Laveen, Arizona is home to more than one golf course! I have already heard great things about Aguila and hope to play it soon. But about five minutes past Aguila on Baseline Road is Southern Ridge Golf Club. The course plays 6,751 yards from the Black Tees to a Par of 72, a course rating of 71.5, and a slope of 121. If you look-up Southern Ridge online, you know that previous patrons have been rather unkind. The course does have its challenges, and that’s putting it mildly. It would be easy for me to rant and rave about the carts, the driving range, and the disrepair of several of the bunkers, but I’m not going to. The truth is, the fairways and greens at Southern Ridge are great. A few of the tee boxes could have been mown a little lower and leveled, but I think we golfers are spoiled. A golf course should strive for nice fairways and greens, but it’s not required to have perfectly maintained rough or desert landscape. It’s up to the player to keep his ball on the short grass.
Today, the Golf Academy of America played a tournament round at Southern Ridge. We played from the Blue Tees (6,425 yds.). Here are some of the highlights of the round:
Holes Worth Writing Home About
One of the first things you’ll notice about Southern Ridge is that there are exactly six Par 3’s, six Par 4’s, and six Par 5’s. This makes for an interesting layout (there are back-to-back Par 3’s on No. 4 and No. 5, which you rarely see) and some great scoring opportunities. There were two holes in particular that really got my attention. The Par 3 4th hole plays 200 yards from the Black Tees to an elevated green complex guarded in front and back by some deep bunkers. We played the hole from the Blue Tees, and it was still 190 yards to the flag. The wind was whipping pretty good, and if you don’t bring the ball in high enough, it’s going to roll through the green, off the back, or maybe even into the back bunker. This is a great hole.
The toughest hole on the back side is the 448-yard Par 4 15th hole. We played it from the Blue Tees, but it still measured 418 yards. The hole is very narrow, and if you don’t put it in the fairway, your lie could be suspect. Par is a great score, but it’s going to take two good shots to hit the green in regulation and walk away with a four.
Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the golf course. If you’re coming down I-10, you’ll take the Baseline Road exit. From there, it’s still a good 20-25 minutes to get to Southern Ridge, depending on traffic. If you know this ahead of time, you would be rushed.
The best shot I hit came on the 190-yard Par 3 4th hole. I hit a 6-iron just short of the greenside bunker short and left and chipped in for birdie with my 56-degree wedge. I landed the ball exactly where I wanted to, and it just trickled into the hole.
While We’re Young
We teed off at 1:00p and walked off the course a little after five. For a tournament round at the Golf Academy, that was pretty sporty. Because it was a shotgun tournament, we started on the 3rd hole. When we got to the 2nd of back-to-back Par 3’s on No. 5, one of our instructors smartly had us wave up the group on the tee when we got to the green. It felt strange to have eight guys on the same hole at the time, but we never saw that group again, and the pace of the play going forward was good.
Next On the Tee
I’m driving up to Sedona to play Oakcreek Country Club. It will be my only practice round prior to this weekend’s NCCGA golf tournament I’m playing with the Golf Academy.