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2022 Golf Trip Review

Here's a review of my Spring 2022 golf trip in Phoenix, Arizona with my buddies. I provide pricing and scores on each course based on course conditions, service and amenities.
2022 Golf Trip in Arizona

I just got back from our annual golf trip to Phoenix, Arizona and played five public courses in March which is their high-season. We played middle of the pack courses that didn’t break the bank as we were just happy that we left Denver just before a winter storm hit. I haven’t played in Phoenix since I was in college so all the courses were a first-time visit for all of us. 

I planned the golf trip for our foursome months ahead and did the research on the courses by the layouts, location, conditions, pricing and reviews. We wanted to make sure we played courses that offered good value with their best conditions. Even with all the research on the golf courses beforehand, we won’t know until we play and experience the course.

I also noticed that if you reserve a tee time through Golfnow, there’s usually an extra fee of $10-18 per player. So try and reserve the times through the course website directly or call in the pro shop. 

Being a former Head Golf Professional which means I ran the day-to-day operations at a golf course, I see the simplest things that can tell me what kind of operation they run there. So basically, I notice things from the course maintenance, service and course amenities that either annoy or impress me. 

Here is a breakdown of the courses we played and the three-category breakdown out of a score of 10 and the reasonings.

Legacy Golf Club – $135 (1:16pm)

Legacy Golf Course was only 10 minutes from the airport so a great option to tee the day of travel even if your flight is delayed like ours was.  

Course Conditions – 10 –  The fairways and rough were “plush” and green.  The greens were perfect around 10.5 – 11 on the stimpmeter. 

Service – 9 – The pro shop staff was fine but seemed more rushed than friendly. Outside staff was very friendly.  Pace was around 4:45 on a packed day. 

Amenities – 9 – Range was on good grass with decent shape range balls. Carts were fine but offered no GPS so had no course guide

Ocotillo Golf Club – $99 (8:25am) Course 2

When making a reservation at Ocotillo Golf Club online, you don’t know exactly what course you are playing until you get there because there are 27 holes and they rotate daily. Most people don’t mind but the White 9 is a little shorter. I chose Course 2 which turned out to be the Blue/White combo. 

Course Conditions – 9.5 –  The fairways and rough were “plush” and green.  The greens were around 10 – 10.5 on the stimpmeter. 

Service – 8 – The pro shop staff was fine but my group noticed one older staff member a bit grumpy. Outside staff was very friendly. Pace was around 4:40 on a packed day. We were supposed to play 27 that day and they said for us to come into the pro shop after our 18-hole round when I made the tee time months before. When we got there that morning, I realized that they didn’t have any tee times available until 4:30. They needed to clarify that we should reserve the third 9 even if it was at full 18-hole pricing if we wanted to play it.

Amenities – 9 – Range was on good grass with decent shape range balls. Carts were fine but offered no GPS so had no course guide

Starfire Golf Club – $60  (3:26pm Twilight) The King 18

When we couldn’t get on Ocotillo for the third 9, I called Starfire Golf Club because that was where we were staying. We got lucky for a time that fit our schedule after lunch. I noticed it was $70 online with a $10 booking fee. I called them instead, made the time and paid $60.

Course Conditions – 9 –  The fairways and rough were green.  The greens were around 9.5 – 10.0 on the stimpmeter. 

Service – 9 – The pro shop was the smallest I have ever seen but didn’t matter. The staff was nice and friendly.

Amenities – 7 – The grass on the entire range was plush but they only offered really runned-down mats. I saw that they go on grass on weekends. Carts were fine but offered no GPS so had no course guide

Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club – $135  (12:00pm)

I was looking forward to playing at Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club and was told that this course was the best out of the five that we played when the staff asked us about our trip. Unfortunately, this one was the disappointment of the trip. The course layout was not impressive and very flat. The tee boxes were barely elevated so hard to see the views of the holes.

Course Conditions – 6.5 –  The fairways were barely green and not much growth on them. The rough was not overseeded so the rough was dormant with very little grass. The greens were average around 9.5 – 10.0 on the stimpmeter. 

Service – 9 – The pro shop staff was very friendly and nice even with the biased over-confident statement about the course. The Food and Beverage staff was inside and out nice but never saw a marshall on the course. Pace was 4:55. 

Amenities – 6 – Clubhouse was pretty small and the cart staging area was gravel. Range was pretty beat up and the range ball conditions were unacceptable. For a course with this price tag, the balls were a few years old lacking dimples on the balls. Carts were old and the only course that offered GPS but the unit did not work on my cart.

McDowell Mountain Golf Club – $180 (8:16am)

We heard great things about McDowell Mountain Golf Club and budgeted a little more for the last day of our trip. When I made the tee time months before, I noticed that there were 3 times in a row that were not available in the morning. I decided to take the time ahead of them because I believe that there was a group that booked those times. When we were walking up to the bag drop, there was a big charter van that was dropping off 12 guys. Whew, no one wants to be stuck behind a group of 12!

Course Conditions – 9 –  The course was pretty well maintained. The tee boxes were in the best shape out of everything but nothing to complain about. The greens were average around 9.5 – 10.0 on the stimpmeter. 

Service – 9 – The pro shop staff was nice and efficient. We saw the beverage cart girl 3 times. Pace of play was enforced, saw the course marshall 3 times and gave us an update on groups ahead of us. Pace was 4:20. 

Amenities – 8 – Clubhouse was nice but didn’t use it much. Range was pretty beat up and seemed like they hadn’t moved the range line in a day or two. The guys hitting besides us said it felt like they were hitting out of a bunker. The range ball conditions were acceptable. Carts were ok but did not have GPS. 

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V Tongwarin

V Tongwarin

Visanu Tongwarin or “Coach V” is a Class A PGA Teaching Professional at Legacy Ridge Golf Course and Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster, Colorado. V's brings his passion for teaching the game of golf to all levels of golfers from running children clinics to training state champions and seasoned professionals.