Troon North

Troon North GC, Scottsdale. Monument Course by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf, 1990.

tn monument
The drive on the uphill 11th needs to stay left of a boulder pile

They switched up the nines here a few years back so today’s Monument Course comprises the front nine of the original course and then goes across the road for the back nine, which was previously the front nine of the second course, built five years later and designed by Weiskopf alone. Got that? The courses are seamless in terms of style and the switch eliminates a seriously disjointed routing that previously existed. For my money, it also makes the Monument the better of the two courses here (but it’s close and plenty of rankings put Pinnacle higher).

The front nine here plays down the hill and features a number of holes with dramatic rock outcroppings—you have to hit your second shot at the 1st between rockpiles, at #3 the huge namesake stone sits in the fairway at the corner of the dogleg, and at #4 stacked boulders obscure the green from a short approach. The back nine is across the road on the slope of Pinnacle Peak and so offers the best views on the property, but as is often the case with hillside sites the golf is hit or miss. The 10th hole, straight uphill, and the 16th, straight down, are not great. On the other hand, I love the 11th, which is a totally straight par 5 that feels like a double dogleg based on the influence of hills, and the 14th, which steadily climbs the hill.

Though the Weiskopf drivable par 4 is somewhat of a trope (and you get two on the Monument Course, thanks to the reshuffle), the version here at the 15th is a really excellent one. For one, it is legitimately reachable—slightly downhill and even the tips are under 300 yards. That’s good because this is such a narrow green tucked into a corner with rocks and desert left, right, and long, that you’d be crazy to go for the green. Then again, the simple fact that you might actually have an eagle putt if you just hit one straight is always tough to deny. It also does a nice job of requiring a thoughtful layup (the line is to the right of a shot going straight at the green so if you go for glory and top one you do pay a price), but it’s not as jumbled as the layup for, say, the 17th at TPC, which is such a mess that it makes laying up seem like the risky option.

This is a bucket list course for a lot of people and the course delivers. It’s not my favorite kind of golf course but it is a very good one and I enjoy playing here. They back up the premium they charge by providing excellent conditions and a good experience, but I still can’t wrap my head around anyone paying over $200 to play here, which you must if you play in peak season. Of course, at those rates, the cost of all the Pro-V1s you lose seems much less significant.

Arizona 1st Decile [2016]


Troon North GC. Pinnacle Course by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf, 1990.

So this “New” Pinnacle Course is the back nines of the original and second courses, but not played in the same order. For me, the stretch from 2-5 here is the weakest stretch of holes at Troon North, which is the primary reason I put the Monument Course a hair ahead, but that’s grading on a tough curve—even those holes are interesting and attractive. I think you notice the homes on the Pinnacle Course more, maybe because a lot of this course existed before the houses did. Some people say the real estate has ruined the vibe here; I find that hard to believe, but then I never saw a lot of these holes without homes. Whether you consider the homes as eye candy or blights on the desert landscape, the good news is they are entirely out of play. They’re not encroaching on the golf, just the mood.

If the start is tepid, the middle of this course really sings—the 8th is the best version of a blind par 3 played over boulders that I’ve seen (yes, this is essentially a template in Scottsdale), and the 11th (downhill into a canyon where you can attempt to bite off the corner of the dogleg so as to reach the green of this par 5 in two) is probably my favorite hole on the property. I tend to think this course is just slightly less difficult than the Monument, if only because I feel like there are at least a few places here where a wayward shot might be redirected toward the hole instead of lost in the desert, but overall the simple fact is that these are both very difficult golf courses in the “desert target golf” style. The good news is that the greens, typically for Weiskopf in my experience, are pretty big and pretty flat, which is just as well because after the gauntlet of getting to the green, the last thing you really want is to look silly with the flatstick.

Arizona 1st Decile [2009]

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