Story By David R. Holland
SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Many have said the blueprint for desert golf was made when Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish designed Troon North Monument Course back in 1989.
The late Morrish subsequently downplayed that by saying he thought target-golf standards were set by Jack Nicklaus’ Desert Highlands and then Troon Country Club, a Weiskopf-Morrish private course.
I really don’t care. What I care about is the pleasure it is to step on the grounds at Troon North. And when you top it off with a stay at nearby Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North you have one fine vacation.
I love the way Weiskopf was inspired by Alister MacKenzie, not by Augusta National, but by Ohio State’s Scarlet Course, where he played collegiate golf. I look forward to the drivable par fours he designs on every course and trying to figure out what “gotcha” element he is presenting.
I enjoy his approach to bunkering – putting as many on the left side of the fairways as the right. And that his bunkers are used in three schemes – as aiming points, as hazards to avoid and in strategy where they may save you from OB or water.
Today, Troon North’s Monument and Pinnacle 18s keep improving.
Have a chat with Mike Friend, Troon North’s Director of Sales, and you know wheels are churning.
“Last summer we had a three-month project to update the Monument’s greens and bunkers and this year we will do the same for the Pinnacle side, which will close June 5 and reopen October 5 after over-seeing,” Friend said.
The goals of both projects — greens resurfaced with creeping A4 bent grass and collars resurfaced with TifGrand semi-dwarf Bermuda grass. Bunker renovations updated drainage in all greenside and fairway bunkers, new bunker liners and new Pioneer bunker sand. Monument updated green complexes to their original shape, size and contours by utilizing GPS coordinates gathered from Weiskopf’s original design.
“We are committed to providing our guests with the finest course conditions on the planet at our flagship facility,” said Dana Garmany, chairman and chief executive officer, Troon. “Through these green and bunker enhancements on Monument, we are proactively improving and reinvesting in one of the top daily-fee courses in the nation. We plan to execute a similar improvement project on the Pinnacle course next summer (2018) to keep both courses at the top in a competitive marketplace.”
Friend was also excited for a new fleet of golf boards and club cars with the premium bucket seats, usb ports and spots for Bluetooth speakers. “We are also in discussion for Shark Experience, which would make our excellence in customer service second to none,” he said. “And many people don’t know we are one only a few in the valley still with bent putting surfaces.”
First-time golfers will find these 36 holes beautiful, distracting and tough. When a helicopter made an emergency landing one summer on green of The Monument hole of Troon North’s Monument Course, it was just a little ironic.
Imagine the golfers dismay. This par-5, 564-yarder requires you to dodge a giant boulder anchored in the middle of the fairway 262 yards from the Black Tees. Now here’s a dragon fly looking machine in the way on the approach to the green. There are enough obstacles on this 36-hole desert idol to target golf to raise your score. Imagine trying to make a putt, jumping the runners of this wounded ‘copter.
During construction the crews kept trying to move The Monument, but thankfully they gave up when the City of Scottsdale put up a squawk wanting it to be left alone. Weiskopf and Morrish said “fine” and it was incorporated into the hole.
The Monument Course stretches to 7,039 yards and a par 72. The Pinnacle Course is 7,009 yards and par 71. Both courses will challenge you with arroyos, natural washes, huge saguaros, mesquite, ironwood and lush green fairways, some hidden behind boulders, high-lipped bunkers and mounds. Then there’s the huge, tricky greens — many tees seem to be pedestals perched above the fairways.
Rankings? You bet — the Monument is No. 58 on Golf Digest’s top 100 public courses and Pinnacle is No. 28.
The 37,000-square foot Troon North Clubhouse houses The Dynamite Grille, a casual contemporary bar and grill was recently renovated. Troon North has an outstanding golf shop, golf instruction, locker rooms and banquet, conference and catering facilities.
Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North
Pinnacle Peak is also your view from the Four Seasons Scottsdale, on the site a scene from the movie Raising Arizona was filmed. The world-class resort opened its door on December 22, 1999, and it completed the Troon North complex as a world-class resort.
My adobe casita was awesome – just steps away from pool and hot tub I used in the early morning hours. For breakfast at Proof I loved the Green Chile Pork Benedict: Poached Eggs, Green Chile Pork, English Muffin, Jalapeno Hollandaise, Avocado, Hash Browns With Tomato Bacon Jam. For dinner at Talavera it was 8-ounce C.A.B. Filet with black garlic, caramelized onion, olive, and manchego. Dessert? Cinnamon Churros with warm chocolate dipping sauce, saffron.
Now that’s living the good life in Scottsdale.