Las Sendas: The Pathway to Breathtaking Desert GolfBy Michael K. Wong • Nov 4th, 2008
This is the sense of the desert hills, that there is room enough and time enough. – American Writer Mary Austin
If you truly want to enjoy a round of golf in the desert mountains of Arizona, don’t “play” the round, but “experience” it. Yes, your competitive juices will cause you to strategize where to land the ball and how to take hazards out of play. But when you play a breathtaking desert course like Las Sendas Golf Club in east Mesa take the time to enjoy the beauty and life of the desert.
My early morning weekday round at Las Sendas followed a day of rain in the Phoenix area. It was cooler than the usual summer morning and as I walked to the driving range, I breathed the wonderful smell of desert flora after a soaking. It was a fresh and natural smell and the grass was still a little damp and the putting green cushy.
The Robert Trent Jones, Jr. course is beautifully deceiving. The yardage is just under 7000 yards from the back tees (about 6000 yards from the middle and 5100 yards from the forward tees), but you play uphill and along the mountains on some holes so club up accordingly. On the par four 430 yard dogleg right 4th hole, your second shot will be aimed at a neatly tucked green framed by a mountain and the par three 135 yard 11th green is about 80 feet higher than your tee box. Extra club is a good thing. And when reading the greens, no matter how the break looks to you, ask someone to point you towards the city of Phoenix, because that’s the direction the ball will travel.
When playing Las Sendas, chances are you will not see another fairway from the fairway that you’re playing from. Each hole is its own—the mark of true Arizona desert golf. Nebraskan Jeff (6 handicap) played from the tips and his favorite hole was the par five 576 yard #18 hole with water. “I like the risk/reward,” said Jeff. “I hit over water the entire way to the green and two putted for a birdie.”
His playing partner John (16 handicap) from Omaha played from the blue tees, “There is some trouble out there with blind holes, but the views are beautiful,” he said. Both players enjoyed the Las Sendas experience so much, that they played back-to-back rounds.
Jeff and John are not the only ones who enjoy Las Sendas. Come out during Spring training and you might catch a glimpse of a Chicago Cub player. Director of Golf Craig Carmody says other celebrities enjoy the course as well,” Steve Young, Emmitt Smith, Alice Cooper, Greg Maddux, Albert Bell and local athletes play here.”
Successful course designers likes Jones leave the desert alone. Even though you may be focused on the lush green strips of fairways and tightly cut, odd-shaped greens, one should observe how the vast desert surrounds each hole, creating a nice contrast for Arizona Golf.
At an elevation of 2100 feet and miles away from busy city streets, you can enjoy the stillness and life of the desert. On this day, a perky roadrunner was looking for food on hole number two’s fairway. And a chuckwalla on #16 used a flat, orange-colored rock as its tanning booth for a few minutes. You just might see javelina, snakes (yes, even rattlers), lizards, desert rodents, quail and other wildlife while waiting for your partner’s next shot. It seems something is always happening in the desert because there is room enough and time enough.
Not so good. Bring the sunscreen and a hat. You’ll need a double layer of the skin protector for this course. There are cacti and other natural desert brush and vegetation, but don’t count on finding any large shade trees.
- Las Sendas is Spanish for “paths or pathway”
- The privately owned course opened in 1995 and is about 30 minutes east of downtown Phoenix.
- ESPN has ranked Las Sendas as the 12th most difficult course n the U.S.
- Las Sendas is the host for two professional mini tour events each year
- Expect to pay about $150 per round between January and April. Rates drop to half after 1:00 p.m. During the summer, you can play for as low as $32, cart included.
Five Things You Might Overhear at Las Sendas Golf Resort
- Wow! Check out this view!
- Shhh… Quiet. There’s a roadrunner on the fairway.
- It seems cooler up here in the mountains.
- That guy looks familiar. Doesn’t he play for the Cubs?
- Does the ball break towards the mountain or towards the city?