Anthen at Merrill Ranch
Address: 6100 Merrill Ranch Parkway
Florence, Arizona 85232
General Manager: Josh Clay
Head Golf Professional: Jerry Bellew
Course Superintendent: William Mellinger
Course Designer/Architect: Gary Panks
About This Course:
18 Holes of Championship Golf – A Troon Golf Experience
Par 72 – 7282 yards from the tips
Rating/Slope: 74.1/127; 72.1/123; 69.5/121; 72.9/125; 69.4/119
by Alice and Danny Scott
Ready for a road trip? Head east and keep going past San Tan Flats and the wild horse crossing sign. When Hunt Highway turns into a two-lane road of old and housing developments are interspersed with pure desert terrain, keep going. Turn on Merrill Ranch Parkway and admire the cascading waterfalls on both sides of the grand entrance to Poston Butte. Well worth the ride (which is much shorter on the return as the memories are relived), this very playable Gary Panks design holds no pranks.
Get there in time to loosen up and find your stroke on one of the largest practice greens in the valley. The driving range with balls included sets the stage for sweeping views of Superstition Mountain, the San Tans, and a range of smaller buttes. Walker Butte to the west appears strikingly like Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Seen from many spots, players might suspect it to be the namesake Poston Butte, but that one can be pinpointed behind the parking lot. Charles Poston is buried at the base of this pyramid that served as an Apache worship center. Convincing Lincoln to name our state a territory, he became “Father of Arizona” and is commemorated by pyramid shaped tee box markers on every hole.
Hole #2, par 4, 471 yards from the tips – This is a straightforward par four but a very long one. Distinctive is the majestic Superstition Mountains backdrop. Reach for the mountain on your drive for any chance of green in regulation. Most hitters will fall short of that and face an up and down for par. Bear up because this hole is followed by a long par 5 in the same direction. Keep reaching and enjoy the view.
Hole #9, par 5, 544 yards from the tips – Salute the flag waving above the new clubhouse and bring the front nine home with a sweeping dog leg left bordered by bunkers on the outside of the elbow. Find the green, steep and deep, either wishing or glad you spent time on the practice one first. A bratwurst at the turn will fuel the back nine.
Hole #14, par 4, 460 yards from the tips – This is a feel good, score well on the card hole and the only one absent of bunkers. Homes on both sides of the tee box serve up a gallery on a nice day. Not so on our unusually crisp 34 degree start when the cart gal’s best tip was our Hot Hand warmers. A comfort station further rewards golfers after the green.
Hole #17, par 3, 169 yards from the tips – Let’s face it; we’re all suckers for island greens, delivering illusions of TPC Sawgrass. This is perhaps the “hole” reason so many people play here. It is a short and precise shot but long on beauty. A wooden bridge serves as the walk to glory or doom, passing fish jumping and a sundry of aquatic birds feasting, floating or fanning their feathers, including the canvasback, a rusty headed white duck. Many a hole in one is celebrated here. There are however, definitely more balls in the water than land on the green. Go for it!
All fairways are lined with sleeping golden Bermuda and outer layers of lava rock colored gravel sprinkled with desert foliage making lies easier if a great drive slightly misses the green grass, thereby extending acceptable target areas. Brilliant greens are fast and smooth. It is a quality ‘Troon Golf Experience’ from course maintenance to attentive staff service by folks like Amy.
The Greenside Café has always offered drink specials, sandwiches, or salads delivered quickly in a lovely patio setting. Watch players practicing encompassed like an arena by the surrounding mountains. Now the full service Anthem Grille is open 11am – 8pm every day with brunch hours added on Sunday and happy hours M-F. The daily full menu, other specials, tee times, flyover course tour, history and more is available on their extensive website, www.postonbuttegc.com. Add Poston Butte Golf Club to your calendar.
By by Michael Stockley
Poston Butte is an absolutely gorgeous 18-hole championship golf course located within the beautiful master planned Anthem at Merrill Ranch community in Florence, Arizona. This is a great community settled in the Southeast Valley. Golf is just one of the many great experiences that are available at this spectacular Del Webb community. Amazingly, once you enter into Anthem its so easy to let the pressure of the big city escape you and enjoy the relaxing down home community or take advantage of all the excellent amenities offered throughout. This community is still developing so while you’re in the area playing golf, make sure to stop and see all of the excellent properties within Anthem at Merrill Ranch.
Poston Butte Golf Course is an excellent championship golf course that offers a true “Troon Golf Experience” for all skill levels. Designed by Gary Panks, this golf club has everything you would expect from a Troon managed facility, from the friendly staff, excellent practice facilities, as well as the course condition, which was exceptional. In addition to the practice range, Poston Butte offers a chipping and pitching green area and a 10,000 sq. ft. putting green to help prepare for a great round of golf in the wide open spaces with views of the Superstition Mountains. Forgiving Rye fairways bordered by rough that will hurt your distance but still playable, challenging bunkers with smooth and soft playing surfaces, and Bent Grass greens which held well and putted true made the course a true challenge that was fair and fun for a great round of golf.
Hole #9, par 5, 544 yards from the tips. This hole offers a great scoring opportunity. This dogleg is the shortest par 5 on the course. There are three well-placed bunkers in the fairway, but with a great drive the green is reachable on your second shot. Two bunkers on the left and right of the green can make that second shot a bit more challenging. The green is long and narrow with a ridge in the front that comes into play with most pin placements if you come up short. This was a very intriguing and fun hole to play.
Hole #10, par 4, 466 yards from the tips. As you make the turn to the back nine, remember to keep focused. The 10th hole offers the only water hazard that you will have to contend with on the course, other than the spectacular 17th island green. The fairway becomes very narrow with the water hazard on the left, as well as a very reachable well-placed bunker. The green offers a pretty round and decent size landing area for your approach shot but is surrounded by bunkers. Very enjoyable to play but it does test your driving accuracy off the tee.
Hole #17, par 3, 169 yards from the tips. (Reviewed by Blake Isakson) The 17th hole at Poston Butte is both beautiful and brutal. It is not only the Signature Hole, but perhaps the hardest hole on the course. The par three plays 169 yards from the back tee box to a two tiered green surrounded by water. Similar to the 17th hole at the TPC of Sawgrass, made famous by late birdies and tragic blowups. The 17th hole at Poston Butte can leave you high-fiving your playing partners, or digging into your bag for a new ball and another try to clear the blue expanse. The hole has five different tee boxes and can play between 75 and 169 yards, giving everyone the opportunity to pull off the coolest shot of the day.
Poston Butte Golf Club in Anthem at Merrill Ranch has a well-designed clubhouse, which houses the well-appointed pro shop, grille (with excellent hot chocolate…it was freezing the day we played) and outdoor patio seating. The club is sits in the heart of this wonderful master-planned community. A round at Poston Butte should be at the top of your list in bringing you to the East Valley. This course has so much to offer, plus a great test of your skills on the best island green Arizona has to offer. All of this and with very competitive green fees for such a spectacular course.