Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Golf Course Buzz: Looking over this northeast Arizona landscape, or is it “moonscape,” you might wonder if you’re playing golf on another planet. The answer is “no, it just appears that way” as Lake Powell National is constructed on a high mesa outcropping of red sandstone that contrasts with the lush green fairways to create a surreal scene.
More difficult is figuring out how they convinced that green carpet to grow here. Turns out, it took a few sticks of dynamite and several years of nurturing to accomplish the task and the result truly is one of Arizona’s hidden golf course gems.
Lake Powell National bills itself as the “Crown Jewel” of golf in northern Arizona and that’s not just hype. Having most likely driven to this part of Arizona, one of the first things to strike you is the golf course features the only grass you’ve seen in some time, as this is where the federal government chose to build Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, creating Lake Powell.
Lake Powell provides water storage for drought-plagued Arizona, but a major side benefit was creating a recreation paradise featuring 186-miles of boating waterways, with 96 major canyons and 1,960 miles of shoreline.
The golf course, designed by Tempe architect William Phillips, takes full advantage of what nature and man created here, with a golf course that opened in 1995 and has received as many as four stars from Golf Digest.
Here’s more good news: Lake Powell National is officially deemed a municipal course owned by the town of Page, which translates to reasonable green fees. The permanent population is rather sparse in these parts so you can often tee it up without even scheduling a tee time in advance.
Lake Powell National overlooks the dam, Lake Powell and Vermillion Cliffs; the course is loaded with stunning vistas and excellent, challenging golf holes. From the tips, which stretch to 7,030 yards, Lake Powell National is rated at 73.4 with a slope of 145, which means you need to pay attention to something besides the surroundings. There are four sets of tees, with the shortest playing at 3,850 yards.
The two nines are known as the Upper and Lower Mesas, with a 300-foot elevation change between them. The back-9 is the most memorable but the course starts pretty strong with a 524-yard par-5 that has a lake in play on the tee shot. The par-3 2nd demands a 203-yard tee ball that must carry water.
The views on the back-9 are captivating and the four-hole stretch starting at No. 11 is the highlight of the round. This workout begins with a 510-yard par-5, the 12th is a 394-yard par-4, then a 207-yard carry at the par-3 13th, to a green that appears to be suspended in mid-air, and finishes with the (gulp) 508-yard par-4 fourteenth.
For many players, the par-3 15th is considered the signature hole. Called “Cliffhanger,” the par-3 plays to 191 yards with a 175-foot drop to the green below and has an official looking sign warning golfers: “Caution! Cliff Edge.”
It should read “Go to your golf bag, grab all your old balls and use them here.”
Next up is the par-4 458-yard 16th called “Widowmaker” that’s framed by the Mesa of the Dead. The 17th wins the thrill-ride award; it’s a monster par-5 that rambles 641 yards down the hill and over a creek, twice!
The finishing stretch may wear you out, but that just makes the 19th hole even more inviting; the Veranda Bar & Grille offers up great fare and some incredible views, particularly at sunset.
Lake Powell National also has excellent practice facilities, including two putting greens, and offers stay-and-play packages with several nearby hotels. If you have extra time to spend in the area before or after your round, time on and around Lake Powell is worth every minute you can spare.
Arizona Golf Authority AZGA “Local Hang” for Lake Powell National is right where you are; the Veranda has you front and center for one of the finest sunset shows Mother Nature and man have produced anywhere in the world.
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