On October 18 2007 the PGA Tour visited the Raptor course at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale Arizona. Canadian Mike Weir emerged victoriously for the first time since early in the 2004 season claiming the Fry's Electronics Open.
Scottsdale is to desert golf what the Ayrshire coast is to links golf. Grayhawk is among the finest 36-hole facilities located within a radius of only few miles, including The Boulders, Troon North, We-Ko-Pa, Talking Stick and the TPC of Scottsdale.
The Tom Fazio designed Raptor course, which opened in 1995, is one of the most beautiful courses in the region with spectacular panoramic views of the McDowell Mountains and the surrounding desert dotted with large saguaro cactus. The layout features generous, rolling fairways with beautiful large bent grass greens. There are very few forced desert carries with most holes having fairway the entire route between tee and green.
The Raptor has numerous swales and bunkers many of which are large and deep and must be avoided in order to score well. The signature 156-yard 8th called “Aces & Eights” requires a tee shot that is all carry to a large double-tiered green fronted by three large, deep bunkers with a beautiful mountain view as the backdrop. The finishing hole, called “Big Sky” is a fun par five requiring a lot of nerve on the approach due to the water along the right side for the final 200 yards to the green and bunkers on the left.
The course is usually in perfect condition from fall to spring but as with many Arizona courses conditions suffer in the 100+ degree summer heat. The Raptor and its sister course, the Talon, have been listed in Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 You can Play” and Golf Digest’s “Top 100 Public Courses”.
A good course to sample the delights of desert golf. Narrow fairways and some longish carries make it tricky at first but you soon get used to it. The scenery is awesome and most holes are visually appealing with nicely contrasting greens, bunkers and surrounds. You soon learn to keep your ball out of the desert while appreciating the amazing landscape. The whole Grayhawk complex is sheer fun. Phil's Grill, named after Phil the Mickelson, provided a tasty after round meal and drinks.
Course was in perfect condition, greens were well maintained. There are stunning views all throughout your round.
Scottsdale is regarded as one the worlds premier golf destinations and has an abundance of courses. One of the better facilities is Grayhawk which has 36 holes, extensive practice areas including music on the range and a functional clubhouse. Of the two courses The Raptor is my favourite. Both courses have plenty of variety and like most desert courses the fairways are pretty generous but if you stray offline finding the ball is a challenge. I cannot think of any weak holes but there are a few that standouts. The par 5 4th is nice par 5 which runs slightly uphill to a small raised green which is guarded by deep bunkers and run offs. Hole 6 is a fun drivable par 4 which again has a raised green with many areas to place the pin. The 10th, a mid length par 4 has a generous fairway with a brook running down the right…the fairway slopes a little left to right which makes the approach awkward to this green. The green is guarded by water on the left which will catch the pulled approach. Hole 18 is a decent risk and reward par 5 with water running down the right and a huge bunker lying in wait for those down the left. The green slopes from left to right and is protected by a deep bunker on the left and a lake on the right…the approach to this green will get your pulse racing! If you’re organising a trip to this area then I would recommend adding Grayhawk to the itinerary.
Both courses at Grayhawk are solid desert courses that are fun to play. I would say that neither course is outstanding but both courses are well conditioned, aesthetically pleasing and challenging enough to make for an enjoyable day of golf. The Raptor course is a fairly straightforward Fazio design using many of the design elements Fazio is known for. The fairway bunkers tend to define the holes rather than penalize the player. The greens vary is size, shape and defenses, with deep bunkers being the most often used element but steep slopes and multi level greens come in to play as well. I thought the par 5's offered the most variety, ranging from the shorter 502 yard 7th and 521 yard 18th to the 615 yard 11th. Most of the par 4's were interesting but straightforward, except perhaps for the oddly designed 10th hole which is pinched in by some trees on the left and a water hazard to the right.
I think this would be a nice course to take in on a trip to the area. It seems that most of the top courses around Phoenix and Scottsdale are private, and the Raptor course is a reasonable option open to the public.
Wonderful course,expansive fairways and extremely large greens. I was able to miss both more than I would have thought possible. The par 4 3rd is a &^%&$^ long with a huge fairway on the right side in the landing area. Number 6 is a short fun risk reward par 4. A decent drive will give you a flip wedge to the green, however there is a nefariously deep bunker short right, oh and the green doesn't hold worth a crap either. The par 3 8th is considered the signature hole. The mountains in the background create a photogenic setting. The 12th is a long par four uphill, a real beast. The 15th is a short par 4 with a great view. The 18th is a nice finishing hole with a great view of Scottsdale. Fun course to play
It was a very fast round, not maybe "playing" the course but yes hitting shots, skipping most of the greens as I had no time but I felt it was worth the ride on a quiet summer afternoon.
This is very close to TPC Scottsdale and quite different: more manicured, level changes, some very nice views and the typical Tom Fazio school of design. Beauty and a lot of grass, not big penalties if missing and a very fun course to play.
Although in summer and with almost no traces of ray grass, the course played in amazing condition compared to others in the area including TPC Stadium Course.
It is one of the best in Scottsdale and as many Clubs here, a great 36 holes facility with 2 different courses in the same piece of land. There is where you admire the work of the designer and this one is a very good work from Fazio.