Golf Course Reviews
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Overview: The Raven Golf Club Phoenix is located just southeast of downtown Phoenix and just north of South Mountain. There are great views of the downtown area, Four Peaks, South Mountain, Camelback Mountain and Piestawa Peak. Raven - Phoenix is not your normal desert course ... it has almost 6000 pine trees on property.

Clubhouse: A nice, clean clubhouse that has changed very little since the opening of the course in 1995. Check in was very simple and it was nice to see that they added range balls in with the golf rate. Arizona resident rate was $89, and the public rate was $125. There will be one more rate increase during the 2nd week of January, before rates start dropping again in either April or May of 2022.

Course: I have played this course numerous times over the years, and I feel that the course was in the best shape that I have ever seen it. The over seed turned out almost perfect. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was wall to wall rye grass because they do not normally over seed that much of the rough. They also kept the course cart path only for almost 5 weeks after they re-opened after over seed. Also, it probably helped that we had the warmest November on record in Phoenix ... so it really allowed the rye grass to take root and grow during this past month.
Tee boxes were level and had good grass coverage. A couple of the tee boxes had new sod on them, but it was not a big deal. As stated, the fairways and the rough were wall to wall rye grass and they were almost perfect ... like Rams Hill perfect. The grass was lush and very easy to hit off of. The rough was almost an inch in length, and was very consistent. The greens were in very good shape, and had almost no ball marks on them ... which is normally a problem at this course. The greens were quick, smooth and ran at about a 10. The sand was good and all of the bunkers were raked. I was only in one bunker, but the sand looked very consistent in all of them ... except a couple of them.

Final Thoughts: With the course being so close to Sky Harbor Airport, the course gets a lot of play from those people that fly in and out of Phoenix. I am very happy to say that I really enjoy playing the course because it's a nice layout and has good views, but what will make come back and play again (during the high season) will be the excellent condition of the course.
6 Likes.
Overview: Ozarks National is the 3rd and last regulation golf course at Big Cedar Lodge, and is a Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design that was built in 2018. Ozarks National is a links style course with wide fairways, and ample slopes that funnel the ball back toward the greens. The course has a few blind tee shots, but they are not that bad even if you do not take a forecaddie as our group did. The course has a group of risk/reward par 4's and reachable par 5's.

Clubhouse: A small clubhouse with only one restroom (combined) for men's and ladies The outdoor food area was very small, and not really a place to have a meal before or after the round. You had to go over to the Payne's Valley clubhouse ... which was about 5 minutes away by golf cart. All the player assistant's were very friendly at the clubhouse.

Practice Area: The practice area was shared with Payne's Valley until that one was being completed. I thought the practice area was very average, but the short game and bunker were very good.

Course: A classic Coore and Crenshaw design with with wide Zoysia fairways and firm bengrass greens. Out of all the three regulation courses at Big Cedar Lodge, these bentgrass greens were the best. They were quite firm, rolled true and had good pace. The fairways were cut a little bit tighter then Payne's Valley and Buffalo Ridge, so there was more rollout off the tee. The rough was about an inch to an inch and a half in length and was not as penal as the other 2 courses. The sand in all the bunkers was excellent and very easy to hit out of.
The course starts out with a few holes that are right in front of you, but when you hit #5 the course starts to get really interesting. There has been a lot of complaints about blind tee shots, but I did not really find them to be a problem. There was directional polls out in a couple of the fairways that assisted you with direction and the cart GPS was excellent.
As mentioned earlier, we had a forecaddie for the round, and Jackson was very good at helping us with the lines off the tee, reading putts and taking care of racking the bunkers for us. The cost for the forecaddie was $40 per bag and gratuity was at least $30 per bag. I would not use a forecaddie at either Payne's Valley or Buffalo Ridge, but I think for this course it might be a good idea to have one. What was nice was complimentary hot dogs and snacks at the turn. Beverages (including water) were not free.

