MC DOWELL MOUNTAIN (formerly SANCTUARY) (480) 502-8200
Arizona Golf Course Review
McDowell Mountain (formerly Sanctuary Golf Course at Westworld) is an OB Sports managed golf facility, with a great reputation for high quality and design. It is also the first golf
course in Arizona to gain Audubon Signature status. Regulars we met on the wonderful grass range and practice green told us to expect a tight layout and quick putting surfaces.
This we found to be true. Most of the fairways are narrow with dormant grasses and desert bordering both sides. At 6050 yards from the blues (6600 from the tips), the Sanctuary
is short for a championship course - but packs a lot of punch. There are a half dozen par fours formidable in length, with another six of lesser distance. The shorter holes, while
certainly score-able, are designed with fairway bunkers, rolling fairways, and devious doglegs to make them interesting. Well defined bunkers and sculpted tee boxes provide
aesthetic beauty and blend in spectacularly with the desert terrain and lurking mountains. The golf carts at McDowell Mountain are equipped with ProLink GPS which provides
accurate information on yardage and hole placement.
The two opening holes will grab your attention. These lengthy par fours feature tight fairways defined by mounds and the ever present desert, along with scattered fairway bunkers.
You will learn quickly to keep your approach below the hole, as downhill putts are extremely fast. An extremely undulating green and deep green-side bunkers short right and long
left will greet you on the short par four third. This is followed by the only par 5 of the front nine. Take advantage of the wide landing area off the tee, as the fairway narrows and your
approach will require extreme accuracy. The first of 4 par threes is next. At 132 yards from the blues it appears to be an easy shot - but bunkers, rolling mounds and an undulating
green will make par a good score here. A rolling fairway and bunkers left confront you off the tee on number 6, with an approach to a slightly elevated green. The seventh is another
tight driving hole with the desert creeping in on both sides. Many of the holes on the front can be intimidating if you are apt to hit slices or hooks. Straight hitters may find this front
side very playable. The eighth is a long par three, with a formidable water hazard to the right. The dogleg right closing hole features a bunker complex on the left and a desert wash
to the right. It does not get easier on the uphill approach, as this putting surface is undulating and quick. Par is a great score going in.
Holes 10 - 12 make up the easiest stretch on the course. There is a desert wash about 140 yards from the green on the tenth, but the uphill approach is quite manageable, with
significant room for error. Eleven has much room to the right off the tee. Avoid the fairway bunkers left and you may have a good birdie opportunity. This is one of the only holes that
plays entirely downhill. Twelve is almost all carry over desert, to a very undulating green - but is a very reasonable length par three. A carry of 150 yards or more awaits you on the
tee of 13. The narrow fairway opens up a bit near the green. An interesting dogleg left - which is nearly impossible to cut, follows. Aim for about 150 yards out and you should be in
great shape. Another short par four angles downhill and sharply to the left at the 100 yard marker. The deep pot bunker fronting the green and desert foothills in the background
provide a photogenic opportunity. Another long carry (150 - 200 yards) awaits you on number 15. The putting surfaced here is double tiered, so be sure to land your approach on
the correct portion of the green. Par this hole and get out of town! The par three 17th is almost all carry over a gorge. Take an extra club here as this hole plays deceivingly uphill.
The finishing hole is a beauty. After a long and accurately placed drive in the narrow fairway, you will encounter an uphill approach to a green guarded by front-side sand traps.
From 150 yards in, this hole is one of the prettiest you will ever see. If played near dusk, you will enjoy a canopy of iridescent, glowing shades of red and purple set against a
beautiful mountain range. Truly awe inspiring and meditative quality stuff! This is a wonderful way to finish a round on remarkable desert course.
McDowell Mountain is highly recommended. Be happy with the break in distance you receive from playing the blue or white tees. What is lacking in distance is more than made up
in the requirement for accuracy. Leave the testosterone in your bag. We all need experiences like these. You can score well and be thrilled with your ability to keep it together.
What's more - green fees are very reasonable for a high quality Scottsdale layout. Enjoy their 10,000 square foot clubhouse with a full service bar and grill and picturesque views
(especially at sunset). Walk the course if you are in good shape (there are a few holes with a couple hundred yard walk from green to tee) . Call the pro shop for seasonal, twilight
and junior rates. Enjoy their grass range and putting/chipping green while you are there!
Click here to visit the Two Guys Who Golf detailed listing page with a link (if available) to this course's website.