THE GOLF CLUB OF ESTRELLA (623) 386-2600
Arizona Golf Course Review
Desert golf ... nothing much quite like it. Visitors to Arizona should know that there are all types of layouts in the area - from the traditional parkland courses with an abundance of
trees, water and sand bunkers to courses featuring rolling fairways and elevation changes. And then there are the true desert layouts - designs featuring carries over and around
desert waste areas with finely sculpted tee areas surrounded by tall saguaros, native foliage and spectacular desert mountains. The Golf Club of Estrella falls into the latter
category, and is one of the best of its kind in Arizona.
Located just 30 minutes west of downtown Phoenix, the Golf Club of Estrella offers a challenging round of golf on a course designed by Jack Nicklaus II, and affords breathtaking
beauty in a natural desert environment. Awards include: "One of the Nation's Top 40 Daily Fee Courses (Golf and Travel Magazine August 2000), "Top Ten Public Course in
Phoenix" (Business Journal 2000 & 2001), and "One of Top Ten Courses in Arizona" (Ranking Arizona, The Best of Arizona Business 2000 & 2001). Stretching to over 7100 yards
with a top slope rating of 136, and with 4 other tee areas measuring 6733, 6249, 5759 and 5124, this layout provides a fair test for golfers of all skill levels. We found the fairways
to be quite generous, and the desert carries featured from many of the tee boxes were very reasonable. The fact that the property was recently taken over by TROON GOLF cannot
be overlooked. We found the conditions and amenities to be worthy of the Troon name - bag tags, green repair tools, plus complimentary use of the practice facilities (grass range,
putting green and short game area) to name a few. The pro shop features top of the line clothing and accessories, and an inside and outside dining area are available for snacks,
sandwiches and beverages (including beer and wine). Word is that a new luxurious clubhouse is in the planning stages.
On course amenities include complimentary bottled water and ball and club washers on each cart, along with ice chests in season. There is a 150 yard stake in the fairway.
Sprinkler heads are measured to the front, middle and center of the greens, and there are also yardage indicators on the cart paths. Arrive early and take advantage of the practice
facilities, which like the course, are quite upscale.
The opening hole will get your attention immediately, as the Estrella Mountains loom spectacularly in the background. A short desert carry leads to a wide fairway with plentiful
room for a clear approach. As the number 16 handicap, this is a pleasant opening hole. The mid range par four second is a bit more difficult, with fairway bunkers on both sides
coming into play on errant tee shots. A desert wash 20 yards in front, and multiple greenside bunkers must be negotiated on the approach. The par 3 third is also well-protected
by sand traps, though there is ample bail out room on the left side. The fairway is narrow off the tee on the par five fourth, but the approach provides plenty of room for error. Most
players will need three shots to reach the putting surface. A water hazard 100 yards from the green creates the challenge on five. A strong shot into the prevailing wind off the tee,
followed by an extremely accurate approach may earn you a well deserved par on this beauty of a hole. Another water hazard left and a huge sand trap along the right create a
demanding tee shot on 6, and the putting surface is equally guarded by a large bunker complex short left. This precedes a straight forward par three that features a ridge running
through the center of the green - pay attention to the pin placement here. There is plenty of room off the tee on 8, though a desert wash that fronts the green makes for a
challenging approach. The ninth is a formidable par four that is nick-named "The Island". It bends to the left and demands 1 club extra to reach the green complex, which plays
The back side opens with a short desert carry on number ten. The fairway here is quite tight, with desert to the right and a bunker complex left. Eleven is heavily bunkered on both
sides of the fairway, and also in the front left and deep right of the green. The 12th is another challenging par four, as it bends to the right with a triangle of deep bunkers
surrounding the green. The serpentine par five that follows features a generous landing area off the tee, but a desert wash about 70 yards from the center of the green will make
this a 3 shot hole for most golfers. The uphill par three 14th must carry some desert, but there is more grass in front of the green than it appears from the tee area. Short is a viable
option here. A substantial desert carry awaits on 15, and another natural area about 100 yards from the green's center may effect the approach. As with the previous hole, there is
ample bail out room short. The last par five is also the longest hole and the number one handicap on the course (605 from the tips). A long tee shot along an open fairway and an
easy lay-up in front of the desert wash (about 100 out) will leave a short iron to a well guarded green. This is a pretty hole, but pales in comparison to what we have discovered to
be one of the best pair of closing holes in the state. Number seventeen is a gorgeous and challenging par three that is nearly all carry over a considerable desert area. The view
from the tips and also from behind the green are especially memorable. The finishing hole demands a long and accurate shot from an elevated tee (except from the front tee box).
Placement to the right side of the fairway will leave a shorter approach, though the best angle is from the second level of fairway past the right side of the traps. Anything hit long left
has a good chance of sliding into the desert, and ruining your chance of par on one of the prettiest holes on the course.
The Golf Club of Estrella gets our vote as one of the most under-rated (perhaps because it is not as well known as some others) desert courses in the state. This is the second
time we have played it in the past few years - and we regard both visits as highlight rounds. The conditions are exceptional - especially since Troon took over - and the ambiance
and demeanor of the staff proves that they sincerely enjoy working at this property. Our advice - include the Golf Club of Estrella in your Arizona Golf itinerary - it is worth the drive!
Click here to visit the Two Guys Who Golf detailed listing page with a link (if available) to this course's website.