On a recent visit out West, we had the privilege to enjoy one of the more, out of the way golf experiences that South Central Phoenix has to offer. Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club is not your typical desert golf experience. With a very rugged terrain and a ‘TON’ of well-placed and deep bunkers, we knew this would be a little different than Arizona ‘target’ golf. Heck, having Freddie Couples’ name associated with the property does not hurt either, as Couples consulted on the design by Schmidt-Curley Design Inc.
Stretching as far back as 7,500 yards, we opted for a more reasonable but still challenging 6,800+ yards from the third set up. Generous driving areas are sometimes hard to understand with how vast some of the fairway bunkers are and the smallish greens can almost be hidden by the greenside bunkers, but the GPS does a great job of giving you a vivid picture and exact distances not just to the pin but to carry any spot on the course.
The day we played, we had just come off of a snow fall in Scottsdale, so the 65 degree day was a sight for sore eyes, even if the course gave us all we could handle. One thing I particularly enjoyed was having a decision to make on the tee box for most of the Par 4’s and 5’s You can easily try to play safe, but many of them give you an aggressive option to hit Driver and get a wedge in hand instead of a mid or long iron.
The greens were in terrific shape and provided plenty of challenge as some pin positions were on or near severe slopes that could take a ball from 4 feet to 30 feet in an instant if you strayed off line just a bit.
One of my favorite stretch of holes came early at 2, 3 & 4. Number 2 is a short par-4 with the option to hit as low as 7 iron off the tee, or as much as driver if you could carry the ball 270+ straight at the green or as much room as you wanted down the left side. The green, as most on the course, was well protected and if you missed the green, up and down was no bargain. The 3rd hole is a great, risk-reward par-5, again with options off the tee. Play a hybrid to stay safe and and make it a three shot hole or hit driver and rish reachable fairway bunkers all the way down the left side and cutting into the right. If successful with driver, you could have less than 200 yards into the green. Again, tremendous bunkering around the putting surface requires accuracy regardless if you are hitting 4-iron or wedge. Then one of the most severely bunkered greens on the course is the short par-3 4th hole. Only 135 yards for us that day, if you were lucky enough to hit the green and avoid the cavernous bunkers long and short, you still had to hit the appropriate side of the green otherwise a two-putt was no bargain.
Southern Dunes provided an exceptional experience beginning in the golf shop and restaurant and continued with the first tee starter and course marshalls that we saw regularly monitoring pace of play. Only about 30 minutes from Sky Harbor Airport, Southern Dunes is one to add to your list next time you head West for the Winter. Learn more at http://www.golfsoutherndunes.com/index.php