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Sunday foursome at Mountain Meadows this past weekend. Got an online rate of $61 + cart through, but when we arrived, there was an issue with them finding the reservation. Got it sorted out eventually but not after hearing many bad stories of them working with - so why do they still do it? Anyway.

Super fun track with lots of terrain variations, narrow holes, doglegs and just some plain fun ones. I always enjoy playing this course thanks to all of the unique holes here and some pretty cool views as well. The course is very green right now and holding up very well.

Greens were in good shape but certainly not lightning fast with the exception of any of the well-sloped tiers - those tended to pick up speed pretty well. Not too many ball marks to contend with and the ball rolled pretty true and straight all day. No complaints there.

Tee boxes were also in good shape and the fairways were very green and a pleasure to hit from for the most part. The occasional thin lie will be found, but for the most part it's in very good shape. There is also a lot of thick rough out there so finding your ball, even if you saw exactly where it ended up, can still be a challenge. I was also in many bunkers and their consistency varied throughout the day. Some were nice and fluffy-ish, while others were very thin and dicey. Adjust acordingly.

If you're familiar with the course, know that the par 3 9th lake is currently drained and the entire pond is surrounded with yellow tape and considered GUR at present. I don't know how long this will be the case. But other than that, it all looks and plays very well. Small but useful and convenient driving range as well.

Mountain Meadows gets a nice thumbs up for its present shape.
Was lured back by some friends into a Sunday round at Chester Washington despite my desire to take a few weeks off after some devastatingly bad play of late. Sometimes you just need to recharge but the course is close by and I decided to see where I was at after some time off for my back and just a general hiatus from the sport.

My concerns about POP on a weekend at CW were fortunately not realized as we moved at a pretty good pace all day with the only real wait coming on 18. This facility in at least one way has benefited from the virus regulations by better staggering tee times - an issue that always manifested itself here in the form of 3-4 groups always waiting at the first tee and an awful POP throughout. At least on this day, that was not the case, so that was nice.

Carts seem to always be at a premium here and Sunday morning was not much different. We had to wait for two carts to be recharged and cleaned but eventually took off around 10 minutes late. Weekend greens fee + carts is fairly steep $59 for this place, which wouldn't be that bad at all if conditions were much better. But they aren't.

Main focus is the greens. Spongy, slow, bumpy and no line of delineation from the rough/apron. Parts of the greens are encroached upon by the grass from the rough and there are no smooth edges. Even found some putter-shaped holes in the greens, apparently from a frustrated set of previous golfers (ironically not me this time!). But overall, just terrible shape.

Fairways are a little less than good with thin lies throughout with the occasional lush area, while the rough is wispy mayhem that isn't much fun to play from at any point. I was in one fairway bunker and it was okay, but the greenside bunkers didn't look like much to write home about, but I can't say for sure without having played them. Tee boxes? Also a mess. Not been cut or sectioned off for quite some time it appears. Very shaggy and sometimes so spongy like the greens that I had trouble getting in the short tees I was using since I've temporarily retired my driver.

So, in a very ironic twist, my best compliment to Chester Washington on a Sunday morning was their POP being quite good - this is great and should be kept up with unwavering vigor. And we can definitely let a lot of the other conditions slide, but not the greens. They are in some dire need of even the most basic attention. And I hope they receive it. Soon.
Two recent days back out at CGC this past week and it's as good as ever. Flawless conditions as per usual, and one of the toughest tracks around thanks to the great design by the famous Coore-Crenshaw duo.

Perfect greens smooth as silk and fast as a cheetah, lush fairways with perfect lies all day long, punishing rough just off the fairways, but past that into the natural areas is wispy enough to find errant balls and give you a glimmer of hope to put them back in play, very nice sand that's just a smidge below perfect, and a wide variety of perfectly manicured tee boxes that cater to each player's skill level.

