I played at The Golf Club of California in Fallbrook yesterday. I had a groupgolfer.com voucher I needed to use before it expired. It was good only weekends only after 11:00, so I called ahead in the morning and they said they had a group right at 11:00 I could join as a single, which was perfect. It had rained a little bit in the morning, so their members club tournament started a little later than normal and pushed back the regular tee times, so it wasn’t until about 11:30 before the group I was in teed off. We were first off behind the members and it was very slow play on the front nine. But they started as a shotgun, so they finished on the 10th hole and after that it was smooth sailing. All in all, the round took about 4.5 hours which wasn’t bad on a Saturday.
I really enjoyed the course’s layout. Even though the course winds through a community, the course itself is much less “residential” than I expected. It has lots of great scenery and a “secluded” feel on most holes out there. I liked that every hole had a different design and look, so each hole presented a new challenge. It is a challenging layout with lots of hazards to contend with, so bring plenty of balls (both literally and figuratively). If you are hitting well and playing the right strategies, though, I think you can score well here. However, if you are off (like I was), it can be a long, tough day.
I always thought “The Golf Club of California” was kind of an ostentatious name, as if this course was a representative for the entire state that is filled with so many wonderful courses. What’s funny is that it definitely feels representative of Southern California golf with its landscape and homes that surround the course. There are even a couple of holes that have a Central Coast/Central Valley feel with some eucalyptus and oak trees providing nice environmental touches. This course used to be private and I believe still is considered “semi-private” as in not open to the public at all times. Saturday seemed to be that case as the morning was locked up for members and the afternoon was open for public play. There is still a feel of country club exclusivity here and the employees try to uphold that feel (they even made me tuck my shirt in as course policy). The facilities are premium, as well.
The course was in pretty nice shape. The greens were in great shape for the most part. Any traces of the recent aeration are all but gone. They were a little bumpy in a few spots, but overall receptive on approach shots and generally quite smooth on putts. The greens were probably running a little slower right now than I imagine they normally do. The fairways and rough were decent. Still a bit thin and/or patchy in some areas as grass is not quite fully matured from winter dormancy yet, but nothing that affected play. Overall in good shape and well worth the visit!
Some pictures from The Golf Course of California, 3/31/12: