chilipalmer99's Golf Statistics
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Last Updated: May 23, 2013
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chilipalmer99's Golf Course Reviews
Played on Father's Day 6/16 with a large group of friends. 105* temp, no wind. Played from the Blue/Black combo tees (68.1/131).
Gold Canyon G... » More
Played on Father's Day 6/16 with a large group of friends. 105* temp, no wind. Played from the Blue/Black combo tees (68.1/131).
Gold Canyon Golf Resort has two courses here: the Dinosaur course and Sidewinder course. Sidewinder is the easier of the two; Dinosaur is definitely a challenging resort-style course. There are about 90 pictures taken by GK'ers for this course; as appreciated as they are, the pix simply do not do this course justice. Some of the most breath-taking holes you'll see anywhere, and with the numerous elevation changes, you'll get plenty of opportunity to view the surrounding mountains and vistas.
There are forced desert carries on virtually every hole. Some are longer than others, some are from raised tee boxes, but if you can't drive it relatively straight and get it in the air, then play Sidewinder. One of the weaker foursomes in our group lost 60 balls yesterday (I had predicted 50, so this wasn't a surprise, but it underscores the need to have some type of game to play here). As it is a resort course, there are some generous fairway landing areas, criss-crossed with both sand and grass bunkers throughout. I found many of those sand traps, and all were playable, with good sand throughout, both from the fairway and around the greens.
Water only comes into play on your 2nd/3rd shots on hole #9. The course has some tricks up its sleeve: on the Par 5 3rd, if you do not hit the ball onto the highest tier, it WILL roll off, period (think Retief Goosen at the US Open years ago). There is a terrific risk/reward shot on #15, with two fairways to choose from: left, over the mountain to a blind landing area where the desert comes into play but is much closer to the hole, or right, to a large landing area and a long iron into the hole. (I choose left, hit a great drive, and ended up 20 yards short on a 364 yard hole.)
Conditions: Tee boxes were phenomenal, even on the Par 3s. The fairways and light rough were as green you'd hope for expect, though a bit overwatered in spots. As mentioned, bunkers were top notch. The greens were exceptionally fast and had some tough breaks in them. They held some shots into them, but more often than not, seemed to be a bit penal with their roll. The course has a snack shop located after the 5th hole (and you come back to it again before #11, which also has a restroom, but there is no cold water found anywhere else on the course. Really no excuse for that on a resort course located in the Sonoran Desert. Cart girl came by multiple times on the front and back, drinks reasonably priced.
Perhaps my biggest disappointment were the facilities and the customer service. It's not like I paid $12 for a GN reservation in the afternoon; we paid rack rate for a premium Sunday morning tee time and I expect concomitant service, especially from a place that bills itself as a resort. When I arrived before 7am, there were 3 staffers hanging out in the bag drop area; all three either ignored me or just stared me down as I carried my bag, then one of them just waved over to where our carts were, and made no effort to take my bag from me or help me in any way. When I checked in and paid, I was told we couldn't hit practice balls yet because they were still in the process of fertilizing the driving range. One dude in a Gator, spraying green lines on the entire range every 10 yards or so like some Trekkie Tholian Web nightmare. Seriously? Why are you fertilizing at that time, on a Sunday, as opposed to waiting until Monday when there'll be like 12 people playing after 10am? Finally got to hit balls when "members" were given their bags of balls and the rest of us were ready to riot. Driving range has about 15 stations (it services both courses) and you hit off mats, though it appears that members would hit off grass from time to time. The practice putting green was small and bumpy and had no holes cut out, so you were aiming at little white sticks instead. The carts were electric and had a cooler provided, though they were definitely miserly with the ice and it was already half melted by 730am. After the round, the service in the restaurant was much better than the service outside, but the burger I had was dry and the lemonade tasted like they used non-potable water to make it.
POP was over 4.25 hours, even though we were just the third group out. The group ahead of us was lagging by the second hole, given a warning by the course marshal, and even skipped one of the Par 3s, but they still could not keep up with the first group and held us up on nearly every shot. To sum up, the course is phenomenal, the conditions are superior, but the customer service is lagging far, far behind the facility itself.
Wednesday, 6/12: A lovely 108* day for golf. First time I'd returned to Raven since the ownership change (the new owners have kept the prices higher t... » More
Wednesday, 6/12: A lovely 108* day for golf. First time I'd returned to Raven since the ownership change (the new owners have kept the prices higher than the previous ones, and it was not until recently that prices dropped under $30 for a round). Course is still an oasis in the middle of Phoenix, with more trees per capita than perhaps any other course in the Valley.
Facilities are still in great shape: driving range, practice greens, practice bunker and chipping area, though the practice green was a bit funky (more on that later). IIRC, practice balls used to be provided, now they are $5 for a bag of 45.
Not much has changed on the course. All tee boxes (I played from the Whites) were in great shape, nice and soft and grassy. Not a bad lie to be found anywhere in the fairways, either. I avoided all but one bunker, but they all appeared to have sufficient sand to play a shot out of without blading your ball. The fairways are still over-watered (my towels were soaked from the spray from my cart tires) and you'll definitely need to clean your ball once you get to the green and your clubs after every shot. The issue, as the previous reviewer alluded to, is the greens. Definitely in poor condition, there seems to be some type of mold/fungus in many areas (especially the edges) and it was rare when I didn't have a putt roll with at least 1,2, 3 or more bounces in it on the way to the cup. Very slow as well, certainly held every shot I hit into them, with the ball marks to show for it. Based on that, I'm guessing if they cut back on the watering schedule a bit, this might be a partial solution. With all the attention they pay to keeping the rest of the course pristine, you'd think they'd start addressing this issue and fix them to bring them up to the level of the rest of the course.
As long as the greens are in this poor shape, not worth $$$, but the layout is still definitely worth $-$$. As for POP, it is as fast as you want it to be; I played through two twosomes on the front nine, and never saw anyone else on the course.
$21 GN reservation with an 11:51 tee time. Paired up with a twosome and another single who was a no show, so it was the three of us. Papago is one of ... » More
$21 GN reservation with an 11:51 tee time. Paired up with a twosome and another single who was a no show, so it was the three of us. Papago is one of Phoenix's busiest municipal courses, and for good reason. The course is a demanding 7333 yards from the (Black) tips, and even from the Blues it's still 6771 yards. As the course winds through the Papago foothills, tee shots must be placed on the correct side of the right-to-left or left-to-right fairways to make sure the ball stays in play. Fairway widths are reasonable, but strays can result in playing out the desert areas or the rough, which is about 1-2" higher than the fairways. I found the tee boxes to be in very good to excellent shape, and the fairways themselves were also in good to outstanding condition (especially 18, which looked like a perfect sea of green, trimmed grass). Bunkers definitely come into play, and these can be daunting. I never played out of one, but my partners did, and often they'd find themselves 8-10' below the hole trying to get out. Sand was also in excellent shape, fluffy and full. The greens were really the nemesis. While in good condition (save for a few bumpy areas and the expected pock marks from unrepaired balls hit into it, what made them particularly tricky were the speed and breaks. Large greens has multiple undulations, and while they held every decent shot into them, they were somewhat difficult to read.
As for the amenities, staff was very pleasant, polite and efficient, there is an excellent (if a bit crowded) driving range, medium sized practice green and another one for chipping. Carts are electric, and have an ice chest as well as a ball/club washer. There is one bathroom/rest station that serves the entire course, but you come by on 5-6 holes, so you're never far from it and getting your ice chest refilled, water, or a needed bathroom break. Cart girl came by twice on the front and back, very nice. POP was around 4 hours, and I even had the marshal come by to ask us to stay with the group ahead of us (my partners were a bit slow)! Huzzah! Don't listen to the old timers who complain about this course and it's changes from 4-5 years ago; this place is an absolute delight for golfers of all skill levels.
10:32 Wednesday tee time, teed off closer to 10, starter was sending out twosomes with the occasional foursome thrown in. The Duke has expansive, well... » More
10:32 Wednesday tee time, teed off closer to 10, starter was sending out twosomes with the occasional foursome thrown in. The Duke has expansive, well trimmed fairways. Many holes have minor carries over waste areas, and beyond the rough is a lot of dust and desert. Water comes into play only on the first Par 3 fifth hole (semi-island green layout) and on the 18th if you go left. GK maintenance alert!: the rough was punched over a month ago and still hasn't recovered, so if you miss the fairway you might be stuck in a small hole or behind a chunk of sod. But again, the fairways are wide enough that the rough is a non-issue unless you really hook or slice.
The course is long: 6500+ from the Gold, and starts off with two Par 4s and Par 5s before giving you a "break" with a Par 3 (the water hole!). You are often hitting up into the greens, which are also fairly large. But beware, the green have many undulations, bowls and some crazy breaks not often seen on a public course. The two bunkers I was in were ok, sandy but a little crispy on top. Tee boxes were in good to very good condition. Greens were fast, tricky and occasionally bumpy; someone seemed to drag his spikes by the hole on about 10-12 holes, so I spent a lot of time repairing those spike marks.
Amenities include: very friendly & helpful staff (one kid actually came out to the parking lot to take my clubs from me, instead of watching me walk all the way to him), huge grassy driving range in very good condition, large putting green and adjacent chipping green with a practice bunker, too. Carts have an ice chest and ball/club washer on each one. Pace of play was a tasty 3+ hours. An enjoyable, fair, fun course to play.
Played Tues 5/7, 11am tee time. There aren't many golf courses in Phoenix that can accurately be called "scenic." Sure, some have nice views of the lo... » More
Played Tues 5/7, 11am tee time. There aren't many golf courses in Phoenix that can accurately be called "scenic." Sure, some have nice views of the local topography, but at the end of the day, it's still grass surrounded by a lot of dirt, desert, and sagebrush. Ocotillo is such an exception. The course consists of three 9-hole segments: the Gold, White & Blue courses.
There is no desert here. There is, however, water, and a lot of it. Water as a lateral hazard, water that protects many Par 3s and must be carried on second shots on Par 4s, water on 75% of the holes. It's a wonderful and beautiful change of pace from cacti and rock wedges. The Blue course has two waterfalls near the tee areas (on holes 5 & 8) you won't see anywhere else in this town.
As for the course itself, the fairways are somewhat generous but they do narrow and slope towards the water on many holes, so proper placement is important. Most tee boxes were in good to very good shape, though some of the Par 3s were a bit chewed up and a couple others crowned. Fairways were green and overwatered in spots (not unlike Raven), but I did not have a bad lie all day. Bunkers had heavy, fluffy sand and could be worked properly. Greens were very fast and a bit sparse, but I did not see any putts roll offline because of the sparseness.
Amenities: this is a resort course in SE Phoenix; it acts accordingly. From the team that takes your bag to the clubhouse to the cart girl who came by 6+ times, everyone was friendly and helpful (sad no mango towels available today though). Excellent driving range with all-you-can-eat balls with which to practice, and a couple small putting greens as well. Probably my only gripe was pace of play: even with an 11 AM tee time, POP was 4:15, due to two foursomes ahead of us who would neither yield nor play from the proper tees given their collective abilities.
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