Final Thoughts: What I thought was great about the 3 regulation courses at Big Cedar Lodge was that each of them was very unique and different from each other. It did not feel like we played the same course all three rounds. Big Cedar Lodge is definitely on it's way to being an excellent golf resort. It has that Bandon Dunes sort of feel because you have to travel a little bit to get there. The closest airport is about an hour away in Springfield, Missouri ... while Little Rock, Arkansas is about 170 miles away from Big Cedar Lodge.
9 Likes.
Overview: Payne's Valley is the most recent edition to the Big Cedar Lodge golf portfolio. Payne's Valley officially opened in September of 2020, with the Payne's Valley Cup ...Tiger and Justin Thomas faced off against Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.
Payne's Valley pays tribute to the Ozarks native Payne Stewart. Payne's Valley is the first public-access golf course designed by Tiger and the Woods-led golf course design firm, TGR Design. Payne's Valley stands out due to its large fairways and greens, beautiful water features and the spectacular 19th hole ... the Big Rock at Payne's Valley.

Clubhouse: The clubhouse has a spectacular 360 degree view of the surrounding Ozark Mountains, Payne's Valley, the Mountain Top Course and Tom Watson's putting course. The clubhouse has the pro shop and a bar/restaurant on the main level, and the locker room, a private dining room and a pool table room on the lower level. On each level, there is an outdoor area where you could go and sit and eat or just look out at the view. As at Buffalo Ridge, we were the last group on the course for the day, and we decided to eat in the clubhouse after the round. The views of the setting sun were spectacular.
The food was good and the prices were very fair, but the service was very slow. We waited almost 40 minutes for our food ... with only 6 tables being occupied in the restaurant. The manager was great about the situation and took care of 50% of our bar bill. Very nice of her.

Practice Area: The driving range at Payne's Valley is still under construction. When it's completed it's going to be spectacular, and it will be interesting to see how they get the range balls back to the top of the hill. The range looks like it's going to be on a severe down slope, and I have no idea how a ball picker will be able to go back up the hill. In the mean time, golfer's need to drive about 3-5 minutes to the driving range at Ozarks National. The range is not in the best of shape because it has double the people hitting on it, but it was fine.

Course: A very nice layout that flows naturally, but if you are playing the right set of tees the course is very score able. The course has wide fairways and large greens and does not have a lot of elevation change other than #1, a couple of the par 3's and the last 2 or three holes. In my opinion ... it's a very nice course with a lot of good holes, but only a couple of great holes.
The condition of the course was amazing though. Just like Buffalo Ridge the greens are bentgrass, were smooth, rolled true and were a little more firmer than the greens at Buffalo Ridge. The Augusta white sand was just as good as the sand at Buffalo Ridge, and the Zoysia fairways were even better than those at Buffalo Ridge (and I gave those fairways a 10 out of 10). The rough was not as penal as Buffalo Ridge, but you could still not tell if the ball would come out fast off the club face.
The 19th hole ... the Big Rock at Payne's Valley. This was Johnny Morris's idea. Hole was only playing 100 yards on the day that we were there, but the fun is really after the hole on the 10 - 15 minute (one mile) ride back up the "Cliffhanger Trail" to the clubhouse.

Final Thoughts: As stated earlier, a very nice course that has some very good holes and at best maybe 2 great holes and then of course ... #19. The condition of the course was great and it was super playing Tiger's first public access course. With it being Tiger's course though, this was the most expensive course at Big Cedar Lodge, but we got the 2nd twilight tee time of the day and by doing this we saved $135 dollars off the regular price. My suggestion is to play the course when we did ... finishing about 30 minutes before sunset. This allowed us to get some great photo opportunities on the "Cliffhanger Trail" and up at the clubhouse before sunset.
8 Likes.
Overview: Buffalo Ridge Springs Course is one of 5 golf courses located at Big Cedar Lodge (which overlooks Table Rock Lake in the Ozark Mountains just south of Branson, Missouri.) Buffalo Ridge was designed by Tom Fazio in 1999, but about 5 years ago Johnny Morris the founder and owner of Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge asked Mr Fazio to come back and do a $20 million dollar renovation of Buffalo Ridge. The renovation included adding new approaches, water features and bunker renovations. Mr Morris and Mr Fazio have also re-designed the course layout so as to bring players in close contact with nature, native grasses and free ranging Buffalo on the nearby Dogwood Canyon Nature Park.

