Flagstaff's Elden Hills Golf Course: A Quiet Delight

By Scott Behmer, Contributor

Chip Shot: Planning on taking a family trip to Northern Arizona and want to get in a round? Then check out Elden Hills Golf Course which offers excellent conditions, picturesque views, and reasonable rates.

Flagstaff, Az - Nestled amongst giant Ponderosa pines at the base of the San Francisco Mountains lies one of Arizona's most peaceful courses, Elden Hills Golf Course. Located in Flagstaff, two hours north of Phoenix, golfers flock here to enjoy the cool temps and picturesque views. Elden Hills' 6100-yard layout and great rates make for an ideal family outing. Here's a look.

Looking for a respite from Tucson's scorching summer heat, last Monday I drove up to Flagstaff's Elden Hills Golf Course for a day of golf. Although this was my first visit, I was greeted in the pro shop by a friendly assistant who made me feel just like a member. He told me that the course was in great shape and a round was only $22, or $34 with cart. I was sold.

Before heading out to warmup, I perused the pro shop merchandise. There are plenty of expensive and inexpensive logoed items to purchase as momentos of your round here. Further, golf apparel and equipment by many name brand companies is also available for a reasonable rate.

I picked a cart and drove over to the practice green to work on my short game. The lush greens roll very true, but putts must be struck firmly because the greens roll about eight on the stimpmeter. It's important to note that putts will break more than you'd anticipate due to the nearby mountains. This will give you an early advantage on your playing partners.

Next, I drove over to the nearby driving range for more pre-round warm-up. Even though the yardage is short, nearly all clubs in your bag will be used because sometimes long irons or fairway woods will be required off the tee to leave the ideal approach shot.

Elden Hills opens with a straightaway, 310-yard par 4. A green that close may tempt you into going for it and starting your day off with an eagle, but beware: danger lurks everywhere. Starting 200 yards from the tee is a large lake on the right side. Out-of-bounds lines the left, and a multitude of bunkers lie short of the postage stamp size green. Your best play is to take an iron off the tee, then try to stick the approach close, leaving a short birdie putt.

One of the unique aspects of golfing in the mountains comes into play on the 170-yard par 3 #4. A large Ponderosa pine guards the right side, thereby preventing nearly all left-to-right shots from hitting the green. Further, two bunkers protect the green's front from low bump-and-run shots. Par here is a fine score.

Elden Hills continues with a series of short birdie holes leading up to its longest hole, #9, a 515-yard, slight dogleg left par 5. The lake hidden 305 yards from the tee will catch extremely long drives. Your second shot should stay right of the large Ponderosa pine, and the approach needs to be kept below the hole on this severely sloping green. With three solid shots a birdie finish on the front is likely.

The back nine opens with a trio of picturesque par 4's that will definitely test your skills. Continuing on, two par 3's, #13 and #15, play straight downhill at 140 and 150 yards respectively. Don't overclub or a double bogey becomes a distinct possibility.

Elden Hills concludes with a straightaway, 513-yard par 5. A lake left and tall timber right narrow the fairway the farther you go. It's just a small strip from 200 to 100 yards to the green, so play your second shot accordingly. Then, on the approach to this severely sloping green keep the ball below the hole to give yourself a makeable birdie putt. Finally, make an aggressive stroke and hopefully it'll hit "nothing but the bottom of the cup."

After the round relax in the homey clubhouse and enjoy a delicious daily special. Elden Hills Golf Course is on the east side of Flagstaff. From Interstate 40 take exit #201 to Country Club Drive, turn south and travel approximately one mile.

Scott Behmer, Contributor

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