Categories
Central Arizona Sun City

Sun City North Golf Course

Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Arizona Golf Course Buzz: Sun City North is one of the oldest golf courses of the 8 golf facilities managed by Recreation Centers of Sun City, Inc. The RCSC is the private, non-profit corporation that owns and operates approximately $80 million of recreational facilities in the Sun City retirement community northwest of Phoenix.

Designed by Del Webb Corp., the course opened in 1960 and is known as a player-friendly design with relatively flat terrain, large trees and numerous dogleg holes, with two lakes bringing water into play on four holes. There are three sets of tees at 6,451, 6,154 and 5,625 yards, with a rating of 69.5 and slope of 117 from the back tees, which means there are plenty of birdies to be taken on the par-72 layout.

The challenge starts early because the second hole, a 422-yard par-4, is the No. 1 handicap hole. The course also ends strong with a par-5 at 573 yards that is the longest hole on the course and features a sweeping dogleg-left and a green heavily guarded by bunkers on three sides.

Among the highlights in between is the 12th hole, a testy little par-3 that some consider the signature hole. It plays at 170 yards and requires a tee shot over a small lake with a large bunker guarding the left side of the green.

That same lake comes into play on the 13th hole, a 523-yard par-5, rated the No. 2 handicap hole on the golf course.

Another lake comes into play on the eighth, a 406-yard par-4 with bunkers squeezing both sides of the green, and the ninth, a 368-yard par-4 dogleg-right.

Par-3 holes offer a nice variety, ranging from 143 to 210 yards. The course has a driving range, putting green and chipping area and a snack shop that serves breakfast and lunch items.

Sun City celebrated its 50th birthday in 2010 and continues going strong as one of the country’s foremost retirement communities. A large part of that success is RCSC, which operates seven recreational centers, eight golf courses with five snack shops, two bowling centers, two full-service restaurants and one amphitheater (Sun Bowl).

The five regulation and three executive golf courses span 1,100 acres and are within six miles of each other. North is a semi-private course that is open to public play but Sun City residents receive preferred tee times and rates, which are among the lowest in the metro Phoenix area.

Visit the complete Arizona Golf Authority Golf Course Directory to read the Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Golf Course Buzz about every golf course in the State of Arizona at http://s167282.gridserver.com/coursedirectory/

Here are the direct links to each of Sun City’s 8 golf courses, enjoy:

Championship Golf Courses

Sun City Lakes – West Golf Course: http://s167282.gridserver.com/coursedirectory/

Sun City North Golf Course: http://s167282.gridserver.com/coursedirectory/

Sun City Riverview Golf Course: http://s167282.gridserver.com/coursedirectory/

Sun City South Golf Course: http://s167282.gridserver.com/coursedirectory/

Sun City Willowcreek Golf Course: http://s167282.gridserver.com/coursedirectory/

Executive Golf Courses

Sun City Lakes – East Golf Course: http://s167282.gridserver.com/coursedirectory/

Sun City Quail Run Golf Course: http://s167282.gridserver.com/coursedirectory/

Sun City Willowbrook Golf Course: http://s167282.gridserver.com/coursedirectory/

Categories
Flagstaff Northern Arizona

Forest Highlands – Canyon Course

Forest Highlands Golf Club - No. 9

Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Buzz: There’s a good reason national magazines rank Forest Highlands’ Canyon Course as one of the best courses in Arizona every year. When it comes to top quality golf, it simply doesn’t get any better than the Canyon Course – and the club’s other course, Meadow, is northern Arizona ponderosa pine forest perfection as well.

The Canyon Course, designed by then-partners Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, was created in 1988 as part of a 1,100-acre enclave in the midst of majestic pine trees and groves of matures oaks and aspens in the cool forests of northern Arizona at 7,200-feet of elevation. As beautiful and serene as the Canyon’s setting is, it presented something of a design challenge, with Morrish fearing that the topography lent itself to too many driver-and-wedge par-4 holes, so he and Weiskopf folded, spindled and mutilated the lineup card and produced a revolutionary new batting order.

Far from the norm, they created a unique combination of six par-3 holes, five par-5s and seven par-4s; the back nine has three of each. The routing works so well that many golfers don’t notice that every other hole between the fourth and 14th is a par-3.

