Arizona Golf Authority AZGA Golf Course Buzz: History abounds at Arizona Country Club, a private facility that has more than 100 years of tradition, including hosting the Phoenix Open 10 times between 1955 and 1973 (Phoenix Country Club also hosted the event during that period). The course has been graced by some of the all-time greats in PGA Tour history, with Arnold Palmer winning the Phoenix Open title on this course three consecutive years.
The club actually began as the former Ingleside Golf Resort, a nine-hole layout which featured sand and oil greens just north of the current location. A new course was built in the late 1920s, and was re-designed by Willie Wansa and Ernest Suggs in 1946, when it re-opened as a private club. It has undergone four renovations over the years, with the most recent being a $15 million project that was completed in 2006. Legendary pro Johnny Bulla made the most significant design changes in 1964 and Gary Stevenson oversaw a modernization project in 1999 that included revamping tees, bunkers and putting surfaces.
Arizona Country Club’s setting, near the heart of Phoenix and Scottsdale historic districts, offers some splendid views of the landmark Camelback Mountain and Papago buttes. Water comes into play on five holes of the course that features smallish, undulating greens and are known as some of the “purest” in the Valley of the Sun.
The unusual layout has a combination of eight par-4 holes, five par 5s and five par 3s; three of each form the front nine. With 117 acres of irrigated turf, there is ample room to crank up the driver, and although errant shots don’t end up in desert ravines here, the 1,800 mature trees create plenty of challenges. There are three sets of tees at 6,756, 6,319 and 5,558 yards, and the course is rated at 72.2 with a slope of 130 from the back.
Arizona Country Club features its own version of “Amen Corner” at holes 10 through 12. The 10th is the longest par 5 at 600 yards and tough to reach in two shots. It features a fairway guarded by trees and two large fairway bunkers on the right, and a two-tiered green with a stone waterfall flowing into the water hazard that guards the front and two bunkers in back.
The 11th is the signature hole and the longest par 3 at 195 yards. A large lake protects the front and right of the green, a large bunker guards the left side and there are two more bunkers behind.
The trifecta is completed by the 12th hole, a 436-yard par 4 with a dogleg right guarded on both sides of the fairway by trees and a large, tiered green protected by four bunkers. Play this stretch in even par and you deserve an “Amen” from your playing partners.
The most recent renovation also included redesigning and expanding the two-story clubhouse, which spans 60,000 square feet in a project directed by award-winning architect Doug Fredrikson. Amenities at the club include swimming pools, tennis courts, a health and fitness center, spa and a separate “Kids Klubhouse”.
Arizona Country Club offers exclusive fine dining with an impressive wine cellar as well as casual dining at the bar and grill. Several memberships are available, including junior, sports and social, along with full golf memberships.
Read the Arizona Golf Course Directory AZGA Buzz for every golf course in Arizona at www.arizonagolfauthority.com/coursedirectory/; it’s “All Things Arizona Golf ” from the Arizona Golf Authority.