Dramatic Elevation Changes At Club West

You know that excitement you have when going to a golf course you have never played before, right? You have heard nothing but good stuff about the course, or presumably you wouldn’t be going there. The anticipation begins to mount the moment you make your tee time and throw the clubs into the trunk. Today’s exploration takes my companions and I to Club West Golf Club, about 10 minutes west of I-10 on Chandler Blvd.

Club West is operated by the Foothills Golf Group, well known for providing an excellent golf experience at all their facilities. With courses such as The Foothills Golf Club, Ahwatukee CC, Ahwatukee Lakes, and the notorious Duke Course, all under the watchful eye of Terry Duggan, President of the Foothills Golf Group, we knew today would be a memorable experience.

First impressions mean a lot; it sets the tone for the day. We were made to feel welcome the moment we pulled up to the bag drop. Club Manager, Chilo Mendoza, checked us in and gave us some quick tips and a yardage guide before sending us to the first tee with a smile and an invitation to return after golf for a cold beer in the newly remodeled Lakeside Grille. We all made a note to self on that point.

CLUB WEST GOLF CLUB
16400 S. 14th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85045
Club manager: Chilo Mendoza
Phone: (480) 460-4400
www.clubwestgolf.com

The course was designed by renowned Arizona golf architects Brian Whitcomb and Ken Kavanaugh and is consistently rated one of the top 20 you can play. There are four sets of tee boxes to choose from, stretching out to 7,142 from the tips. Starting on a relatively short par 4 without a whole lot of trouble always gives you a little needed warm up time, and I for one always appreciate that. Each hole, unlike a lot of desert courses, is distinct from the rest. There is a sense of tranquility on the course; adjacent homes are set far off the fairways and there are very few contiguous holes. It makes you feel like you have the place to yourself. This is not a “thick with cacti and boulders lining the fairways” kind of desert course.

Club West offers a more forgiving edge for those errant shots that are never found on other desert tracks. Tee shots, for the most part, fly to generous landing areas that focus your attention on approaches to well guarded greens. Strategically positioned bunkers provide for some very interesting hole locations. Play it safe to be on the dance floor or take the risk to be closer to the band…and possibly end up in any number of massive traps surrounding the greens. There is a lot of elevation change as you climb up and around the foothills on the sunny side of South Mountain.

None however, is more dramatic than the ascent to the tee of the two closing par 3’s, numbers 15 and 17. The shot from tee to green on the shorter #15 is like throwing a ball over a cliff and having time to shave before it finally touches down. We thought that was pretty cool until we climbed up to the tee box a couple holes later to #17. Wow what a view! And an even more pronounced drop to the green… or should I say greens? For at this tee you are given a choice to hit the ball down to either of the two greens well below you. It’s up to you and maybe where you stand in your match. From the tips, the back green is a lengthy 215 yards while the closer choice is only … both very daunting shots and neither surface is very large, or so it appeared from our lofty position on the tee.

Almost done….one more hole and we could head for that cold beer and settle our bets while watching the sun set over the surrounding mountains. Club West is certainly on our list of places to return to time and time again, definitely worth the price of the frequent player card that Chilo suggested. With that card we could even explore the other Foothills Golf Group courses. The excitement continues to build!

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