by Angela and Wes Bolyard
After acquiring the Show Low Country Club and an additional 125 acres about three years ago, Bison Homes gave the golf course a new name, Bison Golf and Country Club, and invited Billy Mayfair to give it a new look. Some existing holes were renovated, new holes were added, and the end result is an appealing golf course with greens that are smooth, fast and run true.
“The best greens you’ll probably play on any public golf course” says General Manager Lloyd Harvey. All the new greens are constructed with Mackenzie bent grass (named after Alistair Mackenzie whose golf designs are recognized as classics that demand performance for nearly every shot. Only a bent grass that forms the highest quality greens, tees and fairways deserves to be named for the master, and Mackenzie is that bent grass).
A seemingly short course at 6,413 yards from back tees, there are very few bunkers but many aren’t needed considering the narrow tree-lined fairways. Here’s an example of what to expect:
Hole # 1: par 5, 515 yards. This opening hole will garner your attention. After getting over the visual intimidation of the narrow tree-lined opening, a 125 yard carry over a ravine, a hill to overcome, a bunker straight ahead at 220 yards and a dogleg left hole, you just have to rip it. The lateral hazard along the left side of the fairway almost all the way to the green challenges your second shot. Once on the green, you are rewarded with a smooth surface.
Hole # 3: par 5, 530 yards. Another hole that is an attention-grabber! From the tee, a very straight hole with a downhill drive, OB on the left, houses and trees right, a lateral across the middle of the fairway, then a blind shot over a hill, to a downhill green. The green is long and relatively flat, with a drop-off to the left side.
Hole #11: par 4, 337 yards. This hole is very exciting! It is downhill with an uphill approach to the green. However, the drive must negotiate a lake on the right, OB houses on the left, a large tree in the right middle of the fairway, and a water hazard (narrow ditch that crosses the fairway about 180-200 yards from the back tees). Trees block your view of the green from the tee (“Just take it over the tree with a five wood”, says Wes.) If you can’t do that, aim left for the rocks at the edge of the ditch but don’t hit them like Angela did (from the red tee box). After you have negotiated your tee shot, you will have an uphill shot to a receptive green.
Hole # 18: par 5, 626 yards. Eighteen is the signature hole; the culmination of all challenges. A long par 5, it doglegs left, then right, then left again, and that’s the easy part. Starting with a relatively generous (only for this course) tree-lined landing area for your drive, your second shot is the toughest dare. You have to choose either to hit over a lateral hazard on the right filled with waist high grass and go for the green, or hit to a landing area about 125 yards from the green, as the lateral hazard crosses the fairway again. If you choose to hit to the green in two, keep the shot right, as the lateral runs along the left side of the green.
Currently, a temporary clubhouse and full-service pro shop are located in the Country Club activity center decorated with western style bronze statues and wall-mounted heads of bison, elk and moose. The center also includes a grill room, large recreation room with game tables, an outdoor deck which seats up to about 40 people, locker rooms, and a lobby/meeting area with tables and comfortable chairs.
Open from March 15 to December 15, the golf course is available to the general public but Golf Memberships are available for frequent players which include tournaments and social events. Premier Golf Memberships, available only to Bison homeowners, offer more features (i.e. family play) and are transferable to a new homeowner when sold. They can also temporarily be transferred to a renter or friend using the home. Homeowners also have access to the well-equipped fitness room in the activity center.
Bison Crossing has already sold 91 homes, but there are still about 200 available. Project plans provide for a section which will consist of hotels, shops, restaurants, and other commercial properties, sort of a “town shopping area”. Villas start at 1200 sq ft (2 beds, 2 baths); single family homes are as large as 2200 sq ft. Go to www.bisonhomes.com for more information about real estate.
For temporary lodging before or after your round, Bison rentals can be found through Cool Mountain Vacations which offers online booking at coolmountainvacations.com, and also includes information about available Bison homes. Check with Lloyd about privately-owned Torreon golf villas for sale or rent.
Overall, Bison Golf and Country Club is a very intriguing golf course requiring both fade and hook shots, downhill and uphill shots, and doglegs left and right which offers a lot to entice and test you, with the final reward of putting on perfect greens!