Thursday, March 3, 2011

Phoenix - Part 1 of 3

This was our 5th or 6th trip down here and in the past, we always seemed to play the same 4 or 5 courses... Lonetree, Legacy, Phantom Horse (now Arizona Grand Resort), Vistal and Estrella Mountain Ranch (now Golf Club of Estrella). Not that there's anything wrong with those courses but we decided to try some different ones this time around. With the bad economy and the dollar at par, we were able to play quite a few that were out of our price range before. I'll try to do a review of each course we played. FWIW, we both track our handicaps using Gametrack. I'm a 16 and Paul is a 12 so neither of us are world beaters. In terms of strengths, I think Paul's is his ballstriking, and I guess mine is my chipping.

Trilogy and Power Ranch - This course is located southeast of Phoenix in a Gilbert community development. It's lined with hundreds of houses and is definitely not the most scenic course. We booked our 1:06 tee time through golfnow for $62 per player, no range balls included.

We got quite a bit of rain in the 24 hours before the round and it rained for at least 9 of the holes. I've definitely never played in as windy, cold and rainy conditions in Phoenix as we did this round. Regardless, it was still lots of fun. The fairways were well manicured and the next cut was dormant bermuda. Pretty much every course down here is framed by desert wasteland. In this case, the wasteland was mostly red clay/packed dirt. The greens were good... smooth and relatively fast. Adjusting to yardages down here took a little bit. Airmailing greens into the street/wasteland/water occurred on more than one occasion. I'd player here again.

Lookout Mountain - This course is located at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix. We booked our 11:32 tee time through's "name your price" for $46 per player, range balls included.

The course was fun, challenging and in good condition. It underwent renovations recently and has changed quite a bit compared to what is shown on the course layout. In order to be more environmental, they removed water from pretty much every hole except for #15. The fairways were lush and in great shape and the next cut was rough that was actual rough, although not very long. The wasteland was mostly pebbles and rock. The greens were decent enough, although not the smoothest or fastest we played. The tee box options were sort of limited. Either tee off from 6500+ yards or 6000 yards. I didn't want to get stuck playing a 230+ yard par 3 or forced carries over desert that I couldn't make so I dropped down to the shorter of the two while Paul played the longer one. The variety of holes is definitely there. Long par 3's and 4's as well as short ones. Lots of elevation changes as well. It's a bit of a gimmicky/tricked out course with weird holes... sort of reminds me of Furry Creek up near Squamish. I did have my best stretch of holes during the trip going 2 over through 5 holes to finish the round. For what we paid, I'd definitely player here again.

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