Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Golf Course Buzz: Many avid golfers in the Phoenix area consider this golf course to be the metro-area’s most convenient high-value play. Stonecreek Golf Club, conveniently located near the point where Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley all intersect, lacks the prestige and accolades of many of its neighboring courses, and yet offers many comparable services and amenities. The best news is it offers them at a much more affordable rate.
The layout originally was created by Gary Grandstaff and Roy Dye, the brother of legendary designer Pete Dye, in 1983 and four years later was re-designed by Arthur Hills, who created a stone-bedded creek that winds through the property, coming into play on 13 holes.
Together with the 5 green-hugging ponds on the course, they combine to create plenty of challenges with that pesky creek often appearing to have magnetic ball-luring properties. Treacherous bunkers, some as deep as 15 feet, are scattered about to mess with you and your scorecard as well.
The layout lies within and follows the contours of the Indian Bend Wash; that explains all the elevated green complexes. The course motif here is links-style play, with fairways bordered by trees, water and that pesky stone creek-bed. Green complexes feature a lot of undulation and smooth putting surfaces.
The greens themselves were re-shaped and renovated in 1996 using a Bermuda hybrid that is well-kept. The par-71 layout has five sets of tees, from 5,018 to 6,871 yards with a rating of 72.8 and slope of 131 and has hosted several prestigious tournaments, including local qualifying for the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open, held at the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale’s Stadium Course.
The signature hole is the sixth, a 389-yard dogleg-right par-4 where the stone creek cuts across the fairway in the primary landing area, and the approach shot must find a green protected back and right by a pond, and left by a deep bunker.
But Stonecreek really exposes its teeth at the five-hole finishing stretch. The 14th is a 378-yard par-4 with water reachable from the tee and extending along the right side of the green; a front-left bunker discourages anything but flying an approach onto this green.
The par-3 15th stretches 227 yards with the same water in play, and the 16th, a 609-yard par-5, plays into the prevailing breeze from the west, with a must-carry pond guarding the front of the green.
The 2 finishers are par-4’s which always seem to play longer than their yardages of 419 and 436. At the 17th, the stone creek runs down the full right side and wraps behind the green; another elevated putting surface here.
From the 18th tee, you see the creek bisect the fairway in the corner of the dogleg-right, and wonder if you can carry it. Here’s a tip: decide you can’t and play to the center of the fairway. You’ll be left with a short-iron approach to a heavily contoured green protected left and right by large bunkers.
Practice facilities at Stonecreek are very good and it has some of the best golf instruction programs in Arizona, including Purtzer Golf, created by former PGA Tour player Paul Purtzer.
The course offers stay-and-play packages in conjunction with Embassy Suites, which is adjacent to the clubhouse. After the round, check out the Up The Creek Restaurant, which serves up breakfast and lunch; pleasant patio, great staff, nice place to watch afternoon turn into evening.
Arizona Golf Authority AZGA “Local Hang” for Stonecreek includes Z-Tejas, just down the street on the northeast corner of Tatum and Shea Boulevards, and Ernie’s Inn, at the retail center on the southeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard.