Course Preview: Quail Creek Country Club

By Scott Behmer, Contributor

Green Valley, Az - Hidden in Green Valley's eastern desert lies one of Arizona's best kept secrets, Quail Creek Country Club. Until this year, it was only a nine hole layout, but after construction of the back side was completed last December the public caught its first glimpse of a new true gem.

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Last Tuesday my friend Chris and I drove down to Green Valley with an eager anticipation of playing this virtually unknown course. Pulling into the parking lot we noticed construction going on all around the complex. So after checking in at the pro shop I asked assistant pro Todd Madel what all the construction is about. He told me, "We're building a new luxury clubhouse and an addition to the pro shop. They should be completed by winter."

After talking with Todd, Chris and I put our clubs on a cart and drove to #1. If you're looking to warm-up before your round, there's a very small temporary driving range and practice putting green, as the permanent ones are also in the construction phase.

Quail Creek measures 7005 yards from the black championship tees, 6489 from the copper men's tees, 5969 from the silver senior tees, and 5276 from the gold women's tees. I played the blacks while Chris played the copper.

Measuring 3355 yards, the front nine is nearly 300 yards shorter than the back. It opens with a straightaway, 425-yard par 4. A right side fairway bunker is the only challenge off the tee. On the approach be prepared for the shot to release. The greens are receptive but not likely to yield any back spin.

Guarding the green's front right side is a massive bunker, one of Quail Creek's signatures. If you miss the green away from the bunker, a chip off short-cut rough remains. About 10 yards of this extended fringe surrounds every green, leaving a multitude of options. Greens run 9.5 on the stimpmeter, so pick a line and just give it a good roll.

Quail Creek's signature hole is the 144-yard, par 3 #8. Teeing off over a sparkling blue lake, the green is surrounded by a beautiful, cascading waterfall. This is certainly one of the best backdrops for any hole in Arizona. The tee shot only requires a short iron to the dual-level green, but anything short, long, or left is in the water.

As you make the turn stay strong and try to pick up a couple shots. You may need them with the very challenging finish.

An ideal hole to pick up a stroke is #11. Measuring 371 yards, this dogleg left par 4 has a wide fairway and a receptive green. The key on the approach is to take your short iron or wedge in high to stick it close to the pin. If you succeed in avoiding the large front bunker you'll have a good chance at birdie.

The shortest par 5 on the inward nine is the 536-yard #15. Excellent use of bunkers here makes this hole very challenging. Bunkers clustered on the fairway's left side catch drives and leave over 280 yards to the green. Further, an elevated set 70 yards short of the green catches attempts at the green in two and makes the green appear deceptively closer. Then, bunkers left and right of the green demand a precise approach shot for a chance at birdie. For a short par 5, a lot of thinking must go into playing this hole.

Quail Creek ends with two very challenging holes where you must bring your "A" game just to make par. #17 is a 237-yard par 3 over desert with a wash bordering the green's right side. Further, a bunker left catches all shots running up. Par here is indeed a great score.

Then, #18 is a straightaway, 471-yard par 4. You need to crush the drive even though there are fairway bunkers left and right. A large lake borders the fairway 100 yards from the green and continues along its front. A plethora of bunkers await behind the green.

Quail Creek ends with two very challenging holes where you must bring your "A" game just to make par.

Playing into the wind, I hit driver followed by 5-wood to get pin high. However, it took two 5-woods as my first went a little left and into the lake. Even making six here didn't feel that bad, though. A birdie here should win a skin nearly every time.

After the round you can relax in the small clubhouse which shortly will be a much larger luxury grill. They offer a variety of delicious entrees ranging from $5 to $8.

With a Tour quality course and soon to be top-notch facilities, it will only be a short matter of time until Quail Creek becomes a can't miss place to play.

A round is $25 with cart. Located off I-19, at exit 63 go east, then turn right on Continental Road. For more information call 625-0133.

Scott Behmer, Contributor

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