greens were the best part of the course. Inconsistent speeds throughout the day but generally in very good condition and rolling true if speed was correctly judged. Not a lot of mystery to Woodley Lakes greens - what you see is what you get.

I would definitely wait a bit before getting out there again but hopefully, when the water recedes, this good confidence course will look a little greener and lusher than before.
6 Likes.
Got to take out a client in Vegas this week and played with another local who managed to get us a very sweet deal at the usually very high-cost Bali Hai resort course. I believe the normal rack rate here is around $300, so having only paid a third of that was pretty outstanding. I've wanted to play this track so many times and it finally came together, and luckily the weather played along as well. It was cold, but the rain didn't start until just after finishing with a sweet POP of just 3.5 hours.

The course itself is very fun and has a surprising amount of elevations in the fairways, creeks and water. Not too much in the way of long carries, but there are definitely a good variety of hole lengths here and the par 3s gave me a tough time all day. The island green is pretty cool too but not too tricky as it's only around 130 yards or so, but you still have to stick it.

Winter conditions were good overall and of course having to take into account the recent rains that certainly affected the bunkers and many of the lower-lying areas. Dark green fairways that looked more lush than they actually played, but provided good lies all morning. The rough has been left dormant so it's a striking contrast with its beige hues against either water, sand or the aforementioned green fairways. Bunkers had mostly very good, playable sand in them but they were probably a bit heavier than normal with the recent precipitation. Tee boxes (we played the gold tees) were fine - no troubles there.

Cart service was around early and often, even with very few people out on the course most of the morning. We did catch a group on 8 and 9 but they let us pass at the turn and it was smooth sailing from there. We also got a lunch voucher for after the round so that worked out great.

Again, the only unfortunate thing was that the weather was quite cold, but not the Arctic temps we were expecting the night before. Still, my idea of playing this course is most definitely in shorts and sweating a lot, so I still will need to come back and do it right later in the year. Hope I can find that great deal again, but I'm guessing during high season that might be a bit more difficult.
12 Likes.
Played Skylinks today after rearranging an 8:20 tee time for 11:56 to try and bypass the rain showers. Safe to say we weren't the only ones who had that idea. The parking lot was full upon arrival and there was serious lineup at the first tee, but it was actually fairly smooth until the three-deep log-jam on 9. The back was generally slow but we still managed to get in before dark, but it definitely got really cold near the end of the round.

Weekends at Skylinks can seem pretty pricey but it's a very fun layout overall while not overwhelming in any one particular manner. If I'm not mistaken, is the GPS on the carts new? I can't remember but have this weird feeling they are. Greens are in good shape and pleasant to challenge. But best of all is that the course drained and dried up very nicely with just a few hours of sun. Not having a water-logged course made the expense worth it.

Already mentioned the greens, but the fairways aren't anything pretty to look at. They are utilitarian in nature - nothing more. And that's fine. In winter time, I can live with beige-toned fairways that offer a lot of good lies, but of course where you will also find the places where nature won the battle. Rough was mainly rough because of thin and a bit muddy where the shade halted the drying out process. Sand was actually remarkably good, and I found a lot of it (including a wild bunker, bunker, green, birdie on 11). Tee boxes were unmemorable at best.

And while much of all that sounds 'bad,' it was actually really good fun to play Skylinks today. And, if you can get past some of the current optics, you won't likely regret a visit there soon. Good facilities as well very conveniently located. It does the trick.
11 Likes.
Played a fun midweek round today at Rolling Hills CC and was a little surprised to see that the recent rains have done far more damage than good. I'm not sure if it's because the course is still very young and maybe something to do with the seeding and/or drainage, but many of the fairways had some very dry and thin areas, while the collection areas on certain holes are also packed with dried out divots. There were also some areas where water was still collecting and created some bog areas. Far from its best shape.

Still a great track to play without a doubt based on the variety of holes and super-challenging green complexes, but the conditions definitely left a lot to be desired at the moment. The greens are actually in great shape, running slower than normal but still quite good overall, but besides the fairways, the tee boxes are very hard still just under tee level, while the bunkers were mostly good but some still had not drained. Rough was fine but you can find yourself in a lot of waste areas that you can still play out of right now.

