Arizona

We-Ko-Pa - Fort McDowell, AZ

We-Ko-Pa - Fort McDowell, AZ

Bob Parsons' Scottsdale National Golf Club

Bob Parsons' Scottsdale National Golf Club

The Tom Fazio designed, Estancia Club

The Tom Fazio designed, Estancia Club


Boulders Golf Club - Carefree, AZ

DSC_0014.jpg

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

Desert Forest Golf Club1-15.jpg

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

Desert Highlands1-83.jpg

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 Club1-32.jpg

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.

Desert Mountain Club - Chiracahua - Scottsdale, AZ

Chelsea Pezzola  reacts to finding the bunker on Desert Mountain Club’s Chiracahua course.

Chelsea Pezzola reacts to finding the bunker on Desert Mountain Club’s Chiracahua course.

Desert Mountain Club - Geronimo - Scottsdale, AZ

Desert Mountain Club - Geronimo1-115.jpg

Estancia Club - Renegade - Scottsdale, AZ

Estancia Club1-133.jpg

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

Mountain Shadows1-50.jpg

Quintero Golf Club - Peoria, AZ

Quintero Golf Club1-104.jpg

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

Scottsdale National1-32.jpg

In 2013, Bob Parson of PXG and formerly GoDaddy.com 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

DJI_0059.jpg

Sedona is perhaps the most beautiful setting for golf in the USA. You will certainly feel that way as you stroll the fairways of this Tom Weiskopf design. Good luck focusing on your golf game and not the stunning canyon walls.

Silverleaf Club - Scottsdale, AZ

PJK_7000.jpg

Located at the base of the McDowell mountains in Scottsdale is Silverleaf Golf Club.  After winning the '73 Open Championship, Tom Weiskopf teamed up with Golf Architect Jay Moorish to produce a number of top tier golf clubs.  Eventually Tom decided to go solo and start his own design company.  Silverleaf is one of those Tom Weiskopf designs.  

Southern Dunes Golf Club - Maricopa, AZ

DJI_0052.jpg

Although it is about an hour drive outside of the golf mecca of Scottsdale, AZ, Southern Dunes is well worth the drive.  With plenty of bunkers, be sure to bring your sand wedge and your sun block.  I hit 12 bunker shots during my round on a warm sunny day in March of 2015.  Easily one of my favorite courses in the area.

The Golf Bros visited this course as part of an outstanding 72 hole bonanza in 2 days.  Also on the list for the trip:  The Boulders and We-Ko-Pa.  Be sure to check out the other course galleries or just book a flight and a tee time.

Stone Canyon - Oro Valley, AZ

Stone Canyon Club1-83.jpg

Built in 2000, Stone Canyon is a Phil Mickelson owned and Jay Morrish designed creation.  With views of the Santa Catalina Mountains on every hole, the golf course is as picturesque as you will find in Arizona.  There are plenty of cliff side tee shots and dramatic views to go with them.  From the tee, you will find plenty of room to find the fairway but severely off-line shots will find a penalizing and snake filled desert.  For my round in December of 2016, I would find 3 birdies and 0 rattlesnakes.  

Superstition Mountain CC - Superstition Mountain, AZ

Superstition Mountain1-33.jpg

As I drove into Superstition Mountain Country Club, I popped on some Stevie Wonder to set the mood.  I highly suggest playing some Superstition yourself as you browse the gallery.  I will hang tight while you wait for that stupid YouTube ad to play.

Now that you are grooving hard to Stevie, let's jump into the details.  The course is home to 2 Nicklaus designs, The Prospector and Lost Gold.  For our visit, we only had time for the Lost Gold.  I was joined by Kenzie OConnell and Kyle from Tathata Golf.  While Kyle took care of making enough birdies for the 3 of us, Kenzie and I worked on our modeling skills.  Since Kenzie and I had previously done some mineshaft modeling up in Canada, it was time to hone our drainpipe modeling skills.  As you can see in the pictures or drainpipe model game is strong.

The Rim - Payson, AZ

PJK_6891.jpg

There is much more than elk butt photos at The Rim… a lot more. This beauty is only a 90 minute drive from Phoenix and Scottsdale and I would highly recommend the trip to anyone that even remotely likes golf. The golf course feels much more like Lake Tahoe than it does Arizona. The Rim is named after the Mogollon Rim, which can be seen in the distance at an altitude of 7000 feet. The golf course plays at about 5,000 feet so plan your distance adjustments accordingly.

TPC Scottsdale - Scottsdale, AZ

DSC_0200.jpg

TPC Scottsdale is host to the annual frat party/golf tournament called the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  The course was designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf specially to host the event and opened in 1986.  