That all translates to a par-71 challenge, with four sets of tees at 7,007, 6,647, 6,225 and 5,004 yards. From the tips, it is rated at an over-par 72.6 with a stern slope of 139.

This course has hosted the U.S. Mid-Amateur and Junior Amateur, Canon Cup and numerous other USGA and Arizona Golf Association events.

Forest Highlands Golf Club - No. 4

Gorgeous canyon vistas, free-flowing streams and upwardly sweeping walls of Ponderosa pines frame the layout that is loaded with memorable holes, including the par-3 fourth, considered the signature hole, which plays across a lake at 182 yards with a second smaller pond, up at green level, guarding the front-left side of the green; the waterfall tells you it’s there. Two pine trees pinch access from the front-right of the green so the baby-draw the hole sets up for must be precisely flighted.

Our vote is cast for the ninth, though. The par-4 plays at 466 yards, starting on a wildflower-covered hillside, with a tee shot that hangs in the air for several seconds before landing in a low-lying meadow defined by a mountainside brook, which bisects the fairway near the landing area and spills into a pond along the right side of the green, part of a large green complex shared with the eighteenth. Your approach shot must carry the pond to the elevated green; bunkers right and left look appealing when compared to “short, in the pond”. Tricky green, stunning setting; fun golf hole.

Another standout par-3 is the 165-yard 14th, which offers no option except an accurate, full-carry over a lake protecting the front and complete right side of a deep, but quite narrow, green. Once on the dance floor, you will find an undulating putting surface that mimics the surface of an angry body of water, captured and reproduced in bent grass; you won’t find a flat putt here.

When it opened for play in 1988, the Canyon Course was ranked in second position by Golf Digest on their list of the best new golf courses in the country, just behind Shadow Glen in Kansas City, which also was also designed by Weiskopf and Morrish. That layout has faded from the rankings while Forest Highlands’ Canyon Course has stood the test of time.

Snagging a tee time is the tough part because this is an exclusive, equity club. Membership to both courses comes with property ownership, although in recent years, Forest Highlands has sold a limited number of “special memberships.” Each course has its own clubhouse and championship caliber practice facilities. The Canyon clubhouse presents an elegant, traditional look and serves as the gated community’s social center with fine dining, a lounge, locker rooms and administrative offices.

Read the Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Buzz for Forest Highlands’ Meadow Course.

Categories
Southern Arizona Yuma

Yuma Country Club

Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Golf Course Buzz: Founded in 1950 with 246 charter members, Yuma Country Club remains the only member-owned private golf and country club in Yuma County. It’s a walkable, park-style course designed by the father-son team of William P. and William F. Bell, the “first family of golf course design” in California whose portfolio includes U.S. Open site Torrey Pines in San Diego, Riviera Country Club and L.A. Country Club’s North Course as well.

The younger Bell was known for his trademark laced-edged bunkers which he located with shot strategy and player temptation in mind. His artful hand is evident here, where he’s combined them with the elevated, undulating greens he preferred.

The fairways are a bit on the narrow side and lined with plenty of mature trees; four lakes bring water into play on six holes. Yuma Country Club offers four sets of tees at 6,810, 6,525, 6,254 and 5,902 yards, with a rating of 72.2 and slope of 124 from the tips.

The par-4 10th is the signature hole and it’s a textbook example of the understated Bell Sr. design style. Although it plays at just 385 yards from the back tee and there’s not a fairway bunker in sight, it rates on the card as the No. 2 handicap hole. Accuracy and yardage control are the keys to unlocking the Bell family style and they’re your only hope here.

The gentle dogleg left requires accurate placement of the tee ball in the right side of the fairway. Water threatens the last 140 yards of the fairway over there, and a tributary crosses the fairway, about 40 yards short of the green. You’ll also match wits with a large willow tree standing guard at the water’s edge that always seems to be in the way of your approach shot. The modest green is bunkered in front, left and right, and subtle undulations run throughout the putting surface.

The 18th presents a strong par-4 finishing test playing 405 yards. This sweeping dogleg left has out of bounds left and water right of the fairway. A lone bunker threatens the right side of the landing area and gets a lot more activity than it seems it should. You’ll find a very narrow opening between front bunkers to the small undulating green beyond. Solidly struck, precise yardage shots are rewarded here, once again.

