Arizona National

Arizona National GC, Tucson. Robert Trent Jones, Jr, 1996.

Back when I was playing here this was the Raven at Sabino Springs and the home course of the University of Arizona golf team, which always seemed strange because there aren’t many courses in Tucson farther from campus.

The course is built on the side of the Catalina Mountains and has some wonderful holes and some real head scratchers. The 2nd is an uphill par 5 with two washes to carry and a fairway that narrows the further you hit your second shot, for no reason that makes sense to me. But then the 3rd is a beautiful short par 4 that plays much longer up into the mountain with a stunning backdrop of saguaros. The 11th is a mess in every way—you have a 200+ yard carry to a blind fairway, for which they provide a periscope; or if you can’t make the carry you can hit a 100 yard wedge shot and then try to carry the canyon. Then there’s another deep wash fronting the green. The stretch of holes after that is nice, but condos have spoiled a lot of the views. And the 18th, a par 5 tumbling steeply downhill toward a green protected by water, looks great in publicity photos, but this is a hole I’ve played on a lot of different courses and most of them don’t have homes tucked so perilously close to the right side of the fairway, where they no doubt are constantly peppered by slices falling out of the sky.

Arizona 4th Decile [2001]

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