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I play Palmbrook often, most recently early morning on Wednesday 6/29. It's not the most exciting or interesting course, but it offers good conditions and excellent value. Palmbrook was one of the former three private clubs in Sun City, along with Union Hills and Sun City CC, but went public at some point in the last 10 years or so. It was originally intended for a senior clientele, but has been lengthened over the years, and it looks like they are building some new teeboxes to stretch the course to 7,000+ yards. You could pay more and get not as good conditions elsewhere in the NW valley area. I played the Silver tees, 68.9/115, 6300 yards. Regardless of tee choice, it is hard to lose a ball on this course. There is a pond on the par 3 #11, and a creek running through the middle of the back nine between fairways, but that's about it.

Today I paid about $31 with tax including cart and complimentary range balls. This course is very easy to walk, and they allow it (bring your own push cart), but I only do it during the cooler winter months. For COVID, Palmbrook is still allowing single-rider carts for anyone who wants one at no extra cost. No issues with bringing a personal cooler as long as there isn't booze in it.

The course is in great condition for summer in Phoenix; the only fault possibly being a few of the tee boxes which have some thin/bare spots. Greens were on the slower side given the recent heat but had almost no blemishes and had a very smooth roll. I think they are probably the best conditioned greens of the Sun City area courses right now. Bunkers sand was good. Driving range tee was in perfect condition.

Pace of play early in the morning has always been great here. Today we were the second group off, and played as a threesome in about 3 hours.
10 Likes.
Played a weekday mid-afternoon round as a twosome for $29+tax each. Finished in less than 3 hours with only some very brief waiting on two tees. Mostly singles and twosomes out on the course.

Certain fairways look like they had some trouble in the transition from winter to summer grass, quite a few bare spots on some holes. The greens visually didn't look great up close, seemed like a mix of grass types on several, but actually putted smoothly. Sand was of good quantity and quality but lots of bad lies due to lack of rakes currently. The course is playing just the right level of fast and firm without being ridiculous, that was the best part. Greens held short iron shots well, approaches were firm and you could run the ball up to the hole. Very enjoyable round. Sometimes a course can look a little haggard visually, but actually have great playing conditions like I experienced here.
8 Likes.
Played TPC Scottsdale Champions early Sunday morning paired with a threesome as one of the first few groups out. POP was perfect at 3:30. I've played here 3 times in the past 2 weeks.

The course is in truly excellent condition all around. The greens are probably the best I've played in the PHX area recently. Firm, yet receptive to short iron shots, no bare spots, smooth, on the fast side of average for an upscale public course. Fairways were very lush due to the heavy overnight watering this course is given, there were many wet spots due to my early tee time but a person playing later in the day would probably not run into this. Bunker sand is perfect as usual.

They are currently allowing solo rider carts. Pool noodles sitting about 1" below the edge of the cups. They are starting to put rakes back on the course. The only minor annoyance is that they have no drinking water on the course and since last week they put the coolers back on the carts and no longer let you bring your own cooler. You can put your own stuff in the cart cooler, but it only hold about 2-3 bottles of water. So, I had to stuff 3 extra water bottles in my bag and put my cooler back in the car. Would have been easier if I could have just shown them I didn't have booze in it or whatever and kept it with me.

Free range balls as usual and the range tee turf was in perfect condition.
11 Likes.
I played Ambiente on a Saturday with a tee time around 11am. Played with three nice random guys as a foursome and finished in 4 hours. Tee time intervals were 10 minutes, and we only waited maybe only once or twice.

Greens were in absolutely beautiful condition. Extremely smooth. Just the right amount of firmness. They were the highlight of the conditions. Speed was on the quick side but not unreasonable. The fairways are holding up well in the heat. No notable burnt out spots. Tees were great except for the "tan" tee box on #18 which was oddly overgrown like they forgot to mow it.

The sand in the bunkers is a coarse/gritty type that I actually like. It was apparent that the bunkers were probably all raked by the crew in the morning and there were few footprints.

The only negative on the conditioning, and this is an extremely minor negative if I have to fault the course for something, was that many of the green collars were almost completely burnt out. Fine if you are in a position to putt off them, but otherwise hard to hit a wedge off burnt toast.

COVID-19 procedures included a PVC pipe inside the cups for the ball to rest on, no rakes or divot fill bottles, and single rider carts for anyone who wanted one. I wasn't crazy about the cart guys were still touching peoples' bags/clubs without asking both before and after the round, though.

I love the layout of this course and always play it during the warmer months when I can find a good deal as it is cost prohibitive during winter.
9 Likes.
Walked a quick round at Deer Valley early on a Sunday morning for $50, paired with a friendly SCW resident.

The Phoenix area received a tremendous amount of rain the day before, with much flooding on certain streets. Deer Valley drained pretty well, but some of the ponds were enlarged and the water had submerged some of the cartpaths. As a result, Deer Valley had a cartpath only rule for the day, but I walked so it did not affect me. Still I was getting good roll in the fairways, green approaches were a little soft, but the greens maintained their firmness.

The greens were a little slow due to the rain but were immaculate. Same for the greenside aprons. Rough was typical dormant Bermuda. Fairways were in great shape as were the bunkers.

Deer Valley is not the most difficult of the SCW courses - it's probably the easiest of the 4 regulation courses - but it is the one I enjoy playing the most. I think it is the most fair in that pretty much any time you miss a green on an approach shot, you always have a reasonable chance to get up and down. Over on Trail Ridge and Grandview, some of the green shapes/sizes make this extremely difficult or impossible depending on hole location. Some long hitters take issue with the relatively short length of this course from the tips (6547). I played white (6080) and as a short hitting better than average player, I find the course layout sets up in an enjoyable way for my game.

