Course Review - The Pointe at Lookout Mountain Review
Designed in 1989 by Bill Johnston, (also designer of one of Meridian’s favorite hidden gems, Rancho Manana) The Pointe at Lookout Mountain will take you on a fun ride from beginning to end. It starts off with a few more traditional holes and then the elevation changes and desert style really kicks in, and the results are a wild and enjoyable round of golf.
A new definition of “green” bursts into your vocabulary when you visit The Point at Lookout Mountain. Thick Bermuda carpets work their way towards immaculate greens. And the color throughout the fairways is stunning, bright, lush, rich green. If you seek a fabulously conditioned golf course, stop here and be treated to some particularly verdant play. In the summer of 2007, the course had a minor face lift as some of the grass was replaced by desert landscape creating a more challenging target style to some of the holes.
This beautiful resort layout weaves its way through rugged terrain that borders the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and offers spectacular views of both Lookout Mountain and Squaw Peak. This is an exciting golf course for players of all skill levels as it presents the finest characteristics from both desert golf and traditional golf layouts. Desert golf and wide-open fairways may not belong in the same sentence, let alone on the same golf course. However, this contradiction of terms is not only true of The Pointe at Lookout Mountain, it's indicative of what you'll find when you visit this gem - a little bit of everything.
Most holes on this dynamic course play fairly straight from tee to green, and those that do provide doglegs are more in the variety of bananas, not boomerangs. Small alleys through which to carve your shot are non-existent; instead carries over predominantly unplayable desert brush are the norm. The second hole fits this mold, a par-5 that is a dogleg right, a hole that like most of the others is easily navigable, providing danger down only one side - in this case the left, with two bunkers and a bevy of trees and scrub.
“The greens are as close to perfect as you can get,” according to Leo Simonetta, Director of Golf at The Pointe at Lookout Mountain, “and they have been consistently voted the best in the city and the state.” That’s the good news. “They are also tiny, quick and fast with lots of breaks. The trick is to look at the hillside surrounding the green. The shape of those hills will indicate the predominant break of the putt. Just follow the contour,” says Simonetta. Believe me, it is wise to take his advice.
Although the course is lightly bunkered, there are many desert carries from the tee boxes. Water comes into play on only the 15th, 16th, and 18th. Trees – palms, pine, mesquite, palo verde, and Saguaro cacti – adorn the course and mountains rim and silhouette it. Elevations are dramatic and provide some real thrills on several holes. Amazingly the trek from almost every green to the next tee involves a climb, and therefore almost every hole plays downhill. The only hole that really plays noticeably uphill is 13.
The first six holes on this course are relatively wide-open and allow some margin for error. Regrettably, the same can’t be said for the greens. The first green is 11 yards deep and 17 yards wide. The par 5, 2nd hole is a 562 yard dogleg right with a carry over desert. It features a green barely 20 yards across. The 504 yard, par 5, 5th, again has a huge landing area just before the angle. Then aim for another 17 yard wide green protected by a large front bunker.
Perhaps it's no coincidence that No. 7 plays sharply downhill, as it often may signify the place where scores start heading in the same direction. This par 5 is the first of two signature holes and is the hardest hole on the course and one of the most spectacular. The stepped-up tee boxes provides jaw dropping, magnificent views that look over the desert to another lush fairway sloping downhill. Lookout Mountain hovers on your right and the North Mountains frame the horizon. Your drive must avoid a mesquite tree lurking on the right side of the fairway. Your second shot must carry an intersecting desert to another carpeted landing area about 100 yards from the elevated green, which is protected by bunkers on the front left and rear right and rolls and dips along its meager 19 by 27 yard surface. This hole will make you think on every shot: go for it in two, or play into a generous lay-up area right? Don’t be short, or your ball may actually trickle all the way to your feet, below the elevated green.
Water, and any existing wind, comes into play on the exciting 15th and 16th holes, a par-5 and par-3, respectively. Don't miss left on 15 and don't miss at all on the narrow 16th green, or you bring bogey or worse into play. All you need are flip-flops, a big umbrella, and maybe some SPF 45 here, because all this sand and water are akin to a beach.
The 17th hole provides a return to the over-expansive landing areas of the early front nine, with a few more bunkers spread throughout. And the 18th hole is a par-5 that can make a hero out of the deft middle-iron player and a goat out of pretty much anyone, at least anyone capable of misfiring an iron shot into the water that guards the front and back of this narrow green. If you avoid the water then you will go home with a big grin on your face. Even if you go in the water you will probably leave pretty happy.
Signature Hole : The most spectacular hole on the course earns a perfect 10. Not only is it shapely, contoured and gorgeous, but the 10th hole’s tee box is well over 10 stories high and provides a spectacular view from any one of the four tee boxes perched on the desert hillside. While standing on the tee box you are treated to one of the most dramatic drops you will ever see on a golf course. When you hit the ball it seems to stay in the air for an eternity, as it hovers and falls 175 feet below, to a left to right sloping fairway. Your approach must avoid three bunkers surrounding the triangle green which slopes quickly from back to front. It is a truly magnificent and memorable golf hole.
Other Information - The Pointe Golf Club at Lookout Mountain
Golf Digest named it one of the 450 best public courses in the country and Lookout Mountain has been consistently voted one of the top 25 golf courses in the state of Arizona. Our course has also hosted celebrity events such as the Harmon Killebrew Invitational, the Royce Clayton Charity Classic and the Phoenix Suns Scramble.
Designer: Forrest Richardson / Bill Johnston
Director of Golf: Leo Simonetta
Golf Pro: Jeff Raymond
- Superintendent: Paul Smith
Grass type: Bermuda in the summer, overseeded with Rye Grass in the winter.
Recommended handicap:A thoughtful feature is the careful placement of the forward tees which makes this course a big favorite among the women golfers who give it constant kudos. And yet the back tees are a challenge for any golfer. So we can recommend this course to all skill levels.
1 -10 Course Rating by Meridian’s Golf Specialists: 9
Comments by Meridian Guests:
- “I compare this course to the movie King Kong. It starts off calm and then the beast is released and it becomes a wild adventure. We really loved it.”
“Just got back from a 5 day trip to AZ staying at Meridian. Of the five courses, this course was simply the best. I am glad it was recommended to us.”
“The course was challenging yet fair, and offered some spectacular views.”
- “Great course. Very well maintained. Grass was green and soft. Course looks harder than it actually is.”
- “Hole number 7 & 10 were the two most dramatic holes I have ever played. Just a great experience.”
- “The layout, the service, and especially the conditions, were all fabulous.”
- “I recommend this course to all skill levels. My wife and teenage boys really enjoyed it. I am a low handicap golfer and I found it very challenging from the back tees.”
- Wow! Bring your camera and be ready to use it.”
The Drive: Only about 20 minutes from Meridian CondoResorts. It is also only about 15 minutes from the airport so it is also a good course for the day of arrival or departure.
Daily Double: Stonecreek, Legend at Arrowhead, or Rancho Manana