Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mesa Country Club Mesa AZ

Mesa, Arizona

With its tall trees, sleek clubhouse, and rolling green lawns and fairways, Mesa Country Club looks like a Hollywood film’s vision of the good life, circa mid-twentieth century. You won’t see any stars in their perfect golf outfits at Mesa CC, which was founded in 1948, but what you will find is much better: a delightful traditional golf course with holes defined by more than 1,100 mature trees. One of the oldest private clubs in Arizona, Mesa CC dates from the era before “golf” and “desert” became inseparable. Here, you have grass, trees, sand, water—and a lot of happy golfers. With five sets of tees measuring from 6786 yards down to 5789 yards, this course is playable for everyone. Par is 72 for men, 73 for women 
This parkland course in the desert has some interesting features. For one, its collection of holes is not the usual. It has five par 5s, five par 3s, and eight par 4s. This is intriguing because I have found that the par 5s and par 3s are usually the most interesting designs in golf architecture.  That is often the case here. For sheer beauty and challenge, two downhill par threes—holes 7 and 16—are especially memorable. So is the outstanding par-four sixth, which sweeps uphill and leftward through an impressive and intimidating corridor of trees. This hole has often been voted one of Arizona’s best.
Mesa CC has very small greens. They’re in great shape, but they are firm and hard-to-hold with subtle, hard-to-read breaks. Unless you’ve got the high soft fade in your bag, you’ll want to think British Isles because on numerous holes hitting short and running it up is the way to keep your approach on the green, preferably below the hole. On several holes, such as 8 and 13, with greens sloping severely from back to front, over is pretty much dead. Complicating the approaches are the beautifully shaped bunkers that guard many holes. They are meticulously maintained, giving you a good chance of an up-and-down, but you really don’t want to be in them.

As for water, the Arizona Canal cuts through the course and is very much in play on holes five, six and seven, especially on the par-five fifth, where the canal crosses the fairway 120 yards short of the green and may force a layup on the second shot. There are also beautiful little ponds on the par-five 9th and guarding the green of the eleventh, a very tough par three.

The design of Mesa CC makes for an efficient as well as enjoyable round of golf. Though there are some hills, most of the course is level. The greens and tees are very close together, and you won’t spend time looking for your ball in a cactus bush. This all adds up, according to assistant pro Dan Walker, to an average round of three and a half hours—even walking.  Charles and I walked it in 3:40, and we were taking our time. On a warm March day, those 1,100 trees provided some welcome shade. You can imagine how welcome it would be on a really hot day.
Mesa Country Club is private, but does accept reciprocal play from other clubs around the country, so if you are a member somewhere, your pro can probably arrange for you to play here. The pro shop’s number is 480/964-3514.

Like clubs everywhere, Mesa CC wants members, and is currently offering this deal: Join for no initiation and pay the $500 a month dues for up to a year. If you want to continue on to full membership after a year, $5,000 of the dues you paid will be applied to the $10,000 initiation fee. And since there’s no penalty for early cancellation during that first year, you could join for just the winter season. For fun on the links, you could hardly beat it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Moon Valley Golf Club Phoenix AZ

Moon Valley Country Club
Phoenix AZMoon Valley CC is a member owned golf and country club in Phoenix AZ. The members purchased the club in 2004 from Karsten Manufacturing, the maker of Ping Golf Clubs who developed and ran Moon Valley for 20 years. It is now managed by Troon Golf a leader in the luxury brand golf management.

The 18-hole "Moon Valley" course features 7,210 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72 and down to 5278 yards making it user friendly for all levels of golfers.
The course rating is 74.3 and it has a slope rating of 131 on Bermuda grass. It was designed by Dick Wilson and renovated by Bob Cupp in 1999,
Moon Valley Country Club has hosted many championship events, the most prominent being the LPGA Standard Register Ping Tournament, which was played at Moon Valley from 1987 through 2003. This is the course where Annika Sorenstam shot her famous round of 59 (the course record).

This Parkland style course has water in play on 7 holes and has wonderful bunkering through out to clearly define the holes and create plenty of challenge. The greens were in outstanding shape as were the bunkers. The fairways are over seeded with Rye grass and the Bermuda rough is left dormant which helps give a clear visual for each hole as you play it. But unlike many other courses in the Phoenix area, they have grown real rough about 2 –3 feet on each side of many of the fairways.
One thing I liked about it is it is very walkable and many members there walk, as it winds its way through the neighborhood home development, in the shadows of Moon Mountain.
It is located in central Phoenix just a few miles north of downtown.

Thanks to Karsten Mfg, it boasts one of the most extensive practice facilities I have ever seen; A very large driving range with a multitude of targets, a large short range where you can practice shots from Sand to chips to 50 and 75 yard pitches. Near the first tee there are three extensive practice greens.

It also is home to The Moon Walk 1687 yard, 18hole, par-3 course that will be outstanding as a short game tune up.

Don’t miss the clubhouse!! In 2009 Moon Valley Country Club was judged best in the “Remodels and Renovations” category by Golf Inc. The designers have changed a completely outdated clubhouse into a modern, functional hub for member activity. It has an extensive fitness center and golf fitness academy, locker rooms and 2 beautiful dining rooms, with plenty of space to eat outdoors
2 swimming pools, it has everything you could ask for in a country club.

The financial stress of Moon Valley is not too different from those of many clubs these days—so they accept limited public play at a winter rate of $50.00 Mon- Thurs and $75.00 Fri- Sunday. This may be one of the best golf bargains in the Phoenix area

151 W Moon Valley Dr
Phoenix, AZ 85023-6200

P: (602) 942-0000