Clubhouse: A small but beautiful clubhouse with the pro shop, a small bar and sitting area. The outside patio has tables and chairs set up so as to have beautiful views of the Ozark Mountains, 1st hole and practice area to the north and views of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park and Buffalo to the west.

Course: One of the best course designs that I have every played. Hole #1 is a beautiful slight dogleg to the left downhill par 5 and from there every hole seems to get better. Holes 2 - 4 are very good holes, but once you hit hole number #5 every hole is almost a "wow" hole. The course continues to get better on the back nine, and the back nine is probably one of my favorite nines that I have had an opportunity to play. Holes #14 and #15 were probably my favorite.
While the course design was tremendous the playing conditions were just as good. Buffalo Ridge has bentgrass greens and they were in great shape ... they looked great, rolled true and ran at a medium speed and were a little bit soft due to the heat and humidity while we were there, but that was to be understood because you have to have a lot of water on bentgrass greens when the temperatures are in the mid to high 90's and the humidity is high ... as it was all 5 days that we were at Big Cedar Lodge. One of the greens even had a huge fan blowing on it. The rough was 2 inches in length and was a half stroke penalty if you hit it in there. The white Augusta like sand was of great quality and was very easy to hit from. My favorite part of the course though was the Zoysia fairways ... they were perfect. I have played on Zoysia fairways once before, and I love how the ball sits up on it like it's on a tee. There are basically no bad lies on Zoysia fairways.

Final Thoughts: Buffalo Ridge is one of 5 courses at Big Cedar Lodge ... 3 of them are regulation 18 hole courses and the other 2 are par 3 courses. Johnny Morris (the owner of Big Cedar Lodge and Bass Pro Shops) is trying to make Big Cedar Lodge "as America's next great golf destination". One of my favorite experiences about playing golf here was the opportunity to see Buffalo roaming the plains of the Ozarks Mountains.
6 Likes.
Overview: Had a great time playing with JohnnyGK, mikelgabe and mpisarski01 today at the GKguru event out at Laughlin Ranch Golf Club in Bullhead City, Arizona. Laughlin Ranch is a Troon managed course that was designed by David Druzisky in 2004. The course flows along desert arroyos, has dramatic elevation changes, fairly wide fairways, undulating greens and great views of the Black Mountains, the Colorado River Valley and the Laughlin Casino Strip. The golf club also has spa services at the Spa at Laughlin Ranch and has a restaurant that is called the Ranch Bar and Grill.

Clubhouse: Large rustic style clubhouse that holds the pro shop, men's and women's locker rooms, the restaurant and the spa. We ate in the restaurant after the round and the food was good at a very good price. Our server did an excellent job of taking care of us.

Practice Area: The driving range was closed due to maintenance. They are grassing the practice are and the plan is to have the driving range open when the course comes out of overseed in the beginning of October. The chipping area and practice putting green are nice and they are both very close to the 1st and 10th tees.

Course: The course is a great design that works closer to the Colorado River on the front nine. The first hole is a beautiful dogleg to the left par 5 the works it way down toward the valley. The views from the first tee box are stunning and it leads you to believe that you will see more views like this throughout the round ... and you do. The back nine seems to be a little more open because there are fewer homes on the back nine and the homes are set back a little more from the golf course.
The course was in very good shape ... the fairways had plenty of Bermuda grass coverage and the rough was about 2 inches in length, but it seemed like the ball did not sink to the bottom of the rough like it normally does. The greens were in good shape and it looked like they were punched and/or verticut in the past 2 or 3 weeks. There was a little discoloration in the greens but that did not affect on how they rolled.
There was a good mixture of length in the holes and it was great how the holes went up and down the topography of the land. The only disappoint was the bunkers ... they did not have a lot of sand in them and there was definitely small rocks/pebbles in the bunkers.

