"A decidedly low-key operation," is how Daniel Wexler describes The Golf Club Scottsdale in The Black Book - Phoenix Area Golf Guide, published in 2011, "the not-so-modestly named Golf Club sits in relative isolation northeast of town, nestled near the base of Fraesfield Mountain. Surrounded mostly by protected land, it may well be the area's closest thing to pure desert golf - as in golf minus 500 immediately abutting homesites or, for that matter, any other signs of civilization."
Few could have imagined the scale of change that would occur after billionaire Bob Parsons acquired The Golf Club Scottsdale in 2013, ten years after Dick Bailey and Jay Morrish designed the original 18-hole golf course. Renaming his new venture Scottsdale National, Parsons then informed members that some were playing too much and contributing too little. Taking the hint, around a third of them left, allowing the new owner to shape the club more to his way of thinking.
In a multi-million dollar investment, the clubhouse underwent an immediate renovation and architects Jackson Kahn Design were called in to upgrade the original course, fashion a new 18-hole layout (The Other Course) and add a short 9-hole course (The Bad Little Nine) to complement the original golf offering at the club.
“We have one rule: no member shall ever impede on another member’s good time,” says Parsons, founder of the domain name registry firm GoDaddy.com and club making company PXG. “We have some members who are A-list celebrities or athletes, or well-known politicians. They come here for anonymity; just to be themselves and one of the people.”
Major improvements on the Mineshaft course has involved sand capping all the holes to a depth of six inches, installing additional bunkers on holes 2, 5, 8, 13 and 15, reworking the landing area on hole 1, modifying the green surrounds on hole 14 and repositioning hole 17.
The Wild West Invitational at Scottsdale National is a madcap member-guest tournament like no other, with the emphasis firmly on having fun – it’s actually more of a big party than a serious golf competition – as separate men’s and women’s events take place over several days in a very happy-go-lucky atmosphere.