On Mondays, we always play a tournament round at a different course throughout the Valley. Today’s course was a special treat: Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix. After playing Ahwatukee Country Club last week, this was like going from the outhouse to the penthouse. It was the first chance I’ve had to play a round with my new Titleist irons. Moon Valley hosted the LPGA Standard Register Ping tournament from 1983 through 2003. Back in 2001, Annika Sorenstam shot the lowest round in LPGA Tour history, a 13-under par 59. The course was designed by Dick Wilson in the early 1960s and then re-designed by Bob Cupp in 1999.
We played a Net Stableford format. That’s the stroke play format in which points, rather than strokes, are awarded for a player’s score on each hole. Highest score wins. Because I put myself in some bad spots off the tee, I shot an 80, and as of the time of this posting, my score was still pending. Points are accumulated as follows:
15pts Net Double Eagle
8pts Net Eagle
3pts Net Birdie
1pt Net Par
0pts Net Bogey
-1pt Net Double Bogey or higher
The course is stout, and the rough is thick. You can’t believe how lush the fairways are! And then there’s the trees. Pine and eucalyptus trees line just about every fairway. You can make par from there, but you’re going to have to keep it low. The trees are old, and they are full. The course plays 7216 from the Black tees to a course rating of 74.3 and a slope of 125. Here are some of the highlights of the round:
Holes Worth Writing Home About
I really liked the Par 5 8th hole. It measures 519 yards from the tips and is shrouded by bunkers on both sides of the fairway. The hole is reachable in two, but you have to hit a good tee shot to give yourself a chance. There is major tree trouble on both sides of the fairway. Keep the ball on the short grass.
I also thought the Par 3 5th hole was deceptively good. The hole plays 190 from the back tees, and you have to carry the water short and right.
The course is in fantastic shape and is easily the best course we have played so far this semester. The 9th green weaves into the practice putting green behind it, and even the practice putting and chipping greens are spectacular. While you’re on the course, it’s almost like you’re on another planet (no pun intended). The course runs through a valley, and is so full of thick pine trees, you almost forget you’re in the desert. It is an older course, but it doesn’t play like it. You’re going to be able to make some putts.
The shot I was most proud of came on my front nine. We started on the 13th hole. I hit my drive a little left off the tee and found myself in some tree trouble. I had to hit something low and running up to the green. I hit a little grip-down 5 iron that ran through the green and up onto a knob behind it. From there, I was able to get up and down for my par.
While We’re Young
The shotgun started at 1:00p, and we finished at 5:00p. Our group was a little slow though. By the time we finished our last hole, we were a full hole behind the group in front of us. We probably could have played in three-and-a-half hours. The pace of play was good.
Next On the Tee
It’s back to Oakwood for another competitive round on Wednesday afternoon.