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So much wasted potential.... still a good value

Played here last Friday at 2:30 POP 3:30

This is a coworkers local track and he convinced me to come out. I had read that this was actually a good layout but kind of a dog track and was down to play. My thoughts are a course depends on the value. We played for $18 with a cart so from a value standpoint this is a good value. The current condition is sh-t . There's patchy crab grass everywhere. You will even get a wicked lie just off the green with the ball resting under a patch of crab grass sprout. The greens were recovering from a punch so they were trash. The course is your basic municipal dog track condition wise. It is the middle of summer so can't blame them. There is actually thick rough which is a welcome relief here in the desert. Very hard to come by.

However, the layout is actually amazing. The bones of this course are oozing with potential. It is an Arnold Palmer course and it shows. The tips are over 7,000 yards which shocked me (I was expecting a short 6,600 muni) It feels like a palm springs course. It winds through a housing track with great mountain vistas, which doesn't make you feel you are boxed in by the homes. There are palm trees and water hazards galore. The course has mature trees and top notch dog leg risk rewards holes. The bunkers are hard packed dirt but you can tell they are beautifully designed. If they put money into this course It could perfectly fit into PGA West rotation.

The layout here is that good. The condition not so much. I will play here again as the value and layout are top notch. It is almost like dating a girl with a bad haircut and goofy glass but lots of potential. You get a good value and get to imagine what this course could be in top shape.
8 Likes.
Played here twilight last night at 4:30. POP 2:15

The course reopened from it's maintenance. I can't say enough how much I love this course. It is definitely my home course. I know TPC Scottsdale is a love/hate course but don't allow the champions to fall into that category. It's a sweet track. Very fun to play. It's the perfect balance of fun and challenging in my opinion, blacks are a 137 slope.

I think in probably 2 weeks it will be in awesome condition. Some of the sod is still settling in and there are some bare spots on a few areas but it is dramatically better than it was before the maintenance. The greens are nice. Firm medium/fast and rolling. Once they dry out and heal a little more they will be the firm glass I love. The bunkers here are epic as always. TPC top class crushed quartz/granite perfection with perfect lips. I almost enjoy hitting into them because you get to blast bunker shots out of the powder like the pros and spin it close.

One sad not is they have added a 7 o'clock curfew :( Doesn't affect many, but I loved coming here late when it cooled off and play til dark but I do understand the economics of things.
11 Likes.
Played here Sunday at 2. POP was slow..

In my quest to play every full size course in Phoenix / Scottsdale I wasn't in the mood for a long drive and decided to cross the Talking Piipaash (South) course off the list. From what I've read the north course is a hidden Coore / Crenshaw gem but it's been closed for repair.

Actually this course is in good shape. From tee box to fairway I agree with tklabunde, it is probably one of the better condition courses in PHX right now. That being said it appeared the greens were almost recovered from being raked recently. They didn't roll bad, but were dried out and slow and rather uneventful. The course is definitely on the bland side. The holes have some nice elements but are mostly straight forward, wide fairways little trouble. I did enjoy the one dogleg par 4 water hole 11th I believe? Otherwise it's like a nice muni. For a novice to average golfer it would be a fun day with friends if you aren't a die hard golfer. It was hot out 115 and there wasn't a starter so groups of 2 just kept rolling out. The two some in front of me was terrible and didn't let us play through until the 10th. We then ran into a logjam a hole later. In 115 degree heat waiting is not something I want to do ever. The guy I was paired with was terrible and it was hot and slow and I decided to call it a day.

It's a decent course but definitely not a destination you want to make a trip for.
9 Likes.
Played here last night at 4:00.

To give the course a fair shake it appears the course has seen some effects from the recent monsoons.

The greens are surprisingly soft this time of year. Most likely from all the recent rain. They were rolling a medium to medium fast. However the greens have seen a lot of play. They have been pelted. The front nine greens are the worst. They are beat up with ball marks. At first I thought it was because people weren't repairing their ball marks but then as the round progressed I noticed almost every pitch was leaving a divot and they were very difficult to repair due to the soft moist greens. Only this half is open and coupled with the monsoon softness the greens are heavily devoted.