And if you've never played here before, it's a links style course with massive green complexes that are hard to differentiate the actual green from the surrounding short grass. You'll be putting a lot from well off the greens and need to learn very quickly that it's very often far better to use the slopes than to go directly at pins. Those balls are often quickly gone.

It'll be great again soon - that I'm not worried about. But right now RHCC could use some time to heal up and get some needed TLC. But I wouldn't think twice if you get the chance to play here once as it's still a very unique course for the LA area.
6 Likes.
Bucket list course checked off on Saturday thanks to Alex coming through with an awesome deal and inviting me down to play. It's one of his all-time favorite courses and it's easy to understand why by the time you walk off the 18th green with a huge smile on your face. Quite simply, this is one of the most picturesque courses you'll likely ever play, with maybe the most gorgeous collection of par 3s anywhere, but it's also a very true challenge of high-quality golf. It's easy to get distracted by the great looks and forget you also need to bring your A game to have any chance of a decent score.

Want elevations? No problem. Want water features and long carries at varying angles? Done. Want risk-reward holes? You've come to the right place. Want some of the most challenging green complexes around with no flat spots anywhere? Wait, who wants that? Well that's what you get! What you won't get is a wasted moment at this great venue.

Conditions as you can expect are pretty great all around so there's no point going into too much detail about that. You may find a few GUR spots at the moment and the very infrequent thinner lie, but mostly you will find very lush fairways and incredibly penal rough that doesn't look to bad from a distance but will make it very hard to find any balls that venture into it, despite seeing it all the way. Tee boxes, sand traps and everything else is just about perfect. They take their time here to make everything amazing.

We played from the blue tees and I don't believe you're allowed to walk here because of some of the distances involved and keeping the POP moving, but the carts are nice and modern and have a good GPS system for any first-timers here. They also have course ambassadors that hand out lollipops and cart service throughout the round. There's really nothing here left to chance and they do seem to put their best foot forward in every regard.

Highlight holes? Well, of course the par 3 3rd hole is visually stunning and also quite challenging. The uphill par 5 5th is also very fun to play. Also fun to rip a long drive on the downhill par 5 8th and then decide whether to risk the approach over the small lake in front of the green. On the back nine, hole 16 is a treat and the finishing two holes are absolutely no joke. But every hole on this course is worth playing. Triumphantly. Get there if you can.
7 Likes.
Played Harding again on Sunday with Kassper7 and was quite excited after the recent rains to see the course in a much more verdant state since the last reviews and my own experience there a few weeks (months?) back. Unfortunately it was quite disappointing as the fairways still had plenty of thin and dried out areas and none too green either overall.

But that's not to say it's all doom and gloom at this Griffith Park staple on the local golfing scene. You can find some nice areas of fairway as well, just not as thorough as one expects after so much rainfall. You'll also find some thin areas around the greens which makes chipping quite tough. Rough is a mixed bag of lush, thin, dirt and whatever else in between.

Tee boxes were in some pretty bad shape on some holes but always flat and level. And the bunkers had a working amount of sand in them. How about those greens? Not too bad, actually. They were in nice shape and rolling medium-fast with some very tough pin positions for Harding. There are a few that are quite sloped and when the pins are there, it's very tough to get the right speed … and that 'keep the pin in' rule is starting to look good on holes like these.

No cart service that I noticed all day but the snack shop between 8 and 9 has everything that you'll need to get through the day. Oh yes, we walked the blue tees and got out early as there was some marathon around there causing some delays getting to the course.

Overall it was a beautiful day though and I always enjoy playing this track.
6 Likes.
After years of hearing fairly mixed reviews of Journey at Pechanga, everything ranging from 'spectacular' to 'gimmicky and unfair,' I finally had the chance to find out for myself on Wednesday during a work scramble tournament while staying down in Valley Center at Harrah's for the three-day event. And of course, now I have my own thoughts.

