Location: Buckeye, Ariz.
Course architect: Tom Lehman
From the tips: 7,258 yards
Saturday morning green fee: $$$ ($100-$149, in season)
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: No
Greens: MiniVerde bermudagrass
Starter: The Victory Course at Verrado is the second of two Tom Lehman-designed courses in a massive upscale real estate community in the foothills of the White Tank Mountains, located about 30 minutes west of Phoenix. Along with the standard driving range, the course features the Victory Golf Playground, a dedicated short game practice facility. Long cart path rides bordered by future single-family homes or retirement villas are reminders that this is not an intimate early 20th century classic. On the other hand, it’s good to know good new golf courses are being built again.
Play because … : You’re visiting friends who live in the Verrado community or you simply want a golf journey through a new, well-conditioned course with impressive desert mountain vistas.
Takeaway: The Victory is designed to be golfer friendly with ample landing areas off the tee. The closing holes are memorable as three of the final four play toward the mountains and feature striking hole designs. The 18th hole turns away from the mountains and provides the “wow” factor. The hole is a massive par 5 that plays across water from the black and silver tees and downhill some 25 feet.
RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 6
Pro shop: 5.0
Pace of play: 7.0
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best Par 3: No. 2 (170 yards). Tiger Mountain looks over a slightly uphill tee shot to a green that features a small rock formation at the back right of a large green and a bunker short right. Aim left off the tee, but not too far otherwise a peninsula of desert rocks that encroaches near the left side of the green will be found. The green, which is 46 paces deep, has a bit of contour and a vein running through the middle.
Best Par 4: No. 13 (474 yards). The hole features a fairway that wends like an “s” curve. The ideal tee shot through a rock formation chute needs to fit into a narrow landing area where the fairway bends from the right to left. Go too far left off the tee and a grass mound obscures the green; too far right, and look out for cactus and a rock wall. The shot into the green will be dictated by pin placement, as the left side of the green features a mound and the right drops off severely. The good news? There are no greenside bunkers.
Best Par 5: No. 18 (590 yards). From the black and silver tees, the downhill tee shot is the only forced carry on the course. The shot is over a large lake and a skinny sand bunker. Golfers playing the white tees can just aim for the fairway with no forced carry. The layup second shot must be played to the right, otherwise the sightline to the green on the left would be blocked by mounding. A rock formation rises about 50 yards in front of the green, another fun obstacle courtesy of Lehman. The smallish green is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get affair with a few hidden breaks.
Rated by: Barry Cronin