Final Thoughts: I want to thank JohnnyGK for setting up this guru event. He does such a great job developing relationships with so many golf courses, and I know that we all appreciate his efforts. I have wanted to play at Laughlin Ranch over the last 4 or 5 years, and now that I have played it, I will definitely be back. It is a very enjoyable course that you should play if you are in the Bullhead City/Laughlin area.
14 Likes.
Overview: The Ambiente (Spanish word for environment) Course is one of the two 18 hole golf courses at the Camelback Golf Club in Paradise Valley, Arizona. The Camelback Golf Club is associated with the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa and the 2 courses are managed by Marriott Golf.
The Ambiente Course had a $10 million dollar renovation in 2013 by Jason Straka (one of the architects that designed Erin Hills ... home of the 2017 US Open.) 12 out of the 18 holes are brand new. This renovation added 100 acres of native desert and grass areas that not only added beauty to the course, but also requires a third less water. The layout is very unique in the fact in that its an "out and back" style course.

Clubhouse: Very nice clubhouse with all of the player assistants being very welcoming and friendly. The restaurant did not open till 11:00 am on Thursday morning, so I was not able to eat there.

Course: I played this course before 2013 (at that time it was called the Indian Bend Course), and it was a very boring flat course. How times have changed ... I could tell right from the first hole how different this course was going to be. The first hole is a dogleg left with a good sized bunker on the left corner of the dogleg and a huge bunker on the far corner of the dogleg, with deep bunkers surrounding the green complex. Native grass areas on both sides of the fairway that force you to hit a good tee shot.
The course was in great shape ... lush Bermuda fairways that had plenty of grass coverage and the rough was at about 1/2 - 3/4 in length and was just long enough to possibly get some flyer lies. The bunkers were in good shape with plenty of sand in them. The course was very soft because of the early morning tee time, not unusual because of the normal watering pattern during the summer at all Arizona golf courses. The only disappoint was that the greens were recently aerated (about 10 days ago) with small holes. They did a major aeration back in June, but I was told at the course they always do a small aeration on both courses in the month of August.

Final Thoughts: I always knew about the renovation of the Ambiente Course, but I do not know why I never played it. The course is a fabulous transformation of its former self. The course is now a links style course, with undulating greens, high native grasses, a great mixture of long and short par 4's ... which I am big fan of. I was so impressed with the course that I want to get out and play it again before the fall overseed. This course just joined my list of must plays in the Phoenix Metro area. Finally, the course reminds me of AK Chin Southern Dunes ... but even better.
9 Likes.
Overview: Lookout Mountain Golf Club at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort is managed by Troon Golf. Lookout Mountain is a resort style course that is located in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve ... which is in the north central part of the city of Phoenix. The first 6 holes are very straight forward, but the course definitely changes after that. The last 12 holes have some definite elevation change ... especially #7 and #10.

Clubhouse: The clubhouse has not changed over the years and what is very strange about that is that you have to actually go to the resort for the bag drop and the pro shop. After you pay for your round you drive your cart about a quarter of a mile to the starter area, the practice facility, the practice putting green and the actual course. Check in was easy and all the player assistants and the starter were very friendly.

