Coyote Lakes

Coyote Lakes GC, Surprise. Arthur Jack Snyder and Forrest Richardson, 1993.

They squeezed a lot of really interesting holes and design concepts in here; the trouble is that they really did have to squeeze.

Most of the front nine holes play in a single width corridor between homes, though most of the holes are set well down below the property level so hillsides and mounds are more likely to catch wayward shots than someone’s backyard.

The start isn’t very inspiring. The first is a bland handshake and the second fairway is squeezed between a hill on the left and a pond on the right. The third is one of the shortest par 5s I’ve ever played that doesn’t go straight uphill—just 457 from the back tee, but it is narrow enough to keep you honest off the tee (also the primary clientele here are mostly not hitting it 275).

The feel of the front improves turning to the fourth as the holes break away from being in a corridor of homes. The fifth is a split fairway hole with a couple of trees in the middle.

The real memorable moment comes at the sixth, a 549-yard par 5 with a 12-foot rock-covered hill about 50 yards short of the front of the green. With a long drive you will have to consider whether you want to take on the rocks with your second—clear them and your ball might bounce all the way up to the green; fail to make the carry and a penalty stroke is likely. Laying up comes with its own considerations. Too close and it can be a challenge (mental as much as physical) to clear the rocks with your third. But laying back too far can be a challenge as well.

#6 from the tee with the rock ledge in the distance

The back nine holes are all played in a double wide corridor with a creek or pond separating them and with homes to the right. Sometimes the homes are well removed, in other places they are a little too close for comfort and trees or nets are involved to protect the properties.

The 12th is a clever take on the Short par 3 template, just 126 yards long with a bunker front left and a false front on the green that can reject shots that come in with too much spin.

I also like the finisher, at 436 yards from the back tee it is the longest par 4 at Coyote Lakes. A sensible drive, maybe even with a 3 wood, can easily find a wide fairway, but if you try to get aggressive the fairway bottlenecks with a bunker left and hillside to the right. The hill could help you guide a ball back into the narrow neck of the fairway, but miss it—or have your ball stay on the hill—and you’ll have a very difficult approach.

These are the clever tradeoffs that are common at Coyote Lakes, which is not a long course, but never quite plays like a pushover.

Arizona 9th Decile [2019]