Going to college with limited funds but a passion for golf, my golf buddy and I were always on the lookout for great deals in the Phoenix area. If the temperature was over the century mark, we were fortunate enough to play courses that were normally untouchable because in season the green fees hit the century mark. Regardless of the season, conditions, location or any other typical golf variable, we played some pretty great courses!
We are blessed to have many top-flight golf courses here in Arizona. Choose a well known golf architect and chances are pretty good they have left their signature here in the desert. These courses offer pristine playing conditions and state-of-the-art facilities and amenities. Some of these courses also host prestigious amateur and professional golf events. Nowadays you are likely to find an award-winning executive chef serving incredible faire. Spectacular courses, yes. Great, maybe. When and where we played, if we were offered jalapenos to accompany our burger or dog, that was top notch to us. Still, we played great courses.
When I began my career in the golf industry I started with a brand new course in Dove Mountain called Heritage Highlands. I was there on opening day with my golf buddy and unless you’ve worked in the industry, you don’t realize the golf personnel are “waking the course up” well before the first starting time. We would drag in at 4am but we knew that by 1pm we would be on the course. We were fortunate enough to have excellent playing conditions and befriending two more co-workers for an often regular match about 4 days a week.
One of our foursome couldn’t break a hundred and another one bombed it beyond belief. Sometimes it would take us two shots to reach his drive. Okay, slight exaggeration but he hit it a ton. That didn’t matter. The four of us would play until the sun set and the desert dwellers would let us know it is now their time and we had to go home. We played on a great course.
Having family in California who were also avid golfers, my father and I would meet them in the middle – Blythe, California. It was a public course and if you’ve ever passed through Blythe, you know there isn’t a whole lot there. The course didn’t seem to be a revenue maker, but no doubt it was beloved by many locals enough to keep it going.
During the summer there were times I would be in the fairway and plugs from the aeration next to my ball would fly farther than my ball. Sand? Well, let’s just say it wasn’t quite the sand that you may find at one of the courses passing the century mark in green fees. Looking back on all of those experiences, memories, learning the game, I learned how to play on a great course!
One summer my buddy and I got a great deal to play a course in Paradise Valley, just north of Phoenix, that we couldn’t pass up. It was, and will probably be, the most epic battle he and I have ever experienced. Except for that case of the shanks I got while trying to pass a playing ability test to enter the PGA program. We matched shot for shot, putt for putt and birdie for birdie (They might have been pars, but birdies sound better). The match went down to the wire and although I didn’t leave with our trophy, the Blarney Stone, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. It was hot, the course was in summer shape but I’ll tell you this…it was a great course!
What make a course great? We do! We do by the memories we will forever have related to that course. This summer, take advantage of the summer deals and explore all of the wonderful courses available to us in Southern Arizona and see what you take away from the summer of 2012.
The Blarney Stone is in the possession of my golfing buddy, the friend who couldn’t break 100, is now a sub-par shooter and whips me. But…every course I play is great!