Verde River

Verde River G&SC, Scottsdale. Ken Kavanaugh (2006) with revisions by Tom Lehman (2016).

This was long one of Scottsdale’s best kept secrets, but that wasn’t always a good thing, as the multiple owners, names changes, and maintenance issues would attest. Trilogy bought it and brought in Lehman to make some changes, which I’m sad to say are almost all disappointing. The basic routing here is not changed and is quite good. The 4th is a good par 5 where a drive that challenges the narrow side of the fairway can give you the ability to get home in two. The 8th is a tricky short par 4 with a perched green on the opposite side of a wash (Lehman did well here, making the green even more tempting). Gettable holes like that mix in with brutes like the 7th, which twice crosses washes, and the long uphill 16th, which is every bit a three-shot hole.

Lehman removed bunkers on some holes, combined them on others, and built a couple all new holes as a result of Trilogy’s wish to move the clubhouse site. But most of what’s lost isn’t Lehman’s fault, it’s just the inevitable loss of place you get when a course out in the desert starts getting filled in with roads and homes. It’s not what it once was, but it is still worth the drive.

Arizona 2nd Decile [2018]

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