An outstanding course in an even more phenomenal location. Everything one could ever want in a top-shelf facility. I'm lucky to play here a few times per year.
After a lengthy time between visits, I was excited this morning on my drive out to La Mirada. It's always been a fun layout that seems to suit my game in many ways, but of course it always has its fair share of issues. If it's not condition, it's the POP. You know the story.

But, like a bad flight on a great vacation, ultimately you only look back fondly on the good parts and tend to lose sight of the bad. That's my relationship with La Mirada.

So after a fairly efficient check-in procedure, three friends and myself - all walking - dived into the round with a 10:16 tee time, playing from the blue tees at a reasonable $46 greens fee for hoofin' it.

Course conditions were better than what the last reviewer here saw, but with one massive caveat - the bunkers. Most hardpan, tall weeds growing out of them, gopher holes near the edges, occasional sand, no rakes - disaster. I'm not sure I've ever given a '1' in the ratings ... I'm sure now. Avoid at all costs!

Rest of the course? Not bad at all really, but there were some very unkempt tee boxes that hadn't been cut in a while. That was poor. But the fairways had pretty good coverage with the two exceptions of holes 6 and 16 - both at the course's lowest points and poor drainers. It happens. Greens had some bumps but still rolled nicely and I had a very good putting day so I'm biased. Sue me.

Unfortunately no cart service at all on the course, and water fountains still sealed off. POP was actually very good ... we barely waited all day and found a nice sweet spot between foursomes and never pushed, or got pushed, which is great at La Mirada. Not sure if it's group spacing or something else, but keep that part up please. Just pay at least some attention to the bunkers.

Always enjoy this place at the end of the day though no matter what ...
Played San Juan Hills for the first time ever on Memorial Day and it was a pleasant little unique course. I was surprised when I got there to see the course only reaches 6300 yards from the tips, but the elevations and angles do still make it a challenging track.

There are quite a few different courses all rolled into one here. The front nine is very hilly and almost every hole plays shots from uneven lies. A lot of short par 4s but you have to be very safe with club selection. The first two holes on the back nine are a bit of a mess right now as they're doing some kind of work on the old lake there but they're very flat and dull, and then you move to the back nine where the course serpentines through homes and gets quite narrow but still fun until the last two holes where it opens up again, including the rare par 3 closing hole for any course. Very wild ride.

Course conditions are quite nice right now with super greens that vary in size greatly but are in very good shape, roll true and run maybe around 10 on the stimp. No crazy tiers but some smooth slopes that will require your best efforts. Fairways are nice and green and the rough is very playable, while the bunkers have a nice layer of sand but are far from fluffy. Tee boxes were good enough (we played the blues).

Food was available from the bar in the morning and the range was open but we were not allowed to drive our carts over there. We had the option of riding two per cart but everyone rode in their own and that made the POP very good at just four hours. So while all of this review is quite positive and I would not hesitate to play SJH again, the $94 fee + cart I found to be a little steep for the experience, but not by too much. It's definitely worth playing and quite fun but I would like to find a better deal next time ... maybe it was just holiday pricing?
Played Harding on Saturday with two friends and rode from the blue tees with a 10:36 tee time. Groups were spread out nicely and we finished in just over four hours so that was ideal.

No range time as they said it was closed but I saw people out there later so no idea what happened there. No point in getting to the course early as the putting area is also closed and they will call your name ten minutes before you tee off and that's when you pay inside.

Course is in very nice shape right now and was really fun to play on a gorgeous day. Really nice and green fairways with occasional thin areas but few and far between. Rough is very playable and provides a good cushion. Tee boxes are just okay but the greens are in very nice shape, rolling medium fast and holding shots well. Not a ton of ball marks out there either and good coverage - nice work by the grounds crew.

Was only in one bunker on hole 16 and the sand was a bit thin but playable. Overall though, the course is in very solid shape and will probably get a lot of action in the coming weeks.

