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Monday, January 02, 2006

 

Encanto Golf Course

6386 yds, Par 70, Slope 111, by William P Bell / updated by Gary Panks . . .

Golfweb lists a few courses by Bill Bell . . .8^). . . most seem to be low-cost munis, but look at this, he did the Stanford University Golf Course, too:

http://www.golfweb.com/courseguide/ocdata?srchkey=advanced&couky=&pk=&hhk=NON&staky=&cntyky=&citky=&prox=&pdist=5&punit=mi&zipky=&ik=&phoky=&bk=any&lk=William+F.+Bell&gk=

This is what they say: http://phoenix.gov/SPORTS/encant18.html

"Completed in 1935, Encanto holds the distinction of being the third
oldest golf course in Arizona. Encanto is ideally suited for the average
golfer. Its level fairways are wide and it has a limited number of hazards. It
sports a relaxed atmosphere enhanced by the course's abundance of mature palm and salt cedar trees, plus some truly spectacular views of downtown Phoenix."
I had a 47-48=95, Mr. Science carded a 45-39=84. We were very pleased being able to walk, and for Mr. Science being able to use his hand-cart, but all-in-all, we had to grade it out at a 4, both of us: Just too flat & uninspired. . . It would be wrong to call the course "ugly" but some of the trees, the Russian Olives and the Salt Cedars, in particular ARE ugly. It just appears that Bell, and later, Panks, just didn't have enough to work with here for a first rate golf course.

Since Corte Bella, also designed by Panks, is fresh on my mind, tho', I can't help but notice that like Corte Bella, "El Enchanto" has a certain mind-numbing similarity to all the holes that tends to lull the golfer, resulting in unnecessary strokes -- like driving on I10 towards El Paso for 5 or 6 hours can cause a driver to fall asleep and crash. I am a fan of the old "classic" courses by the "Old Masters" like Bredemus, McKinzie, Tillinghast, but I'm not sure this is a good example, even tho' there are no forced carries and no desert hazards around, betwixt, or between: the dormant bermuda is yellow all around, not just in the rough; the course is flat and the tees and greens are barely elevated; the greens are so slow and undulate so subtly that there is often much less break than it seems there ought to be; the traps were very shallow and filled with a coarse dirt rather than sand.

Being a muni, tho', they have been short of water, and Phoenix has been without rain for 75 days straight now -- maybe this is the fate of all Phoenix courses, in a couple of years. . . 8^0. . .

For the most part, the houses surrounding the course do not intrude, and the trees are set back so that they don't come into play except on very wayward shots. Like on #6, a par 4: my drive leaked right, windblown into the trees guarding the houses along the fairway, but I visualized a 7-wood hook around the trees and onto the green. What I got instead was a carom off a tree, then off a toolshed tin roof in someone's back yard, then back into the rough on the course.
-- Earlier in the round, the fellas we played with had asked us routine questions about where we lived and where we usually played. Mr Science uses that opening to expound on his vision, and of Our Quest: to play all the golf courses in the valley. People are always interested and sometimes envious. Of course we have to mention the blog, too, and how we are rating the courses we played, but how I don't have reviews of some good courses cuz nothing noteworthy happened --
So our playing partners yelled at me "Put THAT in your blog!"

I don't want to rag on Encanto any more, but if you were to objectively compare it to other Munis, in other cities, it really doesn't hold up very favorably:

  1. Memorial Park Golf Course, Houston, by Bredemus
  2. Arroyo Del Oso, Albuquerque, by McKinzie (?)
  3. Grapevine Golf Course, Grapevine Tx, by Byron Nelson

I just feel that, if Phoenix has pretensions to being a golf mecca, much less a Major American City, it ought to take more pride in its Muni courses, and justify that pride with a little more cash.

That being said, the fine fellows we played with loved the course and had played it frequently, apparently from early childhood. On the 7th tee, too, there is a plaque placed in memory of some duffer with the inscription, "He Loved Encanto".

Dang good fried-egg-sandwich, too.


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