Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club

Website: www.akchinsoutherndunes.com

Phone: 480.367.8949

Address: 48456 West Highway 238
Maricopa, Arizona 85139 

General Manager: Brady Wilson
Head Golf Professional: Rolland Vaugn
Course Superintendent: Tyler Green
Designer/Architect: Fred Couples and Schmidt-Curley Design 

About this Course:
18 Holes of Championship Golf – A Troon Golf Experience
Par 72 – 7517 yards from the tips
Rating/Slope:  76.2/141; 75.1/138; 72.6/131; 70.6/126; 68.5/121; 71.7/124

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes continues tradition of quality, refinement and innovation
Just when you thought that Ak-Chin Southern Dunes couldn’t get any better, you visit and notice something new and innovative while on property. This year, that trend persists as one of the Valley’s most up-and-coming Clubs continues to garner regional and national attention. This Troon-managed facility is the place you NEED to visit this season.  

To refresh, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes went through a multi-million dollar enhancement project the summer of 2014 to improve course playability. The main focus of the renovation project was aimed at improving the course's playability for leisure players while maintaining the challenges and shot-values enjoyed by experienced golfers. To ensure the integrity of the award-winning design at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, original course architects Schmidt-Curley Design and Fred Couples were brought in to lead the project that involved a complete bunker renovation. In all, 83,000 square-feet of bunkers were removed from the course's original total of 480,000 square-feet. Major improvements also included significant turf expansion between many of the forward tees to eliminate unnecessary forced carries for those choosing to "tee it forward" or who are still learning how to consistently hit shots in the air. 

The net result of the course enhancements; the AGA re-rated the golf course and the rating/slope from the “Tips” received a more difficult rating and slope, the “Black tees” have stayed the same and “Gold, Blue and White tees” received a lower course rating/slope. “These new ratings confirmed what we set out to do at the onset of the project: to make the golf course more playable for the average player, while maintaining and increasing our championship pedigree,” stated Brady Wilson, General Manager at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes. 

A true testament to its championship pedigree, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club has proudly played host to numerous major tournaments and events since its celebrated opening in 2002, serving as an annual U.S. Open qualifying site, several top collegiate Men’s and Women’s golf tournaments and home of early-stage PGA Tour Q-School tournaments. And while the “Tips” – which stretch the course to nearly 7,600 yards – have challenged some of the most skilled players in golf, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes’ five sets of tees still provide novices with both a unique challenge and an unforgettable day of golf. Simply stated, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes doesn’t just offer desert golf; it presents golfers of all skill levels and abilities with the very best of championship golf in the desert.

This year, ACSD and the Ak-Chin Indian Community brought in a new fleet of Club Car golf cars, specifically equipped with the state-of-the-art Visage GPS system and USB charging ports, allowing you to always stay connected on social media, or to email the boss during your “business meeting.”  You can also have your favorite music playing on a portable bluetooth speaker, which can be purchased in the golf shop. 

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club is the first facility to name a course with a “#”, for #miniDunes, which is their six-hole short course built directly on the driving range. The concept of using a “#” in the name was to increase the social media presence of the course and to promote the course’s primary rule; to HAVE FUN. This innovative idea has already spread throughout the country, with several other courses building these “mini” courses to help grow the game. 

The new season also brings a fresh perspective online as ACSD transitions to AkChinSouthernDunes.com and a completely new website design and layout. This dynamic site is responsive to any device, computer, tablet, or mobile, which previously was managed by two completely different sites and two different looks. On the website, you will find videos from Fred Couples’ 2014 Grand Re-Opening visit, testimonials from golfers and tournament directors, as well as ever-changing value-add packages. 

An exciting new addition to ACSD’s value-add packages is the “Dunes Day Double Play.” This package allows golfers to book two advance rounds to ensure they get the second round in before dark and not be at the mercy of the jam packed tee sheet like typical replay rounds. The popular “Oakley Shades of Golf” package continues with a modified sunglass frame to a “lifestyle piece” that is perfect on and off the golf course. Lastly, the “Shake, Rattle, & Show” package highlights everything the Ak-Chin Indian Community enterprises have to offer in terms of entertainment. The package includes one of ACSD’s world famous milkshakes, two (2) movie tickets to Ultrastar’s Multi-tainment Center and a $20 voucher to Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, to accompany your round of golf.

