Ak-Chin Southern Dunes

First of all this course is way outside of town. You really feel like you are going on an adventure but based on where you stay at in the metro area (we stayed in Mesa) and the time of day you go, it may take you actually less time to get there than courses in the metro area. (Side note, the horses you see in the desert when going across Wild Horse Pass, really are wild horses.) Southern Dunes has a unique charm that starts with a tree lined drive as you pull up the club house. The clubhouse itself is immaculate and would be perfect for setting for just about anything golf or non-golf related. The course itself has a great practice facility and when we played it was nearly empty. There was hardly a flaw on the course; very few un-repaired divots, smooth greens, and perfectly manicured bunkers. The layout of the course as a whole was very good though I couldn’t say there was any one extremely memorable hole. There are many desert-type trees ( I dropped out of "Woody Shrubs and Trees" in college) but you don’t quite get the “cactusy” desert feel as you may expect out of a course in Arizona. The greens are deceptive and do not have as much break as you’d expect, there is no need to play anything within 15 feet outside the hole. Being outside the city allows a unique serenity as well, besides an occasional train passing by all you really hear is nature. The extras that the course provides really put it at the top of my list for replay- free bottled water every four holes, GPS, and an in-cart USB port. We were the first group out for the day and played in less than four hours and paid less than $100/person.