The bunkers are superb here, consistent high quality. Not fluffy but very evenly maintained. The tee boxes are moderately worn too. They were lumpy and have the divots of a lot of plays. Some uneven tees but nothing dramatic. Fairways were lush because of the rain but there were lots of damaged areas. Fairways are a little beat up. Lots of residiual brown areas from when it was dried out before the rain. Also it appears they dug holes and added additional drains in low area of some fairways to help it drain so there is some damage from those.

Fortunately most of the damaged, heavily played holes were in the front half of the opening nine. Once you made the turn, and especially once you climbed to the mountain holes it gets pure. The bermuda has grown in nicely in the shaded holes and fairways were lush on those holes.

I can see why people either love or hate this course. Although I disagree with those who hate it. This course is desert golf that embraces the extreme. The monument rock in the middle of the fairway is sweet. The lava rocks sprinkled in the approaches is an awesome visual effect. The opening 9 is nothing too special past the first 3 holes but once it makes the turn uphill on the back nine this course is absolutely spectacular. The 12th, 14th and 15th holes are world class amazing holes. The 15th is absolutely stupid beautiful and amazing with it's views.

I do agree 18th could use a little more substance as it's quite easy. But I personally love the minimilistic finish. It's the perfect complement to the first. The first hole is on the ridiculous side and makes you nervous about what you are about to embark on, then the 18th is an easy landing back to reality after the breathtaking finish to this course.

It's the adult big brother to the Boulders in my opinion. The greens aren't overly difficult. The course isn't too tight and the approaches aren't overly demanding. You have to play this course in control and strategic and can't go driver every hole. The course isn't too long and the short par 4's balance out the two long 470+ plus ones which are quite demanding.

This is far and away the best course I've played out here and it is a must play to any golfer. I think it's a spectacular display of golf course design and ingenuity.

This is a course I will pay to play during winter to see it in mint condition as it would be worth the winter rates.
10 Likes.
I had a great time playing here at the GK Plays Laughlin. I'm glad they were able to bring an event here because Laughlin is on the cusp of being a great golf destination with a little help.

I love this course. It's spectacular, challenging, while always being fair. The views, elevation changes, and unique holes are second to none. I did get a little spoiled as the conditions were immaculate last time I played.

It wasn't necessarily the staffs fault but I can't help and admit I left unsatisfied because the course was a near miss to being close to perfect again.

Due to being unable to mow after the monsoon the greens were awfully slow. Even my hacker playing partners were leaving putts significantly short. They were in good condition just painfully slow.

Also a lot of the bunkers were under repair or maybe being let go to make the course a little more playable. It was odd to look at but makes sense to do this during the summer heat.
Also extensive rocks in the bunkers need to be raked.

Great course, staff, conditions, but the slow greens took a lot of the excitement out of the round. Can't wait to come back and play it when the greens are fast.
8 Likes.
Played here Saturday morning with the Greenskeeper OG's. JohnnyGK live and direct, Kevbig, and mpisarski01. Big shout out to Kev for hooking up the hometown discount, and Johnny for making the drive much appreciated.

I don't need to rehash all that was said below as they are spot on. It's a beautiful course. Great views and water elements, as well as forced carries over ravines. Every hole was different and it felt like many different types of courses blended into one with a wide variety of holes. The views of the reflection along the water are one of a kind.

It was a shame it was so unbearably humid at the end because it took a lot of the enjoyment away but the course is one of a kind. Only minor nitpicking was the shaggy greens but you can't win them all.

Course' layout isn't too difficult but I rarely had a flat approach which led to the difficultly and emphasis on shot making and ball striking here.

Great time with good people and a great course.
8 Likes.
Played here Thursday afternoon following the monsoon. They sent me on the front 9 north front 9 south rotation. I really enjoyed this rotation as the south front 9 is the signature 9 and the north 9 is better than the south back 9.

The course drained well. Fairways were much lusher. Still brown patches and yellow areas but grass was much softer due to the rains. Greens were great. Softer and lush. Rolling medium. I believe these are some of the best greens to be had in the city currently.

Bunkers were wet and hard to be expected.

