They Say: "Arizona's Monster The Wigwam was given new life in the 1960's by Robert Trent Jones. Sr., America's most famous golf course architect. At more than 7,400 yards and par 72, the Gold Course anchors The Wigwam golf trio. The Gold Course, a long and winding layout, was Jones' West Coast version of the relentless South Course at Firestone. "
Relentless is a good word. Implacable might be another. Unlike the Blue Course, which I also liked, the Red Course is 1000 yds longer, the greens are twice as big, and the slopes of the elevated greens are half as steep . . . so it is fair, in the same way a Puritan Preacher was fair with sinners, if you see what I mean.
Started out with 4 6s, then had 4 5s & a 7; since I was striking the ball well, and putting well despite the crusty, recently-aerated greens, I was perfectly willing to believe that my luck was going to change and I was going to make 6 4s and 3 3s on the back 9. Not to be. Wound up 51-50=101, with one dang par all day. Part of it was because I kept landing 30 feet from the pin and 3jacking; part was because of the greens condition; part was because of the green design, which makes 30 ft 2-putts a risky proposition; part of it was because I left about 9 putts short that would have been right-in-the-heart . . . I missed abuncha 4 footers . . . man, how that wears on a boy.
The one thing about these Jones boys, is they know where to put fairway bunkers to cramp your style . . . it's just so Calvinistic to make a course this long, then put fairway bunkers out there where they're most penal I'm not so sure the yardages given are right either, all the time. . . if you see what I mean. Like here on #5: from the tee that driving chute looks awfully small, with nothing for it but to favor the right side with a draw, so I tried, hit a solid lick, but it didn't draw an inch. I tho't sure I'd hit it well enough to clear that second bunker on the right, anyway, but the groan from Mrs Cactus told me otherwise. I always say "Fairway bunkers don't bother me, I grew up in West Texas!" but -- If I can say this without impugning either the Groundskeeping Crew or any fellow Travellers who may have preceeded me that day into the Gold Course Bunkers -- it is dang hard to put the ol' West Texas pick-clean-&-cut on a ball in those traps: the lips are kinda steep and the sand surface is uneven.
The breeze freshened up on us after that, and tho' we were grateful for the cooling effects, a 2 club wind doesn't really help you on a Jones course . . . no matter how I underclubbed with the wind my ball rolled off the back of the green, till I was so skittish I started trying to steer my approaches into the green, which just guaranteed they found a greenside bunker.
On the #1 handicap #8 par 4, I only had @130 yards into the green, and that crappy looking irrigation ditch that runs thru both the Blue & Gold courses (looked better with water and fish this time than without like last time, if you see what I mean) didn't bother me, but the false front bugged me a little bit, and the downwind shot perplexed me: I wound up in the sand, then over the green, then up-and-down for bogey, which I just reckoned was "par" for me that day on that course.
The 7 on #9 is what broke my heart and ruin
t my score . . . I know
I am not going to fly that bunker on the right inside of the dogleg, but I aimed at it, planning for the wind to push it out into the middle of the fairway, but instead, I went right of it into the woods there. I figgered I had an easy choice, a safety shot back out into the fairway for a shot at a one-putt par, but my little knock-down 5iron shot clipped that last tree on the right (short and left of the water) and caromed off into the water. I felt outraged, but calm . . . until my 9-iron knockdown from where I dropped came off the toe and landed on the steep embankment between the green and the water -- it didn't roll in, but missing the green cost me the triple-bogey. @##! @#######! @#####!
Or #6, as they say, in the Queen of Golf's women's league.
I don't remember too much about the back 9, after that . . . in the sand again on #10; my only par on #11, after a gritty 2 putt; my usual mid-round breakdown on #13 & #14; another 3putt bogey on #15; a windblown missed green on #16- the wind was just howling off the open water from the left -- I wasn't brave enough to start it out over the water; a triple on #17; a missed 4 footer for par on #18.
We were flat wore out at the end of the round from the unremitting, unforgiving nature of the golf course. Hitting good shots that were not quite good enough; hitting a par's worth of good shots and still walking away with a bogey, in 100 degree heat with the wind that felt like a convection oven by the end of the round was tough.
One could easily argue for this as the best course in the Valley, but . . . Las Sendas is just as hard or harder with much more scenery . . . it's hard for me to forgive that ugly trench thru-out the course.