Camelback Mountain’s southern slope is one beautiful spot. Its rocks, boulders, saguaros and views that expand to the Superstition Mountains, Four Peaks, Papago Park and downtown Phoenix.
Sounds like a great place for hiking, exploring the beautiful flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert and golf.
The new Phoenician Golf Club re-opened for daily-fee and resort play last November following a 10-month redesign and renovation project. The new 18-hole golf course was designed by Scottsdale-based architect Phil Smith, with course construction managed by Troon’s Senior Vice President of Golf Course Development, Ron Despain, and The Phoenician Golf Club’s Superintendent, Tom Bush.
“I like that it is all one designer now, Phil Smith, because when it was three nine-hole layouts one could tell they were all done by three different designers,” said Director of Golf Erik Broka. “So bringing it from 27 holes to 18 we actually gained 300 yards. The greens are the defense, for sure, with up to six fall points on some greens. That can be tricky when they are rolling 10 and 11 on the Stimp meter – smooth and fast.
“I don’t think it is that hard to get to the greens, but watch out,” he said, “there are some three putts out there. Golfers tell us it is a fun course, not hokey, that it’s a real layout now, resort wide fairways, friendly when you are in the short grass, and before you could really telling going from one nine to the next that it was designed by different designers.”
During the redesign and renovation, Smith used previously existing fairway corridors to reroute the golf course and develop new golf holes with re-contoured fairways as well as rebuilt and resurfaced green complexes. Greens now feature TifEagle grass putting surfaces that allow for additional pin placements; while tees, fairways and roughs are 419 Bermuda grass. All tees and bunkers were repositioned to provide the best strategy for each player’s skill level.
“This really has been a rebirth of The Phoenician and now its golf club,” said Smith. “Our goal with the course redesign and renovation was to give each player the opportunity to make an informed decision before every shot by employing fundamental design strategies to create a great golf experience for resort guests and daily-fee golfers. Everything is now right there in front of the golfer, as there are no blind shots or blind hazards. We’re thrilled with how the golf course looks and plays.”
The golf course renovation was executed in conjunction with the third phase of a major enhancement at The Phoenician, A Luxury Collection Resort – the most extensive in its 30-year history.
The new course showcases the unique beauty of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert and matches the reputation and quality of the award-winning resort. The new course plays to a par of 71 and offers four sets of player-friendly tees ranging from 4,594 yards from the forward tees, to 6,518 yards from the championship tees. By transitioning from 27 to 18 holes, turf usage was reduced by approximately 45 acres and a new highly-efficient irrigation system was installed. The combination of turf reduction and the new irrigation system capabilities will lead to increased water conservation.
The Phoenician’s golf shop, locker rooms and 19th Hole dining venue have also been renovated and expanded.
Smith’s resume includes 25-plus years working with PGA Tour and golf course-design legends Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. Smith has executed numerous high-profile renovations, including work on Troon North’s Monument and Pinnacle courses, the TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course, Superstition Mountain and Desert Mountain’s Apache, Chiricahua and Renegade courses.
The golf operation is managed by Troon®, the leader in golf course management, development, and marketing. Troon is the best in the golf management world by leaps and bounds.
Broka is especially proud of The Phoenician’s stunning views. “The back nine views along Camelback Mountain’s south side enhances holes like 13 and 14. You are going west up hill and when you pull up to your tee shot you have an amazing view of downtown Phoenix with Chase Field.”
About The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort
The newly transformed Phoenician offers two exquisite experiences – a 585-room, AAA Five Diamond luxury resort and a 60-room, Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond boutique hotel, The Canyon Suites — at one magnificent destination. Both The Phoenician and The Canyon Suites are owned by Bethesda, Maryland-based Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: HST), and operated by Marriott International, Inc., as part of The Luxury Collection.
For dining I picked Mowry & Cotton, which has a Bottle and Board menu at $25. Choose from one of four fire-roasted flatbreads or house-crafted buttermilk buns, all unique and instagram-worthy to share, along with specially chosen red and white wines to complement the robust flavors.
Story by David R. Holland