Peering up to the famous Camelback Mountain, the opener plays to a slightly elevated green backed by steep slopes. With a ridge running along the front, only a portion of the large green can be seen from the tees. The green is defined by an upper bowl at the left and a low gathering area to the right. The smart play from the tee will be greatly influenced by pin location. A left placement will demand more accuracy as everything slopes right. The right half will demand respect for the green contours, requiring a shot landing left of the hole that allows the ball to feed down to the right. A graceful way to begin the round. It’s all there for the taking.
Flanked by two bunkers, the long green cascades down toward the tee with three levels. Most certainly, No. 2 will not play the same from day to day with its 100-foot deep green. This is the primary challenge: The long mid-iron shot to an uphill green allows for a 25-yard swing in hole length. Like its counterparts in the opening stretch, the eternal backdrop is the rugged and reddish slopes of Camelback Mountain.
From the Old French word flacon, used to describe a vase or bottle, The Flagon Hole is indeed a “bottle
The original Biarritz hole sat along the Atlantic coast of France above Bay of Biscay. The hole was extremely long across a deep canyon. At the far side was a unique green with a deep and pronounced swale running from left to right across the line from the tee. Enamored with its design was Charles Blair Macdonald, who eventually brought the concept back to the United States and integrated it to his famous Chicago Golf Club. The Biarritz at Mountain Shadows is a twist on the original sporting a low valley to the left of the green. This valley will be a welcome reprieve to those who do not want to tangle with the bunker set short and to the right side of the green. The dip across the green is nearly 4-feet deep and creates two distinct platforms to set the flagstick, one to the front and one to the back. Occasionally — on a lucky day — you may see the hole cut into the dip itself, which by all accounts makes the hole play much more forgiving. Often described as “the par-three that acts more like a four,
Turning direction to the east, No. 5 is a seemingly tiny hole that sends a signal the round is becoming even more interesting. Although it’s just a mere wedge to the green, the common question overheard is, “What green?
Perception is the key to No. 6, where the golfer might do well to engage their own sixth sense. With a pronounced ridge extending into the green surface, hole locations here will confound the tee shot to a significant degree. Anticipating the precise hole location comes with its rewards. To the right, an angled bunker prompts a different angle of approach from the tee than if the hole is a bit to the left. The danger at the left is the steep drop-off where a ball may bound toward the out-of-bounds. At the back of the rolling green is a target location guarded by a strong ridge that serves as a barrier to the upper level.
The shortest of holes does not always translate to the easiest, as is proved here. With its elevated tees above the famous Mountain Shadows Resort Scottsdale pond, this most delicate of short-shot holes plays to a peninsula green that is rather simple in terms of breaks and rolls. Defined by a stone ledge on all sides and front, the green appears much smaller than it actually is. This is due to the perilous watery grave that awaits those shots too far off line or
a wee bit short. Nerves. That’s what it takes when one dares to play anywhere but smack in the center.
From well above the green one imagines it an easy swipe to the green. But, much like those fun houses with odd angles, warped floors and mirrors, the green is perplexing. Its first defense is a “redan,
Quite literally, this hole is no angel. And figuratively, it only “wears
If No. 9 might be the yin then No. 10 is most certainly the yang. While appearing as opposites — the 9th is surrounded by sand and at the 10th we have not even a single grain — the relationship of the 9th and 10th is complementary, at least in terms of design. The 10th is a cocoon, its green settled deep inside mounds, concealed and yet awaiting the fate of a lucky shot. You cannot see its green, except for that small sliver at the front. Sometimes the flagstick only presents its uppermost end with the flag waving above the surrounding berms. Instead of sand, its moat is inverse and all covered in grass. Quite possibly the most photographed hole of the bunch with a gun-sight view to Camelback Mountain rising above the green.
