Renegade at Desert Mountain...
This is the first of Jack Nicklaus' four (soon to be five) courses at the prestigious club
in northeastern Scottsdale. Set among the saguaros and splendor in the high
Sonoran foothills, it can be tame or terribly tough; it depends on which tees and flags you play,
as each hole has two cups.
Weiskopf-Morrish wonder, Troon's setting is spectacular, as it winds its way through the
high desert and boulders near Pinnacle Peak. All the holes are solid, but several
stand out - the 14th, 15th and 16th. Scottish links never looked this good.
Desert Forest... Designed by
Red Lawrence, "The Desert Fox", this course is traditional in concept and was
the forerunner of all the desert courses. With a laid-back atmosphere, you won't
hear much about it, but this is the "Lost Dutchman's Mine" of Arizona golf.
There is usually a wait.
Cochise at Desert Mountain...
As the house that Jack built, Cochise is the site of two of his Senior PGA Tour triumphs
and the host course of The Tradition. It's the most popular among the members,
possibly because it's one of the kindest and gentlest of the Golden Bear's courses.
Geronimo at Desert Mountain...
Some say this course is too demanding, with its rugged features and length. But you
won't experience a more mystical experience in Arizona golf as you climb to the top of the
mountain. The 18th hole, Nicklaus' only par-3 closer among 100 courses, is
something to behold.
Desert Highland... Another
Nicklaus course, this one lies directly beneath Pinnacle Peak. Like Nicklaus'
nickname, it's a bear, especially the elevated greens, which are tough to recover on if
you don't hit them the first time. Otherwise, the course is gorgeous, especially the
14th, which goes straight into the peak.
Boulders South... Morrish went
solo on this one, blending several nines and creating a few new holes to form the South
course. He did a great job of holding together the continuity. The tee boxes
sit on huge boulder piles, and the breathtaking vistas make it hard to concentrate on your
Phoenix Country Club... Classic
country club flair helps PCC stand out like an oasis on the edge of downtown.
Steeped in history - the site of the Phoenix Open for more than 50 years. It is a
monument to time. The dogleg par-4s are the course's strength, but the par-3 No. 2
across water is the most fun.
Paradise Valley... A more
modern approach to the country club image, the Lawrence Hughes designed layout sits
majestically on a hillside looking up at Camelback Mountain. Rolling fairways and
challenging golf make PV solid from start to finish. The ninth and 18th holes are
two of the best.
Arizona Country Club... Low-key
for a country club, this course also is a trip in the way-back machine and another former
site of the Phoenix Open. Stately yet sleepy, the five par-3s are tops overall in
the Valley. The best stretch comes at the turn, as the 9th, 10th and 11th holes
bring to mind Amen Corner.
Mesa Country Club... Another
course with a traditional approach, the shady confines of Mesa CC offer one of the state's
most relaxing atmospheres. The course has two levels, and the par-3s are
outstanding, especially No. 7, where you tee off from a triple-tiered tee, across a creek
to the green below.
Boulders North... Morrish
again, although the concept is more traditional than the South, as it blends some
outstanding doglegs together with picturesque par-3s. You can't overpower this
course; it's too tight. Not as scenic as its sister, the North course still delivers
a dynamic desert experience.
Gainey Ranch... Its gently
rolling hills offer three types of nines with different themes - water, dunes and a
Midwestern style. Gainey Ranch is short, player-friendly and a good place to make a
lot of birdies. The ninth hole on the Lakes course is stunning, as it plays past
springs to a cascading waterfall.
Arrowhead... Designed by Arnold
Palmer, this has all his trademarks - lots of sand and water - that make for demanding tee
shots. There's another good reason for hitting the fairway on your drive - hidden
trouble. The 18th is a great finisher, a short, gambling par-5 to an island green.
Moon Valley... Dick Wilson
originally designed Moon Valley, but PING President Karsten Solheim has spent millions in
the past seven years making it into his personal playground. The course, which is
tenacious because of its tricky greens, hosts the Standard Register PING event on the LPGA