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Special memberships at Forest Highlands

Become a member at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Arizona!

Membership in this private, gate-guarded community in the cool pine forests of Northern Arizona has traditionally only been available to property owners, however Forest Highlands currently has a limited number of special memberships available for purchase that don’t require property ownership. These memberships include full rights to access and enjoy all of the amenities of the club and community with two clubhouses, 36 holes of golf, tennis, swimming, hiking and much more.

There are only 8 memberships available priced to move quickly at $55,000. Please contact Patty or Nathalie at 928-525-9014 for more information. You can get an overview of what Forest Highlands has to offer on our website at www.fhgc.com.

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Six U.S. Open courses are accessible to the general public

By Art Stricklin

The U.S. Open, America’s national golf championship, is getting a lot more open these days.

Once the exclusive domain of elite private facilities, the U.S. Open went public for the first time in 1972 at majestic Pebble Beach Golf Links in California, then again 10 years later, and the trend has only grown larger in recent years.

From 1999 to 2010, the U.S. Open was held at public courses, open in every sense of the word, seven times. It’s scheduled for another four public-course venues the remainder of the decade.

After Pebble Beach in 1992, the public U.S. Open bandwagon rolled to the outskirts of New York City and the pine straw of North Carolina.

The Black Course at Bethpage State Park, less than an hour from the heart of New York City, was the site of a very successful Open in 2002 and, on the heels of that event, was awarded a second Open for ’09.

Pinehurst, the self-styled Capital of American Golf, received its first U.S. Open in 1999 and followed with another in 2005. It will be the host site again in 2014, when the men’s and the women’s opens are held in back-to-back weeks for the first time ever.

Scenic Southern California public golf icon Torrey Pines, located in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, was the site of perhaps the most dramatic Open ever in 2008. Tiger Woods, playing on virtually one leg, defeated Rocco Mediate in an exciting extra-day, 18-hole playoff.

In upcoming years, two public-course newcomers will join this list: Chambers Bay, outside of Seattle, in 2015, along with Wisconsin’s Erin Hills in 2017.

Pebble Beach
Clearly, the U.S. Open Championship never has been more open to anyone who wants to play golf’s national championship battlefi eld. Yet, it’s equally clear that Pebble Beach remains the first among public course equals.

Since its Open debut, it added national golf championships in 1982, ‘92, 2000 and last year. Pebble Beach also is on the list for its sixth Open when it celebrates its centennial in 2019. The famed oceanside property was called by author Robert Louis Stevenson the greatest ever meeting of land and sea, and without question it is the king of public-access U.S. Open sites.

The choice of Pebble Beach as the most frequent public U.S. Open site has brought near universal praise from one of the toughest groups to please: PGA Tour players.

“As a venue, I don’t think you can get a better venue any place in the world,” said two-time U.S. Open champion Ernie Els.

Added Phil Mickelson: “The course can really bite you. It was a difficult test. It was very difficult in 1992, it was difficult in 2000, it was very difficult (last) year.”

“The first time I played here at age 12 or 13, I couldn’t believe how long it was,” recalled Tiger Woods. “As we’ve gone through the years, it’s certainly changed quite a bit with where the fairways used to be, the bunkers, the trees lost, but it’s still a great course.”

The United States Golf Association, which conducts the U.S. Open, certainly agrees.

Since 1972, the Open has been held here five times with a sixth already set. It’s the greatest repeat performance of any course in America, a fitting tribute to a fitting public showcase.

“This is one of our most treasured U.S. Open sites,” said Thomas O’Toole Jr., the chairman of the USGA’s Championship Committee, which decides where the event is played.

“This decade began with a memorable U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and it will surely end with one when we return to Pebble Beach in 2019,” added Mike Davis, recently named executive director of the USGA. “Pebble Beach is one of the greatest treasures in all of golf and we’re thrilled — for the players and fans worldwide who love major-championship golf — to sign on for ‘The U.S. Open at Pebble Beach – Chapter Six.’ ”

“If I only had one round of golf left to play,” said Jack Nicklaus, who won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 1972 and finished second to Tom Watson there 10 years later, “I’d want to play it at Pebble Beach.”

Nicklaus also has called the second shot at Pebble’s par-4 eighth, a long iron over a 100-foot high chasm, “the greatest second shot in all of golf.”

Coincidence or not, the Opens at Pebble Beach have produced some of golf’s most memorable shots.

