Saturday, April 28, 2012

The "New" McDowell Mountain Golf Club

 The “New” McDowell Mountain Golf Club
The McDowell Mountain Golf Club, formerly Sanctuary Golf Club, re opened in Oct 2011 under the new ownership of Phil Mickelson and Steve Loy and under new management as well by OB Sports, and it is now home to the Rick Smith Golf Academy in Scottsdale AZ.
The course has undergone a $1.2 million renovation which included such changes as: more generous landing areas, waste bunkers that improve hole definition and and some new teeing areas.
“We wanted to create an experience for all  players that provides an enjoyable round regardless of abilities... to present demanding shots for the better players but give the average player more than one shot option”
  • Phil Mickenson
I think they accomplished this here.  This Par 71 plays from  7072 down to 4880 yards  so all players can find a suitable length.  Several holes have parallel fairways--  hit it too far off line and “Poof” you are still in a fairway.
There is a wide variety of holes with many shot options and as my playing partners said  “its challenging, but it doesn’t beat you up.  Its a fun layout.”
They do have more than their share of power lines running over head but you soon get used to that.
The panorama views from the 18th tee box are not the only breathtaking views of the valley-- but the 18th tee box is sure worth  a pause to take in the scenery.
As a premium course competing in the valley of the sun for the premium  golf $$$ it could use an improvement in amenities.  There was no yardage book or GPS on the carts. On holes where the green wasn’t clearly visible from the tee, it was hard to know where to go  (they told me yardage books are at the printer), no towels on the golf cart, and there is an extra charge for range balls, but these are small things that will hopefully be changed.  
Greens fees range from $65 to $150 depending on the season with generous discounts for OB Sports card holders.
10690 E. Shenna 

Tonto Verde Golf Club in Scottsdale AZ

Tonto Verde Golf Club
If you like golf in the desert and if you like life far from the maddening crowd, and if you especially like being surrounded by Minnesota natives, then Tonto Verde may be exactly what you are looking for.  (over 1/4 of themembers are from Minnesota)
They call this remote community “The Verdes” consisting of Rio Verde, Tonto Verde and the new Vista Verde.  Rio and Tonto have two eighteen hole golf courses and Vista has  one--a total of 90 holes (not to mention the 18 hole putting course at Tonto).  The putting course, by the way, is a treat in itself.
I played the Peaks course at Tonto Verde which was designed by well known golf course architects David Graham and Gary Panks. This 6744 yard course follows the natural contours of the land and will challenge golfers of all skill levels.   It has views for miles of surrounding mountains and is named for “Four Peaks” which is in view on many of the holes.  Four Peaks is the highest point in the area and is occasionally covered in snow. Just imagine an 80 degree sunny day with snow covered peaks nearby.  That ought to get your heart thumpin’
The landing areas are generous and the greens are firm and quick, even after todays rain.  In winter the entire course is overseeded, so its all green (The Ranch course has only the fairways, tees and greens overseeded giving it a different look with the brilliant green fairways framed by dormant Bermuda grass.
They recently remodeled the 26,000 Square foot clubhouse and it looks brand new. A real treat.
Membership at Tonto is currently $20,000 but they run specials from time to time, including 6 month trial memberships with no initiation.  Until they become full, these courses have limited public access at fees ranging from $40.00 in summer to $100.00 in high season.  Just call the pro shop.
For those of you visiting the Phoenix area, they have an outstanding stay and play package with a beautifully furnished home for a week and 5 round of golf for under $1900 per couple.  Prices vary based on size of home and the season
If you go:

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Masters and Bubba

There were many amazing things about the Masters on Easter Sunday  but  2 of them are worth mentioning. "O" mans 260 yard double eagle on #2  and  Bubbas recovery on number 10 to lead to a playoff victory.
Today I visited  the Ping factory in  Phoenix, just a coincidence, that I  had this scheduled the day after the Masters.
Turns out that Bubba is a Ping endorsed player.  He will get a solid gold replica of the putter he was using being given to him by Ping.   For all tour victories won using a Ping Putter, the winner gets a gold plated replica of his or her putter-- but a major winner gets solid gold--  Gotta be valuable!

There is an outdoor hitting area next door where they test clubs and fit clubs for their pros..  There is a net  325 yards from the tee.  Bubba was regularly hitting his drives and flying the net-- so they had to extend the net  20 more feet into the air so that golf balls stopped landing in the street and pelting Pings neighbors.
That man is not only good, but long and strong