The growing “short’’ course trend in golf course design has reached fabled Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. Desert Mountain “Seven,’’ a par 54 course will open later this spring as a 3,075-yard layout aimed at families and new golfers.
Desert Mountain No. 7 joins the portfolio of six Jack Nicklaus-designed courses that have made the club one of the Southwest’s more desired private golf communities.
“We want the course to be fun, social, and touching the lives of every family member, regardless of skill,’’ Desert Mountain CEO Damon DiOrio told me. “The landscape is visually stunning, with a routing more like a peaceful desert parkland than a golf course. The fairways and greens are manicured Bentgrass, so golfers can play from the front tees with nothing more than a putter. But those playing the back tees better have a good game – with two holes (No. 6 and No. 10) playing more than 250 yards.’’
The course, which can play as short as 1,455 yards, was designed by Desert Mountain members Bill Brownlee and Wendell Picket.
“Their idea came up one day during a round of golf together on the Renegade Course: a course that challenges the best players but would be fun for those just starting out – all in less time,’’ DiOrio said.
“They presented a plan for a par-54 concept in a balanced landscape with family residential space. It was overwhelmingly approved by the club’s board of directors.’’
The main difference between No. 7 and the other Desert Mountain courses is that it is the only course at Desert Mountain with moving water. A stream has been integrated into the landscape, touching five of the holes and wrapping around the clubhouse.
“The 18 th hole actually doubles as an amphitheater for concerts and events,’’ DiOrio said. “The 18th green and Putting Course are connected, creating a 22,000-square foot lighted interactive complex adjacent to the outdoor dining area.’’
All golf members at Desert Mountain have access to play the No. 7 Course, and non-golf members have complete access to the clubhouse, which features glass walls slide open to blend the indoor seating with the outdoor seating. The gastropub bar is designed indoors and outdoors seating and will offer custom cocktails, 12 beers on tap, and an array of food options.
“The goal is to extend the golf and club experience past sunset,’’ DiOrio said. “When fully open, the total social area is roughly the length of a football field, stretching out to the adjacent lighted Putting Course.’’
The new clubhouse at No. 7, DiOrio added, might feel more a part of the course, and the environment around it, than other clubhouses at Desert Mountain.
“That was very deliberate,’’ DiOrio said. “The movable glass walls access the large patio/outdoor areas close to the course. We are excited to have our members enjoy an 18-hole lit practice putting area, play bocce, or sit by a roaring fire pit enjoying a glass of wine and the play on multiple holes – all with the backdrop of Black Mountain behind the property.’’
Photo: Hunter PR