Desert Forest Golf Club Continues Reign as Best Desert Design

CAREFREE, Arizona – Desert Forest, the first desert golf course ever built is still the best desert golf course ever built. Desert Forest Golf Club enlisted the services of former Coore & Crenshaw protégé, David Zinkand who masterfully designed and implemented a modernization of the golf course in four months’ time, within the club’s $3 million budget.


Desert Forest now plays at 7,201 yards from the tips and every green complex was returned to its original perimeter profile, including the restoration of putting surface contours which tend to soften over 50-plus years of service.

The most prominent visual change occurs here as well as the greenside bunkers were converted from the original oval-shaped design, a Lawrence trademark, to a more natural scalloped, rugged-edge shape favored by Zinkand, who carefully protected the original course design.


Desert Forest Golf Club – Hole No. 3


“The routing and the way the course sits naturally on the contours is the genius of Desert Forest, rather than having been graded to suit preconceived notions. Leaving this landscape intact was the most important aspect of respecting Mr. Lawrence’s design,” said Zinkand, a graduate of Cornell University.

“As we worked on the fairways, I re-contoured those areas so they appear as they did naturally, before the golf course was built. These tie-ins aren’t something that are readily apparent to many golfers, but removing that unnatural visual distraction enhances their experience nonetheless.”

Over the years, Zinkand has worked for numerous prominent architects, most notably Arthur Hills, Gil Hanse and Mike DeVries. It was as a Design Associate working for Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, that Zinkand contributed his finest efforts, creating feature shaping on many of their projects including Bandon Preserve and Bandon Trails in Bandon, Oregon, Saguaro course at We-Ko-Pa in Fountain Hills, Arizona along with the renovation of Lakewood Country Club in Dallas, Texas.


Desert Forest Golf Club – Hole No. 18


Zinkand is especially proud of the greenside bunkers and his newfound signature look. “The bunker edges are rugged. In fact, they are more rugged than even my bunker shaper, Jeff Bradley, was comfortable with at times. I pushed that envelope though to emphasize the rugged, natural character of the golf course. Desert Forest was the first desert golf course in the world! This place is really in the desert! It deserved to draw from that unique heritage and environment,” added Zinkand.

Celebrating 50 years of unparalleled success in 2012, Desert Forest Golf Club moves forward after an illustrious first half century collecting accolades from Golf Magazine, “50 Greatest Courses in the Last 50 Years,” and “Top 100 Courses in the U.S.”; Golf Digest, “Best 100 Courses in America for 17 Straight Years,” among many other notable awards.

Click Desert Forest Golf Club Review at the Arizona Golf Authority to read the full golf course review.

Then, telephone your friend that holds a membership at Desert Forest and do what’s necessary to get it teed up; including an offer to wash and wax their car. It’s a small price to pay to savor the the first, and still the best, desert golf course in the game.

For more information on Desert Forest Golf Club and membership opportunities, call (480) 488-4589 or visit www.desertforestgolfclub.com.

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