Hassayampa Golf Club: Another Tom Weiskopf Gem
PRESCOTT, Ariz. - A few months ago, I wrote an article on Chaparral Pines, a private golf community in Payson, Ariz., touting it as next to perfect in terms of beauty and superb golf, ala Tom Weiskopf. Well, guess what? He's done it again, this time just minutes away from Prescott, an historic town about 90 minutes northwest of Phoenix.
Prescott has a nice climate - not too hot and not too cold - so many people have discovered it for permanent living, while others like it for a second home. Whatever category you choose, if you're a golfer and you have a few bucks, you should consider Hassayampa Golf Club.
First, let's talk about the golf. Tom Weiskopf carved this dramatic course out of pines, boulders, lowlands, natural babbling brooks and canyons to insure every person, lucky enough to play here, a challenging and awe-inspiring round.
The first hole has an elevated tee box to a downhill par 4 with vistas of the valley. Should you be looking at the vistas instead of staying down on your short second shot to the green, you will be happy to know that Tom did us a big favor by putting traps behind many of these greens to save us from the forest.
As is the case for most golf courses, staying in the fairway is very important. In addition to that being the credo here, Hassayampa's fairways are tight, and you are usually in tree or rock jail if you hook or slice.
After the third hole, which is a testy little par 3 surrounded by one of many natural streams, traps and lots of flora and fauna, you start climbing up. The fifth hole is the number one handicap, and long women hitters should lay up so you don't find yourself in the hazard at the bottom of the hill.
Just aim for the outcropping of rocks, then hit all you can on your second shot, leading you to the elevated green. It's not a difficult hole, if you don't leave the fairway, that is.
Number seven is a 250-yard par four, and long women hitters can drive the green if you hit it straight and it catches the hill. Easy birdie hole, if you can just stop gawking at the views. Same with number eight. It's a par 5, and very undulating, but it's only 405 yards. Placement is everything.
Number 10 does not lead you back to the clubhouse, but rather to the lowlands part of the course. It's the number two handicap hole with water and a big green. On the next hole, which is a little par 3 with water and sand, you spot a stone building which was the former clubhouse, circa l930' s, for the old Hassayampa 9-hole course.
This course was built in l900 and was around for 60 years. When Tom Weiskopf designed the current Hassayampa, he incorporated four of the overgrown fairways . (Need I say that they're overgrown no more).
The signature hole is the number 16 par three which is spectacular in beauty whether you are playing the 87-yard women's tee over canyon and boulders, or the l60-yard men's back tee over a larger expanse of canyon. Don't hit short, whatever you do. Of course, if you're long, you have a delicate chip down to a very fast green.
This would not be the course you would choose to walk. There are several long stretches of mountainous cart paths from greens to tees, and major changes of elevation. Mr. Weiskopf must have had a wonderful time carving this scenic beauty out of the terrain.
In case you're not impressed enough by the golf course, wait till you see the clubhouse. It was designed by Backen, Arrogoni and Ross from San Francisco and fits perfectly into the natural setting which surrounds it. It's elegantly rustic, with exposed beams, flagstone floors, cozy vignettes and dining areas. It just has the right feel!
Hassayampa has class; it has beauty; it has location. It has a great golf course with all the amenities.