Dave White Golf Course, Casa Grande
Summary: Dave White Golf Course challenges off the tee, then rewards an accurate tee shot with a wedge approach. With solid drives, the course plays like an easy par 3.
TUCSON, Az - Just because a course is short doesn't guarantee an automatic low score. Dave White Municipal Golf Course in Casa Grande is only 6300 yards from the back tees, but makes up for the lack of distance with demanding drives. The fairways are lined with out-of-bounds and trees. Lakes and washes are in play off some of the tees as well. However, by finding the fairway, you'll have excellent birdie opportunities and the possibility of shooting an impressive score.
Dave White's opening hole is a 310-yard par 4. A slight dogleg left around some trees, with a long drive you could find the green's front bunker. Even with an average drive you'll have a wedge from the dormant fairway. It's essential that you make crisp contact or you'll hit the dirt too early and chunk your shot. The fairways are rarely watered in the winter so the soil is very hard. Following your wedge approach, you'll have a short birdie putt on the flat green to help get you off on the right foot.
The easiest hole at Dave White is followed by the longest, at 548 yards. Trees line both sides of the wide fairway. On the second shot, advance your ball down the fairway to a wedge distance from the green. On the approach, beware of the lake behind the green. With an accurate wedge you'll again have a short birdie putt.
Both par 3's on the front side play over #2's lake, which lurks short and left on the 158-yard #3. Therefore, to penalize bailouts, a long bunker was placed right of the green. The green's undulation increases the difficulty of birdie putts. On the 116-yard #6, the lake looms left of its small green. Bailout right and you'll have a difficult chip without much green to work with. But hit the green and your birdie putt will be short and straight.
To this point, with solid shots you'll have had a good birdie opportunity on every hole. Except for #9, though, the remaining holes play much tougher. Two of the most difficult driving holes are next. #7 is a 520-yard par 5 with the lake on your left. Out-of-bounds lines the right side. On #8 out-of-bounds also lines the left side while trees border the right. #8, though, is a much more difficult hole. Measuring 428 yards, it's the only par 4 over 400 yards and the number one handicap hole. If you survive these two holes, then you're rewarded with #9, a 315-yard par 4. There's little danger off the tee, and it's another birdieable par 4.
The back nine is much tighter off the tee. #10 is only 323 yards, with trees lining the fairway's left and out-of-bounds bordering the right. A wash crosses the fairway at 91 yards, so after a rain it's best to take an iron off the tee. The green slants diagonally left, and is guarded by front and rear bunkers. Landing space on the approach is small, but if you hit it you'll have another short birdie putt.
At 189 yards, the back side's par 3's are the same length, but run in opposite directions and play about two clubs different. #12 is uphill, into the wind, and surrounded by bunkers. Its green is also uphill and slopes to the left. To get a shot close you must have played an excellent long-iron. Conversely, #14 is a downhill, with the wind, birdie hole. A lake short left only catches poor shots. The wide green has a couple of small bunkers, but is relatively flat. It's receptive to mid-irons and much easier than #12.
The round concludes with two holes that are mirror images of each other. #17 is a 370 yard dogleg left par 4 with trees lining the entire hole. #18 is just 20 yards longer and a dogleg right. Trees line the fairway and present a difficult tee shot, blind and over the trees. Go long and you're in either trees or desert. Go short and you're also lost in the trees. On the second, you're left with a short-iron approach to a green guarded by bunkers. If you've successfully found the fairway, you can make this a birdie hole and finish in style.
At Dave White, the front nine warms you up while the back nine truly tests your abilities. If your drives are up to the challenge, then you'll have a wedge approach to almost every green and the course will play almost as a par 3. Miss the fairways and you'll be in for a long day. Due to the short length, long hitters don't have such an advantage, making Dave White a test of accuracy not length.
April 20, 1999