Snack shop at the turn was closed but there was a mobile stand there for drinks and snacks -that was a nice touch. I always enjoy the layout at Harding and think 18 is a fantastic closing hole to finish off a really nice day.
Two straight days at Marriott's Shadow Ridge resort in Palm Desert and the course, while not in its typical pristine state, did not disappoint. We rode two per cart and played from the gold tees for $63 - a great price for this fun and fairly open Nick Faldo design.

A few stalls on the range are open and there is a putting green to practice on, but there are no small flags or anything else out there you can touch, like sand bottles or ice coolers to deal with the heat. Unfortunately you have to bring everything with you right now - no drinks or food of any kind served on the course or in any snack shop. You're on your own!

Course conditions are pretty good as stated above, but far from lush. A lot of the fairways are on the dry side and look a bit burned out, but you'll still find mostly good lies, if not a little bit thin, especially near the greens. Rough is fine, and the tee boxes are mostly in good shape but odd there's only one tee marker for each set of tees. Bunkers don't have rakes but are in good shape and the greens themselves are not super fast but hold shots well and run pretty true. Nothing spectacular right now, but all very playable and of course the scenery in the Coachella Valley on gorgeous blue sky days is second to none.

Fun track that is still in very playable shape right now but not quite near its best. Still, it's a great option right now if you're in the area and want to play a fun round with 20-minute intervals between tee times so you'll have the place mostly to yourself.
With the back nine at Mission Hills' Dinah Shore Tournament course closed for maintenance, we did two late loops around the front nine and finished 18 just ahead of the sun dipping down below San Jacinto's peak on a beautiful spring day.

There really is only one 'tour scary' hole on this front nine - the tricky par 4 6th with a dodgy landing area between two fingers of lake and a scary approach from there - but the rest are pretty straightforward but long and sometimes narrow off the tee.

Conditions are good right now but of course not quite tournament ready. The greens were recently punched and are still showing some signs of that, but roll pretty fast still and hold their lines regardless. Fairways are in very nice shape, as is the rough - very playable. Bunkers are a bit on the thin, crusty side right now and of course no rakes. Tee boxes were perfect.

This review feels a bit lacking since only nine of the eighteen holes were played, but I'm fairly certain conditions would be consistent with those on the front right now once the back 9 is re-opened. If you get the chance to play there, go do it.
Enjoyed Olivas Links so much last weekend that I made a return trip this Sunday with a few first-timers after gushing so much about the place all week. It's simply one of my favorite SoCal courses now and a place I will never mind making the hour long drive to anymore.

Conditions were once again excellent this week with great greens, lush fairways, ample bunker sand, thick but playable rough and great tee boxes. The only downside today would be the lack of any cart service or snack bar, but they're doing what they need to do right now during the shutdown. Still, it would be a nice addition at this point and the risk is minimal for a big reward.

Used the driving range this time and it was simple enough, but the mats did seem a little worn and were definitely uneven. Still, not a big deal at all. Very minimal frills at check-in and got a push-cart again after pre-paying for $61 for the round.

Super enjoyable layout on a gorgeous day but need to get back again when I'm hitting the clubs better. Highly recommend this Ventura County gem right now.
Spent Friday afternoon at Simi Hills with kviser for our GK Cup match. His review of course conditions is very accurate and covers all the bases.

Great coverage in the fairways, pretty thick rough in places, very nice tee boxes, decent bunkers and nice coverage on the medium-fast greens which held shots well. POP was better than expected as we had what seemed to be a very slow group in front of us, but the clock at the end of the round did not lie.

The driving range was open which was nice and the snack shop was open, too. Check-in was pretty simple with a window open to the starter's office, and in order to get a cart, you need to tell them you have some physical ailment, which I did because of my recurring back issue, but it was no problem at all.

