Kierland Golf Course: One of the Best in Phoenix
Challenging yet playable; a golf resort that can be enjoyed by any and every type of golfer for very affordable rates. I'm talking about Kierland Golf Club, a public course located just north of central Scottsdale at the corner of Scottsdale Road and Greenway.
When I arrived at the course, I was immediately greeted by the courteous and professional staff who even offered to play nine holes with me and show me around.
The 27-hole, Scott Miller layout is only about four years old but has already established a very good reputation in the Phoenix area, and rightfully so.
It features bermuda fairways and bent grass greens, both in immaculate shape year around.
The course's condition is even more remarkable when you consider that the resort is completely public and host over 85,000 rounds per year.
We started off on Mesquite and it was pretty obvious early on that this was not your typical desert course layout. Both Mesquite and Ironwood feature holes reminiscent of links courses.
My favorite hole on Mesquite is probably number nine, a short par 4 with a lake guarding in front of the green. As opposed to a lot of the other holes, it really puts a premium on positioning your tee shot. Most of the course allows you to spray your tee shots a little, which is not really a bad thing. After all, it's supposed to be playable for the average golfer.
The Ironwood nine also ends in style with a terrific par 5, reachable for the long hitters and still a good birdie opportunity for the short knockers. That is, if you can keep the ball out of the water on the right, which stretches along the entire hole.
Basically, Kierland is about missing it in the right place. The good news is that there's almost always some bail-out room for every shot you're faced with.
Acacia's first five holes don't really vary much from Ironwood and Mesquite; however, the final four take on a completely different look.
Probably the best on the property, these mountain style holes feature rapid drops and elevation changes. It's hard to imagine, a links/mountain style course in the middle of the valley of the Sun.
Both number six and number eight are terrific par 3's with elevated tee boxes, making them play 1-3 clubs shorter than the yardages.
The seventh, a short par 4, forces you to hit a blind approach shot straight up the hill no matter where you hit your tee shot. Add about 10-15 yards to this shot as huge pot bunkers protect the front of the green.
If the finishing holes on Mesquite and Ironwood were the best, then why change that for Acacia? The ninth is a par 5, almost 600 yards from the back tees, but playing significantly shorter because of a more than 100 foot drop from tee to fairway. It's definitely reachable in two. Just aim farther right on the second shot than you think, as the hole slopes towards the lake on the left on the latter part of the hole.
The rates, as I mentioned, are very affordable. During the peak season, you can expect to pay about 150 dollars and 90 dollars after 1 p.m.
However, there are always specials going on, all of which are advertised heavily in local newspapers and bulletin boards.
In the winter time, you can get by with paying as little as 25 dollars for a round of golf at Kierland. It all depends on what time of day you play and again, look for the special rates or just call the golf shop and ask. They'll help you out in any way they can.
With Kierland being such a new course and the way it separates itself from other courses in the area, it has all the potential of becoming a top notch facility. The one thing that could improve the resort would possibly be adding trees to surround the fairways.
"In time, that vision could become reality as Troon Golf, which owns Kierland, and Westin Hotels are planning on making Kierland into an upper echelon golf resort with a hotel centrally located on the property" says Clint Whitney, Assistant Golf Professional.
The hotel would include swimming pools, weight rooms, a spa, and much more, all in a very exclusive manner.
The plans also include building a new club house and driving range along with the previously mentioned addition of trees. "The trees would not only have a visual effect but also a sound effect as noise from the nearby heavily trafficked roads would almost be eliminated", says Whitney. The changes are expected to be finished in October of 2002.
No significant changes are planned on modifying any of the 27 holes at Kierland, and there really doesn't need to be either. Kierland Golf Club is already one of the best courses the Phoenix area has to offer.
Kierland Golf Course
15636 N Clubgate Drive
Scottsdale, AZ, 85254
May 3, 2000