Raven Golf Club at South Mountain

Play the Best First, or Save the Best for Last

Hole #18, Raven Golf Club at South Mountain, Arizona

You’re fresh off the airplane from someplace where the weather might be a little less hospitable and you want to play golf, NOW. Or, you’re about to leave the Valley of the Sun and want to squeeze in one more wonderful round before you depart.

Not just any round of golf, but a 4 1⁄2 Star Golf Digest Place-to-Play round, good enough to host Arizona’s most prestigious amateur tourney every year for more than a decade. Yet an extremely player-friendly  layout that plays, and feels, less like a desert golf course and more like a golf course in the desert, very non-traditional by Arizona standards and located only 10 minutes from Sky Harbor Airport.

Hole #5, Raven Golf Club at South Mountain, Arizona Welcome to the Raven Golf Club at South Mountain , a course honored as having the #1 Guest Service in North America by Golf Digest and #1 in Arizona by the state’s largest newspaper, the Arizona Republic. You’d think a course with such accolades could sit back and smell the cactus blossoms (or their famous mango-scented golf towels), but that’s not how they received those awards in the first place and isn’t how they’re approaching the future. They act like they have to prove themselves everyday.

The borders to this “wall-to-wall” grass course are now laced with red cinder, replacing the pine straw from the 6,000 Georgia pines brought in by David Graham and Gary Panks when they sculpted 700,000 cubic yards of dirt into the Raven at South Mountain in 1995. The natural red trim around the fringes of the course provides a colorful contrast to the immaculate rolling fairways, tall pines, large multi-tiered greens, spectacular mountain vistas and the growing Phoenix skyline. With five sets of tees ranging from just under 5,800 yards back to nearly 7,100, the Raven Golf Club at South Mountain gives the amateurs who’ve played in the Arizona Stroke Play Championship all they can handle for a decade now. This course is as player-friendly as you’ll fi nd in the Valley with a rating/slope of 72.8/130 from the tips and 70.5/125 from the 6,722-yard silver tees.

The variety of shot opportunities becomes very apparent, very early at the Raven Golf Club at South Mountain. A mid-range par-4 opening hole precedes the shortest par-3 on the layout, but it requires a precise approach to a split-level elevated green with a severe slope to one side and the course’s largest bunker on the other. Negotiate that opening pair of holes and all you’re faced with is the longest par-4 and longest par-5 on the course. General Manager Travis Fish’s favorite hole combination is the long par-3 seventh and dogleg par-4 eighth that force you to flirt with a watery grave off the tee, and in the case of the #8, also on the approach. The back nine features a variety of risk/reward holes, none more risky and rewarding as the finishing trio of holes, handicapped as the three toughest on the side—the long par-4 16th, the threeshot, uphill par-5 17th, and the picturesque par-4 18th with bunkers to the left in the landing area and the last of the course’s gorgeous, but treacherous ponds hugging the right side of the green.

Hole #11, Raven Golf Club at South Mountain, Arizona

 
Even the practice facility, with putting and chipping greens and five target greens on the range, has been ranked among the top two in Arizona by the Arizona Republic. There’s not much here that the Raven at South Mountain doesn’t do well, which is why it’s also the golf home for the 2007 National League West Champion Arizona Diamonbacks. The same amenities that have made the Raven at South Mountain so popular for everyday play has also made it the place for small group outings, larger corporate gatherings and charity events. “The Raven Difference” offers memberfor-a-day planning and service to groups of all sizes, and the recent completion of the new Events Pavilion creates a wonderful venue for groups of up to 200, not only for golf functions, but holiday parties, weddings and receptions, and business gatherings. It’s all catered by the same renowned staff that serves up its award-winning fare at the Raven Grill daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a happy hour that really is happy.

Raven Golf Club at South Mountain, Arizona The staff at the Raven at South Mountain is always conscious of paceof-play, which makes one of their new membership options all the more appealing. A new corporate membership package allows a busy businessman to call the club’s concierge directly and book a tee time the same afternoon, or 30 days out, to maximize effi ciency. There are many other membership options available as well. You can learn about them, book a tee time online, or join their e-mail club that alerts you of news and exclusive online specials at www.theravensouthmountain.com. You can also call them at (602) 243-3636.

The folks at the Raven Golf Club at South Mountain know and appreciate that there are a number of fabulous courses in the Valley of the Sun, and some who can brag about their customer service. But they challenge you to find one that combines the smiles of the service-oriented staff with the smile you’ll have after the experience of playing the Raven at South Mountain, all within a 10-minute drive of the Phoenix airport. Make it your fi rst round, your last round, or both. Don’t be surprised if they’re not your best rounds, too.

 

 

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