GRAYHAWK GOLF CLUB
Arizona Golf Course Review - Raptor Course
Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale boasts one of Arizona top golf facilities, with two 18-hole 4 star championship courses as the centerpiece. The Raptor - the original design by
Tom Fazio, and the Talon by David Graham and Gary Panks, form a one-two punch that puts Grayhawk on the map as one of the area's top golf destinations. With Joe
Shershenovich at the helm as golf director, and with 2004 Masters Champion Phil Mickelson as a PGA Tour professional representative, this property provides facilities that are
hard to match.
The expansive, modern clubhouse features a pro shop that has been rated as one of the "100 Best Golf Shops in America" since 1996, as selected by Golf Word
Business.Wonderfully appointed locker rooms with showers are available for men and women, and are connected to a vast lobby
that also features meeting and special events rooms. The Fairway House is a multi-use facility that can accommodate 50-300 people
for a wide range of functions, and an adjacent outdoor patio has additional seating with ceiling fans for summer months and a huge
double sided fireplace proving comfort and atmosphere during the cooler seasons. The Quill Creek Café and Phil's Grill provide a
variety of fare and beverages (the Thai Chicken Salad is incredible) at reasonable prices.
The practice facilities at Grayhawk are about as good as it gets. A complimentary grass
range stocked with golf bags full of practice balls awaits players for a quick warm up. Three putting greens are on property, and a wonderful short game area near the Talon
course features a large sand bunker and chipping/pitching green. The conditions at the practice area are outstanding, and the courteous service by the attendants (who will
come to get you for your tee time), is worth mentioning. Also noteworthy is that Grayhawk is home to the Kostis/McCord Learning
Center (CBS commentators Peter Kostis and Gary McCord are the founders). Three-day golf schools and corporate outings are the
center's specialty, with customized events including clinics and exhibitions also an option.
Both courses here have yardage markers near the cart paths posted every 55 feet - which especially helps when the conditions
warrant cart path only. Recently, it was decided to allow golfers to drive on the fairways with the 90 degree rule, during the hot
summer months. In season (winter, spring and fall) however, the norm is that carts have to stay on the paths. There also are yardages posted on sprinkler heads in the fairways,
and pin placements are indicated by flags marked on green diagrams that are posted on the back of each cart. Before teeing off, players can help themselves to tees, ball markers
and green repair tools, and hole diagram cards are also available.
The Raptor course is a gorgeous layout that affords spectacular mountain views, and features tee shots that often demand short
desert carries. Four sets of tee boxes allow golfers to choose from yardages and slopes measuring 7135/142, 6593/137, 6150/127
slope for men and 137 slope for women, and 5309 yards with a slope of 127. To score well on this course, it is important to avoid the
greenside bunkers - which are contoured, deep and abundant. These traps often line the front of raised green complexes that are
very putt-able - if you can reach without landing in the hazards.
Fairway bunkers come into play short left and deep right on the opening hole, a mid-length par four with an uphill approach. Number two is quite open but also features sand traps
right and left in the landing area. There is about 20 yards of grass short right of the green along the desert line, which is not a bad place to be on the approach.
The long par four third is a bit tighter up the fairway, and requires an accurate approach to a green complex front by a deep bunker, with a grass
depression short left. The rolling fairway on four is generous, but the second shot plays to a perched putting surface that is wedged
between two deep sand bunkers. This hole features a short desert carry to a green that is noticeably sloped back to front from the
middle section forward. There is plenty of room short. Six is a short par four along a narrow fairway that can be driven to the wedge area in the center of the fairway.
Golfers that miss this green on the approach will find challenging up and downs from deep bunkers,
grassy swales and collection areas. The par five 7th plays straight away to a double tiered green, with a slope to the far left that will guide slightly off line approaches
towards the center - good scoring opportunity here. A beautiful mountain backdrop frames the eighth green, which is a par three that plays to a putting
surface with mounding in the front, left and back that creates a bowl shaped effect. Clear the front bunker and a good score is possible. The ninth invites a long tee
shot to the left center of a generous fairway, with an approach to a relatively flat putting surface.
The back side begins with an interesting par four that features a creek running
down the right side that crosses just in front of the green. The fairway slopes
towards the hazard, so a lay up to the 125 yard area is the smart play. Eleven plays to a wide, undulating fairway that leads to an
extremely well bunkered green complex, and is followed by a par four that plays even longer than the 400 plus yards. Deep front
bunkers make sand saves a tough proposition near this elevated green. The thirteenth is a pretty par three with a very short desert
carry, and abundant room around the green. Fourteen features a very rolling fairway
defined by an expansive sand waste area to the right, which comes into play from 125 yards in. The bowl effect created by the
greenside mounding will funnel slightly offline approaches towards the center. Right of center near the 80 yard area is the place to be off the tee on 15. Go for the flag on
the approach, as the contoured putting surface will present some challenging lag putts if the pin placement is to the front right or front left. There is a pond immediately
left of the 16th green, with plenty of room to the right of the putting surface on this beautiful hole.
Shots that wander top that side may find some challenging lies in the mounds and grassy swales. The wide
fairway on 17 narrows near the 100 yard area, but with this par four playing to 464 and 431 from the two back tees, only a grip it and rip it mentality will afford
an opportunity to get home in regulation. There are swales and collection areas, but no bunkers greenside. Water is in play along the right side from
170 in on the par five finishing hole. Bunkers left and the hazard on the right frame the hole, making for a challenging approach.
Grayhawk is located about 40 minutes from Sky Harbor Airport, on some of Scottsdale's premier real estate.
The upscale residential community formed around the property is
aptly named "Serenity". More than 200 mature Saguaros and thousands of native Palo Verde, Ironwood and Mesquite trees were preserved in the
landscaping process, and other desert plants include 80,000 Greasewood, Bursage, Ocotillo and Barrel cactus. Wildlife also abounds in this
glorious desert setting - as witnessed by our sighting of this baby "raptor". For more info on Grayhawk, visit our page for page for either course - with
link to their website, by clicking here