We-Ko-Pa - Fort McDowell, AZ

We-Ko-Pa - Fort McDowell, AZ

Bob Parsons' Scottsdale National Golf Club

Bob Parsons' Scottsdale National Golf Club

Boulders Golf Club - Carefree, AZ

Designed by Jay Morrish, Boulders Golf Resort offers two 18 hole championship courses, the North Course and the South Course. Featuring outstanding views on both courses, we decided to play the South course as it was described as the more scenic course and had "bigger boulders."  These are the pictures you will see in the gallery.  

The South Course provides intimate encounters with ancient rock formations named "Boulder Pile" and "Rosie's Rock."  We also ran into several wild boars as they ran across the 5th fairway.  After several more common encounters with birdies, our group left satisfied.

Desert Forest Golf Club - Carefree, AZ

Designed in 1962 by Robert "Red" Lawrence, Desert Forest was the only desert course in the area at the time of it's construction.  With views of Black Mountain, the course was one of a kind and the competition was not as fierce as it is today.  Unfortunately, after 50 years of existence, the pressures of time and the modern game would catch up to Desert Forest.  Fortunately, Desert Forest would fight back with it's 2013 golf course project.

David Zinkand, an associate of Coore and Crenshaw, was hired to do a tee to green remodel.  The remodel was a great success and Desert Forest remains one of the areas most respected private courses.  Read more about the project and see the before and after photos here.  I especially enjoyed the re shaping and appearance of the bunkers.  

For my round, I would get up close and personal with that desert forest as I lost 9 balls into the prickly areas left and right of the lush fairways.  Although, I would roll in some pretty nice par putts to keep my golf soul satisfied.

Desert Highlands - Scottsdale, AZ

Almost immediately after Jack Nicklaus completed construction of Desert Highlands, it went on to host the very first two Skins Games in 1983 and 1984.  Since the course was good enough for Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Arnold Palmer, then it will be good enough for me.  The dramatically elevated tee box on the 1st hole sets to tone for a great round of golf.  

While the weather was perfect for a December morning in Arizona, my putting was off by 1/1000 of an inch.  This resulted in 12 severely burnt edges from some scorching hot birdie putts.  You could actually smell the lip of the cup burning after several of those putts.  I guess that's what makes a successful birdie putt so much fun.  I mean, it wouldn't be any fun if they all went in, would it?  

Desert Mountain Club - Renegade - Scottsdale, AZ

Desert Mountain Club is home to a whopping 6 Jack Nicklaus design golf courses.  The first of the courses to open in 1987 was the Renegade course.  The course features two different flags on each hole with some holes having two greens.  This unique configuration prompted Golf Magazine to describe it as "the most versatile course in the world."  This setup allows for increased playability for different skill levels and also provides variety for the club's members.  Even with the club already offering 108 different golf holes, it can be argued that the Renegade course pushes that number to 126.

Estancia Club - Renegade - Scottsdale, AZ

The Estancia Club opened in 1995 on the the northern slope of Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale, Arizona.  In one of America's most golf dense locations, The Estancia Club has found its way to the top of Arizona's "best of" lists.  Designed by Tom Fazio, the course does an excellent job of living up to it's ranking.  The course plays home to several tour pros and features a course record by Bubba Watson.  Not just a course record but a personal best, 58, for Mr. Watson.  The course is no pushover either, carrying a slope of 148 and a course rating of 74.3.  

Estancia provides a good mix of scoring opportunities and difficult holes, and I would capitalize on several of the par 5's.  The first bit of excitement occurred while I was going for the rare triple sandy on the par 5 9th hole.  After finding the first two legs of the triple, I narrowly missed the green side bunker, giving up the triple sandy.  However, I would almost find the hole for eagle.  I would be fortunate to tap one in for birdie.

The second bit of near glory happened on the 17th hole.  After a great drive and a 2 iron that bounced down onto the green, I had great look at an eagle.  As the ball broke towards the hole, i felt the excitement come over me...  the excitement of a long putt finding the hole.  Shortly after feeling this excitement, I felt the devastation of a putt that appears to mysteriously float over the hole.  The good news?  Feelings of devastation do not last long at The Estancia Club.

Mountain Shadows - Scottsdale, AZ

Quintero Golf Club - Peoria, AZ

Since it's opening in 2000, Quintero has been widely regarded as one the best options for public golf in the state of Arizona.  Set in the high Sonoran desert, Rees Jones has designed a seriously fun and scenic round of golf.  The fairways flow generously through the Saguaro, Ocotillo, and Acacia filled desert.  Most visually noticeable are the course's par 3's which all play dramatically downhill.

It was a tale of two nines for me at Quintero.  I didn't break 40 on the front nine but managed to challenge par on the back nine.  Coming to the 17th hole, I was -1 on the back nine and facing a tough 40 foot breaking putt.  I needed to get this one down in two if I was going to have a chance at a below par back nine.  As the putt reached the back of the green, it took a hard right turn and tumbled into the hole sideways.  After some fist bumping and screaming, I would head to the 18th tee and make a nice par to finish the back nine with a satisfying 34.

Scottsdale National Golf Club - Scottsdale, AZ

In 2013, Bob Parson of PXG and formerly purchased the "Golf Club Scottsdale"  for $600k and renamed it Scottsdale National Golf Club.  In 2014, he penned a letter to the members announcing some interesting changes.  Those changes included charging members a $100 service fee for each day they use the course and limiting play to 30 times per year without bringing a guest.  The goal was to remove the golfers that "play the course the most and spend the least"  In fairness to the members, Parsons graciously offered a full refund to any members that found the new policy unacceptable.  You can read the full letter here.

While it is certainly direct and unorthodox, Parsons' goal here is turn to the club into one of the most prestigious and memorable golf experiences in the world.  In addition to the policy changes, Parson is also making many additions and improvements to SNGC.  My favorite being the "The Bad Little Nine," which is billed as the world's hardest stretch of par 3's.  In fact, when the pins are tucked, Parsons has an outstanding offer of $1000 to any player who can break par.  

While Bob Parson's methods may be unusual and offensive to some.  I believe that golf needs more personalities and disruptive forces.  With a desire for greatness at his core,  I will remain interested in what Mr Parsons brings to the game of golf.

Seven Canyons Golf Club - Sedona, AZ

Silverleaf Club - Scottsdale, AZ