The Buzz: Built in 2000, this facility includes an 18-hole championship course called the Bear and an 18-hole executive course dubbed the Cub. Those names are a salute to the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, as both were created by Bill O’Leary of the Nicklaus Design Group.
The facility was a joint partnership involving a private developer, the city of Chandler and Maricopa County in an effort to create a quality course at affordable rates for players of all levels. Along with the two courses, the facility includes full practice areas and a learning center. A new clubhouse, which opened in 2007, includes a bar and the Bear’s Den restaurant that serves up lunch daily and a popular fish fry on Friday nights.
The Bear course has some bite with its subtly contoured greens and ominous bunkering, and annually hosts the Chandler City Amateur Championship and Arizona Golf Association qualifying events. The par-71 layout has four sets of tees at 6,825, 6,418, 5,978 and 4,990 yards, with a rating of 71.6 and slope of 122 from the back tees. Its five par-3 holes range from 154-228 yards and there is a risk-reward drivable par 4 at 299 from the tips.
Signature holes are the only two with water in play – the par-3 fifth and the par-5 18th. No. 5 plays at 179 yards from the back tee, which requires a carry over a lake to reach the green but offers bailout area to the left. No. 18 is a sweeping 558 yards, making it the longest hole on the course, with an approach shot around a lake on the left side to reach a green with a bunker left between the hazard and the green.
The Cub course has two sets of tees at 3,501 and 2,991 yards and plays to par 59 with a rating of 57.3 and slope of 83. It is simple, straightforward, and was created to allow beginners and high-handicappers enjoy the game on a player-friendly layout. It has five par-4 holes and 13 par 3s, with water in play only on the 18th. The finishing hole, a 129-yard par 3, requires a shot over a lake guarding the right side.
Bear Creek is known for its junior and family programs, which includes a special set of tees on the Cub course for beginners of all ages. Both courses are considered value plays with their reasonable green fees.