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Played a Sunday round at Santa Anita with kassper7 on Sunday with an 11:02 tee time that was then somehow an 11:10 tee time at the starter's desk, and then we tee'd off closer to 11:30. But for just $40 to walk from the blue tees, not the biggest deal.

POP was a bit of an issue as we waited on almost every hole. There was an earlier tournament in the day so that's likely the reason for the slow play, but it was sometimes a bit frustrating to always have to wait. What are you going to do?

Course conditions are okay right now at Santa Anita, but there are some areas that could definitely use improvement. The highly-trafficked greens are a bit slow currently and quite bumpy and unpredictable. Not a great day on the greens for me but that wasn't all down to the conditions.

Fairways were a mixed bag of pretty nice, pretty lousy and somewhere in between. A few too many dirt areas just off the fairways or in the channels between some of the heavily-mounded fairways as well. The rough was often a better place to be in some cases. Bunkers were mostly okay overall, but the tee boxes were a bit rough and uneven in places.

Santa Anita remains a fun layout though so that still makes it worth the trip a few times a year at least. I would love to see this place just one time in really excellent shape as I think that would make it a super experience. But until then, lower expectations just a bit and enjoy it for what it is.
7 Likes.
Played in a large tournament for cancer research at Journey at Pechanga on Saturday. It was a fun, fast-moving scramble and we started play on the 12th hole. Beautiful day that just got better and better as we moved through the course.

Pechanga may be a bit gimmicky in places, but the conditions are sure nice. A few too many blind shots, a few too many trees in weird places, a few too many ridiculously sloped or bowled green complexes ... but it works. I'm not sure why, but it does.

Greens are pretty quick and in solid shape right now. They play better than they look though as a few showed some signs of wear and tear, but again, they played very nicely regardless. Fairways were mostly in very good shape with just a few thin areas and GUR spots, and the rough was really nice - challenging but not crazy penal. Bunkers were in pretty nice shape all over the course, but the tee boxes gets some knocks because they were very shaggy. Definitely need to trim those down and get them up to par with the rest of the conditions.

Still waiting to finally play a proper round at Pechanga and not a scramble, but it's always a good time here that I would recommend if you're in the area.
7 Likes.
Played the spectacular Quintero Golf Club on Thursday with some work folks just outside of Phoenix. It's a good drive out into the sticks, but it's well worth it. The clubhouse area is a bit makeshift to be honest, and there's a very long cart journey up to the range and first tee, but once you're there, it turns into golf heaven.

Quintero is as challenging as it is beautiful. There's not a lot of 'rough' anywhere - it's just in or out. Good or gone. Those are your options on all but one or two holes. You'll get elevations here, water holes and plenty of nerve-shaking tee shots to question the state of your game. But it's a very fair test of golf for a low-handicap player (unlike myself) and a truly humbling, yet memorable experience for the rest of us.

Quality conditions all around as one would expect, but the Cart Path Only policy at present was a bit of a bummer. The greens were quick as lightning, very smooth and true, and had excellent coverage all the way around. Fairways absolutely pristine and perfect. Bunkers had good sand in them and most of the tee boxes were in very good shape. There's really nothing anyone could really find to complain about here outside of the CPO.

Carts are very nicely equipped and have a great new GPS system in them that really works well with the trickiness of the course. The price is a steep but it's well worth it. It's very isolated with only a very few select homes around, so you're really getting in all the golf you could ever need in a perfectly wonderful natural environment. Don't miss it if you can.

(By the way, added some new pics from my day out there so feel free to check them out.)
6 Likes.
A buddy booked a threesome for us at Brookside on Saturday, but was disappointed to learn that it was not the superior #1 course, but instead the duller, less inspiring #2, due to the UCLA game and the fact that $20 parking fees for 40,000 cars means far more to the city than a few hundred greens fees.

We arrived at the first tee for our 8:24 tee time and were promptly told that the first tee was now #17 but the kid working there did not really know where that was. Luckily we could figure it out - funny how that works. So off we went.

There's a repetitive quality to the holes at Brookside #2 as par 4 after par 4 after par 4 roll on past you with mind-numbing frequency. You won't even experience your first par 5 until the 11th hole, and there's only one par 3 on the front nine. There are no elevations, one water feature, one long drainage ditch and a very distinct pattern for almost all of the small greens - two bunkers guarding each green to promote wedges alone into them.