At the 71st hole in 1972, Nicklaus hit a sensational 1-iron tee shot to the par-3 17th. The shot hit the flagstick, leaving Nicklaus with a tap-in birdie.

Ten years later, Tom Watson denied Nicklaus a fifth U.S. Open title when he holed out from gnarly greenside rough at the same 17th hole. Watson added a birdie at the famed par-5 18th for an eventual two-stroke victory, with Arizona’s Dan Pohl finishing third.

Others to win the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach were Tom Kite in 1992, Tiger Woods with a stunning 15-stroke victory in 2000, and Graeme McDowell last year.

“We are dedicated to upholding the legacy of golf at Pebble Beach and share the passion that golfers around the world have for the golf course,” said Pebble Beach CEO Bill Perocchi. “As a golf course that is open to the public, Pebble Beach Golf Links is able to give every golfer the opportunity to walk in the same footsteps as the greatest players in the game. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pebble Beach’s opening by hosting the national championship adds to that experience.”

The 2019 U.S. Open will mark the 12th USGA championship conducted at Pebble Beach since 1929—the first coming only 10 years after Samuel F.B. Morse founded Pebble Beach Company and the now famous properties so closely synonymous with USGA championships.

Pinehurst
Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, which first opened in 1899, has been a host of a wide variety of championship events, from the Ryder Cup to the PGA Championship and North and South Amateur, but didn’t get its fi rst U.S. Open until 1999.

With Payne Stewart’s dramatic final hole victory over Phil Mickelson as the church bells sounded over the Sandhills of mid-North Carolina, Pinehurst was an immediate hit.

“When you see and feel Pinehurst, you know it’s something different. It remains a masterpiece, a course so beautifully balanced and testing,” said player and architect Ben Crenshaw, who teamed with partner Bill Coore to restore the No. 2 course to its original Donald Ross design; it reopened in March.

“No. 2 is the ultimate as far as I’m concerned. What they are doing is just fantastic,” added two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange.

The USGA choose Pinehurst for its unique double experiment of having the men’s and women’s opens on back-to-back weeks — a unique idea for a most unique American original.

“We are certainly excited about the project,” said James Hyler, now in his second year as USGA president. “To have Pinehurst in its original state is a meaningful statement, and something we’re really glad to see.”

Bethpage
Bethpage State Park Black course is another unique American original, designed by American golf architect legend A.W. Tillinghast.

The spacious facility once was owned by a local family. Part of it was originally converted to a country club, Lennox Hills, and in the 1930s, the state of New York acquired the land.

To the delight of public course golfers everywhere, they hired Tillinghast to build three new courses (Black, Red and Blue), along with turning Lennox Hills to the public Green layout. Eventually a fifth public course (Yellow) was built in the 1950s.

The Black is considered the toughest and perhaps Tillinghast’s finest public course work.

Bethpage’s first U.S. Open in 2002 was won in dramatic fashion by Woods.

It delighted tens of thousands of New York public-course players, many of whom think nothing of sleeping in their cars overnight in order to get a prime weekend starting time.

Torrey Pines
Torrey Pines, which has 36 holes (North and South), was built by the father-son partnership of William P. and William F. Bell. It was opened in 1957 and its dramatic oceanside, cliff-top views made it an instant success with Southern California golfers, who could rightfully claim it as a city service they could love.

The 2008 U.S. Open staged at the South Course was the first held in Southern California in nearly a half century and the first-ever at a city owned course. Woods’s dramatic extra day playoff win and the nearly 50,000 paid spectators each round stamped Torrey Pines as the prime possible site for future public Opens.

Erin Hills and Chambers Bay
Though relatively young — Erin Hills opened in 2006 and Chambers Bay in ’07 — each of the two U.S. Open newcomers has made its share of headlines.

Erin Hills, located about 25 miles northwest of Milwaukee, was built by Wisconsin developer Bob Lang, who funded construction with his own money. The course had its quirks, including an extra hole that could be inserted as part of the course if another hole needed to be shut down. Several architecture changes were made after the course was opened, and eventually, Lang was unable to fund further construction and was forced to sell the property. The course will be the host site of this year’s U.S. Amateur.

Pierce County owns Chambers Bay, which was the site of a sand and gravel quarry. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and the site of last year’s U.S. Amateur, it opened in June 2007.

