Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kierland Golf Club Scottsdale AZ

Kierland Golf Club Dec 14, 2009

. This is a wonderful course centrally located in North Scottsdale AZ, with beautifully designed holes and wonderful greens. They have added a very clever feature there. One transportation option they give you, in addition to walking (and not many places allow you to walk around here) or riding a cart, is taking a segway. You have probably seen these around, maybe even tried one. You stand on it and with the shifting of your body weight you get it to move forward, backward and turn from side to side. The ones there are even set up with hardware to carry your golf bag… Pretty slick.

We started with about ½ hour of training, learning how to get on and off and steer and adjust the speed. Hills are a challenge, especially side hills, but after a few holes I was completely comfortable on it and had a blast using it on my round. Unfortunately we were still a couple weeks from not being cart path only for the season. I think this would be much more fun and practical when you can take it on the fairway. Learn more about these at

The practice facility is outstanding with plenty of well-marked targets and practice green that seems to run at a similar speed to the rest of the course and a good short game area, which many clubs seem to overlook.

Kierland is centrally located in north Scottsdale and has 27 holes of wonderful golf designed by Scott Miller, one of the leading golf architects here in the Phoenix valley.

The clubhouse is stunning and even has a locker room, which very few public clubs have here in the Phoenix area, so if you need a shower before you dash to the airport, you can do that here. The proshop is a work of art in itself and has won several “ top 100 golf shop” awards

We played the Acacia and Ironwood nines (there is a Mesquite too). There are more than 300 bunkers on these courses and plenty of water to make it a most picturesque golf course. One of the things that sets it apart from many golf courses here in Phoenix is that if you hit a wayward tee shot, it may end up in an adjacent fairway rather than lost in the desert. But don’t let that fool you into thinking this is easy. There is plenty of challenge around the greens and the greens are tricky to read.

We played it from 6300 yards but for the big hitters, it can be stretched to almost 7000 yards or just under 5,000 for the ladies. One nice thing, is there are only a couple of forced carries over the desert, so it’s quite friendly in that way.

If you need help with your game, Mike and Sandy LaBauve run the instruction academy here and both are top 100 instructors. I have not taken a lesson from either, but their reputations are stellar.

This course is affiliated with the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa which features 735 rooms and all of that great Westin quality.

They also feature a fore-max golf fitness program which I am hoping to try and write about in my next article

You should check the rates on the website because they vary so much, but they range from$140.00 in the fall to as high at $215 in the winter, but they do have some more affordable twilight rates as well. For more information:
phone 480-922-9283

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sweetgrass nabs new Golf Digest award

Sweetgrass Golf Club, at Island Resort & Casino on the Michigan Upper Peninsula, announced it earned Golf Digest magazine's "America's Best New Courses 2009" honor, adding to the roster of awards garnered from high-profile, national publications.

Owned and operated by the Hannahville Band of the Potawatomi Nation, Sweetgrass is an 18-hole, par-72 designed by Paul Albanese. The layout interestingly pays homage to Native American lore of the tribe. Historic bridges rescued from the region, intricate rockwork and a liberal sprinkling of the namesake sweetgrass add to the course's unique look and feel.

See my older posts for a more complete review.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Waste Management replaces FBR as title sponsor for Phoenix Open

Waste Management is the new title sponsor of the Phoenix Open.
In a deal announced on Dec 10 at the TPC Scottsdale, Waste Management, a Houston-based company with a large Arizona presence, will take over as title sponsor of the PGA Tour's February stop in the Valley, with it's new name: Waste Management Phoenix Open.

FBR is out. They had the rights to renew for 2010 but are now being replaced.
The 2010 event will be held , Feb. 25-28. and is expected to return to its regularly scheduled dates opposite the Superbowl in the future.

This event has the largest crowds on the PGA tour and often refers to itself as the Greatest show on grass. Its crowds are also known as the biggest partiers. So jokes will abound with crowds on the famed #16 getting wasted etc. Maybe they will change the name of the birds nest to the Dumpster dive.

At least they still have a sponsor and probably won't care if Tiger even shows up, which he rarely does anyway

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Does Tiger deserve what he is going through

For years now Tiger has used the media to his great advantage, becoming the most recognizable athlete in the world and from that he has earned hundreds of millions of dollars of endorsements.

Now the media has caught him in some bad behavior and he wants his privacy. Well he can't have it both ways. You either live with the media or you don't.
Unfortunately America loves stories like this and thus the media, give them to us, because they want the viewers and readers.

