Talking Stick Golf Club

O’odham Course Review

Iconic Camelback Mountain is just one of the majestic views from Talking Stick Golf Club. Pictured are the #7 and #10 greens of the O’odham Course.

Talking Stick Golf Club O'odham Course


Phone: 480.860.2221

Address: 9998 Talking Stick Way
Scottsdale, Arizona 85256 

General Manager: Steve Leonard, PGA

Golf Operations Manager: Jeff Sorkness, PGA

Head Golf Professional: Min Park, PGA

Group Sales Manager: Bentley Nakasawa

Superintendent: Paul Blumke

Course Architects: Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw 

About this Course:
18 Holes of Championship Golf – A Troon Golf Experience
Par 72 – 7517 yards from the tips
Rating/Slope:  76.2/141; 75.1/138; 72.6/131; 70.6/126; 68.5/121; 71.7/124

By By Alice & Danny Scott

The Coore and Crenshaw design team carved two beautiful courses out of the reservation on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community in 1998. Formerly referred to as the north and south courses, they’ve been renamed to honor the two Native American tribes - Pima, “Akimel O’odham” (River People) and the Maricopa “Xalychidom Piipaash” (People who live toward the water). The O’odham Course has had extensive clearing of brush to bring it back to the original design. Coore commented on the improved look to Talking Stick General Manager, Steve Leonard, and you can feel and see the difference during your round. And, it now has a new set of tee boxes, as Bill Coore returned last year to designate new forward tee positions. These are a great help on certain holes to enable more golfers to reach the greens in regulation. Tee it forward, improve the pace of play and the enjoyment of your round. 

There were tons of young ground squirrels playing on the course this month. They are so cute; they look more like pygmy prairie pups when they stand on their hind legs and beg for food. Resist the temptation to feed them, as chips are not on their healthy diet plan and the course encourages golfers to resist feeding the wildlife for their health. There are signs throughout the course noting these warnings and some are quite humorous and entertaining to read.

The McDowell and Camelback Mountains provide a serene backdrop for the gallery of desert animal life including wild horses. Book a morning tee time for the best chance of seeing them. The Sonoran surroundings are reflected by the name of each individual hole noted on the score card in both native language and English. 

Hole #3, Par 4, 450 yards – “Sand Hills” is the second longest par 4 on the course. The bunker in front of the tee box intimidates 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 to miss all the bunkers. 

Hole #4, Par 4, 443 yards – “Carry the Desert” Following the previous challenge, you must conquer the number one handicap on the O’odham Course. 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 if you target the right side. Make a par or birdie and you may want a talking stick to record it.

Hole #11, Par 3, 261 yards – “The Big Battle” requires the right weapon to reach this long 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 (the hole’s original name). The battle is in your mind. 

Hole #12, Par 4, 392 yards – “Red Mountain” is the backdrop but the foreground has a monstrous waste area confronting the player which 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. 

The Wildhorse Grille and Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch or late lunch inside or on the patio with a grand golf view of the O’odham Course number 9, “Quail Run” and is a perfect spot to enjoy before or after your round. The clubhouse is well equipped with the latest in merchandise and Native American décor, with a very friendly and accommodating staff . Talking Stick Golf Club’s large practice area is bustling with warm ups and instruction including Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson’s Vision 54 Golf Academy where pros like Christie Kerr, Kevin Streelman and the Jutanugam sisters hone their skills. So can you. 

Talking Stick Golf Club reminds one of what golf should be: Being at one with nature while trying to get that ball into the hole.