The humidity made it hot towards the end but a great round. Always love playing here.
9 Likes.
I played here this morning (Sunday) at 9 AM. (Saguaro side)

I have to say I was even more let down here than when I played Grayhawk. (Grayhawk was in bad shape but has an awesome layout) I don't want to sound jaded or a snooty Scottsdale golfer but this course was just meh to me. **Asterisk the greens were bumpy and I drove the ball terribly so I know that has a large impact on your enjoyment of a course** Golfweek has this course rated as the highest in the Phoenix area and I had really high hopes but it fell flat to me.

The course was just odd to me. It's a Coore Crenshaw course so it's a Scottish links style course in the desert but it just didn't do it for me at all. I can only remember 1 hole. The split level par 5 on the back nine was cool but nothing too unique. Otherwise the course was very straightforward. I'm a bunker guy and maybe that is where the disconnect was. There are almost no bunkers on this course except the par 3's And the bunkers that are here are tiny little links style pot bunkers with no lips or sides. They have very little sand and were hard packed like CA bunkers. There were a lot of drivable par 4's (4 maybe) but there were no large bunkers protecting them so it was odd. The par 4's were just straight away, few fairway bunkers, minor doglegs. The views were okay but you are far from the mountains so there are no dramatic cliff faces. The greens did not have much undulation for a desert course and were large and kind of boring.

I will give them a little leeway because today is the last day this course is open before aerification, but the greens were trash. They were a little shaggy medium speed, and there were lots of dead spots which are fine. But because they weren't mowed short the ball hopped and took weird angles off the recessed dead spots. Putting was not enjoyable. Almost none of the greens were raised so you couldn't see where your ball landed on an approach. The fairways were in better shape than most out here and there was actually rough which is unique for the desert. Maybe this design was a miss for me and other like it, but this course was bland and didn't do it for me at all. There was no artistic element to any of the holes or sight lines from the tees.

To each their own but a minimalist semi narrow desert links course with tiny bunkers just didn't do it for me.
13 Likes.
Played here Saturday at 3:15. POP 3 hours.

I was looking for a course in better shape as most are going through their transition.

The Faldo side is in the best shape of any course I've played in the last 2 weeks. I love Faldo courses. They usually aren't the most scenic but are a blast to play. He also has a flare to his bunker lips which adds extra challenge, and the Wildfire did not disappoint in this regard. This course is similar to Shadow Ridge in Palm Springs but is much more scenic, less resorty and fits in more with the native desert features.

The fairways are good. There are yellow/brown patches but on the light side. Good coverage for the most part. The greens are a little dried out but are in great shape and rolled very well. I was banging putts all over the green. Bunkers are in great shape, great soft sand quality. Tee boxes are good. Very level a little thin but not bad divot damage. Green side turf was very good giving plenty of grass to get the ball up vs hard packed lies found elsewhere.

The course is straight forward. What you see is what you get and not very tough if you avoid the bunkers (The course' main defense) I avoided all bunkers on the front and shot 1 under while hit damn near every one on the back for a 9 over. This is the Marriot course and it is a little resorty with wider fairways and holes lining up against each other but it is not a bad resorty feel with bumper fairway edges like Kierland. Avoid the bunkers and it is pleasant driver wedge golf. Get in the bunkers are you have to be adept at getting the ball up high as there are some serious hacker devouring lips. The greens are good sized and not very undulating so scoring and birdies are to be had here.

Its a pleasant playable course, in good shape with bunkers galore. I enjoyed the links desert feel the numerous bunkers provided and this is a great course to have a few drinks and play with friends.
7 Likes.
Played here last Saturday on a buddies trip to Tucson.

I've played here before and this course is definitely on my top 20 all time favorite course. I absolutely love this course and it is a blast to play. It is inside a nature preserve so the wildlife and backdrop is second to none. It starts out in a neighborhood but then swing way out into the reserve. Every single hole here is different and unique from any holes you will play anywhere. There is not one straightaway basic hole. Huge elevation changes, forced carries on approaches, super elevated greens. Massive bunker complexes, risk reward holes you name it. The opening 2 par three feature massive elevation drops and are fun holes to play.

