Longbow Golf Club in Mesa takes flight

By Dave Williams, Contributor

MESA, Ariz. -- A desert golf course can combine beauty and challenge, while still being player friendly. Longbow Golf Club does succeed in that combination to bring the golfer an enjoyable desert golf experience. Mountain views and the desert landscaping make this Ken Kavanaugh-designed, 18-hole championship golf course pleasurable.

Longbow Golf Club
Longbow Golf Club combines beauty and challenge, while still being player friendly.
Longbow Golf ClubLongbow golf course
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Longbow Golf Club

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A desert golf course can combine beauty and challenge, while still being player friendly. Longbow Golf Club in Mesa succeeds in that combination to bring the golfer an enjoyable desert golf experience. Mountain views and the desert landscaping make this Ken Kavanaugh designed 18-hole championship golf course pleasurable.

18 Holes | Public golf course | Par: 71 | 7050 yards | Book online | ... details »

Add the variety of contours and hazards, players of all skill levels will enjoy the experience.

There are four sets of tees at the par-70 Longbow Golf Club. The professional tees to the forward tees ranges in length from 6,750 to 4,890 yards. Most players use the championship tees at 6,222 yards.

The greens are above average in speed and hard, so your approach shots are very important. The first hole is a 365-yard par 4 that is straight. Keep your tee shot in the middle of the fairway to get a good approach shot to the green.

If the ball lands hard, it can go off the green into short grass. That may cost a stroke. No. 2 is a shorter (332 yard) par 4. If your tee shot ends up in the desert, you still can have a clear shot to the green, which has a bunker in the back. It's better to be short of the hold to keep your ball from bouncing off the green into a bunker in the back.

You'll find a rolling fairway on hole no. 3. The long 436-yard par 4 could leave you with a sidehill lie for your approach shot. If you miss the green to the left, you will find your ball in a depression. If you land in that depression, you will realize why this hold has the fifth handicap rating. Your first par 3 is the fourth hole.

At 181 yards, you need to clear a bunker, but the ball may roll through the green and roll off the back into a deep depression. Be confident in your short game when you play this hole and you can get a par.

A very long par four of 478 yards is next. It's best to play it as a par 5 and hope for a four. Into the wind, the hole becomes even more difficult. A depression on the right side of the green awaits any ball missing the green on that side. If you can, keep the ball under the hole.

You can't rest after that long hole, because a long 195-yard par 3 is just around the corner. There is a large bunker on the left side of the green and hills on the right. Although the hole is long, a par is still a big possibility if you play smart with your tee shot.

There is somewhat of a relief with the 370-yard seventh hole. No mystery here. Just a drive in the fairway and hit the green and putt. A birdie is possible. Red Mountain is in the background on this hole, adding to the beauty of the layout.

The no. 1-ranked handicap hole is the par 5 eighth. At 530 yards, it is not reachable in two shots except for the very long hitters. Even with a short approach shot, there can be difficulties if you miss the green. Grass depressions are around the green.

If you have found one or more of these on any of the previous holes, you will know how difficult they can be to leave a makeable putt. The front nine ends with a very short par 4. At 284 yards, you may be tempted to go for the green if you are a long hitter. But trouble awaits.

There is water on the right that is reachable and bunkers on the left. An aggressive play could spell trouble. It may be best to lay-up and leave a comfortable wedge shot to the green.

Longbow Golf Club's back nine

No. 10 is a good way to start the back nine. At 360 yards, the fairway is straight and the only trouble is a bunker on the left front of the green. No. 11 is an interesting par 3. The green, 152 yards away, sits above the tee box. There is a waste bunker on the left and bunker in the back. A pin placement on the left side is very difficult, making a three a very good score.

The 12th hole is a 519-yard par 5. A bunker is strategically placed on the right of the fairway and is reachable. The best tee shot is to the left of that bunker. The second shot will determine whether you will make birdie or not.

A lay-up short of a waste bunker will allow a short iron or wedge shot to the green and walk away with a possible birdie if you avoid bunkers right and left of the green. Trying to go for the green in two and landing in the waste bunker can make any score possible.

No. 13 is a 388-yard par 4 with a downhill first shot. The second shot will be uphill to an elevated green. The green is very large. Your putt could be difficult depending on the pin placement. There are greenside bunkers front right and back left. With a good drive and precision second shot, you should be able to make up a shot on this hole.

The 14th hole is another long par four. At 414 yards, the second shot up to one of the smaller greens on the golf course. Both sides of the green slope down with a bunker on the left. An accurate approach shot to the green will evade any trouble off the green.

The next hole is a tough 177-yard par 3. If the wind is blowing left to right and the pin is in the back, there can be trouble. There is a bunker to the right of the green. A miss to the left is okay. A bailout area allows a pitch or chip shot to set up your par putt.

Sixteen is a short par five where you can make up a stroke or two. A good drive down the center of this 489-yard hole and a well placed second shot can make a birdie, even an eagle possible. A miss to the left though will find beach and water. If you have had trouble hitting the ball to the left, you may want to play it safe and leave a short wedge shot for your third. A birdie would still be possible.

The final par 3 is short. At 139 yards, the 17th green is slightly elevated with a large waste area in the front. There is also a bunker in the back right. It's another opportunity to make up a shot.

Eighteen is a great finishing hole that can make or break your round. Water runs the entire left side of the fairway after your tee shot clears a waste area. If you try and cut the dogleg too much, you can land in the water. If your tee shot is placed well, it will make the approach shot to the long narrow green easier and you can end your round on a positive note.

Longbow Golf Club brings all the hazards into play you can find on a desert course. Desert landscaping, water, waste areas, bunkers, and grassy depressions all add to the challenge and intrigue. If you have not played a desert course, Longbow Golf Club is a good one to be your first.

Dave Williams, Contributor

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