On Tuesday, I played a quick afternoon round out here. Was looking for something cheap and relatively convenient, so Cresta Verde fit the bill with a $10 GolfNow hot deal at 1:36. I got there early and was teeing off by myself at 12:45. Never saw anyone on the front nine, but ran into a threesome on the 10th tee (pretty sure they started on the back). They seemed determined not to let me play through for some reason, so I enjoyed watching them rush around as I purposely crowded up on them a bit. To their credit, they did play rather quickly and I still finished all 18 in about 2.5 hours.
I was intrigued by the last review on Greenskeeper.org, which actually gave the course some positive marks for the first time in a long while. I must say they’ve definitely made some significant improvements around here since the last few times I played (maybe 7-8 years ago) when it was “Crusty-not-so-Verde.” The most noticeable improvements are in the fairways for the majority of holes. They look and play nicely with fairly well-kept kikuyu turf. There are still a few problem holes, mainly the stretch of 5-8, which has always been pretty brutal for them to grow and maintain good grass. The 15th has always been a rough one in the past, but it now has ample grass coverage. However, with some low spots on that hole it has created some soggy/muddy stretches due to some overwatering.
The tee boxes (blues) were a mixed bag. Some were excellent. Some were terrible. The rough was also inconsistent. Again on the holes with nicer fairways, the rough coverage also seemed more lush and green, getting spottier as you neared the outer edges. On the weaker holes, the rough was correspondingly worse. The greens were super soft and obviously left a little shaggier in the heat of summer, so they were a bit bumpy and slow. Good, lush coverage, but inconsistent speeds and surfaces, so I couldn’t give them a super high rating. I wasn’t in any bunkers, but they still looked pretty poor from what I could see.
They have a long, long way to go before this can be considered a “nice” course and it will probably never get much respect with so many better options around, but it is good to see the improvements they have made to many of the fairways here. The current management seems to be doing something right even with the drought restrictions in effect. The layout will always be rather quirky, but kind of fun in its own way.
Cresta Verde is a par-70 course that tops out at 6,065 yards from the blue tees. There are some funky angles and lots of OB in play with houses lining most holes on the course. Most of the greens are elevated and there are a few cool elevated tees as well.
My favorite holes here have always been two of the par-3s, numbers 3 and 17. Both feature severely elevated tees and the 17th is especially fun the way it’s set up with the green really tucked in at the bottom and surrounded by trees and other trouble.
Though the overall length of the course is rather short and most of it plays as target golf, there are a couple beastly holes like the par-4 15th (445 yards) and the par-4 18th (448 yards). Then, there is the really long par-3 4th, which is 236 yards at its longest with plenty of trouble in play around the green.
Even with some conditions improvements, Cresta Verde will always be an odd layout that a lot of people won’t like. There are some holes I do enjoy and a few that I don’t care for, but the price I paid was hard to beat and it was nice to get out there and around the course quickly. So for what it is, it holds some appeal when I just want to go out and hit some little white balls around.
Some pictures from Cresta Verde Golf Course (8/25/15):