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Played at Ken McDonald Golf Course at 9:36am for $28 with my 4some sunday group on August 11. There was also a lunch special offered at check in for two drinks and a lunch, don't know how long that'll last but I (two of the four declined) didn't take the offer. The customer service was ample, there were a long layout of golf carts awaiting our choosing and I only mention that because in the past I have had issues waiting for one to be cleaned and returned. This course has three practice greens with one full size bunker, and a lighted driving range with matts on certain days. Good, not great, amenities.

The course has went through it's ups and downs and I have been one to be more enlightening of this Tempe City muni as I always felt it was a great value and on the upswing. I was right. The tee boxes here, of various lengths and difficulties, were nice and tidy without being too wet nor summer dried. The fairways had a nice green color hue to them offering up a plenty of lifted lies awaiting the club's impact for the approach. The greens were smooth on the front nine, with a few greens struggling to not die on the back nine (which I find ironic; they have dead spots on a few greens, most notably two par 3's of 11 and 13, even though they brag with their informational pamphlet visible inside the carts about why their greens are cut higher than most places which is to KEEP them alive). Anyways, the greens for the most part were well trimmed and rolled smoothly at around a 10.5 all day without being to baked or impacted by high approach shots. The bunkers were well textured, not crispy but not soaking wet. Fair to great conditions all day, especially considering this is a municipal course in the middle of August.

This course strategy is a fun, simple and rather flat layout with elevation changes that'll get your heart racing (sarcasm) however with the improving conditions year in and year out with customer service becoming more of a focal point...I can only see myself returning here more and more. Worth a play now, and when you'd like to save some dough and play in the winter without breaking the bank.
10 Likes.
Played today August 4th at 9:50am at the Dinosaur Mountain course with my usual foursome for $48 which includes range balls prior. The resort parking lot is shared with the golf courses' parking lot so parking can be a burden but the cart guys grabbed our bags and we were led out to the first tee with the starter who pointed out the mountain called Dinosaur and a few other helpful tips. The carts had a cooler (there are no water stations on course!) and a club washer. The cart girl serviced us three times, even with temperatures reaching well into the 100's and offered cold, mango scented towels. Exquisite service throughout.

The course conditions were, to be expected, of the excellent variety. The tee boxes, which there are 6 of ranging from forward women's to the men's championship tips. They all were well trimmed and firm accepting of tees of varying height, even par 3's had limited divots that were nicely filled with seed (which there aren't any on cart). There was one hole that had a little sloping but just nearby at another tee position was new sod being laid so I know they'll be working on fixing that. The fairways were firm and never dried out, limited dry spots if any with any divots filled with seed as well. Most surprising was the perfect texture of the fairways without being too soft and too hard. The greens, well guarded by mounding throughout the course, were recently aerated however they are fair, smooth and well enough fast. Any missed putts in the group weren't because of the punching a few weeks ago. The bunkers, throughout the course are visible aplenty, were well textured and manicured allowing for any shot to be played in the fairway or green side.

This course presents itself throughout the mountains, obviously, perfectly. Nothing too obnoxious that some courses can be guilty of and there isn't any forced difficulty. The first hole is a prime example, the mountains are visible without being overbearing. A gentle incline into a well guarded green. The second is a par 3 with noticeable elevation change but the landing areas are large and there's plenty of room to miss. This can be expected while you play here, fun holes that present a great landscape for the day. The course strategy isn't too difficult either, fairways are generous and the greens are large. Bunkers are placed in the right areas with water only present on one hole and it's guess what? Not in your face but there if you miss poorly, with plenty of area to bail out and play it smart.

This course, and whole complex really, leads to a great day out in the desert mountain ranges of the east valley consistently. If you haven't played here, read this: if you want pristine conditions with a fair challenge without manufactured difficulties, great customer service year-round and some social media worthy pics...come play either course at Gold Canyon Golf Resort and you won't be disappointed.
10 Likes.
Played with my usual Sunday threesome here at 11:02 am for $20 off a hot deal on GolfNow. This course never allows for singles to book so I've never played here, and the last time one of my partners in the threesome played here was some 5 odd years ago. We were excited. This course has an extensive history with being one of the first courses established around 1913, before Arizona was even officially a state. The service was acceptable, the cart guys grabbed our bags, we checked in, hit the bar to grab our drinks as there wasn't a cart girl out on the hot Sunday we played.

