The Buzz: Back in the days when cowboys roamed the grounds that became Silver Creek Golf Club, you could see herds of cattle for miles and miles. There still are traces of the Bourdon Ranch, which was spread out over 10,000 acres. But today, once you get to the end of what’s now Bourdon Ranch Road near Show Low, there are 18 holes of splendid golf to bring your mind back to the present. Then again, it’s hard not to think about the fact that John Wayne once owned a ranch in the area near the little town of Eagar.
Silver Creek comes at you like “the Duke,’’ with a tough par-5 right out of the chute that rambles for 550 yards straight up the hill with a few twists and turns. It is the shape of things to come, as Silver Creek constantly keeps you on your toes. A super-lush layout the majority of the year thanks to ever-present afternoon showers, Silver Creek boasts the unusual combination of rye fairways, bluegrass rough and bentgrass greens. An early effort Phoenix architect Gary Panks – some consider it among his best work – Silver Creek fits right into the category of “hidden gems.’’ With rolling fairways and wide-open spaces that often bring big winds roaring down the plain, Silver Creek can often play 10 strokes more difficult from morning to afternoon, when the storms and winds and – egad! – lightning can strike.
Like all good golf courses, Silver Creek just keeps getting better and better, with its most storied stretch being the 12th through 15th holes, dubbed by the locals “Amen Straightway.’’ The par-3 12th is a 244-yard brute; the 13th is a demanding dogleg that rolls on for 440 yards; the 14th is a par-5 that plays up the hill some 533 yards; and the 15th is a par 4 that some might think is a par 5 at 484 yards. Difficult and demanding, only the wildflowers and multiple water features –most notably the namesake Silver Creek — keep the peace (and tranquility) at Silver Creek.