Ken McDonald

Ken McDonald, Tempe. Arthur Jack Snyder, 1974.

A very flat muni that’s easy to walk and typically pretty easy on your game. The front nine is pretty wide open but the back nine gets a little narrower, or anyway the trees are more mature.

One of the notable features here is the awkward routing, with holes 10-16 south of the canal and separate from the rest of the course and clubhouse. It is 400 yards or so from the ninth green to the 10th tee and back again from the 16th green to the 17th tee. It would make a lot more sense to turn the current 17th and 18th holes into 10 and 11 (the 17th tee is right next to the ninth green), then go across the canal and finish over there.

In many ways, the course reminds me of Encanto—a respectable course with fine holes, but so flat that there’s no real interest. Humps and bumps in the fairways can go a long way. Also the views at Encanto are of downtown buildings, from Ken McDonald you’re mostly looking at an adjacent power plant all day.

The best hole here may be the first, which has out of bounds running all down the left in the form of a pedestrian path (and the canal beyond that), but a single bunker right front of the green means the left side of the fairway is the preferred side. Simple design, but it works and there’s something obvious and intimidating about teeing off right next to the OB fence.

There’s no missing the out of bounds left of #1

Arizona 8th Decile [2019]