Southern Dunes Golf Review
Golf in Maricopa AZ
By Larry Berle
Southern Dunes is located in Maricopa AZ about 1/2 hour south of the Phoenix Airport. Nothing much surrounds it. It was founded as a men's only private club in 2002 and designed by Schmidt-Curly, with the help of Fred Couples It was purchased by the Ak-Chin Indian Community in July 2010 and is now managed by Troon Golf, and now open to the public.
Southern Dunes is 320 acres of rugged scrub desert and a sea of bunkers fairways and greens. The fairways can sometimes be a challenge to find. But the carts have outstanding GPS so its easy to identify the landing areas and the carries. They are more generous than they appear from the tee box.
Unlike most Phoenix area golf courses, there is not a cactus anywhere in sight. and one of the few courses in AZ that has a real cut of rough surrounding the fairways. Until a year ago they had 480,000 square feet of bunkers. They closed for renovation and in fall of 2014 when they reopened they had removed 83,000 square feet of those bunkers. (now there is approx 400,000 square feet). Make no mistake, these are designed to be penal bunkers, not directional. Most are deep and have challenging lips. The 105 bunkers they have, are large, to the point that I was surprised to learn that there were only 105 when I asked in the pro shop at the end of my round. If these bunkers are not punishing enough there is water on the course but only on #10 and #18.
Number 2 (called Trickster) and number 14 (called Beautiful Surroundings) are what many would call drivable par fours, but you may want to think twice as they are well protected.
The course was in excellent condition with firm fairways and very firm greens that run true and fast. Next week they are hosting a U.S.Open qualifier and they intend to have the greens running over 12.5 on the stimpmeter. These greens are well protected by these bunkers and several have enough undulation in them as to really make you think before you strike your putt or chip.
It plays 7517 yards from the tips with 5 sets of tee boxes down to 5036 yards. We played it from 6100 yards and that was plenty challenging for us. Golf World rates Southern Dunes as the 5th best in AZ in "Top courses you can play in AZ". 2014
Service was outstanding from the man at the bag drop to the pro shop to the starter to the beverage cart. The hamburger I picked up at the turn in the Arroyo Grill (ordered from my cart at the 9th tee) was outstanding, but I thought $12.00 was pricy for a burger and fries at a golf club.
The practice facilities (especially the short game area) is wonderful and every afternoon they repurpose the driving range to #minidunes a 6 hole mini course for families to come out and play.
Troon golf sets a time par for its courses Ak-Chin Southern Dunes is 4 hours 29 minutes- we finished today in 4:10
Revised: 06/24/2015 - Article Viewed 35,020 Times
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About: Larry Berle
A Golfer's Dream is Larry Berle's first book. In his previous career, Larry owned SRO Productions in Minneapolis, Minnesota; a company specialized in concert promotion, event management, and CD compilations for radio stations. He worked with many artists, including Andy Williams, Tony Bennett, George Winston, Yanni, B.B. King, James Taylor, Bill Cosby, and Sinbad. After 31 years in the business, Larry sold SRO in 2004. He still produces small theatrical plays occasionally but spends most of his time playing, and writing about, golf.
Larry was introduced to the game by his wife Annie in 1990 and has been an avid fan and player ever since. Annie took him to Pebble Beach for his birthday in 1992 where the dream to play the Golf Digest Top 100 was born. What is truly amazing about Larry Berle is not only that he achieved his quest but also that he published this book. In June of 2006, with 90 percent of the first draft completed, he suffered near-fatal injuries as a result of a bicycle accident in Minneapolis. He lay in a coma for nearly two weeks and was hospitalized for two months. Larry not only survived but made a full recovery and regained his fabled drive and ability to concentrate. After months of therapy, he was able to complete and publish A Golfer's Dream, a testament to his remarkable achievements in golf and in life. A slightly above-average golfer (handicap index of 11.9), Larry has no handicap in networking and is not afraid to ask for help, especially when it comes to playing Top 100 golf courses.
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