Opened for play in 1998, the Prospector course at the 36-hole Superstition Mountain Golf & Country Club is the course that Jack and Gary Nicklaus built (with associate Phil Smith) that hosted five editions of the Phoenix LPGA International tournament between 2004 and 2008.
This is a mega-sized golf complex -- the other 18-hole layout is called Lost Gold. Over the years a range of different professional events -- most notably the LPGA Safeway International – have been played over the Prospector Course.
The Nicklaus signature design elements are front and center. Wide fairways with a number of larger-sized bunkers dotting the landscape. Sadly, the ground movement is limited and many of the fairways, while immaculately groomed, are your garden variety of flat-as-a-pancake type.
The course grooming is often top shelf and the Superstition Mountains in the backdrop does add to the visual enjoyment when playing.
For those coming to the Valley of the Sun there are plenty of top tier Nicklaus layouts to attempt to play. If Prospector were on a dinner menu -- it's more of a quick appetizer -- just not the main entree.
M. James Ward