Prepare for a vast departure from the last few course reviews I’ve posted. After some disappointing rounds up in LA County in recent weeks, I found redemption Sunday at Goose Creek Golf Club in Mira Loma (just west of Riverside along the I-15 corridor).
I went out there yesterday for the first LA Golf Group event of the year. It’s a fun group of golfers who enjoy some casual competition throughout the year.
This was not my first time playing at Goose Creek, but my first time there was probably about 10 years ago and it is a distant memory. I know I really liked the course back then. It always gets such positive reviews on Greenskeeper.org and the conditioning there is legendary, so I’ve been looking forward to an excuse to get back out there. The normal prices there are a bit more than I typically like to pay, so the $54 twilight group rate we were able to get was just the spark I needed.
The rain was a threat all weekend, but it stayed away from Goose Creek today. We did get some cloudy skies and ample wind, but all in all it was a better-than-expected day in terms of the weather.
After the last few courses I played in LA County, Goose Creek was certainly a breath of fresh air. That’s more of a figurative statement because you will get the occasional “farm” smells that come from the neighboring cow pastures when you play here. The course was in excellent shape, especially considering the time of year and the harsher-than-normal winter we’ve had in Southern California. There were some thin areas on the fairways and brown patches scattered here and there, but overall I couldn’t find much to complain about in terms of the conditions. The greens were excellent, running smooth at medium/quick speeds.
The greens were perhaps a little slower and softer than normal because of all the rain this week, but that was probably for the best. The greens are what stand out most about Goose Creek in terms of challenge. They are massive green complexes that feature plenty of undulation. They also have plenty of nasty false edges that put a premium on shot-making. There are some big bunkers out here, but they are more bark than bite if you ask me.
Goose Creek has a good mix of holes. The doglegs are pretty evenly dispersed between left and right. There are several longer par-4 holes over 400 yards (including the very tough and beautiful 18th hole that brings water in to play from tee to green) and some shorter holes that can be reached from the tee by longer hitters. There are five good par-3s with really tricky greens and four fairly benign par-5s, which definitely offer up some of your best scoring opportunities on the par-71 course. Some fairways are super wide and some holes play much more narrow, so it’s a course where you’ll use every club in your bag and will have to play smart if you want to score well. Bad shots will generally be punished. Really good shots will be rewarded. It’s what I call a very “fair” layout, which I always like.
Overall, Goose Creek is a nice layout with some good scenery surrounding it. With it being winter, many of the trees surrounding the course were dormant, so it’s normally an even more picturesque setting (though all the crusty bare trees did have a pretty cool contrast with the green grass of the course itself). The course is on flat terrain, but there is some good undulation to keep things interesting, especially on and around the greens. In my opinion, it deserves all the praise it gets and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It definitely lives up to the hype. Based on what I know from GK reviews, Sunday’s conditions were below average for this course, so keep that in mind when looking at the wonderful pictures below. It is always regarded as one of the best conditioned courses in the entire region.
If you are looking to save a few bucks, check out their weekday and/or twilight rates. One really cool thing they do here is space out the tee times more than most other SoCal courses, so it keeps a better overall pace of play. They don’t seem to cram them in here, which is refreshing and helps justify their slightly higher pricing.
Some pictures from Goose Creek Golf Club (1/27/13):