Biltmore Adobe

Arizona Biltmore GC, Phoenix. Adobe course by William P. Bell (1928) with major renovations by Forrest Richardson (2003).

I have not seen this course since yet another renovation a few years back reshuffled a few holes on the front nine, including eliminating the ninth hole—which had been one of my favorites, a devilish little par 3—and shifting the green up on the 18th, which was another instance of losing a cool course feature.

But change seems to be the only real constant for the Adobe..

One of the oldest courses in the Phoenix area, the course had fallen into poor condition by the end of the century, especially considering the pedigree of the resort to which it is attached. Richardson’s work mostly kept the holes in similar corridors, from what I can tell from old aerials, with a few holes being moved to accommodate new development. The course is quite short and squeezed together, but there’s good strategy, some sloping greens, and enough challenge here that you shouldn’t dismiss it simply due to the scorecard. I wouldn’t think the most recent changes would have gutted that entirely.

The greens on the finishing four holes are particularly memorable—the 15th is tiny and slopes severely from back-to-front.

16 is a short par 3 with essentially three greens in one—I’ve seen hole locations hidden behind a large pine tree.

The front half of the green on 17 slopes hard away from the player with no way I’ve yet found to get it close—it’s a wonderful and beguiling short par 4.

And the 18th may have been the wildest of all, but as I mentioned, it is gone now. I can only hope that what was built to replace it is half as interesting.

Arizona 6th Decile [2016]

Miss the green on #16 at your peril (Credit: Golf Pass)