The Home of Champions
Address: 1125 E. Rio Salado Parkway
Tempe, Arizona 85281
Director of Golf: Daryl Crawford
Head Golf Professional: Joey Jones
Course Architect: Pete Dye
About This Course:
18 Holes of Championship Golf
Managed by OB Sports
Par 70 – 7002 yards from the tips
Rating/Slope: 73.8/131; 70.3/124; 67.4/115; 62.7/103; 76.1/132; 72.8/127; 67.7/115
by Nancy G. Howard, Editor/Publisher Arizona Golfer
with Alice & Danny Scott
One of the most iconic golf courses to inhabit the desert landscape of Phoenix, Arizona is ASU Karsten, celebrating its 25th Birthday in September, 2015. Named after PING founder, Karsten Solheim (the largest contributor of initial funding), it is home to the ASU golf teams. Built in part to attract collegiate recruits, it worked well to launch pros like Phil Mickelson, Billy Mayfair, Grace Park and the late Heather Farr who is beautifully commemorated by a detailed bronze statue.
Designed by Pete Dye, this 7002-yard gem is a short par 70 on the scorecard but long in character. Expertly managed by OB Sports and Director of Golf Daryl Crawford, quality is emphasized throughout the well-maintained grounds and facilities. The Scottish influence carries to the links layout in the shadows of the ASU Stadium with mountain range vistas on many holes and the sounds of the ASU Marching Band in the background during this time of year. The undulating fairways and massive mounds are like ski moguls. Pete’s infamous pot bunkers and waste areas with his signature use of railroad ties producing the bulkhead effect challenge golfers of all levels.
Holes #6, par 3, 209 yards and #7, par 3, 155 yards from tips –These are back to back par 3s that can give you a good chance to birdie and improve your scorecard or take a bite out of it. On #6, center left is your aim to avoid trouble on the right. Trust the yardage, as it is true. Hole #7 is a straightaway with a mounded bunker at left front you’ll want to avoid but trust your swing and yardage and you’ll have a chance at that birdie.
Hole #9, par 4, 446 yards from the tips: – A very long lake splits the fairways between 9 and 18, no doubt a bonanza for diving ball recyclers. On number nine, drive far left and then take the liberal stance of left again on the approach to ensure dryness.
Note: Teammates Michael and David thought Holes #2, #8 and #9 were their favorite challenges on the course. David particularly was commenting on the rough most of the day. It’s some tough grass to get out of, to say the least.
Hole #16, par 3, 248 yards from the tips: – This is just a great par 3, visually and challenging, hitting over water to the right if you go for the green. Most end up in the bunkers on the left to avoid just not enough distance to the green with your tee shot. However, you can be rewarded if you go for it to redeem a birdie. Just love this hole overall.
Hole #18, par 4, 471 yards from the tips: Not much to say about this hole except beward...it’s one challenging finishing hole, for sure. Strategy is the key to score.
The Trophy Room restaurant awards any score with a full bar, dining area, meeting room and a balcony for a gallery view of the course. Players are welcomed into the 21,000 sq. ft. Sun Angel Clubhouse full of everything ASU. Strategically central and perched on the hilltop above the practice facility and PING Learning Center, this boldly contemporary design and the ultra-cool environ may serve as many business folks as golfers. ASU Karsten is a wise and popular choice for many charity and championship tournaments.
Just minutes from the airport, visitors flying in get the birds eye view and may tee off on arrival, before takeoff or both while locals are lucky to be able to frequent this high value course any time to recall or create great golf memories. Once experienced, you know why it is the ‘Home of Champions’.
By Nancy G. Howard
You see it from the air as you are arriving in Phoenix at Sky Harbor and from Hwy. 202 connected to the sites of the ASU Campus as you drive by. It’s the course where champions are made, it’s ASU Karsten Golf Club. The course is a marvelous challenge and after experiencing it you’ll come to understand how they manage to grow and develop such an excellent group of champion golfers at ASU. If these golfers can master all of the unique challenges this course offers they are prepared to master just about any challenge out there.
ASU Karsten is in the midst of the ASU community with views of the Sun Devil stadium as well as outstanding views of Camelback Mountain. This course wraps around an area with no homes and offers up some unbelievable elevations. A traditional course with plenty of water, elevation changes, undulating, mounded and bunkered fairways, with exceptionally difficult greens to read, this is definitely a thinking man’s course. I’m thinking Pete Dye’s plan was “let’s give them a real challenge” and designed it to push you to the max. He designed a course with plenty of challenge, yet fun, women friendly, thought provoking, and that would develop champions…mission accomplished.
ASU Karsten offers an excellent practice facility with driving range, putting and chipping areas very convenient to the clubhouse, housing a well appointed pro shop with every item to take ASU away with you. Need gift ideas for the holidays? This is your place! There is a wonderful dining area, bar and huge patio overlooking the course’s 10th and 18th holes. Great place to meet for business or have a libation after your round.
The staff, mainly made up of ASU students, couldn’t be friendlier or more accommodating. Always there to help with exceptional service and friendly smiles.
I’m amazed my golf buddy was able to keep from taking a club and putting me out of my misery. Of course, she was hitting hers straight down the middle most of the day and putting for birdies…my throat went dry several times from saying, “Great Shot”! Kudos to Helen, she’s a great golf buddy, golfer and fantastic business woman!
The course was in excellent condition with lush fairways and deep rough, like hunting for Easter eggs many times. Greens held well and putted true. More than enough bunkers, mature trees water, and yes, the occasional dry wash. And, even the excitement of some F35s flying over your head. I would have to say, “You get your money’s worth!”
Hole #9, par 4, 446 yards from the tips. Stay left all the way as water follows the fairway to the green on your right. You do have to carry over the water from the tee and there is a pocket of water on the left to the semi narrow landing area. Slight dogleg right with foreground view of Sun Devil Stadium. Mounded and undulating fairway on left to tiered green. It’s a great challenge and you’ll want to take another shot at this one.
Hole #15 , par 4, 457 yards. Large quarry to the right and narrow undulating fairway. There is a mounded bunker on the right that protects you from the water as well as preventing you from seeing it. Beware...the water cuts into and narrows the fairway to the green. A bunker on the left protects the small green with plenty of mounding and trees and bunkers on the left and back of the green. You will either love this one or hate it! But you’ll want another chance at it, for sure.
ASU Karsten is a gem, sitting in the heart of the Valley of the Sun, that you need to visit often as a local. If you are visiting Phoenix, don’t miss playing at “The Home of Champions” and experiencing all that history. Definitely not your typical university course, so test your skills to see how you hold up on their champions’ training field, this course is definitely a “Must Play”.
Note: Be sure you visit the pro shop and restaurant to view the Wall of Champions. It’s an awesome sight to behold.