Stonecreek GC, Phoenix. Arthur Hills, 1983.

This site has a history I don’t fully grasp—I think Ken Dye designed the first course here (called Mummy Mountain?) in the early ‘80s. The course here now is at least 20 years old though and while it follows the same routing, aerials show that the holes are all new, all Art Hills. Most of the course lies in the same drainage basin as Camelback’s Ambiente course, and it’s interesting to note how differently the courses treat that feature. Here, it’s a rocky creek with a lot of vegetation that in several places becomes a pond. As such, this course has water (or at least a water hazard) in play on all but one hole.

There are some good holes here—the drive and pitch 8th to an angled hourglass green requires thought, and I like the twisting, bunker-free 13th. But there are also a few that don’t really work, the worst of which is the awkward sixth, which requires an awkward layup (an Art Hills specialty) before a demanding mid-iron over water.

The biggest issue throughout is that the course is simply too tight–homes and business line one side of almost all the holes, but you can’t bail out to the other side because that’s where the water is. The corridors are mostly plenty wide (except maybe on 6 and 7) but after 18 holes of this dynamic you just feel cramped. It’s like playing a penal desert course even though it’s a rare Phoenix course without any desert to be found.

Arizona 8th Decile [2015]

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