If Tiger wants his privacy back he should consider dropping all of his endorsements and anything else that brings him into the limelight. I am sure a few million in future income is not going to effect his lifestyle

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pete Dye Golf Club at French Lick

French Lick Resort, the award winning resort destination located in southern Indiana, has earned its most accomplished golf honor to date. The new Pete Dye course has been selected "Best New Public Course" in the country by Golf Digest.

Golf Digest's annual review of America's Best New Courses appears in the January 2010 issue and covers the best new courses in the public, private, Canadian, and remodeled categories.

If you go to my older posts you will see review of this golf course, which from the tips, plays to 8102 yards.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Talking Rock Prescott AZ

Talking Rock
Prescott AZ
The traditional architecture of the great ranches of Central Arizona lives at Talking Rock. Located 12 miles north of Prescott AZ (and approx 2 hours north of Phoenix), this pristine piece of property sits at approx 5,000 feet of elevation and most of the property provides the visitor endless 75 mile vistas over the rolling hills that engulf you in this neck of the woods. As you approach the gate it is clear you are in ranch country.

The golf course, built in 2000, designed by Jay Morrish, who until several years ago was teamed with Tom Weiskopf and together they designed many award winning and top 100 golf courses. About an hour away they designed the top rated course in AZ, Forest Highlands in Flagstaff. They also designed the TPC of Scottsdale where the FBR Open is played every year.

It plays to 7350 yards, but that is too much for me so we played it at 6400 yards. The fairways provide generous landing areas but the challenge really creeps in as you close in on the greens. Moorish has a certain genius about his visual acuity and set up. He has a devilish way of fooling the eye with bunkers that appear near a green that are really 20-30 yards in front and washes and gorges that are hidden from view, unless you studied the yardage book on each hole.
The greatest example of this is number 15, what some would call a drivable par-4. but a fooler to the eye. Drivable par-4’s are a signature of Jay Morrish.
He uses that same sneaky capability on the greens, which are large and appear rather flat, but are far from it and very tricky to read. The greens run quick and true and leave many a visitor making three putts. This may sound daunting but it is truly a fabulous golf course and if you have the opportunity to play it, carpe diem. I was reminded of a great quote by Alister Mackenzie. He was asked how he made such flat looking greens so devlish and he said” I try to hire the village idiot and instruct him to produce perfectly flat greens”
The fairways are firm giving you plenty of roll and supporting crisp iron play. The greens,similarly were in wonderful condition. Its Dec 4 and its their winter here, because there is occasional frost, they don’t move the pin positions on a daily basis this time of year. There are 3 or 4 hole locations per green and the pin positions not in use that day still have their cup but are fitted with a cover over the top. Well enough done that I am sure you could putt over them.
The greens are large, creating several pin locations to choose from to change things up from day to day. The largest green on the course, number 18, is 51 yards deep. Just to give you some perspective that is farther than most NFL kickers can kick a field goal.
It was warm from 1:00 to 3:00 and not so warm after that, but this is not Phoenix weather and high season here is May through Oct

In true ranch tradition, rather than an opulent club house they have created the “Ranch compound” a group of bldgs that blend magnificiently into the environmental surroundings. The compound consists of The Ranch House, with its wonderful restaurant, The barn fitness center, the tack house with its locker rooms and Pro Shop. The layout offers plenty of enterainment spaces in the great outdoors surrounding the compound. You see the great outdoors is a way of life around here.


Threre are almost 1500 homesites on this 3500 acre ranch, but they are well set back from the holes and do not infringe on the course. The concept is “traditional rural ranch” with stone and wood exteriors (no stucco here). If you look at the homes that have been built here you know you are on a ranch.

In addition to the golf there is swimming, tennis and 30 miles of nature and hiking trails. So there is plenty of activities to choose from. Homesites range from $100,000-$350,000 and completed homes from $600k.

It is 12-20 degrees cooler here than Phoenix, so this is the place to be in the summer and the summer nights are even cooler. An ideal respite from the stifling heat of Phoenix’s summer.

This is a private club, but in the interest of attracting new members, thay now have a stay and play package. For $450 you get either 2 rounds of golf or spa treatments and a stay in a georgeous 2400 square foot 3 bedroom villa. If you are in the area this is a must do.

If you go:
Located 2 hours north of the Phoenix airport and 12 miles north of Prescott.