Several memberships, both golf and non-golf, are offered, including seasonal memberships; prospective applicants require three sponsoring members. Practice facilities and instruction are first rate. The club also offers tennis, swimming and fitness facilities and several dining options, including the casual Saguaro and Ocotillo rooms and the upscale Agave Grill.

Read the Arizona Golf Course List AZGA Player’s Arizona Golf Course Review for every golf course in Arizona at www.arizonagolfauthority.com/coursedirectory.

It’s “All Things Arizona Golf” from the Arizona Golf Authority.

Categories
Central Arizona Sun City

Willowcreek Golf Course – Sun City

Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Arizona Golf Course Buzz: Willowcreek is one of the most popular layouts among the eight courses, five championship and three executives, that comprise the Recreation Centers of Sun City’s golf stable. Built in 1973 and designed by well-known architects George and Tom Fazio, Willowcreek is known for its great conditioning and undulating fairways that can produce some tricky lies. The layout’s five lakes bring water into play on nine, that’s right, 9 of the 18 holes.

The course is laid out so that most of the holes run parallel to each other, with an out-and-back loop configuration on both nines. So as long as you spray in the proper direction, you’ll have a chance to visit with other groups playing the course.

The relatively flat terrain and traditional design make the course walkable, as is its little sister, Willowbrook, an 18-hole executive course located on the same property.

In 2011, the property underwent a $700,000 improvement project to the bunkers, tees and driving range, which was overseen by Gary Brawley of Tripp Davis and Associates. Three sets of tees are now in play at 6,366, 6,040 and 5,551 yards, with a rating of 69.4 and slope of 119 from the back tees; level par is 72.

Plenty of birdie opportunities are available, but the water hazards and mature trees require careful attention to score well on this seemingly docile layout. The back nine is the most interesting of the two nines and the last six holes providing a fun but tough stretch; standouts are the water-threatened 14th and 15th.

The 14th is a drivable par-4; bunkers and a lake to the right of the fairway create a risk-reward scenario here for those who have a go. The lake must then be carried off the tee at the 15th, a 181-yard par-3 featuring an undulating green that produces a lot of 3-putts.

Willowcreek shares a fine driving range and putting green with little sister Willowbrook. The clubhouse is a full-service facility and provides standard fare. Public play is encouraged, but RCSC members receive preferred rates and tee times.

Read the Arizona Golf Course List AZGA Player’s Arizona Golf Course Review for every golf course in Arizona at www.arizonagolfauthority.com/coursedirectory.

It’s “All Things Arizona Golf” from the Arizona Golf Authority.

Categories
Central Arizona Sun City

Willowbrook Golf Course – Sun City

Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Golf Course Review: The Willowbrook executive golf course is part of the Sun City, Arizona complex that also offers the regulation-length Willowcreek golf course. Both courses were designed by the highly regarded father-son duo of George and Tom Fazio and they are two of the more popular layouts in Sun City’s RCSC stable of eight golf courses, three of which are executives.

The facility spent $700,000 in 2011 updating the two courses, their shared driving range and clubhouse. Willowbrook has two sets of tees at 3,800 yards with a rating of 57.8 and slope of 84, and 3,414 yards with a rating of 58.1 and slope of 89.

Willowbrook offers six par-4 holes and three par-3s on each nine. The 10th and 12th holes are the longest at 340 and 339 yards, but the front is longer overall and definitely the more interesting of the two. That’s because of a lake that brings water into play on three holes in a four-hole stretch.

The watery challenge begins at No. 3 with a 184-yard par 3 that has large bunkers guarding both sides of the green. The respite is No. 4, but it stretches 225 yards and is the longest par-3 on the course.

The water reappears at the 5th, a 306-yard par-4 that doglegs right, around the lake. At the sixth hole, a 112-yard par-3, the tee shot must carry the lake hold a putting surface surrounded by three large bunkers.

Willowbrook shares its complete driving range and practice putting green, along with a full-service snack bar that serves breakfast and lunch with its little sister, the Willowcreek course.

Read the Arizona Golf Course List AZGA Player’s Arizona Golf Course Review for every golf course in Arizona at www.arizonagolfauthority.com/coursedirectory.

It’s “All Things Arizona Golf” from the Arizona Golf Authority.