I’ll just review this course by itself. It was the only round I played over the weekend while staying up in Modesto, with full days on Friday and Monday to bookend the weekend.
I had a chance to get out for a quick round on late Sunday afternoon. From Modesto, Micke Grove Golf Links in Lodi was the next-closest public course I could play (not counting Rancho Del Rey, which I already had set for Monday morning). I looked at their online tee times and saw very cheap rates. It was only $15 in the afternoon and then that went down to a measly $10 at 4:00.
I booked the 4:00 time. It was well over 100 degrees out at this time of day, so I did not expect the course to be crowded. It wasn’t packed, but there were a lot more players out than I anticipated. A lot of singles, twosomes and threesomes heading out. They seemed reluctant to let me out early, even though I offered to pay the extra $5 if needed and saw plenty of openings. Eventually, I noticed a single waiting on the first tee and asked the pro shop guy if I could join him. He said okay and off I went around 3:40. This was huge because there seemed to be a rather large rush of people checking in for after 4:00 when the rates went down.
We played through a couple groups on the front nine and followed behind another twosome for most of the back for a sub-three-hour pace.
From what I saw driving in, past pictures/reviews I’ve viewed online and the first couple holes, it seemed this was going to be a rather basic course. On the first hole, I had thoughts of Woodley Lakes. The landscape here is definitely flat and open. However, the course did get more and more interesting as we played. Small water hazards that weren’t very much in play slowly turned into bigger water hazards that forced some rather demanding tee and approach shots.
Toward the end of the round, I looked at the hole drawings on the card more closely and saw that there’s water in play on all but a few holes.
Despite the amount of water hazards at Micke Grove, there is still a lot of room to work with on most holes. You can generally give the water a pretty wide berth. There are a few holes like the 9th where hazards sit on both sides of the fairway to create pretty narrow tee shots.
There were a couple nice par-3s on the course, including the 5th and 13th holes. They both play over water and have nice looks. Otherwise, a lot of this course will kind of blend together. It was ultimately more challenging and interesting than I expected given the flat terrain, but still nothing that exciting.
The course was in decent condition. The tee boxes were generally fine. The fairways were pretty good. Some thin and firm sections here and there, but I mostly had nice lies to hit from. The rough was a bit less consistent, but decent overall. Greens were firm-ish, yet receptive and rolling pretty well at medium speeds. The only real complaint was the bunkers. They were atrocious. Just hardpan and pretty neglected.
I will say Micke Grove was well worth the $10 I paid, and as a low-end course it’s pretty decent. Conditions were better than we typically have on similar level courses in Southern California and the rates are definitely more appealing here. It’s a solid enough locals course, and that’s all it needs to be.
Some pictures from Micke Grove Golf Links (6/26/16):