First off, the course is likely (from what I've seen at least), the best manicured course in the fine golfing Temecula area, with the only exception of one super dry and out of place 3rd hole fairway. The rest? Really nice, green and lush. I would even consider some of the holes pristine. Overall the place is in super nice condition. As for the layout, well, you really get it all here. If you hate elevations, long carries, or angling around a few lakes, this may not be the course for you. But I loved it. There's just no escaping the variety of holes here and each one feels quite unique. Gimmicky? Maybe in some places, like a fairly blind green to finish on 18, or the trees that serve little purpose but to torment on holes like 7 and 9. Yes, you're going to have to think you're way through lots of this course. Fine with me but may not be everyone's cup of tea.

As for conditions, the fairways once again were pretty fantastic all around. Tee boxes were great with a few just slightly uneven, but good coverage. The sand was in really nice shape as well from picking up wayward balls out of bunkers, but of course in a scramble we never ended up playing out of any of them (our team shot a bogey-free six-under 66). Rough could be very thick and penal in places but not terrible. Lots of OB areas or easy places to find yourself ball hunting.

The greens, or more precisely, the green complexes were very compelling and tough. Very nice condition overall - receptive to shots, true to their lines and all variety of tough-to-read breaks and slopes. There are some real doozies at Journey at Pechanga so you'll have your work cut out for you to have a good round with the short stick. This is the kind of place where being able to keep the pin in will be a bonus for long lags or downhill putts. Some very intense slopes and tiers to deal with as well for added fun. They're tough, but super fun.

POP is a useless observation thanks to the tournament but don't worry about that too much as the great views and super golf will quickly make you forget about any time considerations. Full service snack bar at the turn and a massive clubhouse with all you need. We also had cart service running around at various points of the day so they did a great job with that.

Really looking forward to coming back and playing a proper round soon so I can test myself against this really unique course with a little knowledge of the layout. Hope I'm hitting the ball as well as I was yesterday though when I do go back.
16 Likes.
Played Angeles National this past Sunday with Johnny, Mattias and Kassper7 and we rode the white tees for a nice $60 fee that Mr. GK himself got us set up with. I was also playing my initial round on the Flex Tour thingy that I'm trying out this year for the first time, and we had our own little match play going on after Perry and I took down the Swede and the Grand Poobah at Black Gold a few months back. All of this led to a rather slow POP based entirely on us playing competitively, and of course all of those lost balls out into the wilderness areas.

As the last few reviews have stated, it's incredibly thin at Angeles right now and if you're not picking the ball extremely cleanly, you're either getting a big chunk of earth or thinning it into the Santa Monica mountains. Visually very interesting seeing the dormant fairways with their yellow hues surrounded by the greener rough, but it's all thin and very frustrating around the greens especially with chipping being a nightmare. Bunkers were very heavy after the rains and had plenty of standing water. Tee boxes were great.

Greens were definitely in great shape and running super fast. There are no gimmees here whatsoever and we had a fun time going back and forth with the pin based on the new 2019 rules. If you were far out and downhill, that pin was staying in. If you were close, it was coming out. But the greens again are in super shape and rolling true. It was difficult to get balls to stop on them though at those speeds and the less than ideal approach conditions.

Cart service was around a few times despite not being particularly crowded due to the cold temps, and the carts have a solid GPS system in place to help out if you're not too familiar with the layout.

This is an already very tough design with many forced carries over waste areas, hidden hazards like the lake on hole 8, and strategically placed bunkers and trees that will test your accuracy all day long. Add to that the thin fairway and rough conditions and it's a recipe for a pretty rough round. But as we all know, this is just temporary at a great facility like Angeles National and they will very likely have conditions back up to snuff very soon when we get out of the winter malaise.

I'm not sure what the rack rate is right now but I would certainly be reluctant to play here unless I got the kind of deal that Johnny managed to get for us, but I also don't think that will be impossible to find. They seem to do a very good job here at knowing what their customer expectations are and act accordingly.
13 Likes.
Played a Friday twilight round at Temecula Creek Inn again for the first time in around four years. Grabbed a cart and played the blue tees on the Stonehouse and Creek nines. Hard to imagine two nines as different as these two, and not just in terms of layout.

On the Stonehouse nine, it was pretty standard winter conditions in the fairways and the rough. So many places to get in trouble on this nine and all sorts of elevations and narrow chutes on some holes to some very picky landing areas. Tee boxes and bunkers were in good shape for the most part. Greens were still showing signs of being punched but rolled well and were medium fast.

