The Gallery Golf Club’s North Course gets much of the most scenic land at the foot of Dove Mountain in Tucson, AZ. John Fought — working by himself, while he worked alongside Tom Lehman at the North Course — had to get more creative to design an engaging round of golf on the south side of the property.
Fortunately, even when one is not afforded a mountain, desert golf is full of unique landforms. One example is the washed out creek bed that serves as the focus on No. 10, a par five that players can consider going for in two if they play it correctly. The first question raised by the bed is whether the player can cross it from the tee; if not, dreams of eagle disappear. Players will then need to carry the hazard a second time on their way to the green.
Fought is more than happy to fold the land to his needs, exaggerating the rolls of the fairway of No. 7 so a flat lie is unlikely, or so that shot placement makes all the difference on the short (if not quite drivable) par four at No. 7.
The course hosted the 2007-'08 Accenture Match Play Championship.
The course hosted two WGC match-play events and is a fine effort by architect John Fought. It checks the boxes in terms of hole variety. However, the biggest downside is the limited dimensional quality in terms of the routing. For the most part the opening seven holes march out on a straight line so the wind pattern faced is in the same manner -- time after time.
You then go the opposite direction for several holes.
Things do improve for the final third of the course but any course limited for the bulk of what it presents is not maximizing out its potential.
The turf quality is very good but if forced to choose I'd prefer to play the North layout because of the better routing and overall terrain. What many need to realize is that hosting professional golf events does not automatically mean compelling architecture of the highest order is also included.
M. James Ward