Reviewed by: grantar2, Mission Viejo
Played Monday morning 10:03 am tee time, playing as a foursome. My three playing partners Mark, Matt and Gary were wonderful to play with. Gary is a member, and was very helpful with tips that made playing the course much more enjoyable than my last round at this course, and I was able to get two pars, and had a look at an additional birdie.
I played on the courses birthday promotion, meaning the round was free, but there was a $25 cart fee. The new carts are nice, but slow, the GPS is very nice, but I prefer in most cases to use my IZZO Swami GPS on my wrist.
The course beat me up pretty badly last round so I decided to play the gold tees, rather than the whites. Overall likely a good decision, but it had it’s pitfalls, as my drives on 1 and 3 found the fairway bunkers. On Three you can’t see the bunker as it’s on the down side of the hill into a blind green. A drive stripped perfectly down the center of the fairway ended up plugged in the face of the bunker which looks like it was designed to hold make marines.
Conditions on arrival at 8:45am check in cool, clear, sunny. The attendant unloaded my clubs from the car and sent them ahead of to the cart barn. By the time I got to the practice chipping area my bag was on the cart and waiting for me. At tee time 10:03 the sky’s were overcast, gray, and the wind was blowing 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 20. The overcast would burn off by the back nine, the wind would stay with us the entire round making the narrow landing areas this course offers and diabolical greens even harder. Gary’s local knowledge made this a challenge rather than a disaster.
The course offers a free chipping, pitching, and sand trap area. The sand trap has just been redesigned and the sand is so soft that repelling gear is needed before entering to be sure you can get back out, there is no shallow entry. The area around the chipping green overs hills, valleys that very much mirror the course where not a level lie is to be found.
Other than the tee boxes there really are few level areas on this course. Your playing the contours of the fairway, the ridges and shelf of the greens is essential. On this day besides the wind, overcast the temperature drop that came with them, we would be challenged by water flowing down the fairway (unexpectedly) on the 8th hole, Matt called it in to the pro shop and they sent out maintenance well we completed to the hole, to the a helicopter landing and hovering over the fairway on the ninth hole par 3. Matt and Gary had tee-d off, I was tee’d up when we were stopped well a Robinson R44 with four people aboard which had landed on the practice green well we were putting out on the eighth hole, landed on the ninth, and then hovered well dropping two large buckets of balls from about 20 feet on an X painted on the grass. Well the was fun to watch it slowed us down about ten minutes allowing the group behind us to catch up. We would have them on our tail the rest of the round. Penn State was hosting an event on course. The tee’s were in places my club member had never seen before, with really tough pin placements as a result. There were signs for one kind of prize after another on numerous holes.
So on to the course. I have developed an S&M relationship with this course. I love to play it, even though it hurts. I only lost five balls today vs. the more than a dozen last round despite the wind.
Tees are level lush, and your often blind as to the hole location or the landing zone when teeing off. The view of the fairway and hole is almost always worse from the gold tee’s vs the blue or white tees.
Fairways are fully covered but drying as the weather warms. They are in excellent condition but not thick. There is some rough on this course, very spiderweb like. There is so much OB that there is little room for rough, and there is only one hole the 8th that has water. Arroyo carries of more than 160 yards are common however.
Most OB is protected area and searching for balls is not allowed. Rattle Snakes have been reported, my playing partner claimed to have seen four so far this season, on the back nine we passed over one snake that have been run over by a cart on the path still wiggling.
Bunkers are deep mostly fluffy but a couple were compacted. Fairway bunkers often deep enough that a view of the target area is not available once inside the bunker.
Greens are in excellent shape, rolls are true, the greens are drying and wicked fast, combined contours and shelf. Only 18 green is without a shelf, and it’s anything but level. As mentioned with Penn State getting ready to go out , and significant cash and prizes being attached to various holes, the pin placements were challenging to say the least.
In addition to GPS and charging stations (bring your own USB coord) the carts have ice chests. The snack bar will fill them with ice. There are numerous very clean rest stations with ice water around the course, and the cart girl came by twice well we were playing once on the front nine, and once on the back nine.
Service on arrival, pro shop, starter, drink cart, snack bar, to cart barn, club cleaning and transport to the parking lot were friendly, efficient and appreciated.
This is a challenging course and a visually beautiful course with canyon and ocean views. If your a good golfer this course will give you a sense of accomplishment. If you think your good and your not, this course will expose you in a New York minute. If your a crappy double bogey golfer like I am but you have someone who knows the course intimately advising you, than you can collect your pars, have a look at some birds, and have fun.
I really like the atmosphere at this course and the challenge, I will be back.