Address: 9998 Talking Stick Way
Scottsdale, Arizona 85256
General Manager: Steve Leonard
Golf Operations Manager: Bentley Nakasawa
Head Golf Pro: Min Park
Superintendent: Paul Blumke Course Architects: Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw
About this Course:
Par 72 – 7133 yards from the tips
Rating/Shope: 72.7/125; 69.7/120; 75.6/127; 66.4/115; 71.6/119; 64.9/113; 70.2/116
By By Alice and Danny Scott
Nature rules at the Talking Stick Golf Club where wild horses freely roam the adjacent grassland. Owned by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community, the Talking Stick logo represents the traditional O’odham (Pima) calendar stick on which significant events were carved. A milestone event occurred in 1998, when the Coore & Crenshaw team designed the north and south courses, two distinctly different styles of high caliber golf.
While the South course is more parkland style, the North course is a links-style layout weaving through native desert fields with some diabolical bunkering to challenge all players. The McDowell and Camelback Mountains provide a serene backdrop as a gallery of desert animal life keeps vigilance including coyotes, roadrunners and quail, bazillion Arizona prairie dogs, perhaps a bobcat and yes, an occasional snake. The Sonoran surroundings are reflected by the name of each individual hole.
Hole #3, Par 4, 450 yards from the tips – “Sand Hills” is the second longest par 4 on the course. The bunker in front of the tee box initiates the intimidation making the fairway appear very narrow. A livestock barbed wire fence guards the entire left side of the fairway. The right side has three major bunkers and a sand hill waste area to avoid. A right to left trajectory is a good strategy for this demanding tee shot if you miss all the bunkers.
Hole #4, Par 4, 443 yards from the tips – After the challenge of the previous hole, you now get to attempt the number one handicap on the north course. It is called “Three Roads.” A massive waste area and bunkers cover the right side. Mounding creates a blind tee shot. The fairway runs diagonally toward the green and looks diminutive. It is actually generous however, the more you target the right side, the more landing area is available. Whatever you choose, left, right or maybe the road less traveled, you may want a talking stick to record a successful par or birdie.
Hole #11, Par 3, 261 yards from the tips – “Brassie” by name, it requires quite a distance for a par 3. The fairway allows for a bailout on the left side, with adequate space for mishits. The sheer length requires a driver, three wood or a brassie. Coore & Crenshaw added a large bunker to guard the opening of the right side, as if an extremely long par 3 was not enough excitement for them. The green is large and receptive to reward those who reach it on the drive, not for the faint of heart.
Hole #12, Par 4, 392 yards from the tips – The “Red Mountain Gambler” hole is aptly named. A monstrous waste area confronting the player narrows into a ditch that runs all the way to the green. The right side is wide and the obvious choice for most players not wanting to challenge the ditch. The left side is very narrow with little room for great shots. Out of bounds border the left side tee to green. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. A great drive to the left will leave you with a short iron into the green. What kind of gambler are you? Remember, the house usually wins. Here and along the next fairway is the best opportunity to spot the wild horses.
Before or after the round, the Wildhorse Grille and Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, or late lunch inside or on the patio with a grand golf view of the North course number 9, “Southern Exposure.” The clubhouse is well equipped with merchandise, friendly staff and Native American décor. Talking Stick Golf Club has the largest practice area in the valley for warm up or instruction including the Vision 54 Golf Academy and club fitting.
Memberships and packages are available to check out like the “Par Fore the Course” and “Fairway to Heaven.” The Talking Stick Inclusive Golf Card offers exclusive benefits to the course and practice facilities, all operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management. It is always in the top lists of public courses in Arizona. Go play for a day or consider taking a ‘staycation’ at the luxurious Talking Stick Resort minutes away, known for its casino and daily live entertainment.