Raven at Verrado - West Side Wonderful

Now entering its seventh peak season, Buckeye’s Raven Golf Club at Verrado has a unique perspective of the Arizona golf landscape. Located due west of Phoenix and Scotts-dale, locations long considered as the only viable options for golfers looking for tried and true, championship-caliber layouts, The Raven Golf Club at Verrado offers an unobstructed one-of-a-kind view looking east into the valley. It’s a spectacular scene unique to the property, especially from the 18th hole.

The Raven Golf Club at Verrado

Golfers can enjoy the picturesque panorama knowing that their feet are firmly planted at one of the area’s premier courses, regardless of location. The Raven Golf Club at Verrado has taken the other side to another level, and a number of respected publications agree.

Shortly after it opened in 2004, this well-maintained desert track co-designed by John Fought, whose creations include Oregon’s Pumpkin Ridge and North Carolina’s Pine Needles, and 1996 Open Champion Tom Lehman was listed among America’s “Top 10 New Public Courses” by Golfweek and recognized as one of the “Top 10 New Golf Courses You Can Play” by Golf Magazine. In addition to those accolades, The Raven at Verrado was ranked as the No. 1 public golf course in Phoenix by Sports Illustrated.

More recently, the ratings established by GolfWorld’s 2010 Reader’s Choice Awards placed The Raven alongside Arizona’s top public golf facilities, and Golf Magazine lists the course in the Grand Canyon State’s Top 25. Desert Golf Magazine also honored The Raven at Verrado in a recent issue, hailing the course as the No. 8 public-access facility in Arizona.

Fought and Lehman’s memorable desert composition features two distinct nines. The front side progresses east toward the flattest portion of the property and showcases stunning views of the Phoenix skyline as well as the jagged White Tank Mountains. Fluctuating topography isn’t necessarily non-existent on the front nine, it’s just much less pronounced and extremely subtle.

The Raven Golf Club at Verrado

The 397-yard par-4 2nd hole provides a preview of the jagged terrain to come on the back nine. The slight dogleg left is dominated by a deep cavern that bisects the left side of the fairway between the tee shot landing area and the approach to the green. If you decide to play it safe and hit 3- or 5-wood off the tee, you’ll be forced to carry your approach shot over the ravine to a green with a false front collar.

The 588-yard par-5 5th hole actually plays closer to 530-540 yards. The long and winding hole dips downhill into the valley and provides golfers with the benefit of a prevailing wind at their backs. For longer hitters, the fairway slopes even more downhill once you’re inside of the 260-270 yard mark. Bunkers are situated on either side of the green, but the front is relatively open inviting run up shots, reminiscent of those you’d see on Open Championship courses.

By the time you reach the 477-yard par-4 8th hole, the prevailing wind that normally blows west to east and tends to pick up mid-afternoon is in your face.

The No. 1 handicap hole on the course, this slight dogleg left is a perfect example of the subtle yet significant elevation changes present on the front side. You’ll be forced to deal with a large rock outcropping down the left, and the hidden uphill element will most likely leave you with a lengthy approach shot. The green, which is elevated, has been positioned very close to the sandy wash on the right forcing pitch shots to be deadly accurate.

The Raven Golf Club at VerradoThe inward loop is much more rugged as it ventures into a rocky canyon that dictates elevation changes of more than 100 feet throughout the bulk of this nine. The 442-yard par-4 12th hole is the beginning of a three-hole stretch into a small rocky canyon. The signature element of this hole is a deep pot bunker positioned in the fairway; another design feature most likely added by Lehman whose love for Open Championship-style courses is evident throughout this layout. Whatever you do, don’t go into the bunker. A large two-tiered green calls for an accurate approach.

The 326-yard par-4 13th is uphill all the way and requires a supremely accurate touch on approach to a green where a few yards could be the difference between a birdie putt and watching your ball spin off the green’s severely sloping false front and roll all the way to your feet.

Upon reaching the 492-yard par-4 18th, you’re treated to a complete panoramic of the valley.

“No other golf course in Phoenix gives you the same perspective of the valley,” said Director of Sales and Marketing Doug Foss. “You always have some other ranges in the way, but not here because you’re looking to the east instead of the west. It’s a really cool shot from there.”

The nines touch uniquely different areas of the property but have the common element of strategic golf and a traditional style.

“The careful placement of bunkers along with the natural movement in the fairways will challenge all players no matter what their skill level,” said Lehman, who calls nearby Scottsdale home. “However, the real test comes around the greens.

“While the putting surfaces tend to be large and inviting the collars slope away into deep, closely mown chipping areas similar in style to those of the green complexes of the vaunted Pinehurst No. 2,” Lehman added. “Thus the large greens will play much smaller, requiring tee shots to be positioned into the proper section of the fairway to have the easiest route to the green. This is the essence of strategic design of a golf course; many options as to how to play the hole, but only one is the best.”

The Raven at Verrado has become a popular spot during Major League Baseball’s Spring Training and annually hosts an inter-squad golf tournament between the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners in mid-February.

Be sure to ask about the Verrado Package, which provides unlimited golf and use of the driving range plus a meal in the Verrado Grille and an on-course snack and drink from the beverage cart.

The Raven Golf Club at VerradoThe Raven at Verrado has a great restaurant and first-class food and beverage service, giving the club the ability to host corporate parties, holiday events, weddings and golf tournaments.

For more information on the The Raven Golf Club at Verrado, please call (623) 388-3000 or visit  www.ravenatverrado.com.


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