Conditions are pretty good though, so you can't complain about that. The greens did not necessarily look great all over, but they sure ran very quickly. Many of them also have absolutely ludicrous slopes that saw many barely tapped putts roll twenty feet down the green. And not just once. But on the more normal-sloped greens, they're just fine.

Fairways, surely looking better than the other course thanks to all the tire tracks, were in good shape overall with a few thin areas but mostly good lies and a nice hitting surface. Near the big drainage system that runs parallel to many of the holes, there was a lot of dirt and mayhem to try to avoid. The bunkers were just below average condition - a bit too hard-packed and heavy. And the tee boxes? Some good, some fine, some poor. Plenty were a bit too crowned and/or thin for my liking.

In summary, it's safe to say that the conditions are superior to the course, but it's still worth playing if you're free to go there. Just be wary of the UCLA football schedule and be prepared for some creative parking and course navigation along the way.
7 Likes.
Played the newly revamped Roosevelt on Sunday with bnaso and his son with a 9:44am tee time and walking it. Was very excited to see some of the changes that have happened here since they put some money into fixing up the place and updating the irrigation system.

Overall, the course still plays mostly the same way. They added in a few bunkers here, moved some there, and removed some others elsewhere. The most prominent changes? Big bunker in the middle of the fairway on the 4th hole and trees removed for the draw. There are no longer fences backstopping the greens on the 4th and 9th holes. The bunker guarding the 7th hole green is now just mounds. The bunker on the fifth hole in the middle of the fairway appears to have been moved more to the left from the tee box.

What else has improved? Drinking fountains! They're great and a nice addition. They've also updated the parking lot with more spaces (great idea!) and the restaurant/snack shop is modernized and apparently more dog and kid friendly. I never thought the old one needed replacing though.

Conditions were somewhat better than I remember most of the time at Roosevelt, but conditions never bothered me much here because it's such a unique nine-hole experience. The terrain and holes are varied, there are elevations and narrow chutes, some wide open fairways and of course the scenery, topography and wildlife is second to none in the region.

Fairways were in pretty good shape this time around with a lot fewer thin or burned out areas than my last visits a few years ago. Tee boxes remain a difficulty here though as they're mostly beat up and bare. Bunkers had some decent sand in them to get the job done. The greens were pretty good in terms of roll and holding shots, but there were some areas of damage and a lot of ball marks from lazy golfers.

I always enjoy coming to this course when time is of the essence and want a quality experience and don't have to break the bank to do it. Always recommend this place, especially if you've never played it before. It's very cool.
7 Likes.
Played Braemar CC for the first time on Friday at twilight after an invite from Tim (nodoubles22 - thanks buddy!) and enjoyed a very lush, very unique course with its fair share of quirkiness and trouble, but also a lot of character and all placed in a beautiful setting in the hills above Encino.

We played from the black tees (probably a bad idea) as the course is not 'long' by traditional standards, but it plays much longer due to the severe angles, blind shots and elevations. Braemar has three nines (used to be a 36-hole facility but they converted one of the nines into a number of practice areas years ago) and we ended up playing the US Open and Western nines. The US Open nine was a little more open and inviting, while the Western nine is utterly narrow and completely intimidating for a double-digit handicap like myself.

Conditions were quite excellent as one would expect at a high-end private club in LA. Fairways were in great shape, mowed with those beautiful criss-cross lines that always personify a quality track. The rough was quite thick and lush but definitely playable. Bunkers appeared to be in good shape but a little off the 'great' mark, while the tee boxes had very nice coverage but a few were a bit mounded and required some moving around to seek out a flat spot. But overall, everything was tip-top.

Greens were good and fast, but also just coming out of aeration a few weeks back, so not quite in their optimal shape as they will be in a few weeks. I should state they were in this shape on the first nine (US Open), but more grown in on the Western nine. Very fair greens in every sense, but the speed can easily see you roll ten feet past the pin if you get a little over-anxious at any point. They did hold shots well.

I think this course would be a lot more fun if I was a single-digit handicap! But I will definitely go back should the opportunity come up again as a little course knowledge to know some of the angles and where the greens are hidden would go a long way towards a better feeling when looking at the scorecard post-round.
6 Likes.
After two rounds of less than optimal playing conditions, it was a real treat to play the Navy course this weekend with my monthly group. We played from the white tees and had an absolutely enjoyable experience from start to finish.

Course is in fine shape right now from tee to green. Tee boxes in good shape, fairways are mostly green and well maintained, while the rough provides ample lushness and enough of a challenge to make it fun. Only the very few thin areas to provide you some discomfort, but for the most part you're going to have a good shot. Bunkers were a wee bit crusty, but nothing to cause too much trouble.

