Dreamland Villa’s public 9-hole executive course is part of the Dreamland community, the first active-adult golf community created by Farnsworth Developers, which began building for retirees in Mesa in the late-1950s. You’ll find two sets of tees at 1,936 and 1,763 yards, level par of 31 and a course rating of 57.6 for an 18-hole loop from the back tees.
The golf course features four par-4 holes and five par 3s; two lakes bring water into play on four holes. Par 3s range from 118-157 yards, which just happen to be the eighth and ninth holes, and both require tee shots over the same lake, which also guards the green at the par-4 second hole.
Another lake is positioned between the fourth and fifth holes, and threatens both the 140-yard par 3 and the 261-yard par 4. The longest hole on the course is the 338-yard par-4 seventh, where wild-right tee shots may also be rinsed for free.
Dreamland does not have a driving range but does have putting and chipping greens available and a café. In 2011, the course adopted a “closed for the summer” policy which may continue in future years.
The golf course at Tierra Grande, located just west of Casa Grande, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, recently underwent a major makeover.
Originally designed by Arthur “Jack” Snyder, it opened in 1978 as a nine-hole course and has now expanded to 18, with nine new holes interspersed with the existing nine. The course boasts level par of 67 shots, which is generous considering the modest length of the course; new slope and course rating figures are due for assignment in 2012.
From the back tees it plays at 4,433 yards, 3,990 yards from the forward set. Water comes into play on two holes – the par-4 third at 261 yards and the par-3 seventh at 126 yards. Tierra Grande has a putting green available but no driving range and has a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch. This is a budget play with rates below $25 most of the year.
Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Arizona Golf Course Buzz: Riverview is one of the five regulation-length courses, together with three executive courses, in the stable of the Recreation Centers of Sun City, which offers residents plenty of recreation options.
Designed by Jeff Hardin, who was involved in creating many adult-community courses around the state, Riverview opened in 1970 and is known for its tricky, undulating greens. The course has three sets of tees at 6,394, 6,053 and 5,558 yards and is rated at 69.6 with a slope of 116 from the back tees. While it isn’t particularly long, mature trees and a series of small lakes bring water into play on seven holes, placing a premium on accuracy.
Beginning with the third, water is in play on six consecutive holes; highlights of that stretch are the par-3 third and par-5 sixth. No. 3 plays at 147 yards from the back tee with a shot that must carry over a lake most of the way to a green guarded by a large bunker on the right side.
At the 6th you’ll find a sharp dogleg left with two lakes in play, one on the tee shot and another along the right side of the fairway. Several bunkers threaten both sides of the fairway and one more lurks in front of the green. At 534 yards, it is the longest hole on the course and the No. 1 handicap hole which means par is the goal here.
Standouts on the back nine are the par-4 12th and 15th. No. 12 is just 375 yards, but a lake along the right side of the fairway and green, plus bunkers left-front and right-front make for a challenging approach.
No. 15 plays a healthy 404-yards; a sweeping dogleg right where you can cut off plenty of yardage but the inside of the corner is well guarded by a bunker and palm trees.
Riverview has full practice facilities, including a large driving range, and serves breakfast and lunch items at its snack bar. The semi-private club is open to the public, but RCSC members can book tee times five days in advance and the public can book times three days out.
Along with golf at eight courses, club members also have access to fitness centers, spas, swimming pools, tennis and pickle ball courts, bocce ball courts, fishing, boating, shuffleboard, bowling centers and other activities.
Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Golf Course Buzz: Located about 40 miles southeast of downtown Phoenix, Seville offers a true country club experience at base of the San Tan Mountains, which provide a serene visual backdrop for the club.
Built in 2001, the layout was created by Gary Panks, one of Arizona’s best-known course architects. Mr. Panks has a particular knack for taking a relatively flat piece of property and shaping it into something special, and that’s what he did with this former citrus grove acreage. Many of those trees were transplanted and incorporated into the Seville course along with oaks and jacaranda, which line the fairways and bloom brilliantly in the spring.
Seville plays to level par of 72 and offers five sets of tees with the tips set at 7,060 yards and the front tees at 5,765. From the back, the course is rated at 72.8 with a slope of 128. The layout has a traditional feel although there is mild desert terrain in the transition areas that adds to the challenge when recovering from an errant shot.
