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Sunday, March 11, 2007


Copper Canyon

6845 Yds, Par 72, Un-sloped, yet . . .

They Say: "Copper Canyon Golf Club at Festival Ranch is an upscale daily fee, 18-hole championship golf course designed by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley. This golf course is the center-piece of the active adult community built by Pulte/Del Webb. As has been customary in branding the Pulte/Del Webb communities, a state-of-the-art Recreational Center (Sage Center) will compliment the extraordinary golf that sits within the confines of the White Tank Mountains, west of Phoenix."
A totally new course, just opened in Feb 2007, run by Troon Golf, so our heads filled with visions of sugar-plum-fairies, based on our experiences at other facilities, so perhaps disappointment was inevitable: the grass has not grown in completely, yet (it will certainly, based on the sure touch of Troon), the landscaping is incomplete, off the grass (it will certainly be filled in, with style, eventually), the views of the white tank mountains are less-inspiring than at other Troon facilities (and they will be even more obscured when the houses in various stages of construction along the fairway are completed), but it seems unlikely that the course will grow in challenge or in shot values over time -- it is very panksian in its design: wide flat fairways with slightly elevated greens and tees and greens that roll true, but unpredictably.
The staff seemed somewhat undertrained: the counter woman looked dumb-founded when I asked if we could walk, I heard irritable conversations from the back rooms in re employee discounts, and long discussions while I waited to check in behind real-estate-clerks succoring at the teats of a money-cow-to-be: a course wholly devoted towards selling real estate.
We did walk -- they were glad to let us walk if we paid for carts -- but this course is not for walkers. Mr Science paced off the distance between the 17th green and the 18th tee at 960 yards; that would be a typical, if extreme example. There are very few parallel fairways, they are mostly strung out between the vast stretches of naked, graded dirt where homes will some day be -- they don't look to be too close to the wide, lush fairways -- that's not the problem -- but golfers there are liable to infection with Valley Fever there for years to come, I reckon, from the dust, when the wind picks up.
I started out, as I have the last few weeks, driving the ball superlatively, hitting strong approaches over the green, then floundering to a bogie. By dint of supreme concentration, I was able to par the long #3 par 4 #1 handicap hole (with the wind), but then I reverted to form till I got frustrated again, and backslid into mediocrity. That and 18 were my only pars, wound up with a 97, mostly due to inability to adjust to the wooly-ish greens, which rolled smooth but not true, especially as the ball slowed down. Mr Science suffered the greens, too, ballooning up to an 84.
The Par 5 #12 is really the only hole that offers up anything near the usual Troon experience: a much more than normal (at Copper Canyon) elevated tee; lakes on both sides of the fairway, first right then left; a small shallow creek dividing the fairway, connecting the two lakes, that makes the second shot semi-blind; an green elevated more than normal with mounds and bunkers guarding the sides and back. Very cool.
The driving range was large and the balls were gratis, so Mr Science was happy with his warm-up . . . I opted for a breakfast burrito, even tho it was after Noon . . . perhaps that was not wise . . . after it had been reheated in the microwave, the tortilla was stiff as a cracker, except where it had been soaked by the chili sauce, and there it was soggy.

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