Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Golf Course Buzz: Golfers who are familiar with the “old” Wickenburg Country Club, but haven’t teed it up here in a few years, will be pleasantly surprised to discover how much things have changed, and all for the better. This was the first course built in Wickenburg, opening in 1949, and was designed by the father-son duo of William F. Bell and William P. Bell, who made a name for themselves in the Southwest by creating such gems as Torrey Pines in San Diego and Papago Municipal Golf Course in Phoenix.
Wickenburg CC was created as a private club, but in 2006, at a time when many courses were scaling back, it expanded, adding a second nine. One result is that it became a semi-private club that welcomes public play but still sells full memberships and, in 2011, waived the initiation fee.
Wickenburg CC is a desert-style layout with rolling hills that puts a premium on accuracy rather than length, with tight fairways lined by mature trees being common. The front is devoid of water but it comes into play on four holes of the new nine. The par-71 layout now has three sets of tees at 6,320, 5,562 and 4,674 yards with a rating of 70.5 and slope of 128 from the back tees.
The course serves up plenty of birdie opportunities for golfers who keep their shots under control, particularly on the par-5 holes, which play at 454, 509 and 513 yards. The latter is the finishing hole and the longest on the course. The fourth hole, a 373-yard par 4, remains the No. 1 handicap hole, but there are a couple challenging par 3s at 235 and 229 yards.
The design is a little unconventional because the front nine has just one par 3 and one par 5 and the back features three par-3 holes in a four-hole stretch. The expansion project also included a new clubhouse that has full dining facilities at Ringo’s Restaurant, a lounge bar, snack shop and an open patio with circular views of the course and surrounding mountains. Practice facilities include a driving range, putting green, practice green and practice bunker.
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