Panks allows the player plenty of room in the primary landing areas on most tee shots; you won’t face the visual intimidation of forced carries inherent in desert target golf designs here. You will face several thrilling golf shots as you make your loop.
Highlights of the front nine are a pair of dogleg-right par-5s. No. 2 plays at 555 yards from the back tees and requires a tee shot over right-side fairway bunkers to reach the green in two. The wide, shallow green wraps around a front-bunker that collects most “run one on” attempts.
At the shorter 530-yard 5th, any attempt to reach the green in two must carry the corner of a sizable lake and bunker guarding the right side of the green. Three-shot players can lay-up left and ignore the lake altogether with their approach.
But the most memorable portion of a round at Seville is always the three-hole finishing stretch. The par-4 16th is just 315 yards but a lake defining the dogleg right fairway forces you to decide how much you can bite off and still clear the water. The green complex is elevated and includes a multi-tiered putting surface; great fun here.
In the middle of the lake you just finished playing around sits the par-3 17th. It’s a touch of TPC Sawgrass in Arizona; a 145-yard carry to a true island green that requires a high, soft, precise yardage tee shot. The putting surface is generous from front to back, and plenty wide as well; it just doesn’t look like it when you’re over the shot. Trust it’s big enough, remember to breathe and play away – as many times as it takes.
The 18th is a thrilling, risk-reward 5-par playing at a tempting 520 yards. You must thread an accurate tee shot between fairway bunkers short-right and long-left. For your second shot, your choice is whether to lay-up short of the water, or try to clear a lake that wraps around the left side of the green. Birdies are abundant here, although 7s are carded just as frequently.
Seville Golf and Country Club offers golf and non-golf memberships and has a wide range of amenities available to its members, including tennis, a fitness center, spa and swimming pools. Seville also offers fine dining at Bolero’s Restaurant and lighter fare at Tapa’s Bar, both of which are open to the public. Seville is affiliated with the Club Corp. Network; members receive preferred access and discount pricing at more than 150 private clubs around the country.
Every so often the essence of an epic golf course style from a by-gone era is captured, nurtured and kept fresh so players can turn back the clock and enjoy it all over again.
Orange Tree Golf Club has preserved one of Arizona’s grand parkland-style golf courses and elevated the classic layout by adding today’s modern conveniences. And under the watchful eye of Shelby Futch and his Scottsdale Golf Group, you can be sure Orange Tree will continue to flourish far into the future.
The course is the product of a grand age of golf course design in Phoenix from one of professional golf’s early ambassadors. Designed by Arizona golf legend Johnny Bulla, Orange Tree was originally called Century Country Club and opened in 1957 near the edge of town, on the site of a former orange grove at 56th Street and Shea Boulevard. It’s surrounded by residences now, as the city’s grown a bit since Dwight left the White House.
Bulla traveled and played the tour with his close friend, Sam Snead, and after placing third on the money list in 1941, moved to in Arizona in 1946. Bulla had 16 professional wins and finished, with Lloyd Mangrum, T-2 behind Snead at the ’49 Masters, the first year a green jacket was awarded to the tournament champion at Augusta National.
Bulla still holds the course record, 61, at Phoenix’s local Papago Municipal layout and legend holds he accomplished the feat twice, once playing right-handed and a second time playing from the left side – only the first score made the newspaper.
But long before designers were saddled with government imposed water-restriction mandates and golf course developers tossed around terms like “signature holes” and built $1 million dollar waterfalls, Phoenix golf courses of this era promised players a wall-to-wall lush, green respite from the surrounding arid desert environment.
The allure of a green all-turf oasis wasn’t a mirage on the horizon, but rather, defined the high-design style of the time and Bulla’s layout followed suit, as did an update by Lawrence Hughes some 20 years later.
A visit to Orange Tree Golf Club is a refreshing walk-in-the-park day playing a traditional all-turf Bermuda grass golf course on wide and shady tree-lined fairways. Camelback and Mummy Mountain backdrops on several holes, together with accents of tropical foliage, water features and swaying palm trees produces an overall desert-oasis ambiance throughout the day.
