Yesterday, I finally had the opportunity to play this local course in nearby Placentia. I say “finally” because teases of playing this course with a friend have plagued me for several years, yet none of his invites ever came through. Through the SCGA outings, I was able to befriend another member at Alta Vista and he came through with an invite for an early Friday morning round.
We teed off around 6:45 as a threesome. There were some groups already out on the course, including the one directly ahead of us that was a little behind pace. Still, we finished in about three hours and 45 minutes, so it was a pleasant member play experience.
I’ve driven by the course before, so I had a basic idea of what to expect. The course plays close to some main streets and through a residential area, but the playing areas were plenty forgiving and no OB danger felt that much in play throughout most of the course.
The layout at Alta Vista is somewhat hilly, designed by David A. Rainville. There are a lot of gentle hills and doglegs to add some interest factor on an otherwise pretty traditional style course. There isn’t anything overly distinctive about the layout, but it is enjoyable and solid on all levels.
A handful of water hazards come into play. The only one on the front nine is the pond you have to clear on your tee shot. Otherwise, the rest are on the back nine and play a part in some of the better holes here. The signature hole at Alta Vista is the 10th, which is a severe dogleg left par-4 with water all along that side (and then an in-course OB on the right between the 10th and 18th fairways). This creates a pretty narrow-feeling tee shot and then the approach is somewhat demanding over the water.
The 14th was my favorite of the par-3s with a downhill tee shot and a small pond guarding the front and right of the green.
The course was in good condition overall, and very soft with a lot of morning moisture in the turf. The tee boxes were great. The fairways were mostly quite good with primarily kikuyu and occasional patches of other types of grass in the mix. There were a few weak spots here and there, but mostly nice. The rough was pretty lush and just enough to make you work, but not overly penal. No turf reduction has taken place here here yet (and likely won’t happen any time soon), so there’s lots of grass from edge to edge on the property. The bunkers just got new sand a few weeks ago and it still needs to settle. Our group had a number of fried eggs. It is a very soft, yet grainy and heavy (especially in the morning dampness), so it was like hitting through wet cement sometimes.
The greens were crazy soft and a we left a lot of crater-like ball marks. I thinned a 5-iron on one hole and it backed up a couple feet. The greens were rolling a little slow while still wet and they were bumpy in places because of so many big old ball marks scarring the surfaces. They are definitely due for a good aeration, though it’s still another month or two away.
Alta Vista Country Club is a fine mid-level Orange County club. It’s not a must-play for Southern California, but it provides a good overall experience as a guest and there seems to be a very friendly membership group.
Some pictures from Alta Vista Country Club (7/29/16):