We were off without warmup due to the driving range being simply foam golf balls into a 150 yard grassy area with a few trimmed "greens". The conditions on the tee boxes, with around 4 sets of tee to play from, were nice and acceptable of any tee. The fairways were a little overgrown, but noticeably lower than the rough. The rough was quite lush, it'll hide your ball pretty well and impact any approach shot. The greens, which we were warned of being slow, were pretty pristine. Soft and receptive on any shots into the green but rolled true with putts. Not seemingly baked at all and fun to putt on...once you were successfully on the greens. The bunkers, which all are SURROUNDING the small greens were a little inconsistent. Some were soft and well raked while others could be firm and packed a bit too tight. The only weird thing about the conditions was the absence of the fringe, it was basically trimmed greens and immediately off the greens was the rough and crabgrass.


This course is for sure a parkland style course, with very little desert seen if any and if you saw desert shrubbery it was because of the houses that are prominently lining the holes of this resort/hotel course. The fairways are rather accepting of errant tee shots but to score well, bring your sharpest of irons because these greens are the size of postage stamps. Every green was in great shape, which is great because you needed the ability to putt well with all of the greens being defended by at least one bunker, up to three surrounding the green complexes. My only gripe was this course strategically could be great if the greens weren't under 1,000 square feet because EVERY green is surrounded by bunkers. It's not necessarily target golf other than with the greens but the greens limit your options for approach shots, they need to be able to fly and stop quickly.

It was a fun course, albeit rather challenging with my below average iron game that Sunday, and with the conditions I'll be back but it's not for the everyday hacker that can't accurately control their irons. If you can't bring some swim shorts and a towel because you'll be at the beach all day.
9 Likes.
Played Arizona Golf Resort with a $11 hot deal tee time off GolfNow at 9:52am on the 26th of July. The greens had recently been punched and sanded, just to state before hand so that's probably part of the reason that tee time was being offered. The last time I played here was a while ago, and since then their customer service has been improved. Cart guys were present in the hot summer morning hours and the pro shop offered fair service as well upon check in. They offered me a course yardage guide for free which is a nice touch often not seen at courses now, they seem to always be of charge around $5.

The course is in fair shape besides the green as mentioned. The tee boxes were definitely immaculate, firm trimmed grass with just the right amount of firmness to hold a tee wherever placed. The fairways were softer then usual at this time of year though trimmed just above the height of a tee box. The rough was rather high, though in some places of the course less prevalent than other spots. I'd say the rough was around two inches all day, enough to lose a ball that doesn't find the fairway. The bunkers weren't dry but not necessarily fluffy, enough to hit the shot of choice green-side or to approach the green out of a fairway bunker. The greens were aerated , looking to be about three weeks away from playable healing.

The strategy behind this course is rather plain, a few doglegs which entice big hitters to try to cut with little reward available as often times a closer approach not meaning any easier. The fairways on most par 4's have two sections, a lay up portion ending around 150 yards left to the green and a go for it section often spliced by a cart path. Rather interesting that each fairway is designed this way but it's nothing to sneeze at either. The course is rather flat with very little change in height from tee boxes to greens and houses lining basically every hole, I wouldn't venture to say this feels like a resort course but much rather a community course.

It's a nice course that you can play golf at during the summer, but with the tee times spread out no more than 7 to 8 minutes I'd say this course is avoidable during the winter/fall time when the tee sheet is filled to the brim leading to 5 hour plus rounds that I myself have experienced here versus the 3 hour round I played yesterday.
8 Likes.
Played Papago Golf course, new home of the ASU Golf program, at 11am on Sunday July 21st for around $25 through a call to the proshop. The facilities of this course have recently went through extensive renovation as well as the pro shop and grill. The range is elite through and through, multiple stations available up to around 100 golfers, multiple chipping and bunker practice areas available with a large putting green awaiting your attention prior to teeing off. The Cartbarnguys, known largely from the presence on social media, offer pristine customer service and the beverage cart employees were present as well on this 100+ degree day. Bravo.

Now onto the golf course itself. The tee boxes, which there are five to select from, looked level and had ample amount of room to tee off from allowing a tee to be pegged of any choosing. The fairways were trimmed nicely, presenting a firm roll out with few divots in the fairway providing great opportunity to hit an approach shot. The rough is characterized with consistent boundaries prior to getting to the oh so present desert shrubbery and dirt landscape. Rough wasn't too high but could bury a ball deep if you hit into the grass that hadn't been trampled on by carts. The greens were aerated on the week of the 8th of July so they were a bit on the sanded, recovery side. Should be in amazing shape within a week or two more. The bunkers were great, fluffy and soft to hit from greenside and just a touch firm next to the fairways. They were noticeably machine raked about everywhere there were, and there are a lot of them around this track.

