Ken McDonald has been on my radar all semester. This is the course that typically hosts the PGA of America’s Playing Ability Test (PAT) once a semester. I’ll be taking mine in my 3rd or 4th semester at the Golf Academy of America. Ken McDonald is operated by the City of Tempe, and usually that means Player Beware… of poor conditions. That was certainly not the case today. It’s been several years since I played the course, and there are some pretty holes. The tee boxes, fairways, and greens are really good. You can make some putts. For a city course, it’s way above average. The course plays 6,743 yards from the Back Tees to a Par of 72, a course rating of 71.5, and a slope of 125. We caught the course on a very windy day – the windiest it’s been in the last few weeks in the Phoenix metro-area. It was not the best day to play golf. That said, here are some of the highlights of the round:
Holes Worth Writing Home About
There were several really pretty holes at Ken McDonald. Like I said, it’s been years since I played the course. The rock work behind the 1st and 7th holes is breathtaking. It took a lot of work to move those giant boulders into place behind the green complexes, but it was worth it! What a look. You can tell each rock was carefully placed.
The 364-yard Par 4 1st hole plays toward the elevated rock work. That same rock work frames the green on the 356-yard Par 4 7th hole. It’s a great look, and they did a great job making sure it was a clean look. Both of the holes are relatively short, but the rocks are a nice touch.
The course is tucked off of Divot Dr. in Tempe. That’s on Rural north of Guadalupe. It shares a parking lot with a YMCA. If you’re going to warm up, allow yourself plenty of time to chip, putt, and hit range balls. The range is just beginning to cycle-in some new range balls, but until they’re finished, prepare yourself for a few bad range balls. I caught a few while I was warming up that curved left and then turned right. There were some bad balls! The practice area is fantastic and is a great place to sharpen your game.
The best shot of the day didn’t come from me. The wind had beaten-up my foursome pretty good by the time we reached the 18th tee, so my classmates decided to play the final hole using just a 3-wood. With his ball stuck in the bunker just left of the green, one of my buddies hit an amazing shot that came up 20-25 feet away from the hole. He didn’t hit a 3-wood like that all day – either off the tee or from the fairway (sorry, Vince). What a shot!
While We’re Young
Despite being scheduled to start at 1:37p, we didn’t go off until 1:45p or even 1:50p. But when we finally did get started, we moved through pretty good. Thanks to a play-through at the turn, we finished our round in 3:55. The round felt like it took a lot longer, but that was mainly because we played on a very windy day and because their carts are slow as molasses. Don’t be afraid to bring a book to read between shots.
Next On the Tee
I’m heading out to North Carolina for my brother’s graduation. I’m not sure where I’ll be playing next, but I am bringing the sticks.