Course: Phoenix got about 3 to 4 inches of rain over the past week to 10 days and this has allowed the Bermuda grass to really thrive and grow. I drove by the course about a week ago, and I noticed that #1 and #18 looked in really good shape. So, I decided to play there because I have not played there in a few years.
The tee boxes were in very good shape the first few holes, but as the round went on they definitely got a little bit worse with more bare spots appearing on each tee box. The fairways were in good shape and had good coverage. The bermuda rough was about an inch in length and was not really that penal. The sand traps were a mixture of those that were in good shape vs those that had little sand and/or pebbles in them. What was the best part of the course were the greens. They were in very good shape, rolled smooth and probably ran at about a 9.5.
As stated earlier, the first 6 holes are pretty straight forward, and the rest of the course is very enjoyable. #10 is the signature hole (Picturesque Point) and drops about 100 feet from the tee box to the fairway. From the tee box you have a beautiful view of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve to the south and south west. I also really enjoy holes 12-14 ... those 3 holes are a little more like target style desert golf.

Final Thoughts: While Lookout Mountain is not as good as the high end golf at Quintero, Troon North or Wekopa, it is still a very enjoyable course that has beautiful views and is centrally located in the Valley of the Sun. I thought the course price of $50 was very good for this time of year, and would suggest that you play this course.
16 Likes.
Overview: Sterling Grove Golf and Country Club is the first new golf course in the Phoenix metro area in the last 5 years. The course is managed by Troon Golf and is part of the Toll Brothers Housing Development of Sterling Grove, which when completed will have a build out of 2,200 homes. The course was developed by Nicklaus Design (Jack's design team only ... not Jack), but it's a classic Nicklaus design with large fairways and undulating greens.

COVID-19: Pretty straight forward with masks being worn in the Pro Shop and Clubhouse, and 2 people in the golf cart. No water or rakes on the course, but the golf carts did have seed.

Course: The course for the most part is right in front of you except for 3 or 4 holes. I thought that the course opened up with some very average holes, but by the 6th hole got a little more interesting, and I definitely enjoyed the course a lot more after that. The tee boxes were in great shape and were almost PGA quality. The sand was excellent (was in 2 bunkers all day), and it was not the normal AZ sand, but kind of a combination of AZ sand and Florida sand. I thought it was very easy to hit out of and it was very consistent. The fairways were in very good shape and the rough was pretty easy to hit out of. The biggest concern was if you hit it into the fescue grass which was located on a lot of the holes. The fescue was very thick and it was very difficult to find your ball if you hit it into that area. Most of the time you would have to take a drop if you hit it into there. It will be interesting to see how long the course continues to have the fescue due to player complaints and when the rattlesnakes start to come out in the next couple of weeks. I can see a player going in there and being bit. I was concerned about the conditions of the greens because the first 2 or 3 greens had some bare spots and it looked like some fungus had gotten into them, but by the 4th hole they were in much better shape.

Final Thoughts: They have a nice pro shop and locker room, but they do not offer food on site yet. They did have a food truck by the pro shop, but the food truck shut down at 3:00 pm ... on a weekend day?
The course opened for public play on 2/11/21, and I thought the price of $89 was very fair, but they have already raised the price to $109 for the month March with $89 being the twilight rate. The course is nice, but in my opinion is not a course that is on the "bucket list" of courses to play in AZ. Lastly, the plan is for the course to go private in the next couple of years.
10 Likes.
Overview: Copper Canyon Golf Club is a 27 hole upscale daily fee course that consists of the Lake 9, the Mountain 9 and the Vista 9. The Lake 9 and the Vista 9 were the original 18 holes, and the Mountain 9 was added about 3 years ago. The course was designed by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley (the same team that designed AK Southern Dunes). The golf course is the center piece of Sun City Festival which has been built by Pulte/Del Webb. When completed the community will have over 7,000 homes (due to the continued surge in the Phoenix housing market.) The course is located in the northern part of the White Tank Mountains in the Phoenix suburb of Buckeye.