Orange Tree Golf Club tips out at 6,775 yards, common for courses of this era, and plays to a rating of 70.7, slope 121. Several tee combinations are in play, the most forward are set at 5,704 yards. But be advised, the challenge is not about length at Orange Tree, it’s about controlling your golf ball.
You see, those same stately shade trees which produce the pleasant ambiance at Orange Tree also define the line of play. If you plan to grip it and rip it here, you must be able to shape your tee ball at-will, both to the right and to the left. Launch it on the wrong line and you’ll either catch a tree at lift-off, end up raking one of several strategically placed fairway bunkers, or be stymied by trees when your tee ball comes to rest.
Second shots at Orange Tree must be precise; these are not today’s subdivision-size greens. Orange Tree’s green complexes remain true to their heritage; smallish, well-bunkered and modestly elevated for drainage. The predominate slope in the surface, as expected, is down from back to front so they’re highly receptive to your second shot. However, within their modest confines they provide plenty of opposing-undulation in various tiers which can present you with a 12-footer that asks for a full foot of break. They’re Bermuda too, so pay attention to the grain and make your opponent for the day putt the short ones.
The front-9 plays the shorter of the two and finishes with a traditional 3-hole stretch. No. 7 is pure 3-par golf; 216-yard straight away all-turf carry, bunker front right and back left, elevated green pitched toward you glistening in the sunshine, shady tee box; it’s a great setting to just relax and hit a proper golf shot.
No. 8 defines 4-pars of the era; 414 yards bending right to left around bunkers in the left-hand side of the fairway landing area. The second shot must find a rather narrow green that’s plenty deep but angling away from you, front-right to back-left. The narrow green is protected by a bunker front right and the first water hazard of the day, artfully tucked along the left side of the green; it produces a visually inviting and nerve-testing stage for a well executed second shot.
The par-4 9th is all about strategy, your choices and your execution. It’s only 376 yards and there’s not a fairway bunker in sight, but water shimmers in the distance. It’s reachable from the tee and extends up the right side of the left-to-right sweeping fairway to guard the entire right side of the green. Successfully challenge the water with a driver and you’re left with a gap-wedge approach, the lake is just pretty window-dressing for your enjoyment. Play short of the water off the tee and now your second must carry the lake to reach the green – Your choice.
The back-9 is a bit longer and offers similar strategic choices as water features threaten four holes. At the 408-yard par-4 11th the water protects the front right side of the green. It’s hidden from view if you’re well back in the fairway so before you play your second, take a quick moment to go up and have a look, you’ll be glad you did.
Water lurks short and to the left of the green at the par-3 12th and another lake must be carried with your tee ball at the par-5 13th. On one hand, it takes a fairly significant misfire to find these two hazards, but on the other hand, this is golf and such things do happen from time to time.
The 403-yard par-4 18th at Orange Tree is a strong finisher and one of the best tests of the day. The left-half of the tree-lined fairway ends at a lake approximately 265-yards from the tee, the right-half continues unimpeded to the green, producing a peninsula-style green-complex wrapped by water front, left and rear.
If you choose to play “long ball” off the tee you must fit your drive in the right-half of the fairway and clear of the trees lining that side of the landing area; a short-iron second is your reward. Lay back, to avoid the threat of water on your drive, and you’re left with a much more demanding mid-iron to the modest-sized green surrounded on three sides by a whole lot of water. Many unblemished scorecards are irrevocably scarred right here, so close, yet so far from posting an attractive total.
Orange Tree is a complete test for the highly skilled, supremely playable for all and a genuine chance to savor the grand style of golf course design in Phoenix from days gone by. These are artful golf holes that appear harmless at first look. Upon closer inspection you’ll find that precise lines of play and carefully controlled yardages are required to score well, proving once again that, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Arizona Golf Authority “Local Hang” for Orange Tree includes the expansive patio at the club’s Grove Grille and Lounge, as well as Z-Tejas, at the northeast corner of Shea Boulevard and 32nd Street, and Ernie’s Inn, located in the retail complex on the southeast corner of Shea Boulevard and Scottsdale Road.