Stretching 7,090 yards from the back tees, the par-72 course unfolds over the gentle hills and across shaded natural arroyos found in this picturesque corner of the Sonoran Desert.Our Head Golf Professional provides you with some tips and tricks on how to approach each hole so you can enjoy your round.
A Great Challenge for Pros and Amateurs Alike
#1 Par-4 413 Yards – Tom-A-Hawk
First-tee jitters are justified on Raptor as players must negotiate bunkers left and right. It’s possible to fly the left bunker with a solidly struck tee shot, but the right bunker is a little farther down the fairway, making it more difficult to carry. The conservative play is with a long iron or fairway wood just short of the right bunker. The green is elevated and sloped from back to front with a lower tier to the left that is guarded by a deep bunker.
#2 Par-4 395 Yards – Hide-a-Way
From the tee, golfers must avoid a gaping fairway bunker to the right. A bomb will carry it, but those who find it are faced with a difficult recovery over the steep face. The safe play is to the fat part of the fairway to the left, which leaves a mid iron to the green. Bunkers guard the left and front-right of the green that is sloped from back to front.
#3 Par-4 460 Yards – Kiss’n Tell
The third is one of the more challenging holes on the golf course. Those who take a direct line to the green will need to contend with a fairway bunker running most of the way up the right-hand side of the landing area. The conservative drive favors the left. The green is gigantic with many opportunities for pin placements. A large bunker short-right and several large grass collection areas to the left guard the putting surface.
#4 Par-5 562 Yards – Peak-a-Boo
This long par 5 is difficult to reach in two – although it has been done – because of its length and its significantly crowned green. The tee shot is wide-open; however, overcook a fade and the bunkers on the right come into play. The ideal lay-up area is on the right side of the fairway about 90 yards from the green, but most lay-up shots come to rest in a low lying area 130 yards from the green. From there, the approach is significantly uphill to a crowned green that drops off severely on all sides. Greenside bunkers that are large enough to hide a Volkswagen make for a difficult sand-save.
#5 Par-3 203 Yards – Hand Full
Two large bunkers guard short-right and left and especially come into play when the flag is in the front of the green. In that situation, it’s best to take enough club and putt back down towards the hole. The green light is on when the flag is in the back, but a shot too long results in a difficult downhill chip.
#6 Par-4 345 Yards – Horace Greeley
No. 6 is a true risk/reward hole. From the tee golfers have options; hit driver well and have a sand wedge, or tee off with a long iron or fairway wood and have a nine iron in. Either way golfers must avoid a gigantic, deep bunker that guards the right-front. The approach must have some spin on it to prevent it from bounding off the back.
#7 Par-5 502 Yards – Caddy Wampus
This reachable par 5 forces golfers to think twice before pulling driver. The desert pinches in on the landing area; however, golfers who either thread the needle or bomb it over the trouble will have a long iron into a very receptive green. Laying up on both the tee shot and second shot takes the majority of the risk out of the equation, but the approach must be on the correct tier of the green for any shot at birdie.
#8 Par-3 174 Yards – Aces & Eights
One of the defining features of this hole is the dramatic slope that flanks the left side of the green; not to mention the spectacular backdrop of the McDowell Mountains. Strategically, the play is to favor the left side of the green, especially if the pin is left, to take advantage of the slope which funnels errant shots down to the green. A right pin brings a greenside bunker into play. Golfers who short-side themselves will be facing a difficult up-and-down.
#9 Par-4 464 Yards – Tom Thumb
The chief concern from the tee is the large bunker on the right side of the fairway that seems to attract golf balls like steel to a magnet. A drive that is left and long will find a level lie for the approach. A bunker guards the front left and the green falls away to a deep grass collection area to the right.
#10 Par-4 390 Yards – Quill Creek
A creek runs along the right side of the fairway, crosses over and ends up guarding the left side of the green. Despite the creek, there is plenty of room on the right, but the best angle to the green is from the left side of the fairway. The ideal drive travels down the left side, catches the left-to-right slope and kicks a little to the right into the “A” position. The green features two distinctive levels and as mentioned, a miss to the left may end up in the creek or at least will result in difficult pitch.
#11 Par-5 572 Yards – Sunset Grill
Big hitters can get home in two, but most golfers should plan on playing it as a three-shot hole. A straight drive will find a nice level lie from which to play a fairway wood to another plateau located on the right-center of the fairway. From there golfers have a full pitching wedge or 9 iron into the large green. A low-lying grassy swale runs along the left side of the fairway and plunges to nearly 30 feet below and to the left of the putting surface. From there, it’s a difficult blind pitch from a tightly mown lie up the hill to the green.
#12 Par-4 468 Yards – Mountain Lion
As the name suggests, this hole is a beast. The tee shot plays uphill to the fairway which is guarded by a bunker on the left and desert on the right. The second shot is difficult as it is all carry to the green – large bunkers are located in the front and behind the green. Furthermore, a grass collection area falls away to the right. The green is large and multi-leveled.
#13 Par-3 230 Yards – Burningbush
One of the more visually intimidating holes on the golf course, No. 13 is a long par three that plays uphill and features a deep greenside bunker to the right. Saving par from the bunker is considerably difficult, thus the prudent play favors the left side. Depending on the wind, an extra club is a good idea.
#14 Par-4 429 Yards – Serenity
Big hitters may consider playing a fairway wood from the tee; however, there is enough space for a well placed drive. A steep grade along the left side of the green funnels errant shots down to the green and a large trough bisects the green making it important place the ball on the correct side on the approach.
#15 Par-4 332 Yards – High Point
After stepping up to the tee box, the name of this hole becomes evident. Sweeping views in all directions take in a board swath from the nearby McDowell Mountains to the Valley of the Sun below. The hole plays downhill to a landing area sloped from right to left with a fairway bunker situated to the left. Those who find the left side of the fairway are faced with an uphill shot. The green is large with two distinctive shelves short-left and back-right. A deep crease runs between them.
#16 Par-3 211 Yards – Wee One
While not a long hole, No. 16 requires accuracy. The green slopes from right to left with a steep fall off to a desert area on the left side. The green tends to be firm and fast. Although the short yardage encourages aggressive play, a solid short iron to the middle of the green is a good play.
#17 Par-4 464 Yards – Bagger Pass
Of the three holes that were recently redesigned, the 17th was altered the least. It was transformed from a long par 4 to drivable par 4. Now the sliver of desert that cuts into the fairway from the left is more in play from the tee, as well as a new deep bunker that guards the right side of the green. The putting surface is quite large with a steep transition from the top tier in the back to the lower portion in the front.
#18 Par-5 521 Yards – Big Sky
The finishing hole is a pleasure for the senses as it overlooks Scottsdale and greater Phoenix. Playing downhill, the green is reachable in two, but the second shot will cause heart palpitations as players must adjust to a downhill, left-to-right-sloping lie with water right and sand short left. It takes huevos grandes to get home in two. The lay-up is no cinch either, as the landing area is fairly slim and sloped from left to right towards water.