Greens have recently come out of a punch and are in good shape. They are not fast by any means, but hold shots well and roll true. A few of them are still showing some signs of the punch near the aprons, but for the most part you're going to have a quality experience.

Did not see cart service throughout the day which was a surprise, and there is no snack shop at the turn (this is not a nine and back to the clubhouse layout), but you can get snacks and drinks at the 12th tee snack shop and the drinking fountains on the Navy course are the best I've ever seen at any public course - cold water and clean fountains. Carts have a very basic GPS on them but it's helpful for any first timers.

I always enjoy this course immensely and this weekend was no exception. Even had my best-ever round here. What seems like a pretty straight forward course is quite filled with hazards and perils, so beware. It's not a pushover of a course and there's plenty of danger to mess with your scorecard, but keep the ball in the safe zones and you'll be rewarded with a great day.
7 Likes.
Was very excited to play Royal Links for the first time, especially after reading recent reviews that were quite positive. What a difference a week makes? Everything was fine upon arrival and we got our cart and proceeded to the small but adequate driving range.

We tee'd off with a 2pm start time and there was a horrible smell and excavation work going on in the middle of the first fairway between tee and green. Sewer main broke perhaps? Either way, the landing area was a muddy, smelly mess. After that the course was okay, but it was certainly more dried out than I expected and the rough tall grass is almost impossible to find your ball in unless it's just dumb luck.

Layout is of course very linksy and quite different to the standard fare. I actually enjoyed all of the hidden pot bunkers and trying to avoid them based on my phone GPS (carts really should have a GPS for those without their own - what are you actually paying over $100 for if you can't play the course well without that knowledge?). Tee boxes were in pretty good shape (played the gold tees which were often hard to see since the grass was dried out), and the bunkers were okay but certainly not great.

Greens were definitely super slick and in great shape. Very fast, a lot of 'turtleback' green complexes which made approach shots difficult, and fine coverage. It was very easy early to misread putts and simply tap them 10 feet past the hole. But with a few strokes, the speed became more apparent.

I enjoyed the tributes to The Open courses and the hole descriptions for each one - that's a nice touch and makes it far more interesting. I was surprised that the Postage Stamp from the gold tees was playing at 165 yards! I though the whole point of that hole was the short distance?

Cart service came around a few times on a perfect afternoon for twilight golf. Still, can't help but feel that the price would be just fine if conditions were a little better than what they are right now. Are they letting it dry out for reseeding soon? If that's the case, then poor planning on my part. If not, they should spruce the place up a bit IMHO.
11 Likes.
Why, you may ask yourself, would any rational thinking golfer spend a perfectly gorgeous Saturday morning at The Links at Victoria? It's a great question.

In part, it was because my foursome (playing our little Game 7 from a long ongoing bet) had to play early and it was the only local course that had tee times available before 10am. It was also a bit of nostaliga involved in the decision as rumor has it that this course will be closed in April of next year, so I thought it would be a shame not to play it at least one last time.

(Just for the record, the starter was still under the impression they have a shot to save it.)

First, the positives. The new driving range looks really good. I had not been back to this course in over three years so it was nice to see that completed. The greens and green complexes here remain top notch. It's an absolute mystery how they can do such excellent work on the greens here, but haven't figured out a way to get any of the rest of it right. Greens were running smooth and medium-fast, with great coverage and really nice designs. And the layout at Victoria is really fun and varied.

The fairways are as poor as their reputation, and maybe even a bit worse right now. Vast swaths of hardpan dirt where once nice grass was envisioned. It's a total victory to have any tee shot land in some of the grass that does occasionally dot the fairway. Plenty of rodent holes as well waiting to swallow your ball. Rough is non-existent as it's just the same as the 'fairways.' There's no differentiation other than dirt from sparse green. As awful a condition of a golf course you'll ever find.

Bunkers were thin and not much fun to hit from, while the tee boxes were just okay (we played the white tees due to conditions). No cart service to be seen all day, but at least the carts were okay. But yeah, for a $50 greens fee, you're not getting much bang for your buck here, unless you only consider the quality of the greens.

So would I recommend a visit? No, of course not, but then again, maybe with more visitors they can afford to stay open and fix the fairways eventually. But we've heard that same tune for many years now. Avoid it unless you just want a final go-round before it's gone.
13 Likes.
Had no intentions of playing golf today but when the day freed up and I found a $35 online rate for Meadowlark, a course that I had not played again since my first full year of golf back in 2013, I decided to go back and see what kind of shape it was in this early fall.

