Roundup: #GKPLAYS Boulder Oaks Golf Club Escondido California
Reviewed by: dconnally, Mission Viejo, CA
Had a great time at Boulder Oaks on a sunny, warm and windy day on Sunday afternoon, 4/23/17 – a GK Plays outing and I was lucky to be paired with dcricket and rstang06, and their son mdkaplan90 – always a pleasure to see those guys. This course had recently undergone a significant renovation and rerouting, and I had never played the old layout. I’d seen some iffy reviews from other GKers on the quirky new setup, and the renovated yardage (<5,800 yards) was a little below what I’d normally go for, but the opportunity to get with other GKers was too good to pass up.
We had a noon shotgun start and I was lucky to get paired with veterans of the revised layout (for tips on play lines and green slopes) and to start on some of the less-tricky holes (we started on the short par 5 #3, followed by the flat par-3 #4) – starting in the wrong place here could quickly put a dent in your score and your enthusiasm. The course is very slopy and the wind is a significant factor, as many fairways and hitting lanes are narrow, wind can quickly blow you offline and affect distances, and seemingly good shots can quickly catch slopes into trouble. There are blind tee shots on several holes – repeated plays are definitely necessary to get the correct hitting lines and where to position your ball in fairways and on greens.
Some of the greens remain from the earlier course configuration, and others are newly constructed. As far as I could tell, most of the older greens had better turf coverage and held shots, while some newer greens were thinner, firmer, and didn’t hold as well. All the greens are very slopy, with significant runouts on downhill downgrain putts, and position is key to being able to comfortably putt to the hole, as most greens have a lot of subtle movement. Separate from the new/old situation, green speeds seemed to be inconsistent through the course, and none of our group had a good putting day. [The practice green was very smooth and consistent, resulting in a lot of jarring confusion once we got out on the course greens.] All greens had a lot of unrepaired ballmarks, with the front of green #18 being especially bad.
Fairways were in generally good condition and lies were good. But most of the fairways are pretty narrow, and players need to be aware of danger areas as they go along. In many cases adjacent holes are very close, and there’s some danger involved with balls flying offline into other playing areas. Lots of unfilled divots and we were very busy with the sand bottles. Most of the tees are fairly new and level, well-turfed, and playable. Par-3 tees were pretty torn up, especially the black and blue boxes on #13. Traps were generally pretty firm with only a thin playing layer.
Generally enough water available on the course, although the water jug on #5 tee was empty at 1230pm. Cart paths are in need of some serious work to repair damage and simplify the cart routing – many newer gravel paths need some grading and dust suppression. Areas beyond the rough/mulch areas are primarily hardpan/crushed granite, with lots of new plantings trying to take hold. These granite areas need additional cover and routing protection from rogue cart traffic to mature and improve appearance. The effect of recent heavy rains is evident from widespread runoff damage/erosion in these areas. No cart girl or ranger today. There is no driving range.
The clubhouse is older, left over from the country club, but with a friendly vibe from the staff. The grounds surrounding the clubhouse, and scattered areas of the course interior and surrounds, need a cash infusion and lots of TLC for a cleaner more appealing look.
Reviewed by: abbacat, Trabuco Canyon
Reviewed by: steve165, San Pedro
As far as conditions go they were ok. Some greens where soft while others firm. The nicest part other than the great hamburgers and beer!! here was the putting green. It is immaculate. Hopefully the rest of the course can like the putting green. The tiny fairways are in nice shape.
The SCGA raters did a horrible job giving this a 116 from the blacks. The 67.3 rating is about right. Its a short course. But 116?? no way. It should be 126.
Unless you are very straight, it is best to play more forward tees or to leave the Driver at home. But what about 17th tee?? OK bring the driver…..
Reviewed by: gary00, san clemente
Most tees i good shape– level with a few that were beat up. Several blind shots off the tee –#5 on the score card but the new #16 has you looking dead into the face of half dome about 170-80 out is one fine example.
Reviewed by: ringworld, Torrance CA
Played as part of the GK Plays Sunday.
First time playing this course. To be fair I would need to play here again.
Greens were decent. They rolled relatively true with a few bounces here and there — not great but a little too inconsistent. Add the greens were difficult for me to read even with the terrain being predictable and I was unfamiliar with the layout it was…. tough to say the least. Loads of win blowing will hinder or help your ball flight. Thinking back I could do a lot better with respect to putting. There are some areas on 3-4 greens where it was patched or bare. Looks like they are on it and it should be some time until they return.
You do not need to be long just very accurate. The fairways have good coverage, the thinish strips of rough are designed to hold your ball and it’s quite thick and sticky. Further beyond the rough is literally hard pan and will give your ball a load of roll and distance; oftentimes to your detriment. Bottom-line thinking about this course I would really stick to irons and hybrids and occasionally putting out my driver.
Sand in bunkers well stocked. Not white sandy beaches but not bad and well stocked. Pace of play was tournament — slow but finished in 4 1/2 hours.
Course is a little quirky but I like the fact you really do use all your clubs. Would have liked to have passed by the clubhouse at the turn for some refreshments but they redirect you so you don’t even see the clubhouse. Also restock your water jugs.