McDowell Mountain Course Review
Course Review - McDowell Mountain Golf Club
Nestled in the majestic foothills of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale,
Arizona, Sanctuary Golf Course at Westworld provides a spectacular golf
setting. The course's eco-sensitive layout takes advantage of the natural
terrain and vegetation, mixing native wetlands and cattails with saguaro cacti,
ironwood and mesquite trees. Built in 1999 on the western slope of Scottsdale's
McDowell Mountains and adjacent to the nationally recognized Westworld
equestrian center, Sanctuary is more than a stunning golf course.
Acclaimed golf course architect Randy Heckenkemper transformed the
Bureau of Reclamation's storm water retention area into a 6,624-yard, par-71
layout that provides a haven for native plants and wildlife. Sanctuary at
Westworld is the first golf course in Arizona, and the 17th course in the
world, to attain the coveted Audubon Signature Status. While friendly to the
environment, Sanctuary is an entertaining challenge that demands intelligent
course management at every hole. Although total yardage from each tee, at first
glance, appears short, the course offers many challenges.
Sanctuary offers a spirited mix of holes, including a number of intriguing
short par 4’s that require a decisive and perhaps restrained strategy from tee
to green, especially on the par four 15th hole which serves as terse
reminder of this strategy on its short downhill dog-leg left. If you are
daring, you can go for the green by driving the ball over the corner.
Unfortunately, if you are not precise the result will be worse than a lay up
with a safe iron, thanks to the giant bunkers guarding the green and the
absence of a grass landing area near the green when approaching the green
directly from the tee box. The front nine is links-style golf, with plenty of
fairway landing area. The back nine becomes more desert, target-style golf with
carries over rock washes that require accuracy and distance.
The Sonoran desert's native quails, roadrunners and jackrabbits watch quietly
as you play on the rolling terrain of the Sanctuary Golf Course. After the sun
sets brilliantly to the west, deer and wild coyote come out to play on
Sanctuary's 6,650-yard, par-71 layout that features nearly 80 acres of turf and
65 sand bunkers. Bordered by naturally protected areas, holes 2, 3, 4 and 5,
demand precision and smart golf management.
Number eight is one of two signature holes. This 200
yard plus, par 3 is both beautiful and enticing, incorporating one large water
feature complete with two multi-tiered waterfalls. The water cuts in front of
the green and is deceptively hidden from view off the tees. The eighteenth hole
is the second signature hole. The course closes heroically with this dog-leg
left par 5 five 18th that plays uphill to a narrow opening across an
arroyo, setting up the thrilling outcome. The 18th hole is beautiful
with spectacular views of the McDowell Mountains.
Score Card - McDowell Mountain Golf Club
Other Information - McDowell Mountain Golf Club
Practice Facilities: A very nice driving range, putting and chipping
green and practice sand traps.
19th Hole: An elegant setting with a nice menu selection, the restaurant
at Sanctuary is a great place to relax and take in the mountain views after a
challenging round of golf. There is also a snack bar and drink cart.
Clubhouse: The Sanctuary Golf Course's stone and stucco clubhouse is an
inviting retreat that features a host of amenities including a comfortably
elegant dining room, a multi-use, outdoor covered pavilion and an impressive
Designer: Randy Heckenkemper
Director of Golf: John Patzwald
Golf Pro: Ryan Stemsrud
Superintendent: Jeff Davis
Grass type: Greens: Bermuda grass.
Golf Lessons There's no better place to fine-tune your golf game than the
Sanctuary Golf Course. Whether you are perfecting your swing on the driving
range or mastering difficult shots on course, Sanctuary’s teaching
professionals can offer you individual or group instruction geared to your
particular golfing style, experience and personal goals.
Recommended handicap: With five sets of tees on each hole, the Sanctuary
provides an enjoyable golf experience for players of every skill level.
1 -10 Course Rating by Meridian’s Golf Specialists: 7
Comments by Meridian Guests:
- “We all had fun. The last few holes were exceptional.”
- “A great golf experience, although a few holes were strange because I was
not permitted to step onto the ground to get the ball when it was hit out of
- “Sanctuary was challenging and playable, which is not usually the case.”
The Drive: Less than 15 minutes from Meridian. Located on the beautiful
McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale.
McDowell Mountain Golf Club
10690 E. Sheena Dr.
Scottsdale, AZ 85255