Course Conditions: Rating:
This is the overall condition of the course, including the practice greens, driving range, and course itself. Is it well manicured and maintained? Is it in generally a sloppy condition, or in disarray? Are the trees trimmed and the trash cans empty? Is the foliage dying from lack of water or maintenance? This rating takes into consideration all of the ratings on the fairways, the greens, the sand traps, the rough, the driving range, and the practice green, as well as the surrounding area and gives an overall condition rating.
Fairway Conditions: Rating:
Just as it says, we rate the fairways. Do they have dirt patches? Are they thick and lush or just plain hard pan? Are they mowed to the proper height for the time of year? Will you be hitting out of dirt? Is the grass green or dead? Is it grass or something else? (Some Arizona courses even paint the greens and fairways green in the winter) Are the fairways wide or just too narrow? These are some of the criteria we use.
Greens Conditions: Rating:
Greens in the fall in Arizona and during transition from spring to summer can be tough, especially if they have just been sanded or aerated. Be sure to ask when you schedule your tee time in May or September-November. If they have just over seeded you will need your driver on the greens, and if they have just aerated them a lot of recreational Arizona golfers will use the “2 putt” rule, as it is just unfair to do it in any other way when you are trying to putt with holes, little rocks, and sand on the greens.
Sand Trap Conditions: Rating:
Depending on the course, the time of day, and the time of year, the sand traps can range from dirt (with rocks) to white, dry fluffy sand. If you play in the morning during the summer or in October-November (while they are over seeding) many of the sand traps will be full of water or mud because of the amount of water necessary to keep the grass green or to get the rye grass going in the fall. Again, the sand traps vary widely from course to course. An average three star rating means you can expect to hit it out of the trap without destroying your club and there is a reasonable amount of sand in the trap.
Rough Conditions: Rating:
Some courses simply have dirt or ridiculously long grass in the rough. Some are not only dirt, but hard pan. One Arizona golf course even has tree bark chips for its rough. Many have gravel, cinders, or crushed granite. Is it reasonable or fair? That is what we try to rate.
Driving Range Condition: Rating:
The driving ranges go from cayman balls (which we hate) on a 150 yard range with only 10 spots, to lush manicured ranges with room for 50 or more people. The golf balls used on the range can be twenty year old economy priced to brand new top of the line, depending upon the course. Most driving ranges have lower quality range balls, so it is more the quality of the grass and the scenery surrounding the driving range which drives the ratings in this area.
Practice Green Conditions: Rating:
Some golf courses have multiple putting greens, with separate chipping areas, and even areas to practice your sand shots. Some courses do not have anything. An average rating on the practice green section usually means there is a reasonably sized practice putting green in good condition and a place to practice your sand shots.
Is this a course that rewards good shots or punishes unnecessarily hooks and fades? Is it a course where you can hit a career drive where you want to hit it and end up on the side of a hill next to the water? Is this a course that torments you just for fun, or one where you may not score well but say “This is a fair course”? We let you know.
This is self explanatory. There are some magnificent golf courses and spectacular views on Arizona golf courses. There are also courses where you can see little but the housing development which surrounds the course. Some golfers are more interested in the layout of the course and could care less about the view; we like majestic views and an interesting layout.
Fun Factor: Rating:
Some courses have almost all of the necessary ingredients of view, fairways, greens, interesting layouts, and a restaurant, but you leave without having a good time. Sometimes you don’t even know why, but after you play some courses four or five different times you find you just don’t enjoy it, and don’t want to go back. We try to give you an idea of which courses those might be for us.
Some of us like to eat. Some of us like to eat more than others (See Stone and Bone). Some of us just want a hot dog to tide us over until after the round (See QuickBuck). There are very good restaurants at the golf courses in Arizona where sometimes you can get a meal which would be outstanding at any fine restaurant, and sometimes when you least expect it. Some golf course restaurants are very expensive and beautiful inside, but the food is horrible. We tell you which ones we think they are.
Beverage Cart: Rating:
In Arizona the beverage cart can make or break a course, particularly in the summer if the beverage cart does not make regular visits. You may not die of thirst, but wish you had. If you see a zero in the beverage cart rating, it means that the beverage cart was either broken, we never saw it, or they were just downright rude. Most beverage cart personnel in Arizona are friendly and helpful. Some have sandwiches or will even bring out a meal from the restaurant during a round. You should expect to see the beverage cart at least once a side, and not to be out of your favorite beverage to get an average rating.
Pro Shop: Rating:
These run from snotty pro shops to really nice people. To get a good rating, we like a friendly, well stocked pro shop with lots of sale items, and personnel that greet you with a smile when you come in. If the pro shop screws up your tee time (as they sometimes do) they are apologetic and make it right instead of pretending it is somehow your fault.
Friendly Staff: Rating:
Is the Ranger one who offers helpful hints? Did the beverage cart person have a smile and a quick quip (or a quick beer) to make you forget your out of bounds drive? The staff can also make or break a course, and make the difference if we are trying to decide whether or not to come back. It is always so much nicer to go where you are welcomed and the staff is funny and friendly. Even if the golf course is outstanding, if the staff is rude, we sometimes never go back, or at least not until enough time passes we think new people are running the show.
This is a rating to give the ten to twenty handicap golfer an idea of whether or not this will be so hard you may not enjoy playing the course. This rating should be looked at together with the “Play it Again?” rating to get the complete picture, as many times a course will be difficult, but we will still like it and want to play it again.
Play It Again?: Rating:
This is self explanatory and gives a little different perspective. Some courses are so hard that we will never go back as they are simply no fun. Some are very hard but a challenge, not a punishment, and we will go back to the course over and over again.
Our Written Comments: Rating:
We try to fill in the gaps of our reviews and ratings as inevitably there is something which we need to tell you to get a better picture of the golf course. Sometimes it is an event which happened on the course which affected our overall experience, or something we just want to gripe about. Sometimes we are unexpectedly amazed at how nice a certain aspect of the course might be. Do not take our comments to reflect negatively on all aspects of the course (unless we say so!) but simply as something that distinguishes the course in one way or another. Occasionally, we offer our suggestions for improvement for the course, not because we expect the course to do anything about it or even hear about it, but because we think it might be of interest to you and more importantly, because we can.