I’ll keep this one relatively short since I reviewed this course once about a year ago.
My work buddy dragged me out here on Monday. It is a convenient option for us since we work in Santa Ana, as well. He and his friends needed a last-minute replacement for their foursome, so we headed out right after work. When we arrived, the guy working the pro shop was a bit distracted because a window was broken on his truck (either from a stray golf ball or one of the many sketchy teenagers hanging around the course, I’m not quite sure) and he was trying to deal with that. He told us just to head out and pay at the turn. It worked out because when we came around he only charged us the super twilight rate of $20 with cart, so that was cool. We teed off at 4:30 and the place was pretty empty, which surprised me. We never caught up to any groups ahead and nobody ever came up behind us, so we played at our own pace. We could have easily finished all 18, but my buddy and his friends are neither good players nor fast players, so we only got 15 holes in.
The course was actually in pretty nice shape as you’ll see in the pictures. It was definitely the greenest I’ve ever seen it, so it was an unexpected surprise. The tee boxes and fairways were good, with the only bad parts being down in the riverbed as always. The rough was a bit more inconsistent, but still pretty good for the most part. I wasn’t in a bunker, but they did look a little crusty.
The greens had great grass—beautiful and green. It was very spongy and soft, which made it fun to be aggressive on chips and approaches. There are still minor remnants of the recent aeration and a lot of unrepaired ball marks, which isn’t surprising given the softness of the greens and the level of players this course generally attracts. Plus it was late in the day, so they were definitely much bumpier than I’d prefer.
I’ll never claim to be a huge fan of River View and I’m never in any rush to play there, but I don’t look down on it as much as most people. It serves its purpose as a cheap and convenient option right in the middle of OC. It’s definitely a super funky layout and the level of challenge often depends on how much water is in the riverbed. Either way, there are a lot of tight shots, semi-blind uphill approaches and awkward angles.
If you play a fade like me, this course can give you fits because it makes the course much tougher. Still, it’s a short target layout, so if you can hit safe solid shots in good positions off the tee, it’s easy to post a good score. The carts at River View do have a nice GPS system, which you wouldn’t expect here, and it comes in really handy with such a quirky layout.
Some pictures from River View Golf Club (4/29/13):