Every January, they build a football stadium called "The Coliseum" around the 16th hole and host a wild golf party that compares to nothing else in the game.  A good shot into the par 3 16th will earn you cheers, while a poor effort will most likely receive a smattering of boos.  I would like to think I received a little bit of both on my trip to TPC Scottsdale, I hit a great shot into the green but then proceeded to miss my 3 footer for birdie.  

Back in 1997. the 16th was also home to one of the coolest moments that Tiger Woods has ever given his fans.  Fans had been waiting and drinking all day in anticipation of Tiger Woods' arrival on the 16th hole.  The man finally showed up and did not disappoint.  After the ensuing hole in one, Tiger Woods would "raise the roof" as fans threw beer down upon him.  Here is a great article from those that actually witnessed the miraculous moment.

As you can see in the pictures, I played the course a couple months after the tournament and they were still in the process of disassembling the bleachers on 16.  I really enjoyed the finish at TPC Scottsdale as holes 15-18 really make this course stand out.

TPC Scottsdale Champions - Scottsdale, AZ

PJK_7509.jpg

Troon North - Pinnacle - Scottsdale, AZ

Troon North Golf Club1-21.jpg

Located in the high Sonoran Desert, Troon North is one of the best options for public golf in the Scottsdale area.  Consistently ranked in the top 100 "Courses You Can Play," the stark contrast of the lush greens and the desert terrain always makes for a great picture and a fantastic golfing experience.  Tom Weiskopf has designed two courses at Troon, the Pinnacle and the Monument.  

One of the more interesting hazards are the taller cacti that rise into the potential line of flight for a golf ball.  As you will see in the pictures, these cactuses were littered with waywardly struck golf balls.  You will also find plenty of wildlife climbing, crawling, or slithering around the course.  That bird in the gallery is actually a roadrunner.  Meep Meep.

Be sure to put Troon North on your list of destinations for any respectable Scottsdale golf trip.

Troon North - Monument - Scottsdale, AZ

Troon North - Monument1-36.jpg

Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish in 1990, Troon North has been a staple of high end Scottsdale golf for decades.  Weiskopf re-routed both the Pinnacle and Monument courses in 2007, giving the golfing public the current 36 hole layout.  The Monument's signature hole is the 3rd hole which gives the course it's name.  The giant boulder or monument located in the fairway separates the conservative from the aggressive.  Naturally, Colt and I went aggressive.

In a race against sunlight and an early evening flight out of town, our two-some told some quick jokes, made some quick birdies and still managed to make the flight back home with some time to spare.

We-Ko-Pa - Saguaro - Fort McDowell, AZ

We Ko Pa Golf Club1-28.jpg

Located out in the beautiful Sonoran desert, We-Ko-Pa is desert golf at it's finest.  We-Ko-Pa offers two 18 hole courses the Saguaro and the Cholla course.  Both are outstanding.  The course features no urban development at all, just desert, grass, and golf.  If you only have the option of playing 18, you really can't go wrong with either course.

Battling a rare downpour and hail storm, we managed to get most of our round in on the Saguaro Course.  A return trip is in the works for March 2014!

UPDATE:  The golf bros did indeed return to the scene of the hail storm on a fresh sunny day in March of 2015.  Although it was a year later than planned, the return trip was well worth the wait.  Going for 36 holes on the final day of a Scottsdale excursion, our 2 groups took on both courses.  Heavy gambling losses were sustained by some but fun was had by all.

We-Ko-Pa - Cholla - Fort McDowell, AZ

We Ko Pa Golf Club1-15.jpg

Located out in the beautiful Sonoran desert, We-Ko-Pa is desert golf at it's finest.  We-Ko-Pa offers two 18 hole courses the Saguaro and the Cholla course.  Both are outstanding.  The course features no urban development at all, just desert, grass, and golf.  If you only have the option of playing 18, you really can't go wrong with either course.

Battling a rare downpour and hail storm, we managed to get most of our round in on the Saguaro Course.  A return trip is in the works for March 2014!

UPDATE:  The golf bros did indeed return to the scene of the hail storm on a fresh sunny day in March of 2015.  Although it was a year later than planned, the return trip was well worth the wait.  Going for 36 holes on the final day of a Scottsdale excursion, our 2 groups took on both courses.  Heavy gambling losses were sustained by some but fun was had by all.

Whisper Rock Golf Club - Scottsdale, AZ

Whisper Rock1-30.jpg

With two of the finest golf courses in Arizona, Whisper Rock is home to many tour pros.  Phil Mickelson is not only a member but he also designed the Lower Course in 2001.  Tom Fazio would add the Upper Course in 2005.  To keep up with Tour Pro standards the course is meticulously maintained and the greens are kept nice and speedy.