MountainBrook Golf Club: Great golf in the east Valley
GOLD CANYON - Well out the trail from downtown Phoenix - about 40 miles east on US 60 in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains - sits a quiet golf community named MountainBrook. As a golf course, it is also in the shadow of nearby Gold Canyon Ranch, but what it lacks in splendor, MountainBrook makes up in other ways.
First and foremost, MountainBrook is a short and straightforward course. That makes scoring easier and everybody like pars and birdies better than doubles and triples. Playing just 6,620 from the gold tees, 6,080 from the whites, and 5,118 from the reds, golfers of all shapes, sizes, and abilities should find MountainBrook manageable. The USGA agrees, giving the course a rating/slope of 69.7/124 from the golds, 67.3/114 from the whites and 66.2/103 from the reds.
But MountainBrook is not just vanilla golf. Don't let the first hole fool you. It may be short, flat, open and unremarkable, but the holes that follow get more interesting. Nos. 9 and 10 are back-to-back par 5s of well over 500 yards each. Nos. 11-13 are played around the two large lakes on the course.
No 16 is a very short par-5 that can be a lot harder to birdie than it looks, and No. 18 is a strong finishing hole.
The course as a whole could be classified as a community style desert layout, but the front and back have two distinct flavors. The front is more flat and wide open and is a bit more forgiving while the back has the lakes, some bends and slight elevation changes and a little more desert in play.
It's a little hard to fathom where they got the name for MountainBrook. The mountain makes for a nice backdrop, but doesn't really come into play as the course is set up pretty much in a valley. Also, the only Brook within plain view is a man-made one outside the dining room.
The condition of the grass is another reason MountainBrook proves to be a relative bargain at $65 in peak season, $45 in the spring and fall and even cheaper in the summer months. The fairways are full and plush. The rough is grown full and cut short as well. There aren't too many bad lies among the wide open fairways and hilly rough, and anyone who finds themselves shooting from behind a tree - especially on the front nine - can't count themselves among the very unlucky.
Perhaps the most memorable feature at MountainBrook is the pair of power lines that encase four of the holes. Obviously, there are no doglegs among these holes. Local rules state that if your ball strikes one of the lines, you can replay the shot with no penalty. If you happen to hit one of the many wooden posts supporting the lines, however, you are out of luck and must play the ball as it lies.
As interesting as the power line holes are, the par 3s, except No.12, are all fairly short and unremarkable. The twelfth hole might make up for the others, though. It is only about 170 yards from the back, but a lake surrounding the right and back sides of the green and a picturesque shade tree and bunker guarding the left side, mean there is not a lot of room for error.
The greens at MountainBrook are small and sometimes a little rough around the edges. They roll faster than they appear to though, and as a rule run away from the distant Superstitions.
Yardages are adequately marked on sprinkler heads throughout the course, and MountainBrook appears to have matured well in its four years of operation. The grass, as it is at most courses right now, is in a bit of a transition from winter Rye to Bermuda, but the change doesn't seem to have much of an effect on either the aesthetics or play of the course.
Unfortunately, if you're looking for post-golf entertainment, you might have to look elsewhere. There's a reason Route 60 goes from four lanes to two before it reaches the course. MountainBrook has a perfectly fine bar and grille by the clubhouse, but Gold Canyon is hardly hopping.
If you are staying in the East Valley, book a round of golf at MountainBrook and then schedule plenty of time to make it back into the city for the rest of your plans.
For more information, contact:
MountainBrook Golf Club
5783 South MountainBrook Drive
Gold Canyon, AZ 85219
June 5, 2000