Superstition Springs Golf CourseBy Jay Reynolds • Nov 5th, 2009
I’m just going to go ahead and say it up front: you will not soon forget your first time playing Superstitions Springs Golf Club.
That may be all you need to read to book a tee time at one of the Valley’s most unique layouts. And I might usually refer to “unique” as a bad thing, but in this case I believe Greg Nash crafted a wonderful golfers playground that has the teeth to test the best players, but the soft edge to allow enjoyment for all skill levels.
I’m not the first to talk about the prowess of the layout, as Golfweek Magazine named Superstition Springs to its list of “America’s Best Courses” in 1992, 93 and 94. No small feat for a course built away from Scottsdale’s conglomerate of golf greats.
While Superstition Springs perhaps hasn’t gotten the same respect as of late, I suggest you head out and get your tee in the ground as soon as possible. Especially since the maximum you’ll pay for a primetime Saturday greens fee is $59 bucks for a local.
I can’t say enough about the overall enjoyment factor this layout brings to the table. Fairly forgiving off the tee, as common to the Valley, the challenge lies in the approach shots. The collection of green complexes around Superstition Springs are so memorable that I imagine that every round of golf there will leave an impression only found with the greatest of courses.
“There’s no cookie-cutter holes out here,” the Starter informed me before teeing off on number one.
And while the first five holes certainly didn’t provide anything less than great, I will fast-forward to the beastly par five 6th hole, aka “Twisted Palm.”
Six hundred and ten yards from the back tees doesn’t tell the story. The lake guarding the right side of the fairway offers nothing more than an obstacle. The hazard flanking the left side of lay-up area doesn’t even really come to mind. But when you prepare to strike your third shot (hopefully to the green!) you will not forget Superstition Springs’ number one handicap hole.
The amoeba-shaped putting surface measures 63 yards in depth, meaning if the pin is on the front of the green versus the back, it could be a five-club difference. But it’s not the expansive size, it’s the distinctive curled palm tree laden bunker that guards the back-left fingernail of the green.
I say fingernail, not finger. The back-left portion is not big enough to be called a finger.
While the pin wasn’t cut back there the day I toured the course, I was left to imagine the precision required to nestle even a modest pitch close to the hole. If 610 yards wouldn’t be enough, put the pin back in the fingernail and turns the 6th into a par 5 and half.
The fingernail option for the morning pin-cutter is a common thread throughout Superstition Springs. It’s truly unlike any course I’ve played not just in the Valley, but pretty much anywhere.
Nine of the greens feature one of the smallish fingernail portions that could wreck havoc on the mid-judged shot and make scrambling very difficult, yet fair.
For a course that reaches just a shade over 7,000 yards from the tips, there are plenty of short par 4’s. Six of the ten par 4’s play 402 yards or shorter, which should leave even the average hitter plenty of short irons and wedge approach shots.
The par 3’s, however, are a different story.
The average length from the back tees of the four three-pars: 206 yards. This includes the sheepish 161-yard strait uphill 11th. The seventh and 15th holes max out at 228 and 231 respectively. This is why the club companies invented hybrids!
The most festive of the par 3’s is the heavily bunkered 231-yard 15th. Nicknamed “Gauntlet,” the green has a large middle portion, guarded by 6 pot bunkers just beyond and one large gaping bunker short and right. Then there is another fingernail that reaches to the back and left of the green. Getting a long iron close to any pin cut back left is next to impossible.
However tough the fingernails are to attack, I must say that I like fact that playing safely to the middle of the green always leaves a routine lag-putt, which should result in an easy par. The difficulty comes with shots fired back at the fingernails that miss and leave difficult chips. A smart conservative battle plan will pay dividends at Superstition Springs when the pins are tucked.
I’ll now take you to the most scenic hole on this Arizona golf course, the par 5 17th.
This 537-yard five-par offers choices on every shot, risk vs. reward. As the fairway majestically sweeps around a large pond, you must decide whether to challenge the water and press your drive farther up the fairway or lay back and accept the hole as a three-shot par-5.
Missing the lake off the tee doesn’t mean you are through with it, you’ll have to avoid the watery gravy again on your second as the pond continues to dwarf the right side of the hole.
The green sits elevated with another water hazard hidden long and left of the green. Long-hitters beware, pin high and left of the green is wet.
This hole wouldn’t be complete without a fingernail, which makes its appearance this time on the front part of the green. The widest part of the putting surface is actually the back half. Distance control is at a premium throughout the entire Superstition Springs layout, and definitely so here at number 17.
After navigating all the potential disasters at the 17th you’ll head over the longest par-4 on the course to finish your round.
Stretching to 455-yards from the tips, the 18th hole is a man-sized hole. A running creek pinches in the fairway up the right half, so keep your tee ball up the less-penal left side. Up around the green, two massive yawning bunkers (one front and one rear) await your approach. This green is relatively shallow, especially in the back right portion. The proper line to play is up the left center of the green for any flag location. Needless to say, standing in the fairway with a long iron will certainly make you wish you already had a par on your card and hamburger on your plate! Make par to finish and you’ll enjoy your lunch that much more.
I hope you enjoy your round at Superstition Springs Golf Club as much as I did. I believe it offers a wonderful golf challenge that never gets carried away. More than anything else I think Superstition Springs provides an affordable, fun and enjoyable day of golf. The layout will keep every player entertained! Please let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did!