There are at least two noteworthy aspects of Chambers Bay: There is only one tree on the entire property, which has some stunning views of Puget Sound, and golf carts are prohibited for all players but those with medical exceptions.

All of these courses should be on an Arizona golfer’s bucket list for two reasons — to play and to watch a U.S. Open.

News

Smooth sailing

By Bob Seligman

Most travelers book a cruise and then spend all their time planning what they’re going to do on the ship. But when there’s eight or 10 hours available at a port, that, too, is time that can be put to good use, and what better way to do that than with 18 holes with ocean views?

Many resort golf courses in the Caribbean, Virgin Islands, West Indies and associated areas are catering to the cruise business. Pull into a port, get off the boat, and enjoy a course that more than likely is nothing like what was left behind at home.

Here’s a nine-course primer.

Cap Cana (Punta Espada)
Dominican Republic
Golfweek rates Punta Espada the No. 1 golf course in the Caribbean and Mexico for 2011, and with good reason. The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course is designed for players of all levels, including those playing the full 7,000-plus yards. Punta Espada incorporates all the features of the topography, including the bluffs, the beach and lagoons. And let’s not forget the eight holes that play along and over the Caribbean. At $375, Punta Espada is pricey, but the views will be memorable.
www.capcana.com

Teeth of the Dog
Casa de Campo Resort, Dominican Republic
Teeth of the Dog is one of Pete Dye’s most acclaimed works. At more than 7,300 yards, and with a rating/slope of 75.9/145 from the back tees, this is a Dog with plenty of teeth to it. The par 3s are the strength of the course, led by the 176-yard fifth, where the green is tucked behind the Caribbean Sea on the left side and the tee shot has to almost entirely carry sand and water. Green fees: $230 plus 16 percent tax through April 24 and Nov. 1-Dec. 20; $155 plus 16 percent tax April 25-Oct. 31. A mandatory caddie runs $25 per group, paid in cash.
www.casadecampo.com.do

White Witch Golf Course
Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica
The White Witch, located on Jamaica’s historic Rose Hill Plantation, has been turned into 200 acres of lush greenery and rolling countryside. Like many Caribbean courses, ocean views are presented on a majority of holes. With a stout course rating of 74.0 and a Slope of 139, White Witch is hardly a walk in the park. Green fees: $175 through May 1, $130 May 2-Dec. 20, $185 the rest of the year.
www.whitewitchgolf.com

Mahogany Run Golf Course
St. Thomas
At just over 6,000 yards, the George and Tom Fazio’s layout may sound benign, but trouble lurks. For players who make it through the Devil’s Triangle, holes 13-15, without a penalty stroke, the reward is a Certificate of Completion and a poster of the awe-inspiring 14th, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. The entire par-70 course was carved out of a mountain, creating several elevation changes and scenic vistas. Green fees: $165 to May 29, $125 May 30 to Sept. 25, $150 Sept. 26 to Dec. 11.
www.mahoganyrungolf.com

Mid-Ocean Club
Bermuda
This is a private club, but public access is granted on a limited basis on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (but not holidays). This is one of the best courses in the Caribbean, designed by C.B. Macdonald in 1921 and later modified in 1953 by Robert Trent Jones Sr. In 2007 and ’08 the course was the site of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, an annual two-day event featuring the winners of that year’s four professional men’s majors. Green fee: $250 plus cart.
www.themidoceanclubbermuda.com

Port Royal Golf Club
Bermuda
Home of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf since 2009, this Robert Trent Jones Sr. design has views of the Atlantic Ocean from almost every hole. One of the great views in golf is from the tee at the par-3 16th, where nothing but the Atlantic spans all 238 yards from tee to green. “It could be the toughest hole I’ve ever played in my life,” said Ernie Els. At 6,842 yards, Port Royal is Bermuda’s longest course. Green fee: $190.
www.portroyalgolf.bm

Royal St. Kitts Golf Club
St. Kitts
Canadian architect Thomas McBroom’s $16 million renovation in 2004 changed Royal St. Kitts from a weedy layout into an 18-hole championship course hard enough to challenge better players but fair enough to not overwhelm the average golfer. Royal St. Kitts has plenty of risk/ reward elements. Two holes are by the Caribbean Sea and three by the Atlantic Ocean. The scenic 163-yard, par-3 15th, with an elevated tee and a long, narrow green protected by nine bunkers, can be a beauty or a beast, depending if the wind is blowing off the Atlantic. Green fees: $180 November-May; $145 June-October.
www.royalstkittsgolfclub.com

