Tom Weiskopf has a debt to several Troons...both the Scottsdale Resort that hired he and partner Jay Morrish to design 36 holes, but also to Royal Troon, which supplied him with his sole major victory.
A tribute to that course’s signature hole, the Postage Stamp, lies at No. 16 with the appropriately-titled “Post Card” hole. Although the putting surface is considerably larger than its namesake, players will be in trouble if they don’t hit it, as a pond, planted vegetation, and several large bunkers lurk around the putting surface. “Post Card” as a hole is an exception for the Pinnacle course as a whole, however.
Much like its sibling, the Monument (built five years previous to Pinnacle), the desert is the predominant aesthetic at Pinnacle, and carries across waste areas and sandy washes will be commonplace. The title hole, No. 10, requires such a carry as players head toward a green sitting at the foot of a small geologic rise. Those living in the residences on that hillock, and elsewhere around the course, have one of the better views in Scottsdale.
I would describe this as corporate golf. Clearly, a real estate play and while there a few good holes, overall underwhelming. Good not great. I would not go out of my way to play it.
Second best to Monument course among public golf in the greater Scottsdale area.
I can remember playing Troon North in its very beginnings via the Monument Course. The course was free of major housing intrusions and there was a real communal feeling when playing in the desert.
The Pinnacle Course is done well by the quality twosome of Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish but the experience is tempered because of the close proximity to housing. The design is impeded by the claustrophobia.
The outward half is clearly the lesser of the two nines. The holes are straightforward but the architecture is rather vanilla with little real nuance leading to mental engagement.
The inward side is a far different situation. The terrain is more striking and while housing is prevalent it just seems to be less intense and therefore less of a distraction.
The closing two holes are especially well done. Both are lengthy par-4 holes and the need for power and accuracy are required in equal measure.
In summary, the Pinnacle, like its older brother the Monument 18, changed the conversation regarding what upscale public courses could be. Weiskopf and Morrish provided a number of quality holes and the greens are suitably contoured without being excessive. I know full well how important housing plays in terms of the money needed to even get these type of facilities started in the first place. No question that's a marriage based on reality but the architecture must then be slotted accordingly and with that comes a slew of compromises. The Pinnacle has its moments -- it's too bad there could not have been much more for the duration of the 18 holes.
M. James Ward