“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 by Nancy G. Howard & Blake Isakson
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.
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 designed it to push you to the max. This is a course with plenty of challenge, yet fun, women friendly, thought provoking, and perfect for developing champions…”Mission accomplished”.
The ASU Karsten Golf Course was named one of the Best Campus Courses in the Country by Golfweek Magazine in September, 2011.
The course 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. This is your place for great savings on items now! There is a wonderful dining area, bar and huge patio overlooking the course’s 10th and 18th holes.
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. And, you’ll love their new uniforms, which takes you back in time with traditional golf attire.
The course is in excellent condition with lush fairways and deep rough, like hunting for Easter eggs at times. Greens held well and putted true. More than enough bunkers, mature trees, water, and yes, the occasional dry wash.
Hole #4, par 4, 420 yards from the tips. May seem straightforward off the tee, but like everything at ASU Karsten you have to be careful of danger lurking just out of sight. The second shot is played to a green guarded by a steep bunker short and left, but the real danger is the water that runs the length of the green along the left side. The green also gradually slopes left towards the water, so even a well-struck ball that finds the left side of the putting surface may not be putting when you get to the green.
Hole #16 , par 3, 248 yards. from the tips. May be the hardest par three in the Valley! With water from tee to green, it is a very daunting shot, even for the best players. Although it’s rumored that Phil Mickelson used to impress his teammates by skipping his ball off the water onto the green, this reviewer tried to put that to the test and was not so successful. So, I would suggest taking plenty of club and leaving the trick shots to Phil!
Holes #9 and #18 run parallel to each other with water separating the two fairways. They measure in at 446 and 471 yards, respectively. These are two good holes with water in play from start to finish and Sun Devil Stadium serving as the backdrop. They also both feature greens that are sloped gently from back to front towards the water, and both provide for a very difficult finish to your round of golf.
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 the 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 of Interest: Be sure you visit the pro shop and restaurant to view the Wall of Champions. It’s an awesome sight to behold.