The course presents itself as a tough stern championship worthy test, as it should being the home of a prestigious golf team in ASU. You must be able to drive your driver with accuracy and with distance to shoot a score out here. The bunkers are all placed in JUST the right spot making you sweat if the weather doesn't do that already. The greens have enough room to hit them if you do miss the fairway, however the amount of blind shots and multiple tiers in them make hitting the right spot a key. The golf and service is great, the price at this time of year around the $25-$40 range is doable, but I must say...for a prestigious course to have below average signage to navigate the course, no GPS on carts and a surprising lack of cart paths, more must be done. I understand how this may come off but if they want to tout being a Phoenix hidden gem and a championship worthy layout, the small things need to be accounted for.

All in all , a great course and viable challenge with an incredible amount of views of the adjacent cities and natural landscape but there are some views on the course that could use a touch up.
9 Likes.
Played as a single for $11 off GolfNow June 27th at 1:00pm in this Queen Creek, neighborhood golf course. The staff inside the club shop was apt, it was the PGA Professional there that welcomed me and offered me to play alone as I showed up 40 minutes early to check this place out. I've heard of this place as a meat and potatoes golf course, and I would be inclined to agree. The staff wasn't too present, but it's summer. I don't blame them. I prepped my cart myself and was on my way.

The course presents itself as a high school/muni type community course so conditions are wavering. The tee boxes were trimmed nicely and allowed for really any setup among the 5 tee boxes. The fairways were good, nothing lush or perfectly trimmed but allowed for approach shots to have spin and accuracy when needed. Fairways sat the ball up well, however the edges of the fairways and rough is where things may get dicey. The rough was infested with that crab grass weed, not really any type of grown out rough but more so untrimmed weeds that only seemed maintained by the tires of golf carts. The sand in the bunkers were raked but nothing fluffy or noticeably immaculate. The greens were small and very soft, held true when putted upon without any visually present divot marks. The fringe was very prevalent, well cut and held any missed green shots allowing for any green side wedge shots to be played, I was thoroughly impressed with them.

This place is a golf course, one that is playable and enjoyable. I shot my best score relative to par ever here and throughout the day, I was looking around and just taking everything in trying to think of how I would encapsulate what this course presents. It's not really challenging, nor is it long in any fashion, the design doesn't capture the minds of what some would seek but it did leave me with this; it's a place to tee it up and knock a little ball into a hole. The tee boxes had trimmed grass, the fairways had a good consistent texture, the greens were nice to putt on and hit shots into, the bunkers had sand...isn't that a golf course?

I'd say if you haven't played this course but have heard about it, you might want to drive out here and play. If you've played it once and don't live close, you might not return and stay to replay it again and again. But hey, not every course will be a must play, and that's okay.
6 Likes.
Played with my usual threesome on Sunday the 23rd of June for a hot deal of $10 per player off GolfNow. Pulling up as I stated in my review of this course last year, you're presented with a course that seems below average. However once you're on the grounds, the club house (recently renovated last year or so), the bar and grille, the ample putting greens, private instruction area near the 10th hole and the medium sized practice tee, you realize that's not the case. The service was great. We walked up and were offered to tee off whenever we were ready. So, we did.

The tee boxes were manicured well, with the mow patterns visible in the fairways and greens from the tee boxes. The boxes were all lush with no severe damage nor visible need of leveling. The fairways were firm but not rock hard and often presented your fairway finding drive sitting up in the grass. The rough was noticeably different in the way it was mowed height wise, but did not present any difficulty in finding the ball nor with your club selection to accurately hit the green. It was kinda just, different than the fairway. Not bad though. The greens were very pristine, no severe pitchmark damage and the roll on putts was fair and true. What I was most impressed with, was the definition of the mowing pattern on the fairways and greens. You usually don't see that at a cheap, retirement community golf course.

This course is fun, and worth the summer rates. I know, from what I've heard , that this course is impossible to get on when the snowbirds are in town and it's always packed when the weather is below that certain temperature that I can't quite figure out, probably 75. My preferred golfing temperature is 100 plus, so it's always empty and a great day out here. It's a good test for all your clubs, a chance to shoot a low score and fun to have a course to yourself during the summer. Worth the green fee for sure.
10 Likes.
Played the renown East Mesa Las Sendas at 8:20am for a hot deal off GolfNow of $34 on the 6th of June. Long story short, I woke up late due to my own fault and didn't make it to the course until 9:10ish and they helped and completely made me feel like there was nothing wrong. Showed up, cart guys grabbed my golf bag from my car in the parking lot, went to hit a few at the practice tee as every tee time includes practice balls and I was on my way. This course's staff is perfect in every sense. Great start.

