It’s been several years since I played here, so I haven’t ever reviewed General Old on my site. When a friend suggested we play there Saturday morning, I figured it was about time. After several road trips in August, I was looking forward to a more “relaxed” weekend. Sunday was reserved for opening week of the NFL, but Saturday turned out to be another intense Golf Nomad kind of day. We ended up playing three rounds!
For this review, I’m just going to talk about General Old Golf Course in Riverside. I’ll review the other two separately with a Hemet flavor.
As the name might suggest, this is indeed a pretty general, old military course.
Actually, the name is for General Archie J. Old as this is the March ARB course, located just across the freeway from the base itself. It has long been public and I’ve been coming here for years with friends. It’s always been a good option for a relatively inexpensive round and solid golf experience.
It’s never been a course that excites me too much, but I’ve also never had a bad experience here. It’s nice, convenient and dependable, and there’s something to be said for that.
We got a deal through Donovan Daily that was for $38 and included a hot dog and soda from the snack bar, which we enjoyed after our round. We booked a 6:40 time. There were a few folks getting ready to go out early, but we still went off as a twosome. The vibe is usually pretty casual here. We played through one group on the front nine and then caught up to another twosome on the back, but it was a brisk sub-three-hour pace. Just a perfect way to start the day.
Like many military courses, General Old is pretty straightforward and also fairly long. The holes are lined with trees, but you can get away with poor shots on many holes. Sometimes it works out in your favor as most of the sections beyond the trees are pretty much hardpan and your ball can roll quite a ways. This can lead to more trouble or if you get lucky and have an opening, the added roll-out can be somewhat beneficial.
We played the blue tees. These don’t necessarily add any difficulty in terms of how the layout plays, but they do add some length. At 6,801 yards from the blues compared to around 6,348 from the whites, it definitely stretches things out. It was also pretty wet out there first thing in the morning, so that didn’t help. As a shorter hitter myself, the blues are probably a bit too much. It’s hard to have too much fun when I’m hitting 3-woods and hybrids into almost every green.
The par-3s of General Old have never excited me much either, but there are a few par-4s that I do really like. The 15th is probably my favorite hole here. It does suit my fade as a dogleg right, but it’s one of holes here that has more interesting hills and contours.
The course was in decent shape. Sometimes conditions here can waver a bit here, but it was pretty good this time. The fairways were definitely a bit shaggy in places and there were plenty of thin spots, too. But overall I would say more good than bad. Off the fairways was more of a mixed bag with a lot of bare dirt areas amidst the trees as usual.
The bunkers looked to have recently been filled with new sand which was very deep, fluffy and soft. Unfortunately, the tractors left some deep grooves and the ball easily sat down or plugged. On one hand, it was great to see fresh new sand in play. On the other, there is such a thing as too soft. Speaking of soft, the greens were solid, but very, very soft and mushy early on. Footprints from the groups ahead of us (and our own as we walked on them) really left significant indentations that made for some bumpy rolls. Once they dried out, though, that was not an issue.
All in all, it was a good day with the old General, even though I played terribly. This is one that will remain in the regular rotation and is always a good place to satisfy the urge to golf without huge crowds or inflated rates.
Some pictures from General Old Golf Course (9/6/14):