The Arizona Biltmore Links Golf CourseBy Rudy Erdmann • Apr 18th, 2011
History isn’t just about knowing what happened before, but rather taking what happened and learning from it. You get lots of that at the 3+ decades old Links course at the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club.
Know that you can’t have an unpleasant round. Think rolling slopes, lots of green grass, aged trees, water and bunkers that can be forgiving. Then picture unblemished fairways, greens and manicured fringes and unmatched views. Then grasp that some the biggest celebrities played and play here. Then appreciate that there aren’t “targets”, or roughs that will make you forget about looking for a lost ball. Put this all together and it’s an unforgettable and enjoyable round of golf as you’ve experienced. Playing the 6300 yard Biltmore Links course was a step into the future, not the past. It’s about choices but where some newer courses offer long roughs to clear (to even get to the fairway for the average golfer), sometime dangerous roughs that hide who knows what reptiles live there, deep bunkers and long holes, take these off you worry list when you get to the Biltmore Links.
The playability of this course takes golfing full circle. For all the difficult and challenging new course designs, the basic elements of a good design were built into the Links and others will follow and return to this proven concept that brings players back again and again. No matter the course design or difficulty, the only thing a player wants is an enjoyable round. Here you get it.
I played this course when they offered all-you-can-play for 5 bucks after 3 PM in the summer months. But that’s not why we kept coming back. Somewhere in the last three decades, this course has aged like fine wine. It’s like an amusement park where around every bend a new ride awaits, some that make you scream, others that just let you enjoy the ride. What strikes me first is the expanse of green and spectacular views of Phoenix. Then, as my playing partner said, “this course makes playing golf fun again.”
It offers a round that offers all one would expect from a world class course. The difference is it doesn’t intimidate or make it a frustrating experience. But let me not mislead you. The course has all kinds of twists, turns, slopes and visually-deceiving holes.
Enjoy cart rides from the pro-shop to the 1st and 10th and between the 12th and 13th.
The first and second holes showcase a long pond on the left side. The bottom must be 2 feet deep with balls because you keep looking over there when you tee off. Keep an eye out for locals who can’t resist walking the cart paths on a few holes and enjoying their surroundings as much as the golfer. Avoid your shank shot but remember they do however have lots of large old trees to get behind. The cooperation was mutual since they keep any errant shots that land in their pool.
Hole 6 offers a spectacular view of Piestewa Peak. The view is worthy of a PGA Golf tour where the most gorgeous landscaped backgrounds comprise the backdrop and make you think all courses look like that.
Almost all the holes offer views of the beautiful homes lining the course.
The 9th throws a view of Piestewa Peak right at you and what a view of the Wrigley Mansion. A great eagle hole with the right shots.
The 13th hole just makes you feel small. An expansive grassed wash sits on the left and gives the fairway the feeling of wide open western space..
The 15th hole to me is the Signature hole on this Arizona golf course. The finest elevated hole around, its green is well below the tee box but you get distracted because you can see Piestewa Peak, Camelback Mountain and Papago Buttes as well as 3 cities. When all that’s digested, take your shot onto the green that’s tucked in a corner and trust that the sign that says “play for 165 yards” is accurate. What a hole!
What my playing partner noted about the front 9 holes, I hadn’t appreciated. There are minimal elevations changes. That makes golf more attractive no matter what the age. Although these gradual elevation changes increase in on the back 9, that doesn’t make retrieving your ball a chore that puts you into denial mode or wish an escalator was provided.
So I’ve raved about the courses playability, the views and its enjoyable quirkiness; one of these would be successful without a professional and courteous staff that makes it all possible. Lead by Dick Bates, this management team makes the difference. The rates are very competitive; the team took maintenance and care to the highest level that you see when you notice few and far between divots on the fairways or greens and bunkers that looked like there were raked every hour.
Try it out; you’ll be back and be telling your kids you played there when…………………………….