First off, got paired up with a great twosome, Frank and Eric, who were two of the best playing partners I've randomly ever been put together with on a golf course. They were very knowledgeable about the course since they play it rather frequently, and that was a great help. We tee'd off around 1pm and finished in just under five hours with the only significant wait on the par 3 7th signature hole.

The course is not long by any means, but does defend itself with a lot of bunkers on the shorter par 4s and some well-situated water hazards throughout. The greens here tend to be of the postage stamp variety, and a fair share of them are very difficult to land because of their crowning, or as Frank called them, turtleback greens. Was frustrating sometimes to watch a perfectly good approach shot land on the green and just roll right off.

In terms of conditions, it's early fall so you're going to find some dried out fairways and thin lies, but you can also get lucky and find some nice grass here and there. The rough is not too penal but can be a mish-mash of thin stuff or grabby. Tee boxes are pretty beat up as most people play the blue tees since it's not very long from them, but the bunkers were in very nice shape.

The greens rolled a little quicker than I expected, and rolled true, but there were definitely some false breaks that seemed more than the reality, and still a few too many ballmarks from lazy golfers not bothering to fix their messes. A lot of tough putts from off the greens too with the crowning - very tough to gauge speed from the apron, up the steep sides, and then getting it to stop near the pin if possible. Again, the course has to do this to make it interesting.

I enjoyed my round here mostly because of the good company but the conditions pre-aerification are satisfactory at best. But for $35, it's definitely well worth that. I like to think of this place now as the OC's Alhambra, just not quite as well maintained and tougher greens. Oh yeah, the carts were recently upgraded - no GPS, but they're new and even have USB ports.
8 Likes.
Round two of my yearly Colorado trip found me and three work colleagues at the Ridge at Castle Pines North. This is quite simply one of the best municipal courses you're going to find anywhere. It's absolutely a private club experience but made for all to experience. I contend that the back nine at The Ridge is as scenic, fun and challenging as just about any other comparably priced course in the land.

After a solid session on the practice range (balls are provided with the greens fee), you'll find a course that is pretty top condition from tee to green. Once again, lush fairways and rough will provide fantastic hitting surfaces throughout your round. Greens are running at a very nice 10.5 to 11 and smooth as can be on almost every hole. The bunkers are in very nice condition, and the tee boxes are mostly level and healthy with the one exception of the scenic cliff top 18th hole tee box that every golfer challenges himself on. There is a massive rut in the middle of the small perched tee box that needs to seriously be fixed.

In terms of layout, it's pretty terrific. Elevations galore, water features, clever and difficult bunkering, some tight holes and some wide open fairways, and many different ways to attack each hole which makes for some fun and creative play from the first hole to the last. It's just a blast to play here, and right now it's still a very good time to come out and hit the sticks.
7 Likes.
Lucky enough to catch CGC just before one of its important member tournaments to end their season so the course is in absolutely stunning, perfect shape. One of the best courses I have or will ever play in the future, this south Denver Coore/Crenshaw masterpiece is always the benchmark that every year reminds how good golf can really be at a quality destination.

I also had my best-ever nine on the back this past week, so that made the course even that much more fun, and I did it all without the benefit of my driver. No, I didn't forget it, it just no longer works. But that's a whole other issue. As for the course itself, nothing but perfect playability.

Absolute lush and green fairways dotting the rugged Colorado landscape and conforming to the will of the land are as inviting as any patch of earth a golfer will ever aspire to play. The rough is deep and thick, but the fescue areas off the fairways are currently thin and often playable if you can find your ball. Tee boxes are mostly perfect and the sand is excellent but in a more natural sense than the crazy fluffy white you would find at a high-end resort course.

The greens were in the best shape one could ever find greens. They are so ridiculously fast though (12.5-13 on the stimp according to the caddie) that staying beneath a pin if you can is absolutely critical. Green complexes at CGC are tour quality so you not only have to get your speeds down, but also have a lot of trust in yourself to start on the right line. Luckily we had a very good caddie who seemed to get more lines right than wrong.

This is one of the premier courses around and I'm once again super lucky to have the chance to play it a few times each year. We had a really fun group and this was my best round there to date (it's such a tough course!) so I'm absolutely thrilled to think about my next time going back.
6 Likes.
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