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Saturday, June 17, 2006

 

Sundance

6944 Yds, Par 72, Slope 125, by Greg Nash

They Say: "Sundance Golf Club is an 18-hole golf facility located in the West Valley. Panoramic views of the White Tank Mountains to the north and the Estrella Mountains to the south provide guests with a great visual golfing experience. With four sets of tee boxes varying in distance from 5300-7000 yards, Sundance Golf Club offers an excellent test for players of all abilities. This Greg Nash designed golf course uniquely blends Sonoran Desert washes and arroyos with lush green conditions. Generous landing areas and sloping greens differentiate Sundance Golf Club from today’s other golf courses."

For some reason, possibly the extreme COD of the situation (Crack-of-Dawn) and the interminable drive out past Buckeye to Sundance, I was crankily determined not to like the course . . . it was obviously not one of the top-dollar courses, and the detritus of house construction was everywhere around the course -- it had that rawboned look of the recently developed . . . but in the end, in the 19th hole as we waited while a covey of cheerleaders washed my car as part of their fundraiser, I had to agree with Mr Science it was praiseworthy. The staff was most accommodating and friendly at every opportunity, so remaining peevish for petty reasons was not possible. This was even tho Mr Science played not his best. He complained, but with a speculatively pensive look in his eye, as if he seemed certain that on a return bout, his local knowledge would lower those strokes. He had a 39-46=85, with 8 pars; I had a 45-42=87, also with 8 pars. The differences being on the blow-out holes we each had: for me, # 2 and for Mr Science # 14.

#2 is the first of 5 split fairways, with the trash that obscures the other side only 200 yds from the tee -- seemingly too close to lay up back from, but that's what Mr Science did successfully. My drive must have run down a rabbit hole in the desert left of the fairway -- I turned over all the boxes and tar-paper laying down in the acequia without finding my ball. It's a good hole, I just had too much uncertainty from the tee-box.

#4 is a long par 5 that curves to the right around the neighborhood. It sure seems to play longer than the posted difference.

#5 seems like an easy hole and did to me, up until my approach shot bounced off the left side of the green down into the trash. . . the fairway split trash obscures the green and I didn't realize that all the room was over on the right -- and it was a left pin.

#7 is another apparently easy hole, with a moderate water-carry from the tee, and a large, depressed desert area guarding the inside of the dogleg to the tiny green. Unlike many of the other holes, tho', this fairway is very skinny, & pinched by bunkers on the left side, too.

#9 is an uphill par 5, so the trash breaking the fairway really does obscure the second shot. There's nothing really to worry about, but a mishit could really hurt you.

#11 is a short 'drivable' par 4, but the fairway is squeezed tightly between two brushy intrusions of desert just over 200 yds from the tee.

#12 looks forbidding from the cart, but up on the tee you can actually get a glimpse of the fairway, but only just. It's an act of faith to hit it over there on the left. It was a little funny there. We both hit horrible approaches after fine drives, then miraculous chips that left us each with kick-in pars.

#15 is another of the broken fairways, with the green partially obscured by the shrubbery. We both laid up with irons -- Mr Science more ably than myself, but I used the Acceleration of Gravity on my 7wood and hit a majestic shot 5 feet from the pin on the elevated green that I could not even see. Missed the birdie putt, to set a personal best for 18 holes for missed birdie putts, which I later extended on 17 & 18. . . 8^( . . .

#17 is the #1 handicap hole, a fearsomely long par 4, but I crushed my drive, then hit a solid 7 iron right at the pin. I was twirling my 7iron like a baton in pleasure as I started back to the cart, but then my ball bounced crazily right off something in front of the green, and I watched in horror as it rolled perpendicular to the pin, then actually away, down to the bottom tier of the green. Far from a birdie opportunity, I now had a lip-out bogey.

Greg Nash is also the author of the rugged Gold Canyon courses and the formidable Superstition Springs. The land is not so spectacular here as in those cases, and it seems as if one can feel him restraining himself out of mercy for the mundane duffer, but this is still an exciting layout, challenging and varied.

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