By by Nancy G. Howard
In 2001, I had the privilege of playing this course when it first opened. It was an amazing experience. Just recently, I had the privilege of playing it after almost nine years…and has it grown up well!! What an excellent and exciting golfing experience.
Flagstaff Ranch Golf Club was designed meandering through its natural terrain with over 450 acres of Ponderosa Pines presenting golfers with panoramic views of spectacular vistas, mountains, rolling and elevated fairways of Kentucky Bluegrass, slick Bent Grass greens that hold well and putt true, along with distant fields exhibiting herds of elk. A world-class championship course and t’s a golfers dream come true.
Arriving mid-morning just in time for lunch in the 25,000 sq. ft. clubhouse with member/guest dining available, we dined on the patio offering an awe-inspiring view of the San Francisco Peak and the 18th Hole. Kudos to the chef for the exceptional food and menu selection. The clubhouse offers a library, private boardroom, member’s lounge, mixed grill, and member’s locker rooms with the well- appointed golf shop to the west attached by a breezeway. Practice facilities include a most unusual driving range due to it facing Cinder Mountain, which was formed by past mining, along with pitching and putting areas. The outdoor associates were very accommodating and friendly. And, we had the most attentive cart lady we’ve ever experienced. Sbe was bubbling friendly and always right on the money with our needs on the course…just about every three to four holes she appeared like magic. Thank you, Laura!
With temperatures in the low 70s upon our arrival and warming to a high of 79, (note it was 105 in the Valley that day), playing this magnificent course made for a round of pure pleasure. It was challenging, fair and fun golf with beautiful log-styled homes nearby but not obtrusive, chipmunks, squirrels and plenty of other wildlife made it a golf game with nature. And, yes, this course is women friendly. Special Note: The sound of the breeze blowing through the pines is indescribable…almost like meditating it’s such soothing sound.
General Manager John Ott, told us he left plenty of birdies out on the course and many times we were putting for them, my golf buddy managed to find one, however they eluded me totally. So close, yet so far.
Hole #4, par 5, 606 yards from the tips. Magnificent fairway surrounded by Ponderosa Pines leading to the San Francisco Peak. Straightaway with tee shot. 2nd shot has a left bunker that comes into play on the mounded fairway. The elevated green is protected with a cluster of deep bunkers at the center and to the right. The approach shot sort of snakes left and right. You will love this hole!
Hole #9, par 4, 467 yards from the tips. Blind straightway shot to a wide fairway with a long bunker on the right. 2nd shot has trees on the left and two deep bunkers to the front right of the green which narrows the fairway immensely, so enjoy that wide fairway from the tee. Tip: Stay to the left as much as possible or you’re in the bunkers on the right. This is one hole that fools you with some optical illusions.
Hole #10, par 4, 457 yards from the tips. Treacherous!! Narrow fairway with consecutive fairway bunkers on the right and a babbling brook to the left that runs the length of the fairway to the green leading into a pond behind the green. Old tree on left with bunkers on right front and left side of large undulating green plus the pond on left and center back comes into play with your 2nd shot. You need to stop and truly think this one through in order to score. And, yes, a second chance at it would be on the mind after finishing.
Hole #18, par 5, 536 yards from the tips. This hole had us intimidated, from the patio overlooking it, during lunch! Dogleg right, slightly uphill with a large fairway bunker on the left. 2nd shot has another large fairway bunker on the left with trees to the right and left plus water comes into play on the right, which is a blind shot from the fairway. 3rd shot is blind to the three bunkers on the left of the green with water on the right plus two right side bunkers. You can score on this hole if your short game is intact. It’s a fantastic finishing hole leading you to the outstanding, high-country styled clubhouse.
Options to join the private Flagstaff Ranch Golf Club include Resident Golf and Non-Resident Golf, as well as Resident Social.
Be sure to ask about their special “Test Drive” golf program. You’ll be thrilled you did and will find that Flagstaff Ranch Golf Club is a Natural!!
Easy drive. Take I-17 to Flagstaff and go east on I-40, take the Flagstaff Ranch exit and turn left. Straightaway to the entrance gates. Approximately 2½ hour drive from Phoenix.