Golf Academy of America tuition includes two rounds of golf per week at over 30 courses in the Phoenix area. Today, I had the opportunity to tee it up with a couple of my fellow classmates at Western Skies Golf Club in Gilbert.
The course plays 6,744 yards from the tips and offers very forgiving landing areas off the tee as wells as approach shots into small to medium-sized green complexes. The course was in fantastic shape, although I got a little worried when I tried to roll some putts on the very sandy practice chipping/putting green. Those greens were slow. The greens on the course were rolling probably around ten on the stimpmeter. I have always found overseeded courses (typically winter rye grass) to be a little stickier than bermuda, but these greens rolled true. Bring a divot repair tool because the greens are soft.
Western Skies features wind socks atop its flagsticks. They remind me of the famous red wicker baskets that adorn the pins at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania. They also have large oak barrels (cut in half) to mark the start of each hole for a very classy looking western feel. Here are some of the highlights of the round:
Holes Worth Writing Home About
The two best holes on the course are the 441 yard Par 4 8th hole and the 220 yard Par 3 12th hole. The course opens with a Par 5, a Par 3, a Par 5, and another Par 3 for an outward half of 35. The inward half plays to a score of 37 for a Par of 72.
Players I talked to really liked today’s course. It was very forgiving off the tee, and the greens were fair. There’s not much trouble to worry about off the tee, and the sight lines fit my eye. As a better golfer, I care less and less about the course layout and more and more about the greens. I just want to be able to make putts, and there were plenty of opportunities out there today. I made three birdies and shot an even par (72).
The best shot of the day came on the 220 yard Par 3 12th hole. From an elevated tee downwind to a front middle pin placement, I hit a 4 iron to 20 feet and walked away with par. This is one of those holes where you make your par and head for the nearest exit!
While We’re Young
It took nearly five hours to get around the course on a Friday afternoon. My single biggest complaint about the game continues to be pace of play, and this was a little ridiculous for a recreational round. We were backed up on several tees throughout the round, and there were no play-through opportunities.
Next On the Tee
Lone Tree Golf Club. We play a tournament round on Monday, and I’m playing a casual round there again on Wednesday.