Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Day at Troon North in Scottsdale AZ

by Larry Berle

There are less than 20 public golf  facilities on the Golf Digest Top 100 list and Troon North  in Scottsdale AZ is one of them.  There are two courses here, Monument and Pinnacle and today we played  Pinnacle.  Both are wonderful and most  would agree they are among  the best in the Phoenix area.  Troon North sits just below the iconic Pinnacle Peak here in North Scottsdale and  winds it way through large boulder fields, Saguaro Cactus and ravines that create breathtaking views.
If you are looking for bargain golf, this is not the place for you but if you are looking for an outstanding golf experience with great value, Troon North may be just the place for you.  In the peak of the season the greens fees are $225 and you should book early because these courses fill up  (if you are looking for a bargain come play it in  the heat of the summer like I did today).

These two courses have been re routed since they were first created and the  two back nines became  Pinnacle and the two front nines became  Monument.   If you want easier, play  Monument.  If you want a challenge play Pinnacle.

Paying attention to the hole names may give you a clue  as to what you are in for, such as the par three number  six, called “Carefree”  which  overlooks the  nearby community of Carefree, Number ten called Pinnacle brings you face to face  with the iconic Pinnacle Peak. and of course the 609 yard par five, fourteenth  is called Cross Country.   (need I say more)

There seem to be more than a fair  share of forced carries over desert washes and at some point you might mutter  “enough with the up hill holes.”  You may even mutter this on the first green— as you look at the fairway below that you just played.   It does have its fair share of uphill holes but there are plenty of level and downhill holes as well.  As you stand on the tee box of number three (the highest point on the course) you will be treated to a vista that will take your breath away. Mike Friend the director of sales at Troon North told me “you can see forty miles from this tee box” and I believe it. But don't let it capture your attention for too long because this golf course demands your concentration at all times.

Most of the greens are larger than usual  and at least three of them  (#3,#5,#11) have greens over 40 yards deep.  To give you some perspective  the average field goal  in the NFL is 36 yards(the 11th green is 47 yards deep) and the longest field goal in history  (made in the mile high city) is 64 yards.   Some of these pin placements could have a four club difference.   If you don't like cross country putting, pay attention to the pin placements.

One unique feature of Troon North is  it seems to be in a weather bubble unlike the rest of Phoenix with  Bent Grass greens year round,  compared to the rest of the valley which have  bermuda greens most of the year, overseeded with Rye in the winter  (snowbirds expect green golf courses) — so even in today 104 degree heat, its in wonderful shape.

Troon Golf has instituted “Time Par” for all of the courses it manages and for Troon North it is  4:24.  We finished todays round in  4:10  a great pace.

If you want to see what I am talking about before you get here  visit
and watch the flyovers.
In a few weeks I am going to return and play Monument—  watch for my comparison.

 If you go:
10320 E Dynamite Rd
Scottsdale AZ
Par 71
5 tee boxes from  7025 yards to 4833 yards

Or contact Troon Golf and have them set up a complete trip to many of the best courses  in the area.