Four Seasons Resort
Nevis
It can be a little tricky getting here as cruise passengers have to dock in St. Kitts, Nevis’s sister island, and then take a 45-minute ferry to Nevis, so know your departure time. The par-71 layout features elevation changes of some 400 feet. Players make their way uphill for most of the first 14 holes before getting the 663- yard, par-5 15th signature hole that plays downhill. Most of the holes are scenic and run along the Caribbean Sea. The green fee is $205.
www.fourseasons.com/nevis

Black Pearl Golf Course at Pristine Bay
Roatan, Honduras
The secret is beginning to get out about Roatan, located about 35 miles off the Honduras coast, and Black Pearl Golf Course. Pete and Perry Dye have combined to create a par-72 beauty of nearly 7,200 yards that has 14 holes with views of the Caribbean Sea and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest reef system in the world. The Pearl’s best shining moment may be the 157-yard 11th hole with an elevated tee and an island green ringed by a narrow bunker. Green fee: $200.
www.pristinebayresort.com

News

JGAA announces Quintero Cactus Cup

The highly-acclaimed Quintero Cactus Cup has played host to some of Arizona’s finest junior golfers for the past nine years. Featuring some of the finest junior boy’s and girl’s golfers in the Junior Golf Association of Arizona program, the 11th annual Quintero Cactus Cup will be played on April 30 & May 1 at Quintero Golf and Country Club in Peoria, Arizona. It is one of the few junior golf events’ in the state that adopts the Ryder Cup-Style Matches. Inspired by the Junior Golf Association of Arizona and further enhanced by Tom Wilcox the Director of Golf at Quintero G&CC, the Quintero Cactus Cup is thoroughly enjoyed by the golfers and their families. “This event, really embraces the concept of team play and riding on the popularity of Ryder Cup-style competition, the players relish in the competitive and team format of this event,” said Tom Cunningham, Executive Director of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona. “Couple that with the incredible job Tom Wilcox and his staff do for the event, it is truly an exceptional tournament.” There will be two mixed team matches on Saturday, better-ball and alternate shot, and singles matches, boys against boys and girls against girls on Sunday. The morning rounds will begin at 8:00 AM both days. Featured players on this year’s Quintero Cactus Cup include Beau Bremer, Blake Cannon, Clarissa Collins, Katie Dunaway. Chris Felix, Dana Finkelstein, Nick Hool, Melissa Olson, Shelby Phillips, Anthony Quezada, Caston Roberts, Cassidy Sanchez, Darian Spivey, Charatta Thongbai, Colton West, Brett Wilson and Zach Wright. “All of us at Quintero Golf & Country Club, especially the members and staff at the Q enjoy watching the stars of the future compete on our wonderful golf course and look forward to this year’s matches. The JGAA does an exemplary job in providing competitive outlets for the youngsters in Arizona and the Quintero Cactus Cup is definitely a true test of golf and I know all of the players truly enjoy the Ryder Cup-style matches,” said Tom Wilcox, Director of Golf at Quintero G & CC. Quintero Golf and Country Club has been consistently ranked as a top golf course earning accolades from numerous national golf magazines. including, Top 20 Golfweek Magazine Best Residential Golf Course Communities since 2002; Top 20 best course in State by Golf Digest Panel since 2003, #13 in 2007-2008; Selected 3rd favorite Private Club Course in Arizona by local PGA Professionals in Desert Golf Magazine 2006-2008; Named in 2007 Golf Digest Index as one of America’s Top 50 modern Golf Clubs. For more information on the 2011 Quintero Cactus Cup, contact the Junior Golf Association of Arizona office at (602) 944-6168 or visit the JGAA web site at www.jgaa.org.

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Do you have what it takes?

Test your skills and tee it up at TPC Scottsdale on Monday, May 16. You’ll experience the game as it is played inside the ropes with fast greens, high rough and Sunday pin placements. Gentlemen of all levels with an established handicap index of 24 and below are eligible to compete in one of four flights. New for 2011 is a dedicated and handicapped ladies’ flight for females with an established handicap index of 24 and below. Winners of all five flights qualify to play for a national championship at legendary TPC Sawgrass, home of the iconic 17th Island Green. For an amateur event it doesn’t get more professional than this. Register now at www.naturevalleygolf.com.