The Tom Fazio-designed Raptor course offers a thrilling challenge that commands a player’s respect through a daring, high-stakes game of risk and reward. Stretching 7,090 yards from the back tees, the par-72 course unfolds over the gentle hills and across shaded natural washes typical of this picturesque corner of the Sonoran Desert.
Typically, Raptor’s fairways are generous, and the greens tend to be large, with a fair amount of undulation. Wayward approaches are duly penalized, as most of the greens are perched above deep bunkers and grass collection areas.
Raptor is considered to be one of the finest daily-fee golf courses in Arizona and is listed among the “Best Public Golf Courses in Arizona” by Golf Magazine. No stranger to professional golf events, Raptor was the host site of the 2007-2009 Frys.com Open. Other events include the inaugural Williams World Challenge; the semi-finals and finals of the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf; Tommy Bahama’s Desert Marlin; Thunderbird International Junior and Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro Ams.
Raptor reopened in the fall of 2015 after a renovation and relocation of holes 15, 16 and 17. Fazio drew up the new holes with 15 and 16 now occupying a completely different patch of ground, while the tees on par-4 17th were moved up to within firing range of the green.
The decision to redo the holes was more practical than anything. They originally encircled a plot of land zoned for development leaving no easy way to get there. Although no development plans are on the drawing board, the renovation ensures that golfers won’t need to dodge Caterpillars when the time comes.
The new routing now makes a U-turn after No. 14, so that 15 runs parallel in the opposite direction. Sixteen then turns to the south before joining with No. 17 at new tees situated closer to the hole.
Fifteen is a par 4 at 437 yards from the back tees. Sixteen is a 151-yard par 3, and 17 went from a long par 4 to a drivable one weighing in at 331 yards from the back tees. The green on 17 remains the same.