Hole Profile: No. 8 at The Phoenician's Oasis Course
Chip Shot: Hardly the most difficult hole around, No. 8 on the Oasis course at The Phoenician Resort is one of the best examples of golf course architecture in the Valley.
SCOTTSDALE - It's not long - just 330 yards from the Championship tees. And from the Championship tees is the only way to play it. It's not hard. It's only the No. 8 handicap hole on The Phoenician Resort's Oasis nine. So what makes the eighth hole so special? It's hard to say.
What makes a Picasso worth millions? What makes a butterfly graceful? A Supreme Court Justice once said of obscenity, "I know it when I see it." The same logic applies for greatness in golf architecture. Every so often, all the pieces fall together just right. That's essentially what happened on No. 8. All the pieces are there, and they all fit together perfectly.
First, you have the tee box: Slightly elevated, overlooking a tranquil pond, dressed with flowers and surrounded by palm trees waving in the breeze. The palms descend the hill in line to the valley floor, turn and climb again to the right to form a gentle dogleg.
The perfect tee shot ignores the dogleg and sails directly over the tips of the towering palms, landing on the right side of the up-sloping fairway and coming to rest on the left. This takes the water to the right reasonably out of play and sets up an uphill chip to the green.
But there is plenty of room for error. The fairway is wide and inviting at its base. It's about 230 yards to the boulder outcropping and the pair of sand traps guarding the left side of the driving area. Anything right of these obstacles will leave you in good shape with nothing left but a short iron up the hill.
The eighth green is about 40 yards deep with desert to the left. It is connected to the No. 3 green on the Desert course below and is slightly slanted toward the three pools of water protecting its right front. The pools themselves are connected by twin waterfalls and trimmed in stone. As an observer, they seem plucked right out of Xanadu, but as a golfer you'll want no part of them.
Scenery plays a big part in the hole's charm. Not only is there spectacular natural beauty at every step of the way along No. 8, but this oasis affords a wonderful view of Camelback Mountain and the surrounding desert holes. The contrast between the lush green of the course and the harsh, chiseled peak is nowhere more apparent than from the eighth tee.
And there is something to be said for walking away from a hole with a satisfying birdie or par. The feel-good aspect of a 330 yard par-4 combines with the awesome Camelback scenery, the elevation changes, the challenge of well-placed hazards, and the quality of the turf to make Oasis No. 8 one of the most enjoyable golf holes in the Valley.