The Ak-Chin Indian Community, which owns the nearby Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino and the UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle, has brought together championship-style golf and world-class gaming and entertainment. Gaming and golf packages are now available through Ak-Chin Southern Dunes and Troon Golf Vacations, creating a truly exciting and multi-faceted destination option, pleasing to a wide range of visitors. The course sits on 320 acres of Sonoran Desert land that was once a part of Ak-Chin's original May 1912 reservation before it was removed by Presidential Executive Order in late 1912. Nearly 100 years later in 2010, the Community recovered its sacred land when they purchased Ak-Chin Southern Dunes after it was originally developed as a private club. The course currently boasts several coveted accolades that include Golfweek's list of the "Top 100 Resort Courses," "Best Courses You Can Play," and "Top Casino Courses," as well as Golf Magazine's list of "Top 100 Courses You Can Play." 

Whether you are a first time visitor to Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, or one of their lauding fans, you’ll be sure to concur with Golf Magazine’s recent lofty rankings and will see firsthand why Ak-Chin Southern Dunes is dynamically changing the nature of the dunes, and the experiences created here.

By By Alice and Danny Scott

Ak-Chin, Southern Dunes Golf Club “Couples” traditional golf with modern innovation. Originally designed by Fred Couples as an exclusive private men’s club during the worst of economic times for the industry, it was rescued financially by the Ak-Chin Indian Community’s acquisition. Understanding the past with a commitment to the future, their goal was to partner with current staff, Troon Golf, and designer Larry Curley to make it the best golf experience in the valley. The new #miniDunes is genius – driving range by morning, short 6 hole course by afternoon and always free for 17 and under as is play on the 18 hole course. This is the way to inclusively grow the game.

Ak-Chin means “where the water loses itself into the sand”. Golfers will find lots of sand and lose themselves to the beauty of every hole, marked by a monument with its name etched in English and the O’odham native language. The key is not to lose too many balls, as well!

Hole 7, par 5, 584 yards “By the Border” – The longest par 5 borders the northern boundary of Southern Dunes with inspiring views of the Estrella Mountains. The tee offers a parody of shot choices as bunkers dominate play on the right side about 180 yards out. Landing area on the left has been increased by redesign allowing for less than perfect drives but any consideration of reaching in two requires a big drive to a narrower point. A slight downhill may increase your chances if you hit the slot. However, heavy mounding and bunkers guard both sides of this narrow green so a tiny eye must be threaded through the needle for an eagle. Keep your sense of humor.

Hole 9, par 4, 483 yards “Halfway Point” –
The clubhouse backdrop acts as a big carrot on this demanding hole. Tee shots must hit between two wispy grass hills and tall eucalyptus trees with yes, more bunkers protecting the hilltops of both sides. A long straight drive positions a short iron approach over a stretch of scrub. The elevated green has a severe slope on right side and another large bunker on left. Check the pin placement to prevent a comedy of errors and the clubhouse relief is yours.

Hole 10, par 4, 412 yards “By the Pond” – The second nine delivers more stunning panorama right out the chute. The pond on the right reflects the eucalyptus tree lined left side to a dogleg right green framed by transitional sand, bunkering and mounding to inflict joy or sadness. Fred Couples brought joy to our group on this hole for a photo op and golf bantering. One of the most likeable Tour pros, he left us all with an indelible appreciation for his course, accomplishments and encouragement.

Hole 16, par 5, 576 yards “Gopher Snake” – The tee boxes are set up on an angle to the fairway running north and south. Bunkering on the left rules out a short cut while right bunkers and native grass areas create the illusion of a tight fairway. There is ample area for a good drive and generous fairway for the second shot, as well. This hole is long and narrows as it approaches the sharp dogleg right turn to the green. As usual, there are plenty of bunkers to swallow errant shots. The green is long and narrow so any miscalculations of shot selection might bite you so gopher snake is the appropriate name but just go for it anyway.

The expensive renovations required heroic efforts by superintendent McCaffrey and staff, battling strange summer weather “with skeeters chasing and tasting.” The result is outstanding and the mosquitoes long gone. At the grand reopening media event, General Manager Brady Wilson emotionally thanked the team of workers, tribal members and supportive family for all their accomplishments. The #miniDunes was blessed before the ribbon cutting and Fred Couples delivered an impressive clinic. Milk shakes were served at the turn and Fred Couples’ champion’s dinner of chicken cacciatore capped the day. With or without Fred present, Ak-Chin delivers great golf and memories in each round. Every aspect of Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club is “hashtag” good!