Sierra Lakes is a course I’ve always heard nice things about, so I’ve been wanting to check it out for awhile. Today seemed like a fitting time to go out there, as well. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be playing golf in Kentucky. And Fontana, where Sierra Lakes is located, is often mockingly referred to as “Fontucky” by other Southern Californians because of a perceived backwoods lifestyle associated with this town deep in the Inland Empire.
Well if Kentucky golf is as nice as Fontucky golf, it’s going to be a great trip because I was impressed with Sierra Lakes on every level. It’s a beautiful course that’s very well-maintained.
It’s in a more residential area with houses lining every hole. Usually, I prefer a more “secluded” look and feel on a course, but this was very enjoyable for a residential layout. It’s pretty hilly out there. The course doesn’t feature any major elevation changes, but the fairways feature plenty of undulations and mounds and many of the greens are slightly elevated. The fairways are relatively wide and pretty forgiving, but you can expect some uneven stances out there with all the mounding. You can see the mountains in the background of most holes, though it was a bit hazy this morning to obscure the nice views.
Sierra Lakes is not the most challenging layout around, but it’s fun and the holes are just interesting enough to keep you entertained and frustrated. The greens are the trickiest part of the course. They are medium-big and feature a lot of subtle breaks. Our group was struggling to drain putts (and even just to lag putts sometimes). When you think it will break it either doesn’t break at all or it breaks much more than expected.
The course was in excellent shape as well. The fairways were some of the nicest I’ve hit off of all year. I only noticed a few dead spots (10th fairway seemed to have more than the others), but every single lie I had on a fairway today was absolutely perfect. The rough wasn’t cut super deep, so it wasn’t too punishing. I was in one greenside bunker and, though the sand was damp and heavy, I had no problem getting out. The greens were also excellent. They were beautifully conditioned, very soft to hold approaches and rolled true on putts. There were a lot of dents and “minor” ball marks on the greens because they were so soft. Even little pitches and chips were leaving small marks and careless players weren’t bothering to fix those. Unfortunate, but not the course’s fault.
Overall, I really enjoyed Sierra Lakes and I know I’ll get out there again someday. It’s a little more expensive on average than most other Inland Empire courses, but the conditions are well above average, the service was great and deals can be found, especially later in the day. I’ve also heard it tends to get very windy out here in the afternoon, so you can usually find good deals later in the day if you don’t mind fighting the wind.
I usually don’t talk much about my scores on this blog, but today was an interesting and exciting round. I shot a frustrating 44 on the front, which included two three-putts and two double bogeys. Then I shot a 35 on the back (-1), which is my best nine ever. Finished by birdie-ing three of the last five holes! Any time I break 80 is worth celebrating, so that definitely added to my positive experience at Sierra Lakes this morning.
Some pictures from Sierra Lakes Golf Club (8/4/12):