Golf courses in Phoenix are full of experiences beyond smacking the ball a mile and making that 20 foot putt. I’ve turned a corner to see a stunning view of a sunlit tree against a dark sky full of clouds, and watched a colorful hummingbird hover for a minute so close I thought it would land on my hand.
Bellair Golf Club is a pretty Executive par 59 course in north Phoenix, with mature trees and lakes. Hole 1 is bounding with bunnies, the soft, fluffy Easter kind. Hummingbirds flit around the tree. The geese waddling around can be mean. I’ve had to fend them off with a putter to retrieve my ball. Hole 11 has a small lake where ducks mob you looking for a handout. Their loud, distracting quacking sounds like laughter. The biggest hazard is duck and goose poop, watch where you walk!
Maryvale Championship Golf Course is a par 72 oasis in the heart of Phoenix with lakes and large pine, eucalyptus, and palm trees. Be warned, the big eucalyptus on the right on Hole 10 has a magical vortex that draws my ball into it every time. The course is surrounded by houses and stray dogs wander through. They can be aggressively playful, jumping on players, barking loudly, and running off with the balls.
Aguila Golf Course is a par 72 desert course south of Phoenix. Coyotes are common and unafraid. They are fun to watch but it is unnerving when they just stand there and you have to shoo them off the course. The large black birds at Aguila are cunning. Hide your food. While waiting to putt, I watched one dig around deep in my open knapsack, drag out my granola bar, and fly off with it. In the summer, bring lots of water and use a cart in the heat of the day. Aguila does not have many shade trees and the distances between holes are long.
Cave Creek Golf Course in north Phoenix is a challenging par 72 that boasts of being built on a landfill and of having the largest men’s club in the state. Even though it is in an urban area, coyotes often run by and across the fairways. Javelina are rare but can be spotted from time to time. Do not annoy the pigs! They are generally peaceful but can become aggressive if cornered or threatened. On Hole 13 we have often seen a beautiful pair of hawks perched in the trees or soaring above us. Snakes crawl around the desert and gullies that flank the fairways. When you go looking for a ball, take a club with you and use it to poke around in the brush.
Next time you’re out on the course waiting to take your next shot, take a relaxing breath, look around, enjoy the scenery and wildlife.
Bellair Golf Club, http://www.bellairgolf.com/
Maryvale Championship Golf Course, http://phoenix.gov/recreation/rec/facilities/golf/golfcourses/maryvale/index.html
Aguila Golf Course, http://phoenix.gov/recreation/rec/facilities/golf/golfcourses/aguila/index.html
Cave Creek Golf Course, http://phoenix.gov/recreation/rec/facilities/golf/golfcourses/cavecreek/index.html