Monday, January 02, 2006

Review: Whirlwind Golf Club, Arizona

I want to start writing more reviews of those golf courses I play and visit. So to start off, I got to play Whirlwind Golf Course in Chandler, Arizona last week Whirlwind has two 18 hole championship courses. The first is the Cattail course and the second is the Devils Claw course.

I played the Cattail course in the morning. This course is where they held the Nationwide Tour's Gila River Classic. I did not play from the tips which was a healthy 7218 yds, but instead from the Gold tees which were still over 6700 yds.


The course itself is relatively flat, but there are many undulations in the fairways and quite a few bunkers placed in the right spots. The greens were very well manacured but not too speedy. Reading the greens was not an easy task, since the breaks were subtle, thus there was many a lipout to be had that day. If you play, take your time to walk all the way around the hole before putting. This course definitely placed a premium on accuracy off the tee. From many tee boxes, the view of your landing zone would be rather blind and seem to be squeezed off by either bunkers or trees. There were a few doglegs, however, where you could cut off quite a few yards if you knew the exact spot to cut the corner. I could see playing this course a few times and significantly reducing my score. Number 14, a 389 ys par 4, was a fun hole that required a long iron off the tee and then an accurate short iron over water to an elevated green. My favorite hole was number 15, the 136 yd. par 3. This had an elevated tee onto a shallow yet extremely wide green. The shot took you over a wild deep canyon and with the pin tucked on the far right, literally 12 feet from the precipice, it made for a dicier shot than its distance implied.

A little tired after playing a 4 hour round on Cattail, I proceeded to play the Devil's Claw course, which was only $55 for a replay, a great deal. This time I played from the tips which was 7029 yds.

Devil's Claw

This course was fairly similar to Cattail with the rolling fairways, but the landing areas were a lot more ample than Cattail. However, the greens on Devil's Claw were a bit more difficult with not only some subtle slopes, but also some significant multi-tiered greens. Missing the greens also were a bit more penalizing, as many of the greenside bunkers were large and deep. The prettiest hole of both the courses was number 7. This was a short 160 par 3, with a creek complete with waterfalls to the right of the green, and deep bunkers to the left.

With both courses, hitting your ball into the desert is worse than you'd think. With most desert courses in the area, if you hit into the desert you'll have a pretty good opportunity to hit it out safely. However, here there is a sticky dry bush that lines most of the fairways that swallows any balls that get near it, leaving you with an unplayable lie 90% of the time. So beware.

The facilities at Whirlwind are top notch. The clubhouse fits into the scenery well and offers a great shopping experience (with free gift wrapping during the holidays!). The Sheraton resort there got rave reviews from my playing partners who were stating there as well.

Overall, I highly recommend the Whirlwind Golf Club if you are ever in the Phoenix area.


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