33750 N Dove Lakes Dr Cave Creek, AZ 85331
Ingeniously designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones II, this championship course gently shifts between panoramic openness to the intimacy of lush foliage along Willow Wash. Mirroring the southwestern styling of the petroglyph-etched boulders that mark each hole, the adjoining Club House with Pro Shop and snack bar offer a casual but elegant retreat.
Unlike many of Arizona’s “target” golf courses, Dove Valley Ranch is player friendly, with manicured transition areas that allow its guests to recover without penalty. RTJ Jr. also put a premium on strategy and variety, which translates into a challenging yet refreshing round of golf. Factor in service that is second to none, and no wonder this lush layout on the outskirts of Phoenix is so popular with locals and visitors alike.
Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club is essentially a desert style golf course with hints of tradition, such as ample fairways and subtly contoured greens with openings in front, featuring a low, rolling mix of holes of varying difficulty. The layout is very playable, but also strategic enough to test the course-management skills of every player. According to Jones, the key was to not “overcook” the gentle nature of this golf course, which makes Dove Valley a kinder, gentler creation from a designer usually known for his more heroic strategies.
The front nine opens as an easy warm-up for what is to come and bears down quickly on the 2nd hole, Fatal Attraction. Framed by water down the right, this risk/reward dogleg is quintessential of Jones Jr. designs, which tests the player’s willingness to take a chance. The remainder of the front nine meanders through rejuvenated open desert and closes with a par 4 along a large lake in play on Number 9, Watering Hole.
The back nine tightens as it plays into the dense desert vegetation along Willow Wash, the dominant natural land feature on the golf course. The desert test begins on Number 11, The Peak, a lengthy hole with dense desert both right and left of the tight driving area and a long thin green protected in front and to the right by tributaries to Willow Wash. Ironwood and acacia trees line narrow fairways throughout the Wash holes putting a premium on shots that find fairways. Aptly named Bird Bath, the 18th challenges with a final stretch of water that runs the length of the hole along the right side. The greenside bunkers, water and northerly view of the mountains etches memories of this magnificent course you will want to play again and again.
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