Yesterday, I ventured out to San Bernardino to check out another private club. Admittedly, it was a bit weird playing golf in San Bernardino less than a week after the tragic and senseless shootings there. However, I just happened to get an invite to visit Arrowhead Country Club this week, so I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.
The staff here was very nice and helpful, and they shared some membership information with me. It’s actually one of the least expensive private clubs around. It wasn’t too busy out there, so I was teeing it up by myself around 10:45. I ran into a few groups out on the course, but was able to play through two of them and I finished in less than three hours.
I wanted to highlight the friendly staff, excellent pace of play and relaxed clubhouse vibe first because those were the positives. As for the course itself, let’s just say my timing was not great. I did not catch it on its best day. The weather was decent, but the cloudy yet still bright skies made it hard to get good pictures. In addition, almost all the grass throughout the course is dormant for this winter.
It turns out Arrowhead has been in an ownership transition and as a result, they decided not to overseed the whole course this year. The tee boxes and areas immediately around the greens got some attention, but everything else is dormant and browned out. The tee boxes were mostly good and the greens were easily the highlight of the course, playing soft and rolling smooth at medium speeds. The sand traps were also pretty good. Unfortunately, the fairways were dry, brown and thin. The rough was rather spotty with some green patches here and there, but it was all cut down and not much of a factor.
The conditions certainly made it harder to enjoy the course, but by all accounts this year is an anomaly. The timing of the ownership transition (and I would guess the water restrictions also had some impact) didn’t allow for the overseed that they normally do most years. I would assume it looks and plays much better most of the time because the grass coverage was there as the foundation. I just caught it in its worst possible state.
The layout itself is a pretty straightforward old school design by William P. Bell. The course runs back and forth through the property with no changes in elevation. The hole designs are relatively simple. What you see is what you get. Some of the greens have some tricky undulation, so putts can be tough to judge at times.
I would like to give Arrowhead another shot someday, maybe in the spring or summer when the regular turf is not dormant. Even at its best, though, the layout probably still wouldn’t excite me too much. As for the pictures, I don’t want to kick the course too much while it’s down, so I’ll share a few shots that show the true state of the fairways, but I’ll include more flattering angles around the greens than I might normally would. Otherwise, it’s hard to see what’s happening in normal approach or tee views because there’s no definition in the turf.
Some pictures from Arrowhead Country Club (12/9/15):