The Creek nine is flat, parkland style golf with fairly wide open fairways and no water trouble until you get to the final hole. Where the Stonehouse nine had actual grass in the fairways though, the Creek side of the course has very odd fairways that seem to have been mostly painted a sea-green or blue and it's not really grass as much as it is compressed weeds or something. I'm no botanist, but it was weird. Rest of the conditions not much different than the previous.

POP was great as we finished in just under four hours and never really got pushed from the front or behind too much until the end of the front nine. No cart service to be found all day but it was not very busy out there. Pro shop is nice and the driving range is not huge but very functional, especially if you like to hit fades. Overall, I think that there are probably some superior options in the Temecula area right now, but I also think that once TCI gets its mojo back that it will be a very nice option again.
11 Likes.
Nothing worse than a confidence round at a place like Alondra that fails to actually end up building any confidence, but wet, muddy and thin conditions on Sunday did not help out in the least. Played the blue tees walking with three friends and a 10:40am tee time. Course was fairly empty and it was more or less smooth sailing and we even let a twosome play through at the 8th hole.

Again, rather poor conditions overall at Alondra, but the greens were actually in pretty good shape. A few had some signs of damage but they rolled pretty nicely and at medium-fast speed, and held shots well even after the moisture had worn off by early afternoon.

Rest of the conditions were not quite as solid. Thin fairways rule the day here but you'll occasionally find a nice patch of grass. More often than not though you'll need to be picking the ball clean. Not really fair to assess the bunkers with all the standing water in them from the rain, but the dried out ones were no great shakes. Tee boxes very poor and need lots of re-seeding or something. Rough was not penal and often a relief from the thin in the fairways.

POP was around five hours but that was because we were playing for a bet and all putts counted, so completely our fault. Weather held up nicely luckily as well. No cart service all day but not something one usually expects at Alondra anyway. Flat course, some long holes to challenge, but mostly straight up and down with few exceptions. I've seen Alondra better. But I've also seen it worse.
9 Likes.
First time ever playing Candlewood CC today after a late meeting in Cerritos that was close enough nearby and easy to get a tee time thanks to kassper7's tip for birdiebug.com. This is a 'private' course but you can book tee times online either there or at GolfNow. Met up with Mattias and we got a cart and played the tips, which here are the blue tees that max out at around 6200 yards. But don't let the short yardage fool you - this is a tough course.

I had heard not such great things about Candlewood, and after seeing the very Muni looking parking area while pulling in for the first time, I thought there might be something to those rumors. But that was quickly dispelled after the first few holes as I found the course to be terrifically engaging and fun. The front nine has a great number of very cool and fun holes with varying direction of elevations, while the back is incredibly tight on almost every hole and requires far more accuracy than distance. In truth, there are very few grip it and rip it holes at Candlewood, but it's still a very enjoyable experience from my POV.

The conditions were not quite Private club quality, but surely nothing too horrible to complain about. The greens here are very difficult. Fast, sloped all over the place and difficult to stop approach shots on. Some greens are massive, others tiny. They had mostly good coverage to them and were quite tough to read as there's not a flat surface on any of them.

The fairways are slightly above good LA Muni level right now, but the rough is in good shape and can be very thick at times and difficult to find your ball. Sure, you may find a thin lie in a few places, but it's mostly in good shape and it will be up to you, not the course, to blame your mistakes on here. Bunkers that I was in were okay, and by okay I mean it was more like thick dirt than sand, but it wasn't too terrible. Tee boxes varied from just fine to a few that were not so nice and uneven. When accuracy is at a premium, would sure be nice to put some extra time into getting those tee boxes flat.

POP was great on the front nine but then slowed down a bit as we caught up to the threesome of older gentlemen ahead of us (how were they so fast on the front?). Overall we finished in around four and a half hours so that was fine coming in as the sun was dipping and the cold in the shadows started creeping in. Before that though it was a gorgeous winter afternoon LA style. Fantastic. Cart service was also around many times so that was a positive.

Really looking forward to coming back out to this course again to shoot a better round. A little course knowledge here will surely go a long way, but it won't do a lick of good if you're flying that ball all over the place. This narrow track will eat your lunch. Plan accordingly.
11 Likes.
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