COVID-19: The course is pretty strict about people wearing a mask in the pro shop (only 2 people at a time), the clubhouse and while purchasing something at the snack bar. 2 people in a cart if you are only from the same household, and I was surprised to have seed in the carts and see water in the cooler jugs out on the course. No rakes in the bunkers and a very unique device was used to get the ball out of the golf hole ... something I have never seen before.

Course: Was fortunate enough to play on a beautiful AZ day with the temperature about 70 and sunny skies. The wind was down, which never really happens at Copper Canyon and we played the Lake/Mountain combination ... which is my favorite combination to play. The course was in very good shape and the contrast between the over seeded fairways vs the dormant bermuda rough was very evident. The fairways were in nice shape and had good coverage and the bermuda rough was cut very short. The greens were smooth, ran at a medium pace and did not have a lot of ball marks. The course has generous fairways and large undulating greens. The bunkers were not in the best shape, but I will give them a pass on this due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
The primary defense of the course is the wind ... which thankfully was down. The Mountain 9 is one of my favorite 9 holes in the valley because of the beautiful vistas and being segregated from the rest of the community. Many new homes are being built on the Mountain 9, but they are not really close to the course.

Final Thoughts: The course is very busy in the high season due to the golf membership packages that they have for the residents of Sun City Festival, and the ability for residents to book 14 days in advance where the general public may only book 7 days in advance. I thought the green fee of $89 was very good considering the time of year. What I like about the course is that it is in great shape year round, in my opinion the greens are in even better shape in the summer.
7 Likes.
Overview: Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia is in the Shea Homes built master planned community of Trilogy at Vistancia. The golf club was designed by Gary Panks and opened for play in February of 2004. The links style course has 70 pronounced and transitional bunker areas. Originally the course had a beautiful golden hued native grass that grew about 10-15 yards off the edge of the fairway and was often almost 1 to 2 feet in length. If a ball was hit into the native grass, it was almost 50/50 you would be able to find it. The contrast between the over seeded rye grass and this native grass was very unique, but there was a lot of complaints about the amount of balls that could and would be lost in the native fescue grass.

COVID-19: All the staff wore face masks and if your group was not from the same household each player could ride alone. No water was on the course, no seed in the carts and no rakes in the bunkers.

Clubhouse/Pro shop: Acclaimed Scottsdale Architect Bing Hu designed the clubhouse that holds V's Taproom and the pro shop. Mr Bing has built many dream homes through out the world and he has also designed clubhouses for Desert Mountain and the Gallery Golf Club in Tucson.
My wife and I spend time at V's Taproom and we enjoy the menu and the outdoor patio area that over looks the 18th hole and the practice facility. We had dinner there the night before Thanksgiving and looking down the 18th fairway I could see that the over seed turned out really well.

Course: While I live only about 15 minutes from the course, I have only played the course once in the past 5 -6 years. From about 2010 to about the last year or so, I have not been really impressed with the condition of the course ... even during the high season. The greens have been spotty at best and for awhile this year they used a temporary green for the 6th hole. The first 200 yards of the 18th fairway have been poor over the years, but this past late spring and summer it looked like they had lost 90% of the grass in that area. I really enjoy the layout ... especially the par 4 3rd hole, the short par 4 6th hole, #10, #11, #13 and #15 - #18, but have stayed away for the most part because of the course conditions.
As we ate dinner last week, I decided that I had to get out and play it again. I was glad that I did ... we had a beautiful 1st day of December to play golf. Not a cloud in the sky, the wind was down (which is very strange at Vistancia) and the temperature peaked at 70 degrees. The course was probably in the best shape I have seen it in since 2010. The overseed came our great ... the greens were smooth and ran at a medium speed, fairways were lush and had good grass coverage, the over seeded rough was in good shape and the native area was cut back significantly. The bunkers were not in great shape because we could not rake them. The 6th green was in great shape and the fairway on the 18th hole was in peak condition.

