Owned by: C-BONS International Golf Group
Managed By: Borders Golf Group
Par 72 – 6744 yards from the tips
Slope/Rating: 70.6/123; 68.3/114; 71/119
By By Alic and Danny Scott
Western Skies in Gilbert, Arizona has a sunny outlook on golf and why not? A long time neighborhood favorite, the recent renovations to the course and clubhouse have sparked the community. Fairways span a greater area with a revived irrigation system that maintains an emerald hue. Hit those fairways or hit the dust, there is little in between. If accuracy is a problem, the practice range is lit bright until 10 at night with music serenading and lessons available at the Outback Golf Academy. What a great way to relieve office stress of the day, by hitting balls from the bay. The new putting area and fresh bunkering for beach babies to hone their out skills is forthcoming.
If Carl is the starter, he might regale you with stories of his caddy days for Betsy King and Patty Sheehan. If you lose a head cover, he will retrieve it and he politely attempts to encourage the right pace of play. All of the employees are smiling because as the scorecard says, “It’s another Beautiful Day at Western Skies Golf Club.”
Hole #4, par 3, 210 yards – The only par 3 on the course where water comes into play, aim for the bailout on the left side as the lake and bunkers guard the front and right. It is a demanding shot from the tips to an expansive green where minimal tiers reward an excellent tee shot. Grass mounding buffers the green to prevent errant shots to housing that borders left and back. Old time golfers might miss the logo horse statue in the pond but egrets and turtles now naturally grace it instead. A “no fishing” sign refers to the fish, not balls. This hole can enhance or wreck a score.
Hole #8, par 4, 443 yards – The number one handicap is demanding for one reason – length. A slight dogleg left at the corner can only be reached with a great drive. The left side is mostly transition area made up of earth mounding and a ditch beside fenced backyards. The right side is open with few trees to conflict with ball flight. The ideal placement is center to right side of fairway for a safe entry to green. A large bunker flanks the left front and side of the green with a grassy hillside at the back of the putting surface.
Hole #10, par 4, 366 yards – Once the starting hole, this short par 4 begins the back nine beside the snack shack. Drivable to the biggest hitters, the left is lined by the range complex. The fairway is pretty flat for a longer rollout of tee shot. The right side has a lake that really shouldn’t come into play until returning on the 18th hole. The ducks however are another story – not the birdie goal you want to hit. Always a gallery of golfers, this tee box may test the tour nerves. Enjoy!
Hole #18, par 4, 353 yards – The closing signature hole of Western Skies is one of the best in the East Valley, not a long hole, but one that is fraught with the aforementioned lake consequences the entire right side from tee to green. If waiting on the box, check out the gigantic carp swimming by the shore. Tall reeds and cattails are apparently perfect habitat for their meals. The left side is tree-lined. The fairway narrows as it approaches the green. Bunkers add to the excitement and challenge of reaching and staying on the green. Avoiding a bogie here is a great finish or as the approach sign says, “You are only one birdie away from having more fun at Mulligan’s Grill.”
Mulligan’s Chef Jay has a great menu with libations to celebrate or forget your round. 14 HDTVs entertain inside or out on the comfy patio with the practice range and lake views. Daily specials and fun events are always featured. Thursdays Skins for example is a nine hole gross and handicapped net contest for $20 game fee and $10 greens fee. Join their E-Club online and check out the Player’s, Ladies’ and Men’s Clubs at the course “Where locals bring their friends.” Western Skies is one of the best golf values in the valley.