Cactus Golf Daily Hole of the Week - The 9th at Longbow
Mesa, AZ - Its not easy to drop a golf course into the midst of the Phoenix golf scene and have it immediately recognized as one of the most creative, thought provoking layouts in the Valley of the Sun. But that is just what Ken Kavanaugh has pulled off, with the Longbow Golf Course in Mesa, Arizona. The course is named after a new military attack helicopter - the Apache Longbow- that Boeing produces across the street from the course. And as Longbow Head Professional Cal Berreckman points out, you better bring your full arsenal to conquer the ninth hole of Kavanaugh's increasingly popular golf course. A short par-4, the 9th lulls many a Longbow golfer into thinking that a cute little scoring opportunity has presented itself before the turn to the back nine.
The Layout: A par-4, 314 yard hole protected by green side bunkers, and a controversial Ken Kavanaugh designed pot bunker strategically placed forty yard in front of the green. Head Professional Cal Berreckman explains what it is that makes the 9th so special.
"The hole is visually deceptive when looking out from the tee box. The first time playing it, you see another green (the 18th) behind it, and this makes the hole look longer than it really is. The 9th is well guarded on the back by the lake. Controversial aspect from Kavenaugh - there is a pot bunker about 40 yard in front of the green. Ken wanted it there. Comes into play. Out of bound s to the left.
The Strategy: Obviously, at 314 yards, there are two way to play the 9th hole - use the thin air of the desert to carry a drive up by the green, or lay up short of the pot bunker to set up a high percentage second shot.
Impressing the local Phoenix media with a golf course is like impressing Dennis Rodman with a potential tattoo - you see so many, they all look the same. In Longbow's brief stay amongst the posh courses of Phoenix, at least three local Phoenix media celebrities have taking a liking to this Mesa layout. Head Pro Cal Berreckman confides.
"Ron Hoon of Fox Sports loved it. He did all right on the 9th. He's not a tremendous golfer, but he had fun. Bill Huffman of the Arizona Daily Star gave the course a good review, which is something tough to get since he sees so many. Mike Chamberlain of Channel 3 only drove around the course but he's a little better golfer (than Hoon), so he might have fared a little better on the 9th."
The Average Golfer: Will take a four or five iron, according to Berreckman, "which will take not only the pot bunker, but the fairway bunkers and greenside bunkers out of play as well."
Don't Play: Head Professional Cal Berreckman on the 9th when he gets off work. Says Cal, "I usually have a lot of money riding on this hole. Me and some of the guys head out to play after work, and this is the final hole of the day. Typically we play it by moonlight. The guys I play with try to drive the green. I usually drive the green to the left, and chip up for a birdie or a par."
Play the Hole: In the early morning, when the shadows dance around the hole and add to its deceptive nature.
Inside the numbers: Because the course is so new, Berreckman says that no official scoring average has been tracked for the hole. But local knowledge confirms that the 9th is no refuge from the omnipresent challenge of Longbow. Berreckman speculates, "I am wagering to say that is beyond par, probably 4.5 at the least.
Wanna Play?: Longbow Golf Club - (602) 807-5400
April 26, 1999