Las Sendas Brings the Full Package to the Golfing Table

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

MESA, AZ - The Phoenix area is inundated with premier golf courses, so when it comes down to choosing your weekend golf excursion, there are a few considerations that reign supreme and a few other that go out the door. In the winter or spring seasons, if you want to play a championship or resort level course, you are looking at throwing down at least a hundred duckets. So let's say that cost itself is not really a consideration when contemplating your weekend round.

Las Sendas Golf Club
A view of the first hole at Las Sendas Golf Club.
Las Sendas Golf Club
If you go

However, bang for your buck will always be a consideration. If you are going to justify blowing your whole weeks' allowance on one round of golf, the greens better be fast and true, the fairways better be ample, the service must be first rate, and the entire experience needs to rank right up there with the one day per decade that the Sports Illustrated Swim Suite Edition arrives with your microbrew of the month six pack.

Mesa, Arizona is ready to put in a bid on this perfect weekend round, and in order to win your favor, it offers up Las Sendas Golf Course as the prize.

In the peak season, Las Sendas runs in the $100 range, like many of Phoenix's better tracts. But for laying down the money, here is what you'll find waiting for you out in the east valley:

• Articulate, personable "bag men" who immediately welcome you to the course, strap your clubs to a cart, and bid you good luck.

• A Pro Shop staff that makes you feel like you are the only player teeing it up that day.

• A cozy Pro Shop and bar area where one is tempted to just hand out and chat.

• A "cart girl" and "bartendress" who are not only cordial and good humored, but who actually play the course regularly and love to talk about course strategy.

• A practice range that is provides bottomless buckets of balls, and driving stations that seemingly have gremlins that come and repair all the divots every half and hour. Both the practice range and putting green are dead on replicas of the tee boxes and dancefloors you will find out on the course.

So admittedly, I was won over before I even approached the first tee for my mid afternoon tee time. The series of events that transpired in the next few hours following my introduction to the course only confirmed my suspicions: Las Sendas existed in a parallel universe where perfect greens, lush fairways and first rate customer service were commonplace.

So as I entered this parallel universe, it was only fitting that the starter was both informative and insightful. Because I was playing so late in the day, I pulled up to the first tee alone and was thinking that I would have to play solo. Not that I ever mind playing alone, but every solo outing to any golf course is an opportunity to meet from one to three new people. Not to mention that golfers are usually cut from the same mold - hardworking, sports loving, beer drinking men and women - and who would not want to know as many of these types as possible.

That being said, the starter let me know that I could take off alone, or wait for a twosome that was almost done on the range and would be down shortly. That offering was a microcosm of Las Sendas - the starter was giving me a choice. He was not telling me to settle down and wait for the twosome so that they could pack as many players onto the course that afternoon as possible. He was simply giving good advice. I opted to wait for the twosome, and while waiting, the knowledgeable starter filled me in on not only the basics of the course, but the nuances of this cleverly designed Robert Trent Jones Jr. layout as well.

Front Nine Highlights

The first hole is an awesome starting hole. The twosome I was playing with insisted upon playing from the tips, and I was quick to give in seeing as how we were all average golfers, but wanted to see the entire course. The first hole is a par-4 that plays 467 yards from the tips, and the green is guarded by one massive clover leaf shaped bunker.

Every hole at Las Sendas is a highlight reel, but the next incredible golf experience on the front nine occurs at the 6th hole. From the tips, the 6th plays to 591 yards, and one of my playing partners actually made it on in regulation. With a carry over a mountain arroyo on the tee shot and a blind approach shot to the green, the yardage book is quite prophetic when its states that "par is a good score here."

Rounding out the front nine, the par-5, 538 yard 9th hole has to be one of the more challenging holes in all the Valley. Water comes into play twice - off the tee shot to the right, and on the approach shot protecting the green. In one of the truly great design attributes in all of Arizona, Jones offers up two plausible strategies on the second shot.

One may opt to play it safe by playing in regulation along the right-side of the fairway by shaping a shot from right to left. Or take a chance at playing your approach left of the green and carrying over about 100 yards of water, setting up a nice chip shot to the green. One of my playing partners decided to go left, and he actually skipped a shot off the lake and onto the plush landing area left of the green.

Back Nine Highlights

It takes the back nine all of one hole to get off to an auspicious start. The par-4, 448 yard 10th hole is Las Sendas' most challenging par-4, and like the 9th, water comes into play twice - this time on both the tee shot and the approach shot. If you have a high fade, please abandon it on this hole.

Desert courses are often defined and remembered by their par-3 holes. While the most memorable holes at Las Sendas may be par-4's and 5', there is no shortage of awesome par-3's. The 194 yard, 14th hole is a classic desert target par-3 hole with a forced carry over almost 100 yards worth of Sonoran desert. The green is 34 yards deep with a top shelf, so feel free to club up and go for broke.

As much as I'd like to report that the near perfect golf experience that is Las Sendas sports one of the great finishing holes in the Valley, my next and last Back Nine Highlight goes to the double dogleg, 523 yard par-5, 15th hole. To make matters more challenging, the second shot is uphill - albeit to an ample landing area. Simply put, this hole is not only challenging- it offers a choice. The accurate and powerful driver can cut off a few yards on the hole by hitting over an outcropping of desert to the right.

Back in the Clubhouse

The beer was cold, the food was great, and there was even satellite T.V. By some strange act of the parallel universe, I was the only person at the bar, and ended up talking golf, baseball and fishing with the "cart girl" and the bartender. The next time I am in Phoenix, it will be tough for me not to steer the car back to the parallel universe that is Las Sendas. If only this bizzaro world of quality golf and service improved my golf game, I would commit to playing Las Sendas exclusively.

Ranking: No. 16 by Golf Digest: America's Top State Golf Courses 1997-98
Classification: Public
Guest Policy: Open
Dress Code: No denim, collared shirt and bermuda shorts required.
Season: Open all year
Tee Times: Accepted 7 days in advance.
Earliest Time To Call: 7:00 AM
Pro Shop Phone: (602)396-4000
Pro Shop Opens: 7:00 AM

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of from 1997 to 2003.

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