Unfinished Business and Close Calls

Believe it or not, it was another busy golf weekend for me. The weather has been so beautiful here in Southern California I could not stay away. I played two rounds on Saturday, which I’ll review here, and one round on Sunday, which I’ll review later this week.

The main event for Saturday was another visit to Oak Quarry in Riverside for a round with my LA Golf Group buddies. But naturally, I had time for a warm-up round in the morning…

Los Angeles Royal Vista Golf Club • Walnut, CA • 9/28/13

Note: Since I wrote this review, it seems they’ve simplified the name to just Royal Vista Golf Club.

Having played everything out in the Inland Empire already, I decided it was a good time to take care of some more “unfinished business” with a return visit to Royal Vista. I had played here once several years ago, but it’s a facility with 27 holes. Previously, I played the North/South combination. This time, I was able to play East/North and round out the whole course.

I booked a 7:30 time on GolfNow for $45 as a single. When I got there around 7:00, they wouldn’t let me check in until other members of my group arrived—apparently a twosome and another single. I waited around a bit, but ultimately the other single showed up and they let us both check in. The twosome never appeared and we ended up playing on our own. We teed off around 7:40 and play seemed quite slow as we followed a couple of fivesomes and had to wait a lot between every shot. However, the final result was a pretty well-paced weekend round of just over four hours.

The course was very busy, but things were evenly dispersed between the three nines and that helped keep a reasonable pace. The group directly ahead of us fell behind a little bit on the front nine, but the marshal came by and nudged them along. I applaud the course for staying on top of things.

I didn’t remember a ton about Royal Vista from my last visit, but I did recall somewhat enjoying the layout. I remember it being tight and hilly—definitely “target” golf—but still nothing too exciting. The gorgeous weather and clear views of the mountains in the distance certainly enhanced this visit, and I definitely enjoyed the course overall this time.

Royal Vista is definitely target golf similar to many old school LA area layouts, so it won’t be enjoyed by everyone. Long hitters will leave the driver in the bag more often than not, but there are a few places where you can take full rip. Many of the fairways are significantly slanted (uphill, downhill or side-hill), there’s no shortage of doglegs and all of the greens slope severely in one direction or another. This results in some tricky lies and uncomfortable angles. If you can hit your targets, though, a very good score can be had.

Most of the greens are protected by at least one big bunker and the greens themselves can be tough to read with the slopes. They were running pretty smooth and quick Saturday morning, as well, so that was definitely the most challenging aspect of the course for me.

The course was in good shape overall. The greens (primarily on North) still have some visible remnants from a recent aeration, but they were healing nicely. They were soft and receptive, as well. The fairways were solid enough. There were some bad patches here and there, but I mostly encountered nice grass and consistent lies to hit from. The rough was a bit more spotty in places, but mostly lush in the primary cut areas. Some tee boxes were a bit unlevel with the naturally hilly terrain here. Last but not least, the bunkers I was in had fantastic sand!

Royal Vista is a reasonably priced, convenient option that I usually tend to overlook for some reason. I think it’s pretty solid on all levels, so I’m not sure why I haven’t come here more often. The main drawback for me is how crowded it gets on a weekend, even though I was pleasantly surprised with Saturday’s good pace.

Some pictures from Los Angeles Royal Vista Golf Club (9/28/13):

East Course

North Course

After finishing at Royal Vista, I hopped on the 60 freeway and out toward Riverside to visit one of my favorite courses in Southern California…

Oak Quarry Golf Club • Riverside, CA • 9/28/13

Our group played out here last year, as well, so you can read that more in-depth review of the course here. This time, I’ll post some new photos and talk about the experience on this visit.

It was very busy out there and our group started teeing off at 1:40. There was just enough light by the time we all finished, with an overall pace of 4.5 hours. We paid a twilight rate of $60. It’s a bit expensive for an afternoon round, but Oak Quarry is always worth an occasional splurge.

This was my third time here and it will not be my last. If I can get out here once every year, I’ll be a happy golfer. It’s one of SoCal’s most interesting and dynamic layouts with the old rock quarry backdrop providing a unique golf experience.

The course was in good overall shape, but maybe not quite as nice as previous visits. The fairways were good overall with only a few scattered thin spots. The rough was a bit spotty—especially the more you strayed off the fairways—but the primary cuts were mostly lush. The greens were good, rolling a tad slower than normal, but at the same time seeming a bit softer/more receptive than before. I guess that’s the trade-off. The greens definitely worsened the later we got in the day as more spike marks and unrepaired ball marks chewed them up.

And unfortunately, the signature 14th hole’s green was in the worst shape of them all. It’s looking very thin right now and had a minor topcoat of sand applied as they’re working to bring it back to normal. I wasn’t in any greenside bunkers, so I won’t comment on those, but the couple of fairway bunkers I found were good enough.

This was our second-to-last event this year as we gather points for each event kind of like the FedEx Cup. I really hadn’t performed too well in earlier tournaments, so I was hanging around the middle of the pack. This was a net stroke play event and I knew I needed to have a really, really good round to contend.

My game was definitely “on” at Oak Quarry, hitting nine greens in regulation (which, for me, is A LOT). Unfortunately, though, I could not get a single birdie putt to sink. I came down to the last hole with a 10-foot putt for birdie, which would have given me a 79. I just missed the putt and had to settle for an 80. I don’t break 80 often, so that one-stroke difference is massive in my own head!

Once all the scores were tabulated and handicap strokes applied, it turns out I ended up one stroke off the winning score. It was such a close call, but still felt good and vaulted me into fourth overall place heading into the final event. I guess we’ll see if I can keep that momentum going.

Otherwise, it was a beautiful day at Oak Quarry with good friends and lots of fun golf. I absolutely love this course and look forward to my next visit, whenever that might be. If you’ve never ventured out to Oak Quarry, put it high up on your list. It’s definitely one of Southern California’s “must-play” tracks.

Some pictures from Oak Quarry Golf Club (9/28/13):

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: