The Golf Club at Eagle Mountain Takes Flight

By Maggie Edwards, Contributor

Chip Shot: Public courses in the Scottsdale area continue to treat their clientele more and more as a private club would, and Eagle Mountain is no exception.

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. - We Arizona writers probably become suspect after awhile because we keep raving about all these gorgeous golf courses with pristine surroundings and ideal settings and conditions. Well, guess what? We're truly not making this up; and it's difficult to keep up with all the courses that keep cropping up on the Arizona map.

Eagle Mountain is yet another must-play. It was voted 1996 "Best New Public Course" by the Arizona Republic and ranked the No. 2 Best Public Golf Course in 1997 by the Arizona Business Magazine. The pro shop even received accolades by being the winner of Golf Shop Operations by America's Top 100 Golf Shops.

Located just east of Scottsdale in Fountain Hills, Eagle Mountain has panoramic views of the mountain ranges surrounding the Valley of the Sun. Scott Miller, the Course Designer, did a fine job of keeping the integrity of the desert tranquility while testing the golfer's talents with elevation, rolling hills and undulations.

Speaking of undulations, let's talk about the greens. Fast greens are nice, but these greens were off the charts in November. In fact, there were a few pin placements that bordered on diabolical.

Good women golfers will want to play the white tees at 5825 yards and a 126 slope vs. the women's markers of 5065 yards with a 118 slope These tees present some challenges, such as the second hole, which winds up the hill to an elevated green, and requires two very good placement shots.

The number one handicap hole from the whites is the 394 yard number 7, another uphill par 4, with houses dotting both sides. According to the pro shop staff, Eagle Mountain is consistently windy in the morning since it is in a canyon-like setting, adding further length to some of these long holes.

The overall feeling is very serene, even though there are the encroaching houses which will only continue to multiply like the desert bunnies. One doesn't hear any noise, however, until the 16th hole which borders Shea Boulevard, a major east/west street.

There are two water holes-number 10 is a very picturesque par 5, downhill, with lovely valley views, and a narrow fairway sloping to the water. Number l8 is a good finishing hole, again sloping toward the water. The clubhouse is above the l8th green and has wonderful vistas of the entire valley.

For those of you visiting the Phoenix/Scottsdale area looking for accommodations, Eagle Mountain also boasts a world class resort, the Southwest Inn at Eagle Mountain. It is set into the mountain, overlooking the course, and has all the amenities. The golf club has a full-service restaurant and also does group events.

It may be hot in the summer in Arizona, but the golf rates and time spent on the golf course decrease accordingly. If you come to Eagle Mountain mid-June to September, you will pay between $55 to $65; peak season of Jan. 21 to April 23 will cost you $130 to $155, and fall is $95 to $125. The remaining times will be $10 to $20 either way.

Public courses in the Scottsdale area continue to treat their clientele more and more as a private club would, and Eagle Mountain is no exception.

The practice facility is very complete, and when it's time to tee it up, you are led to your tee box where you have the usual tees, markers and divot tools plus your choice of apples and bananas. The greens fees include the practice balls (as well as the fruit).

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 in Phoenix. An 8 handicap, she likes to play competitively and hates to play slow.

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