Tatum Ranch Golf Club: Still Room for Improvement

By Maggie Edwards, Contributor

Chip Shot: Tatum Ranch Golf Club has some competition in Cave Creek for better greens, but the course offers enough challenges for every golfer.

Cave Creek, Az. - Tatum Ranch Golf Club has been around much longer than most of the public desert courses-fourteen years to be exact. Now that American Golf has purchased it (seems like they're purchasing every golf course), it is trying to go private.

However, with only 170 members as of this writing, the public is still welcome to pay and play. According to the pro shop, when 200 members have joined, the public only gets the weekdays. At 350 members, you need to find another course of choice unless you want to ante up the $35,000.

For now, though, it is still part of the Mega Pass, which, for locals, entitles us to play 6 American Golf-owned courses at very reasonable rates all year long.

Tatum Ranch has some competition in Cave Creek for better greens (Wildfire and Dove Valley, to be exact), but the course offers enough challenges for every golfer, and one quickly finds out how the score can escalate with errant shots in the desert or behind the Palo Verde trees.

Since the course does get a great deal of play and since not all players shoot exactly down the middle, be alert when groups in adjacent fairways are hitting-we almost got nailed twice by careening golf balls.

Tatum Ranch was in decent condition, but it's a shame that golfers won't fix ball marks on greens or fill in the fairway divots with the sand mix provided in the carts. We found ourselves doing more than our share of gardening.

The design itself, by course architect Robert Cupp, is interesting enough. No. 7 which has to be the signature hole, is a challenging water hole where your drive must be way left, with the second shot over the water onto a sloping green. No 5 is the no. 1 handicap hole and is a long par 4-444 yards from the championship tees.

Many of the desert courses can be described the same way-rolling fairways, panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, high desert flora and fauna---it's difficult to come up with different adjectives for this course.

The tips measure 6,870 yards with a slope of 128, while the women's tees are a 115 slope at 5081 yards. Women wanting more of a challenge should play the white tees at a 126 slope and 5760 yards.

The pro shop hardly smacks of a private club, although it is perfectly adequate as a public course. The clothes selection is okay, and bar and food service are available. The personnel are quite attentive, although not as much as some of the new public courses.

Only the December through April rate schedule is available, and the range is $60 to $90 during the week, and $70 to $110 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The lower rates are for play after 1:00.

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 golfarizona.com, 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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