Sedona's Oak Creek Country Club

By Scott Behmer, Contributor

Chip Shot: Looking for a challenging course at a vacation hot spot? Then check out Sedona's Oak Creek Country Club, where you can enjoy its stunning Red Rock views right from the course.

Sedona, AZ- Nestled at the foot of Sedona's famed Red Rock lies Oak Creek Country Club. Named after the famous creek that divides Oak Creek Canyon, the country club is actually a few miles south.

Last Thursday, I made the short drive down from cool Flagstaff to the pleasant 90 degree heat of Sedona. I hopped out of my car and was greeted by the harmonic sound of a flock of birds chirping in the trees surrounding the course. Walking inside the pro shop, I was greeted by a friendly assistant. Then after checking in, he told me I could pick a cart and drive across the street to warm-up at the driving range.

I drove over to the driving range only to be disappointed by a sign that read: "Please no woods on the range." So I warmed-up with my irons and played to the five pins set up at various yardages. Next to the range is a small chipping and putting green where one can get in some short game work to prepare for the soft greens.

One positive feature of Oak Creek is that the starter calls the lineup for #1 tee three groups deep, so you always know where you stand. After hearing the seven minute call, I drove across the street and hit some putts on the much larger practice green near the pro shop. It runs true to the course, about 8.5 on the stimpmeter, a fine pace for both aggressive and die-in-the-hole putters. After hearing my name called I sped off to the tee.

On course, there are four sets of tees: black at 6,824 yards for the championship player, blue at 6,353 for men, white at 5,965 for women, and red at 5,579 for juniors. The distance differential helps make the course a fun and appropriate test of golf for everyone. I played from the blacks.

Oak Creek opens with a straightaway, 565-yard par 5. Trees and a wash line the fairway's right side while a bunker lurks left. A left-to-right drive is necessary to hit the center of the fairway. This isn't an easy task when you haven't hit a wood yet. All of my group either found the trees right or the thick rough left. You're then left with a fairway wood and a short iron into the small green. The receptive greens are likely to yield backspin, so don't plan on your ball bouncing to the hole. Fly it close to make birdie and start off on the right foot.

Oak Creek's signature hole is the 185-yard, par 3 #4. You tee off over a valley and up to a small green protected by two bunkers on the sides with the spectacular Red Rock in the background. Players certainly don't mind a backup here with this kind of view.

The longest par 4 on the course is the downhill, dogleg left, 450-yard #12. Trees line both sides of the fairway, and a bunker lies on the right for players who try to cut off the dogleg. A draw up the right side will leave a mid to long iron into an egg shaped putting surface. Even with a low iron, your approach shot will most likely stick and may even bounce back a foot. This condition makes birdie on long holes much more attainable.

The lone reachable par 5 is the dogleg right, 490-yard #15. However, bunkers squeeze the middle of the fairway for players looking to launch one off the tee. The second plays uphill into a large green guarded by two more bunkers. Low handicap players will be disappointed here if they leave without a birdie.

Your round concludes with a dogleg right, 445-yard par 4. Long drives too far right need to be aware of the driving range. Also, over compensating left will leave you out-of-bounds.

On the approach, a mid iron will remain into a green guarded by two large bunkers. If the pin's in the slender front portion, birdie is difficult. But if it's positioned in the back portion, you're much more likely to finish with a three.

After the round, relax in the cozy clubhouse and enjoy one of the tasty daily specials. Or if you're looking for more variety or would like to watch some sports, head down the road to the Brooklyn Cafe located in the Bell Rock Inn and Suites.

Designed in a Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers motif, it has baseball memorabilia galore ranging from Sandy Koufax pictures to Dodgers rookie Paul LoDuca's jersey. Paul's dad owns the restaurant. Its delicious meals, friendly confines, and numerous televisions make it a hot spot for sports fans. Even more so for Dodgers fans, as all 162 games are shown here.

Where to stay - searching for a prime hotel room with awesome views of the Red Rocks? Look no further than The Best Western Inn of Sedona, a three diamond hotel located just off Highway 89A. It has over 100 rooms, with more than 70% offering patio views of the rocks. After my round at Oak Creek I stayed here, and from 5 to 8pm you couldn't find a better view of the gorgeous sunset.

Additionally, rooms include king size beds, sofa, cable TV, and fireplace. There's also a pool, exercise room, continental breakfast, friendly staff, and top notch service. You can't pick a better place to stay.

Brooklyn Cafe
6246 Highway 179
Sedona, Arizona 85631

Best Western Inn of Sedona
1200 West Highway 89A
Sedona, Arizona 86336
Phone: (800) 292-6344
Rooms: $100-145

Scott Behmer, Contributor

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • all you can play event

    george clark wrote on: Jun 18, 2009

    Please send any info on a all you can play event you may be having soon.