Simi Hills is always a super fun option and one of the best values in SoCal. It's a very enjoyable layout with a lot of variety and its solid conditions right now make it a must-visit.
Why it took me this long to make my way up to Ventura and play the glorious Olivas Links I will never understand. Played on Sunday and the setup is all very virus-conscious. No carts available but I did get a push cart and it was a bit cool, but overcast day as we tee'd off at 9:30am.

I love the colors of this course (even without the sunshine bursting through all day), from the green fairways to the yellow flowers to the dark big banzai-looking trees, and the white sand in the bunkers. There was one hole on the back nine, I think it was 15, where I felt transported back to Maui and the Wailea Gold course, only without the lava rocks. It's that nice, at least to my eye. Each hole kept me fascinated and engaged, while the conditions just made me smile (my horrible game notwithstanding).

Fairways are currently in pretty close to perfect shape, as is the rough. If you're outside the rough you're going to have a hard time finding your ball. It's very thick and provides a worthy defense for this super fun layout that doesn't waste your time with gimmicks or trickery. Keep the ball in play here and you will absolutely be rewarded. Fairways are ample on most holes and you have every chance to shoot a low score here.

Back to course conditions, the greens are in excellent shape. Again, no weird gimmicks or funky stuff. Are there tiers and difficult slopes to manage? Of course, but nothing crazy. They roll very nicely at medium-fast speeds, hold shots amazingly well, and are a pleasure to putt from since the ball goes where you set it to go. Bunkers also in very good shape and the tee box options are wonderful and allow for all manner of shots (we played the blue tees).

No frills currently due to the fresh reopening, but none of it was needed. I can only imagine how wonderful this track is when all the nice amenities are back in play. I can't wait to play here on a beautiful late summer afternoon and enjoy the cool ocean breeze while navigating this heavenly plot. I had always read nice things about Olivas but never once thought that I would love it as much as I did. A must-play and play often if you ask me. And what a steal at $53! I am beside myself gushing about this place.
One of my monthly groups came out of quarantine this weekend and reserved tee times for all 18 of us at Cresta Verde. I had heard things about this course before, and none too flattering. But then I also read from some recent reviews that it was in the best shape they'd ever seen it, so that seemed promising.

We all met up in the parking lot ahead of our round because we were encouraged to keep our distance near the clubhouse. Fine. We rode two to a cart, most likely because it was quite busy and there's no way they would have had enough for everyone flying solo, and this is not a great walking course as many of the holes are far from each and require drives across city streets and pathways.

I'm going to say some nice things first. The opening hole is actually quite nice and fun. In fact there were a few nice holes out of the 18 that were of fine stature. The greens were mostly in good shape, not all that fast of course, but coverage was good, albeit a bit longer and slower than it should have been. Tee boxes were okay as well but a tad bit beat up.

Now, speaking to the layout of this course, well, it's a bit confused. It's almost got a quirky, super tight and weird country club layout to it, but at least the country clubs are in great shape so it makes up for the weirdness. Here it's just weird and mostly bad. Again, some of the fairways were in good shape, but others, like holes 8 and 15, were some muddied up dirt patches and there was a weird smell out of the ooze on the left side of 15. Not ideal. If conditions here were top shelf, you might make an excuse for the bizarre holes, strange elevations and angles, and overall head-scratching feel of the place.

Bunkers were not in good shape from what I saw of others hacking their way out of them. Rough was very thin in most places and/or unplayable dirt. Keep it in those parts resembling fairways.

But hey, it was open and it was golf so were essentially happy. But it is somewhat terrifying to hear that it's in its best shape right now. As for the other details, they were very adamant after the round that GTFO, which was odd since we wanted to purchase more things and they have been closed for two months, but maybe they have other rules post-virus for a while that I was not aware of at the time.

It's just quite a weird place I must say, but some of it is interesting. I think 17 is a pretty cool hole for sure, as are the openers on each nine, but not a lot after that. The par 3s are quite strange as well, but fun enough. Would I go again? Not likely unless in a pinch, but I wish them well as the crowds re-emerge now.
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