The course had just come off of the NAIA College golf championship, so I was expecting tough, tough conditions matched with pristine conditions. I in fact, got BOTH. The tee boxes were manicured and had rocks leading to the boxes (even color coded to the tees you were playing from) which were lush and level everywhere. A few par 3's had divots, but they were all filled with sand. The fairways were a little wet to start the day off, but dried up as the heat of the afternoon showed up as expected. The rough was around 2 to 3 inches all day, without bare spots to be found and the desert rocks were even raked if you strayed that far off path. The fairways, to be noted, had recently been punched but they never led to a bad lie. In fact, I counted about one fried lie all day in the fairways. The greens were the stars of the show, as they were as pristine as I've ever seen and they were rolling true and FAST. The fringe was a few feet wide on every green, the surrounding rough was just as lush as the fairways. Great, if not perfect conditions on every hole. In early June, this is amazing.

The course itself is designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and has a bit of a Pete Dye feel to it at times, with a few blind tee shots and tempting lines...if you only view the line that's given to you. Many times, I'd stand on the tee or from the fairway thinking there's no 'easy' or correct line, but it more times than not was over a bunker or hazard. Risky golf was often the best line, with rewards being given out very rarely with this postage stamp sized-green defended course. The greens were its main defense, with the fairways and many approach shots yielding a requirement of JUST a well struck shot. But once on the green, every putt, even 2 footers, needed to be read and hit accurately. 3 putts were a plenty.

This course is very fun, and if you're reading up to this point of my review you should probably do yourself a favor and head over to their website or GolfNow and book a round...like now. Generous staff, great prices for their nearby competition (Longbow, Red Mountain Ranch, Gold Canyon, etc.) and the course strategy/condition is among the purest. Great round, even if it wasn't the best score, that I look forward to replaying here shortly. Pictures of the course to come, however for a real life view...GO PLAY!
12 Likes.
Played this course on Sunday, June 2nd for $16 at 10:15 am with a booked threesome. This course does have a practice range, putting greens without a chipping green and some water/drinks prior to heading to the first tee. We checked in with ease as the cart guys offered us our carts as we pleased; when we approached the first tee we were notified a single had just booked last second with us and we were off.

The course was set up (from tips it plays 6,224, ladies at 4,774) fast and firm from tee to green. The tee boxes were trimmed well and allowed any peg in the ground and didn't have much visible wear (yet, it's early in the summer season). The fairways were green and bounced well with a limited amount of approach-shot divots. The rough and surrounding areas weren't anything to hide your golf ball from but they did impact the spin into the green, which was very important taking into account the greens. NOW, for the greens. First off, this is a retirement "resort" for snowbirds and the older crowd with cheap prices, however these greens were amazing. Fast (at least an 11 on the stimp) and firm, no wedge I hit made an indentation on approach no matter how high I hit them. Every putt was true and tough, the slope on some of the pin placements maaaayyy have been illegal but playing on these greens made for a fun day.

I've written a review each of the past two years for this course, unfortunately no other greenskeeper member has even with it being a value play. The price, the time it takes to play 18 on a Sunday with a foursome playing from 3 different tees (under 4 hours) and the ease of which an enjoyable round appears is outstanding. I've played my handful of Nationally recognized courses in Arizona and other states (notably South Carolina, the mecca of great courses) however I find myself continually smiling as I leave from this course due to its staff, quality of shape and price. Play this course, shoot low and enjoy a day in east-ish Mesa.
12 Likes.
As a follow up to my previous review for Ocotillo we returned to play, the exact same threesome, to play this course on September 2nd, 2018 around 11 o'clock for $30. We didn't return in the time allowed for the previously mentioned "improved promise voucher" but the price was right and we decided to revisit.

This review is strictly going to harp on conditions as I've review APLENTY for strategy and service review. Now...the conditions in comparison to early July to middle of August were vastly VASTLY improved. Are they perfect? No. But the bare spots in the fairway almost requiring pick-clean-place in nearest grass is no more. The rough was still "short" but penal if in the thick-er than fairway stuff. The bunkers were also improved, machine raked fairway bunkers and green side bunkers soft for the occasional (rare) up and downs. The greens were the among the largest of pieces of this place improved. The bare spots disappeared, seemed extremely softer and more watered. The greens actually rolled true as opposed to a guessing game; on these crazy curvatures greens that is needed.

