Carlton Oaks Golf Club in Santee, California is making a comeback
SANTEE, Calif. -- Soon after losing its greens in 2011, Carlton Oaks Golf Club got a bad reputation for poor playing conditions.
But the efforts of the past two superintendents are paying off. Reviews at Golf Advisor have steadily improved this year, reflecting the turf conditions, especially on the greens.
This is the first time the club has done over-seeding around the greens in the fall. That grass is lush and green this winter. The bunkers still need some TLC, but most players seem happy that the San Diego stalwart appears to be making a comeback.
Consider this five-star review by Golf Advisor user gmelero71 in December 2016: "I have been playing this course for some 30 years. It has had its ups and downs over the years. But I am here to say that it is back to championship conditions. All 18 greens are in perfect shape. The fairways are some of the best in the county. And the course is just generally one of the more challenging around and makes you a better golfer by playing it."
Carlton Oaks dates back to the 1950s, but it was Perry Dye who introduced the boarded bunker faces and wild mounding that give the course its teeth. His redesign, debuting in 1989, created one of San Diego's toughest tournament tracks outside of Torrey Pines and La Costa. It has hosted the first stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying School in 2010; U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur qualifiers and a Canadian Tour qualifier, in addition to the San Diego Junior Masters.
Many of the fairways are lined with hazards, and the greens are tiny by modern standards. Water comes into play on only five holes. Water crosses the face of the par 4s at no. 8 and no. 18, the two hardest handicap holes.
For those who want to stay longer than just a round of golf, the Lodge offers modern amenities in spacious rooms.
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