Yesterday, I played in my second Greenskeeper.org event. I really enjoyed my first one at Eagle Falls earlier this year and Mt. Woodson has always been one of my favorite courses in Southern California (it’s been years since I last played there), so I’d been looking forward to it.
I got there nice and early (10:30) and got to meet a lot of great people before the groups started teeing off. Unfortunately, I was in the last group of the day (12:42), so it was a lot of standing around and waiting. By the time we teed off, I was pretty stiff and didn’t really play well all day. Still a lot of fun, though.
Mt. Woodson is a very secluded course in the San Diego area, just southeast of Escondido in Ramona. It’s a trek to get out to the course as it’s well off the freeway. I took a different route than I had previously used to get there, which was a long and winding road through the hills. It was a very scenic drive, but a pretty treacherous little two-lane road with a lot of tight twists and turns.
I’ve always enjoyed the very entertaining Schmidt-Curley layout here. Overall, the course is not technically long (total yardage just over 5,800 yards from the blue tees). However, don’t let that fool you. The total yardage is partly skewed by the fact the course only has three par-5 holes and five par-3 holes (par of 70). There are a number of short par-4 holes, but a few 400-plus ones, too. There are lots of hills and elevation changes. The fairways are narrow and often slope toward trouble and a number of forced carries off the tees. There are many well-placed bunkers and greenside traps are deep and nasty.
Last but not least, the greens have plenty of undulation and hidden breaks, which is common in a mountain layout. The winds tend to swirl here, as well, so those can definitely be a factor in the late afternoon. When you add it all up, you get one difficult course. To prove that point, only one player in the entire GK group broke 80 (with a 79) and there were several guys out there that are near-scratch golfers. I shot an awful 95 and pretty much got my butt kicked all day.
As far as conditions go, I was a bit disappointed yesterday. This is a beautiful course in a beautiful setting, but it was a little beat up. I found the greens to be in nice shape. For our group, they rolled pretty true. However, I did hear a number of players afterward complaining that they were a bit “inconsistent.” I thought they were the nicest part of the course. The tee boxes were a mixed bag. Some were more sand than grass and others were great.
The fairways were the weak part. There are a lot of brown spots, which took away some of the visual appeal of the course. It was just really dried out, so there were a lot of crunchy and bare spots throughout the fairways and rough. I only had a few decent lies all day. The bunkers (especially the greenside ones) could use more or softer sand. Our group was having a hell of a time in the greenside ones. Many of the bunkers have very steep/deep faces and they are hard to get out of with the sand that’s in there.
Otherwise, it was still a great day on a fun, but tough little course. Afterward, I hung out with a few of the guys and went to get some Korean BBQ for dinner at a place in nearby north SD (not sure the name, but it was very tasty). Looking forward to the next GK event at Malibu!
Here are some pictures from Mt. Woodson Golf Club (6/2/12):