Ironwood Country Club: Beautifully kept and friendly to the average golfer

By Mike DeRosa, Contributor

In the golf "Mecca" of Arizona, there are few courses that are more enjoyable to play than Ironwood. There are bigger ones.

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Ironwood Golf Club

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Ironwood Golf Club is open to the public, and green fees, which include a cart, are some of the lowest in the area. Designed by noted architect Keith Foster for beginners as well as advanced players, the golf course is ideal for all levels of players looking to hone their games, offering three different sets of tees.

18 Holes | Semi-Private golf course | Par: 67 | 5155 yards | Book online | ... details »

There are more expensive ones. There are the desert courses, links style courses and PGA tour courses. But none are more fun. Located in the community of Sun Lakes, Ironwood is beautifully kept and friendly to the average golfer.

Staffed with courteous people, the pro shop and restaurant are housed in a gorgeous Southwest style building. Set in a quiet, residential area, Ironwood offers an upscale environment at a good price.

Entering the gated community of Ironwood, the security officers cheerfully show you the way to the course. Ample parking close to the pro shop makes a bag drop area unnecessary. Well-maintained carts and a manicured putting green are steps away from the first tee.

Starting with a nice par five, Ironwood gives you the chance to hit your driver and a 3 wood into a slanted green. Fairway bunkers are left about 230 from the men's tee and 250 from the Blues. Even though Ironwood has relatively open fairways, the better player is still challenged to hit the optimum landing area off the tee.

The short game is key here, most approach shots are an 8 iron and in. Depending on which tee you're playing, Par 3's can be had with a wedge up to a 5 wood. The greens put true and hold if you hit them.

During winter, when golf in Arizona hits its premium season, many courses skyrocket their green fees well over a hundred dollars - not Ironwood. My girlfriend and I played on a Saturday in January for under a hundred for both of us, including cart. Many courses also demand players keep their carts on the paths and insist on soft spikes; Ironwood has not followed that trend.

The 90-degree rule is always in effect; players needing extra assistance can get a red flag for their cart and drive the fairway. The greens fees, although higher at certain times of the year, are still well below many of the other courses in this area.

I always laugh when I hear people say "Oh, that's an easy course". If you can't hit it straight, they're ALL tough. Ironwood has a 94 slope, which would be considered easy.

Well, for a guy like me, just the average weekend golfer, I would much rather enjoy a nice round of golf on a scenic course than to struggle with a monster I'm not ready for.

I'm lucky to get out twice a month and I never practice, so I really appreciate a course design like Ironwood. It is forgiving, yet with enough difficulty to challenge you. Ironwood is a must play for the vacationing couple or the average golfer who appreciates more bang for his buck.

Mike DeRosa, Contributor

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