Final Thoughts: As mentioned earlier, I really like the layout and it seems like the course will be in great shape for the high season. Right now the rates are a great value. We paid $55 and then tax for a 11:40 am tee time ... which I think is super for the time of year. If you are visiting the Valley of the Sun in the next few months, I would definitely suggest that you play the Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia. Happy Holidays!!
13 Likes.
Overview: With Victory coming out of over seed in the early part of October and going to 90 degree rule on Halloween, I wanted to play and see how the over seed turned out. We were the first group off this morning and it was a brisk 46 degrees. What was nice was that there was not a cloud in the sky and the wind was down ... which never really happens at Verrado. It was nice to finally play "fall" golf in the desert because it finally cooled off in metro Phoenix this past weekend.

COVID-19: Everyone was masked at the bag drop, inside the pro shop and out on the course. They have a nice rule that if you do not know the 2nd person in the shared cart they will allow you to ride as a single. Plus, the carts are brand new and moved pretty quick.

Course: Course was in very nice shape after coming out of over seed. They still had a lot of fertilizer on the course and had put down a 2nd wave of rye grass seed on those spots that did not come out well during the original over seed. The closed the course for over seed on 9/21, but the temperatures did not really help the rye grass grow properly. Nice to see that they went back and are trying to get the course in better shape for the "high" season. Tee boxes, fairways and rough was in nice shape, and the greens were in best shape that I have seen them in a long time. Yes, it probably helped that we were the first group out, but still. The only problem with the course was the bunkers. It looked like that the had not been raked in awhile and we definitely quite crusty on top. For the rate of $79, I thought that it was a fair price and will definitely try to get back out there again before Christmas.

Final Thoughts: As stated earlier, the wind was down today at Victory and that made the day that much more enjoyable. I really enjoy the scenic views of the White Tank Mountains and downtown Phoenix. This is a course that you should play when you visit the Valley of the Sun.
9 Likes.
Overview: Wildfire Golf Club is a 36 hole facility located at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa and is composed of the Faldo Championship Course built in 2002 by Sir Nick Faldo and the Palmer Course designed by Arnold Palmer in 1997. Wildfire Golf Club has been the home of the LPGA Founders Cup from 2011 - 2018. The LPGA uses 9 holes from the Faldo Course and 9 holes from the Palmer Course. The Faldo Course has generous fairways, large greens and 108 sand bunkers. Sir Nick Faldo built this course to be reminiscent of the courses that are in the Australian Sand Belt region.

COVID-19: All the staff were masked up and did social distancing where they needed to.

Clubhouse/Pro Shop: The clubhouse is attached to the north end of the resort and has easy access from the parking lot. Check in was smooth and we headed right out to the practice area. The practice area is quite large and you hit your practice shots toward the McDowell Mountains. The practice area was in fair shape while the practice putting green was smooth and rolled at about a 9.5.

Course: The Faldo Course came out of overseed on 10/19 and will be cart path only till 11/13. I normally do not play a golf course within a month after they finish overseed, but I had a friend that was staying at resort and he offered me a free round of golf. The course was in decent shape and was not wet, did not have shaggy greens or fairways. The rough was dormant bermuda and was easy to hit out of. The greens were smooth and ran at about a 9.5. The tees were in good shape and the bunkers had the hard packed "Arizona" sand in them. As stated earlier, the fairways are quite generous and the major defense of the course are the bunkers and if the wind comes up. If you stay out of the bunkers there is a good chance that you will score well.

Final Thoughts: Comparing the Faldo Course to the other Faldo Course out in Palm Desert ... Shadow Ridge, I probably enjoy playing more at Shadow Ridge. There does not seem to be any real memorable holes here at the Faldo Course. Nothing that really forces you to grab your phone and take a picture. My biggest issue with Wildfire Golf Club are the green fees. Here we are on 10/31 ... cart path only and the price was $219 for the regular rate and $139 for the twilight rate. It's a nice resort course that has a lot of bunkers, but in my opinion .. I would not pay that price for this course.
13 Likes.
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