Player-friendly Prescott Golf & Country Club in Dewey: Golf in its purest form
DEWEY, Ariz. -- Along State Route 89 in Arizona cowboy country, the entryway to Prescott Golf & Country Club requires continual care. For, upon the gateway signage, a week's worth of plant growth and the words "Public Welcome" will be covered by flowers and foliage.
And the daily-rate player won't want to miss this welcome.
Free from trickery, quirk or ego, this 1971 design from Arizona sporting legend Milt Coggins is golf in its purest form: Engaging playability at a fine price.
Playing through the flatter part of the valley set between the Mingus and Bradshaw Mountain ranges, mature tree-lining routes through minimal hazards and a well kept housing development to offer a round that is ideal for newcomers but yet suitable for the single-digit player.
"I want a good golfer to come out here and shoot his best round, and I want a high-handicapper to come out and have fun and lose minimal balls," says Joe DeFilipps, head professional at Prescott Golf & C.C.
Since taking over as head pro, DeFilipps has put course conditions at a premium and widened fairway mowing to allow for a more getable round.
"And we've seen a lot of benefit from being player friendly," DeFilipps says. "It's a traditional golf course, and really a great course for beginners to learn on."
Getting more than you pay for at Prescott Golf & C.C.
What impresses most at affordable Prescott Golf & C.C. are the exceptionally-conditioned, oft-elevated bentgrass greens.
Really: These undulating babies roll incredibly true, and the well traveled player will consider that he's putting $150-a-round greens at a $35 price.
"The protection out here is the greens, and we want to keep them a little firm, a little fast," DeFilipps says. "The greens can be tough and hard to read for the newcomer. The members out here, they say, 'You don't read these greens -- you memorize them.' They are tricky."
While locals and regulars will tell you the breaks are southeast toward Phoenix, the sizeable putting surfaces will find a lot of content two-putters.
"For longer hitters, it's driver-wedge on a lot of the par 4s. But, getting in for birdie or even par isn't always a given," DeFilipps says. "For our regular Skins Game, I'll watch our big hitters boom it to within 20 yard of the green -- or even on the green -- and walk away with a four."
Classic green-to-tee segues narrate a timely round for holes that (save for the last) play as a collage more than signature tests.
And the meek inherit the scorecard at Prescott. While par is in play for the wealth of par 4s and 5s, the shorter tests at Prescott pose the biggest challenges.
"There are no cupcakes out there on the par 3s," DeFilipps says. "We really don't see a ton of birdies on those holes and you really need to be careful with clubbing."
The 510-yard, par-5 18th hole is, well, a wee bit cruel. While the vast wealth of the grounds pose little threat of hazard, the 18th will make an impression. Setting up as a three-shot test for most, the player is asked to lay up to a narrow landing area on the second shot before threading an approach to a small, undulating green guarded by water front left and a pair of bunkers to either side of the putting surface.
Prescott Golf & Country Club: The verdict
Coupled with a break on the pocketbook, Prescott Golf & C.C. is becoming increasingly popular with the Phoenix-area set looking for a respite from summer temps and a change in topography from desert golf to elevated play (approximately 4,500 feet).
"The setting is gorgeous, and it being 20 degrees cooler isn't so bad either," says Bud Clark, a high-handicapper from Anthem, Ariz., who makes the 65-mile drive a few times during summer. "Plus, they keep this course in great shape and the people here are just great and really laid-back."
A full practice facility, including a double-sided grass range, is on site, along with dining at Randall's.