Potential customers should recognize that this course is part of a middle class retirement community, and therefore they run a pretty efficient/no frills operation to presumably keep costs down. The rental carts tend to be older (the residents mostly have their own anyway), there are no "bag boys" or beverage carts, etc. The benefit of this is excellent course conditions pretty much all year long, and very fair pricing.

Looks like those of us who signed up for the GK event at this course in a few weeks will find some great conditions.
11 Likes.
I played Trail Ridge in Sun City West early on a Sunday morning. In my opinion it is the most difficult of the 4 regulation-length SCW courses for the average player.

The conditions were excellent all around, as they usually are on the SCW courses. Greens were blemish-free, smooth, rolled at a good pace, firm but not ridiculous. Fairways had no imperfections that I saw. Typical dormant Bermuda rough, and the bunkers were in good condition. I wish I could be more descriptive but there was really nothing possible to complain about!

Paired with a friendly resident of the community, we finished in well under 3 hours with me walking and him riding. This is an easy course to walk, and the rate to walk for a non-SCW resident was $50 vs. $62 riding. It's a great value.
7 Likes.
I played early on Sunday 2/9, my first time at this course. I was paired with a friendly couple on the Resort course, and played the white tees. The Sunday skins game was getting ready to go out on a shotgun start on the Legends course, the staff handled the chaos well, and any confusion on my part about where to go/what to do to get set up on a cart and off to the tee was quickly resolved.

On the course, small elevated greens seems to be the theme, most seemed to require a half to a full extra club to reach. The greens did seem to be what I could call "grainy", with big differences in speed when putting in one direction vs. another on an otherwise flat area. They were a little on the slow side in general, but rolled smoothly and looked great. The fairways had some thin lies, but no major faults. Of course the overseed here is not as plush as what you might find at more expensive courses. I was only in two bunkers and the sand was in good condition.

POP was 4 hours, waiting on the foursome ahead of us on most shots, several open holes ahead of them and no interest in letting us through. Otherwise we probably would have been done in 3:15-3:30 along with the group behind us. By the time we got to the last few holes, I saw multiple groups waiting on the tees on some of the first few holes. From other reviews I saw that POP was often a problem at this course, which is why I decided to play it very early in the day.

The course seems like it would be an easy walk, the only long green-tee trek probably being 16 green to 17 tee, but I saw zero walkers out there.

I paid $75 booked through the course's website as a non-resident. Looks like the rate is normally $89 weekend mornings, but if you book as a single or twosome into a time that 1-2-3 others have already booked into, the site gave a discount to $75. The rate did include breakfast, lunch, and a couple of drinks. The breakfast wasn't my style of food so I skipped it, the buffet-style lunch was fine. They do post the daily menus for the free food on their website.

All in all, this course offers a great value in what is an expensive area for golf this time of year. I enjoyed playing it, even though I didn't seem to bring my "A" game.
9 Likes.
I played Foothills on New Year's Day 2020, around 10:50am on a teeoff.com deal time for around $45 after promo code and tax. Paired with three other randoms on the same deal. POP was about 3.5 hours, the course was not busy at all, didn't really catch anyone until the last few holes. Carts were fairly new, course does appear walkable but with maybe 2 longer green-tee hikes, and I did see a twosome walking.

This course and its "sister course" nearby, Ahwatukee CC, have a bit of a local reputation for being scruffy and water-starved under their current owner, who also owned the two other courses in Ahwatukee that closed down in the past few years (Club West and Ahwatukee Lakes).

The tees, fairways, and greens were actually in pretty good condition. One member of the group said he plays the course often, and it is in the best shape he's seen it in after some serious conditioning problems in the past few years. The cart attendant had also mentioned they basically lost the greens last summer. They seem to have made a nice comeback. That being said, everything more than 15 yards off the fairways just looks awful and scruffy, even the retaining walls bordering the homes on the course all have peeling/missing paint, are falling apart, lots of weeds, etc. The dormant rough also does not extend very far out from the fairway on most holes and turns into sandy/weedy areas. These off-fairway conditions don't bother me much, but I know they do turn off some people, especially if paying winter rack rate of $70+.

The greens were deceptively fast, and rolled smoother than their appearance would have suggested. One thing I did like about the conditioning is that they left the dormant rough cut fairly high around the greens, so one could easily get under the ball and hit high lofted pitches; most local courses shave these down (or they get matted down from traffic) and are like hitting off a sidewalk.

I'd play it again when in the area but probably would not make a special trip from my home 40 minutes away.
8 Likes.
My first review after lurking on this site for years and finding a lot of helpful information, so it's about time I give back some.

The course conditions were pleasantly surprising. Apparently this course is managed by OB Sports for the city of Tucson, and OB has been doing a great job with some of the Phoenix muni courses I usually play during the past 2 years. Fairways had a great overseed, played firm, greens were fairly smooth and fast, sand was fine. Typical dormant Bermuda rough. Really nothing to complain about with conditions for a muni, though the fairways near the ponds were completely covered in goose turds.

After a glance at the scorecard, I had decided on playing the yellow tees (5,843 yards) due to it being cold, and the whites (6391) having 4 par 4 holes at 420+ which usually isn't enjoyable for me. The yellows gave me some good variety, except the 3 of the par 3 holes played about the same (155-160ish). There is some elevation change throughout the course.

I originally had a tee time around 8:15. Staff member said the area the course is in usually gets much colder overnight than the rest of the city. Accordingly, there was a 45 minute frost delay. Due to cancellations, the starter was able to move me ahead, joining two other walkers as the second group off. The first group left us in the dust after few holes, and we finished 18 in about 3:10 as a walking threesome. Very easy course to walk.

Overall, nothing particularly memorable here, just decent affordable walking golf. The course has a small snack bar-type restaurant, and a beverage cart was out on the course.
10 Likes.
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