The course definitely improved quite a bit, but it's a bit away from flawless as Ocotillo pictures themselves as being. They've laid new sod, placed a lot of time and effort in the small things and continue to water even in the middle of the day. So I'm hopeful it'll only continue to be better.
8 Likes.
Played the championship worth course of Ak-Chin Southern Dunes for $45 off GolfNow at 1:50 pm on August 30th. This course presented in the beginning of the outskirts of Maricopa, tree lined once you approach the course from Highway 348. The parking lot/cart attendant assisted me with my bag right away. I showed up early to hit the range which is included in the tee time but it was closed today for reason beyond any explanation given by staff. No cart girl on the course but it was afternoon in the summer, almost to be expected. The course offered water bottles every three holes, FULL WATER bottles, in an ice filled cooler near the hole monument, classy.

This is a course managed by Troon, servicing of the course is to be expected and this place was no different. Tee boxes, which there are six of, were all well manicured and trimmed easily accepting of my tees. The fairways were pristine, of the wide fairways I couldn't find any bare spots or extreme divot damage as sand filled was available on every cart and people seem to use it here. The bunkers, of which there are MANY (I'd say at least 100 even after renovation and removal), were in amazing condition. For the fairway bunkers they were firm and machined raked. The green side bunkers were soft and receptive of errant approach shots making for a guaranteed tough up and down. The greens were firm and a bit dry but they were really really true, the whole course is FIRM to be honest. The greens played like championship greens with complex hills and rolling crevices, all seemingly in the right (or wrong) spots.

This course's strategy (from the tips around 7,540 according to scorecard) test the southwest every year as its the US Open qualifying site and it's apparent. I came here this summer with my best game ready to play this course for the first time and left humbled. Off the tee, the line you want to take is often interrupted visually with a bunker that you later notice once you approach your ball that is actually guarding the green. The course is demanding of you off the tee because you NEED a controllable iron to approach with any chance of a birdie. Long isn't the only trick this course has. The greens have tiers and not necessarily in the sense of elevation but in comparison to bunkers where they're located. A lot of greens have run off areas which is a note to know where to miss the green however the grass is often cut very short to make those shots difficult. The par 5's have chances to score but the greens are well placed, akin to any "short" par 4's.

Service, top notch; conditions, immaculate; strategy, championship worth...cost, priceless. Head out to test your game, soon. This course is worth it. I've played tough tough championship courses and I'll say this one was the most enjoyable.
9 Likes.
Played as a twosome on August 26th around 11:20am through the course's website for $15. Showed up to the parking lot expecting a cheap round of golf with below average conditions and service well below average as well. This course is located in the middle of the Apache Wells residential (hence the name) and is tucked between many houses and through a few access roads to nearby leasing offices. Once you arrive you park in an old, in need of maintenance concrete parking lot. However, that's the end of it. The clubhouse also donned the bar/grille area looks brand new, next to the limited space driving range and a full array of different practice greens/putting greens for your pleasure. The service was ample and we were on our way.

The tee boxes, fairways and rough all sat up. The grass clinched your tee on the box, the fairway perched your ball up for any approach shot lucky to hit FIR and the rough did not hide any ball from view however could make you double take if it requires a club up or down depending on its interaction with your ball. The greens looked punched a few weeks ago seemingly with residue of sand in minimal places however the greens were receptive of any play and putted around a 8.5. You needed to strike it well to get it to its destination. The bunkers were soft however a FEW were notably over watered and then baked causing the flaking dirt appearance that dissipated after a suitable raking.

The strategy is simple, much akin to the course I previously reviewed in Viewpoint...come here and shoot a score. Off the tee there are ZERO forced carries basically (I counted a minimal one if you were to hit a BUBBA slice over some property fencing) and little hazards in play. The bunkers are front facing into most greens however absent in the rear. The fairways are primarily straight forward with landing areas clearly defined. While the greens are the course's only realistic defense. Any eagle putt I had (three total on the day) I couldn't convert due to the complexities on the greens and minuscule turning.

This course is what any sub-5 star course should shoot for. I'd say, if 85% of the Arizona cookie cutter courses attempted to recreate this course's conditions in the summer time, they'd be able to charge higher than they currently do...and people would pay. I don't know how this course avoided burn spots in the fairway, crisp baked greens and unplayable fringe cut, but they did. Don't tell me it's only present in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area big hitting courses to have lush fairways and 3" rough, because Apache Wells can. This isn't a drag on Apache Wells, this is a notice to all golfers. Look for courses that offer amazing conditions rather than popularizing "architecture" because I promise those course's conditions will make the day of play MUCH more enjoyable.

I will be back. Often.
10 Likes.
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