Currently they had done maintenance and the course was kind of a train wreck. The fairways are plain awful and you have to play winter rules. The first few greens are terrible and difficult to putt on. They do get better later on though. Lots of dirt surrounding the greens. We did play for $12 and I had an absolute blast playing here as I always do. But the course is in bad to awful shape at the moment.
7 Likes.
Played The South here Friday at twilight with a coworker POP 3 hours.

Wow this course is stunning. By far my favorite and most visually stunning course I have played out here in Phoenix/Scottsdale. The opening hole is absolutely stunning.

Greens were close to immaculate and rolling pure. No severe undulations and greens seemed like slow medium/fast. With them rolling you can be aggressive with your putts as they roll true. Bunkers were in outstanding shape. Tee boxes are level but dried out and a little beaten up on the par threes. Fairways are going through the summer transition to bermuda, but only in patches and area. Not nearly as bad as the other courses in the area. And really the only thing holding the course back currently from being immaculate.

The course isn't too challenging if you can drive it straight. Not overly tight and the greens aren't elevated tortoise shells and are quite receptive to irons. You can easily score well here.

The opening 6 holes here are out of a magazine / video game. It is everything and more you would hope desert golf would be. The backdrops of the boulders behind the greens are unbelievable. Absolute must play. The tee shot from the tips on 6th is literally off of a boulder with a big elevation drop. You do get spoiled as from the 7th to 13th hole the holes are rather standard desert holes. 14 is an awesome par 5. Then back to back par 3's not my favorite. The finish here is brutal. The tee shots from the blacks on 16 and 17 are a little nutty. 16 is a 225 yd blind shot over a tree where you can see just the right edge of the green. 17 has a house and tree cutting off the right side of tee boxes making the tee shot on this 460 quite intimidating. The forced carry to the small recessed green complex is the most beautiful on the course. An intimidating, difficult and amazing hole. 18 is a difficult hole too into a tiny green protected by water to the right.

Must play and you will want to pinch yourself after the first hole as the views and stacked boulders behind the greens are spectacular.
7 Likes.
Played here yesterday at 4:24. Didn't run into another group until the 15th.

Lots of good and lots of bad with the course right now. I can definitely see why this is such a well regarded course. The staff and service was impeccable to start. I played the Raptor side which is the Fazio and more prestigious side. Talon the other side is closed for maintenance. It was supposed to be opened already but apparently they have been having some issues. The cart guy mentioned the Raptor side was supposed to begin maintenance but it has been pushed out a minimum of two weeks waiting for the work to be done on the other side. Unfortunately they haven't waited to begin repairing some of the bunkers. They still charged me full summer price but the bunker on the first hole (In my opinion maybe the best site view of the course) it completely torn apart installing new drains. Several other bunkers are under full repair too. The fairways have been let go to prep the summer grass switch. Not as bad as other courses but I'm sure not what you or I would expect when playing Grayhawk. Lots of brown dead circles surround the greens too. Greens are in good shape. Not too firm and rolling fast but fair. Although they are a little patchy with fungus area and not the carpet one would expect. No bumps and putted well though. The course is beat up right now to be honest in prep of maintenance. (Being a little harsh but this is a world class course and charges more than surrounding courses right now)

Aside from the conditions I can see why this is such a popular course. Currently in golf there is a balance a course must maintain from blending in naturally with the native terrain as well as adding beautiful course design. Fazio absolutely nailed it at this course. This is a true desert course but not over the top like a video game course. The desert elements blend perfectly and his bunkers are spectacular as well. The sand is second to none perfection. The course layout is not overly difficult. No forced carries, no over the top bunker complexes, overly narrow fairways, or blind tee shots. It's a what you see is what you get course with ample fairway space for a desert track. What makes this course difficult is the cut and slopes of the greens. I know understand why the pros complain about penalized for a good shot. Many holes here you will hit a wedge at the pin only to watch it catch a slope and roll off the green. I was penalized on many good shots. The fringe is cut pro short and the balls will spin off the front or roll of the side leaving a short sided approach. The greens aren't unfairly fast but will not stop on a slope making proper approach location a must. Hole 18 and hole 8 are gorgeous holes.

This is most likely a spectacular course in winter conditions and a world class design.
7 Likes.
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