Address: 17020 North Hayden Road
Scottsdale, Arizona 85255
General Manager: Brad Williams
Head Golf Professional: Doug Hodge
Designer/Architect: Randy Keckenkemper
About this Course:
Par 72 – 7115 yards
Rating/Slope: 73.4/137; 71.1/131; 68.8/120; 74.5/132; 64.6/113; 69.8/120
By By Alice and Danny Scott
Growing up with older siblings, you are not necessarily the center of attention. Most acclaim will go to big brother or sister and rightfully so, but your spot in the sun will come with time and maturity. So it has been with the TPC Scottsdale Champions Course. Its “Big Brother,” the TPC Stadium Course, has always overshadowed it by displaying the PGA’s “Greatest Show on Grass” every year, The Waste Management Phoenix Open. But, the Champions course is just as good if not better than its big brother. The Randy Heckenkemper designed layout is routed amongst Cottonwood trees and blooming desert landscape within the confines of Scottsdale. Bordering a bit of industry, residences, a Marriott and then a sanctuary protected by a split rail fence and rustic wooden bridges results in a multi personality course that is all the while self-contained.
Embrace the air traffic, as this is an extension of the Scottsdale Airpark runway. From little red baron biplanes to Lear jets, engines roar and pilots soar above. Get set with the jetsetters for a rousing round at the Champion’s course.
Hole #1, par 4, 371 yards from the tips: This is a great opening hole. Consensus says to ease into the round safely and attack the course later on. A large lake on the left and the driving range on the right suggest a smart drive to the neck of the slight dogleg right uphill green. Take care to avoid the obvious and get off to a good start. If you are too aggressive, the bunkers on the right side of fairway will catch an errant drive or the lake will swallow the rest. While not a lengthy hole, trying to reach the green in one or even get close is more risky than rewarding.
Hole #9, par 5, 575 yards from the tips: This lengthy hole is one you will love or loathe, requiring a tremendous drive to the wide and generous fairway for any hope of a par. Your next shots must pass over a small waste area and contend with the pond on the left and bunkers surrounding the green. If the wind is in your face, the level of difficulty increases dramatically. The patio above provides a gallery to either cheer or sympathize. Any way you play the front nine, gaze back from the green for a lovely view before making the turn.
Hole #15, par 4, 359 yards from the tips: One of the shortest par 4’s on the course, it is also one of the biggest risk/reward shots. The severe dogleg left fairway hugs a vast desert wash. The angle of approach can be directly toward the green in order to shorten the distance. Beware of the yardage. It is longer than it looks and the desert or bunkers may steal the chance of a good score, or not. Playing it safe to the center of the turn might be a more logical course management choice, but did we come all this way to lay up? A great test of nerves or stupidity, you choose which strategy and decide after making the shot. Good Luck!
Hole #18, par 4, 460 yards from the tips: The number one handicap on the Champions course may be one of the most difficult closing holes in the valley. Length is the reason for this conclusion. It is almost a repeat of number nine but gauged as a par 4 and gratefully without a gallery watching the final performance. You may well ask your partners, “Are we sure this isn’t a par 5?” Along the way, enjoy the floral and fauna that might include bunnies, coyotes, roadrunners, quail and peach faced lovebirds.
The Champions challenge is not for the timid. Brave it and win or lose, relief is just a libation away on the patio while watching others attack number nine and planning your own revenge. The Champions TPC Scottsdale has an extensive practice area with a choice of instructors for game improvement. The pro shop is well equipped and high fashioned. Service is exceptional from start to finish. No brainer package deals are available for repeat play on the TPC Champions combined with the “Big Brother” Stadium course. Check them out and join up.