Something for Everyone at Picturesque Kierland Golf Club

By Bob Reeves, Contributor

SCOTTSDALE - Kierland Golf Club is in a world of its own though it is centrally located just off the major intersection of Scottsdale Road and Greenway Parkway near the exclusive Scottsdale Road resort corridor. You get an exciting golf experience that feels far from the hustle and bustle of this famed resort, but the best part is you don't have to travel 30 minutes or an hour away.

When you enter Kierland Golf Club's tranquil setting, you are treated to sweeping vistas of Camelback Mountain, Mummy Mountain, Pinnacle Peak and the McDowells. And of course, the expansive and dramatic beauty of the Arizona desert.

Kierland is a 27-hole layout of beautifully manicured fairways in a park-like setting of hills and valleys. But don't be lulled into thinking this is going to be an easy break from the tough desert courses you've been playing. Kierland may not be target golf, but it definitely has its challenges.

Most of the greens are elevated and jealously guarded by sand traps. Keep your sand wedge handy. Your journey to the greens will most likely include some time at the beach. Designed by Scott Miller, the three nine-hole layouts at Kierland Golf Club combine more than 300 bunkers with large lakes, dry desert washes and stands of desert trees to give you a variety of challenges whether you are a novice or a low-handicapper.

The Mesquite Nine comes closest to providing you with a desert style golf experience - without the cactus. At the 4th hole, you have a par 3 where the only landing areas are a dot of fairway and the elevated green that dares you to c'mon up. That is, if you can avoid the ring of 8 sand traps standing guard.

The 7th hole of the Mesquite shows no mercy to the person who hooks or slices. It's a par 5 that undulates straight to the green. Sound easy? Not so. A necklace of sand traps is draped alongside the narrow emerald green fairway just to keep the fear of God in you.

The Mesquite Nine signature hole is the 9th. It's a par 4 that plays easily until you get to the front of the green (again, it's elevated). If you've got a great up and over pitch shot, now is the time to use it. First, you have to navigate the moat in front of the green - without landing in one of the 6 sand traps between it and the green. You get the picture.

Lakes are introduced on the Acacia Nine on the 7th and 9th holes. They add a serene beauty, but shouldn't come into play (unless you're having a bad day). Of course, there are the requisite sand bunkers around the lakes that could impede your progress to the green.

And so it goes. Whether you play the Mesquite Nine, the Acacia Nine or the links style Ironwood Nine, you are in for a treat. All of the par 3s have an in-your-face cockiness and the par 4s and 5s give you a variety of challenges in a very playable golf course experience. All in all, you can get into trouble at Kierland, but you should be able to have an enjoyable day of golf without losing a dozen balls.

We played right after the course had been re-seeded, so it was golf-path-only. We got our exercise because the path wound around the scenic landscaping and provided very few openings through which to walk to your ball from the cart. It wasn't ideal playing conditions, but we were having too much fun to care.

We were pleased to see the snack shop was located at the hub of the 27-hole layout where all the 1st holes started and the 9th holes finished. I have played at some 27 and 36-hole layouts where you had to go all the way back to clubhouse for a soda.

The starter and the practice range were also centrally located at the hub. The transition from one nine hole layout to the next was seamless, unlike some I've played where you could get lost just going from one hole to the other.

You couldn't ask for a more friendly or helpful staff, either. I lost a favorite gorilla head cover somewhere from the finish to the car, and they all joined in the search. Turns out my playing partner had picked it up and was just standing there holding it while I got the car. He didn't realize everyone was looking for it and we all had a good laugh.

Kierland Golf Club is also the home of the Golf Digest Golf School, under the direction of noted teaching professionals, Mike and Sandy LaBauve, and offers a state-of-the art teaching and practice facility, complemented by a well-equipped golf shop.

With its spacious 27-hole layout and conveniently located food and beverage service, Kierland Golf Club is ideal for groups and tournaments, as well as individual play.

2000 Guest Fees:
May 29-Sept. 21 $40-$75
Sept. 22-Oct. 26 $75-115
Oct. 27-Dec. 24 $90-$130
Dec. 25-Dec. 31 $105-140

Fees include 18 holes w/cart, yardage book, bag tag and range balls. All fees are per player and do not include tax. Advance bookings may be made up to 60 days in advance.

Kierland Golf Club
15636 Clubgate Drive
Scottsdale, Arizona 85254
(602) 922-9283
Phone: (480) 922-9283

Bob Reeves, Contributor

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