When Arthur Jack Snyder originally designed Mountain Shadows in the early 1960s his pleasant design of the tranquil pond and stream was among the course’s most cherished features. Today the legacy lives on. The modern version at this long one-shotter was simply shifting the green to the edge of the stream. By doing so the view is, to put it bluntly, up the creek. Edged by stone at the right, the long green dribbles down the slope with a welcomed bail-out area to the left. It is here, along this curved embankment at the bail-out, that the seasoned player will learn how to bank a shot much like an Indy-500 driver takes a super-elevated turn. The skillful line to the target is not only one played directly at the green, but includes one played into the bank where it is possible to use the ground to roll a ball onto the green. That ever-present stream is among the hole’s most pesky traits, even though its looks are so inviting and peaceful.
Wedge play abounds. A third of Mountain Shadows’ holes will require one wedge or another, and why not? The wedge has become not just one club, but for most golfers a smorgasbord of clubs with various uses, different lofts and unique feels. At the 12th we find a green in two distinct levels, the lower ending abruptly at the water’s edge. A bunker serving as sentry to the left and all shots played too conservatively away from the water. At the back to the right is our oasis — a grove of palms as old as the course itself. Plan carefully. A hole located on the lower deck means a shot must not find its way back up the slope to the upper portion of the green. And that my friend is just as bad as reversing the situation and finding yourself way down below when the hole is way up and back. Here, the strategy is to pick your distance carefully.
Named for its likeness to nearby Mummy Mountain, the 13th is defined by a large mummy-shaped ridge that forms its left edge. Sharing a huge green with Hole No. 14, the length here can play as much as 35 yards longer (to nearly 160 yards) when the hole is placed to the far back. Did we mention that a small pot-sized bunker has been left within the putting surface? Well, it has. In the style of the famous 6th green at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, a design of George C. Thomas and William P. “Billy
The most famous dell hole is the 5th at Lahinch on Ireland’s west coast. There, a white stone is moved from day to
day so players know approximately where the hole on the all-but-hidden green has been set. At our version, a gaping bunker protects the front, and that shared bunker with No.14 is present to catch wayward long balls. Short, but demanding. Hint: The forward tee is among the most interesting shots at The Short Course with a nearly blind tee shot up and over a large grassy mound.
The 15th is defined by a large and wide green. Among the putting surface are four distinct levels, quadruple tiers. Front and center is a small trap of sand. At the back and left are two more bunker pits. This longish hole is all about “choosing your green.
Set on a plateau, the green here is perched with no comfort at its edges. For that matter there is no falling short or long without the same result—a drop-off to tightly mowed turf. So what do we attribute the notch as its namesake? Until one actually gets to the green a subtle yet interesting feature is nowhere to be seen. Once at the green you will discover nothing more than a dimple—a notch—that has been pushed into the surface as if by some inebriated Scottish greenkeeper just before planting the grass seed. A different hole to be sure.
Looking out over the territorial view to Paradise Valley’s Mummy Mountain, this deceptive hole appears closer to the golfer with its deep bowl fronting the green’s surface. The green is defined by a ridge running across the center from left to right. Or, if you are behind the green, it might be right to left. Regardless, this ridge is not to be ignored for it splits the putting surface into two sections and can lead to a three-putt if not property attacked. The left is home to a bunker where recovery is complicated by that ever-present ridge and the sloping green to the front and back.
The Forrest Wager (Bonus Hole)
The Short Course comes with a bonus. If you will, Hole 17-dot-five. The Forrest Wager is a long owing green where the object is to play against your opponents in similar fashion to the popular golf game Bingo-Bango-Bongo. Here, one point is awarded for the closest to the hole on the first shot played. Another for the first player to hole out (the farthest plays first, as always). And a third point for the lowest score. Affectionately described as a “par-2,
Playing downhill toward the modern Mountain Shadows Resort, the culminating hole is a crashing cymbal to a concert performance. A wedge or less, the green is undulating and backed up by a long and winding bunker. At the left is an outcrop of boulders formed millions of years ago. Not too much further is the Golf Lounge where liquid refreshment and the delights of companionship, stories and the occasional cigar fill the air on any given day and well into the evening.