Oak Valley sits in a no-mans golf land of Southern California. Not quite Los Angeles, not Palm Springs, the town of Beaumont is often a weigh station between the two cities but golfer's should take note of the course seen just off the 10 as they go by.
The first hole that you see off the 10 is this beautiful downhill par 3 that while it plays short, is much more difficult because of the swirling winds. The course was in fantastic shape and while they keep the greens long this time of year, the fairways and tee boxes were all top notch.
The routing of the course offers up many beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and while there are houses that line the course (mostly on the back 9) they don't hem you in like many Palm Springs courses.
My favorite holes, which are also emblematic of the course as a hole are above. The green in the foreground is a long par 3 and in the background is the 17th green which is a longish par 4. These are great strategic holes that can be navigated by most golfers.
However, if you notice the railroad ties, the molding, the penal nature of the course, you would be forgiven in thinking that Pete Dye designed this course. Oak Valley was designed by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley and they both clearly study at the Dye school as the course felt like a slightly less penal Dye course.
The bulldozered bumps were there. The long fairway bunkers flanking the fairways were there. The water cutting a bit too close to greens with railroad ties were there. I am not a huge fan of Dye's style and I think there are better architects to ape so the course went down a few notches in my estimation. That being said, this was the most fun Dye-like course I have ever played and that alone bumps up the course several notches. If they designed this course and took out some of the tricked up elements, it would be really special.
Overall, I like Oak Valley. It is a fun course that marries great elements from Palm Springs and Los Angeles golf. I think the course would be absolutely fantastic to play in the Fall/Winter time and am eagerly awaiting my next round there.
For more information on Oak Valley check out the link! http://www.oakvalleygolf.com/