Stonecreek Golf Club: Play and Stay Right in the Heart of Phoenix

By Maggie Edwards, Contributor

Chip Shot: Spend your precious recreational time driving the ball instead of motoring to outlying areas seeking "good deals" on greens fees. Stonecreek Golf Club is a good value where you can expect to be treated like a member.

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Whether you are a visitor to the Valley of the Sun or a resident of the Phoenix area, Stonecreek Golf Club is a nice place to play a quick 18 holes. Well, it's not always quick since it seems to be home to quite a few corporate functions, but it's worth your while.

Stonecreek is centrally located in the valley at the Tatum and Cactus area for easy access. And, if the pro shop is behind in getting you out on time, there's a nice practice facility, complete with driving range, chipping green, sand trap and putting green.

The pro shop staff are very professional, and the shop itself has some decent clothes. Stonecreek is part of the American Golf conglomerate, so the locals can take advantage of discount greens fees by purchasing a Mega Membership, which consists of six American Golf-owned courses in the valley.

Stonecreek Golf Club is a fun and semi-challenging course originally designed by Pete Dye about 25 years ago, but re-designed by Arthur Hills in 1987 (not a railroad tie in sight). The women's tees are quite short (5018 yards, with a 119 slope), so the low handicappers will probably want to play the black tees at 6,839 yards.

The first hole is a fun little par 4, dog leg right, with water very much in play, if you err to the right on your shot to the green. The next hole is a short par 4, but be careful of the wash in front of the green on your second shot.

There are many holes at Stonecreek with trees and a wash to the right of the fairway, so don't slice, or you will find trouble. The most challenging and fun hole is the number l handicap hole 6. You'd best stay left on the drive, and long hitters shouldn't use a driver or 3 wood. If you go right, you get to contend with sand and water. The second shot to this par 4 green must be accurate, or it's an easy double bogey.

The Bermuda greens are seldom fast, but there are many with undulations that can be rather tricky to putt.

After the 9th hole, which is lined on the left with a long trap, you will proceed by the new Embassy Suites, due to open in late fall of 1999. Seems kind of monolithic right now, but maybe it will look better when it's completed and landscaped.

The back nine has many holes with trouble on the right and mounding fairways. The second handicap hole is No. 16, a par 5. The third shot to the green better not be headed right, or it will end up in the water. Too far left equals sand. The finishing hole is a nice wide fairway, but again, stay left.

Maggie Edwards, Contributor

Edwards grew up in Glenwood Springs, Colo., playing golf and skiing, then moved many places, the most recent of which was Boston until landing 11 years ago in Phoenix. She has been writing for two years for, reviewing courses from the women's point of view. One of her favorite reviews was Chaparral Pines in Payson because it is so gorgeous and such a great golf course. An eight handicap, she likes to play competitively and hates to play slow.

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