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"2009 Golfweek's
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course address

11800 South Golf Club Drive
Goodyear, Arizona
USA 85338

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Course Overview:

Golf Club of Estrella, Goodyear, Arizona

course accolades

#18 "America's Best Courses, State by State"
by GOLFWEEK, 2011

Course Accolades

  • Top 40 Daily Fee Course in America" by GOLF & TRAVEL MAGAZINE, 2000

  • Honorable Mention "Top 10 Best Public Courses in America" by GOLF MAGAZINE, 2000

  • #8 "Top 10 Public Golf Courses in Phoenix" by THE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 2000

  • #6 "Top 10 Public Courses in Arizona" by RANKING ARIZONA, THE BEST OF ARIZONA BUSINESS, 2000

  • #5 "Top 10 Public Courses in Arizona" by RANKING ARIZONA, THE BEST OF ARIZONA BUSINESS, 2001

  • #9 "Top 10 Public Courses in Phoenix" by RANKING ARIZONA, THE BEST OF ARIZONA BUSINESS, 2001

  • #3 "Top 10 Public Courses in Arizona" by RANKING ARIZONA, THE BEST OF ARIZONA BUSINESS, 2002

  • #5 "America’s Best Courses, State by State" by GOLFWEEK, 2002

  • 4 1/2 Stars "Places to Play" by GOLF DIGEST, 2002

  • #93 "Top 100, America’s Best Golf Course Communities" by GOLFWEEK, 2003

  • #14 "America’s Best Courses, State by State" by GOLFWEEK, 2004

  • 4 1/2 Stars "Best Places to Play" by GOLF DIGEST, 2006

  • #7 “America’s Best Courses, State by State” by GOLFWEEK, 2007

  • America’s Top Golf Courses – ZAGAT SURVEY 2007

  • 4 ½ Stars Places to Play – GOLF DIGEST

  • #4 Best Public Golf Courses – by RANKING ARIZONA, THE BEST OF ARIZONA BUSINESS, 2007

  • “Women Friendly” Designated Course by Executive Women’s Golf Association, 2007

  • #7 "America's Best Courses, State by State" by GOLFWEEK, 2008

  • #7 Best Public Golf Courses - by RANKING ARIZONA, THE BEST OF ARIZONA BUSINESS, 2008

  • "Best Value - Worth the Green Fee", Arizona, 2008 by

  • #10 "America's Best Courses, State by State" by GOLFWEEK, 2009

  • #16 "America's Best Courses, State by State" by GOLFWEEK, 2010

  • #28 "Top Courses You Can Play" by GOLF MAGAZINE, 2010

  • #18 "America's Best Courses, State by State" by GOLFWEEK, 2011

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golfer comments

“Beautiful scenery and well laid out course” | 4 of 5 stars Reviewed 22 December 2011
Challenging yet fun to play for all skill levels. Well worth the trip to play this beautiful Arizona course.

Course Review:
Golf Club of Estrella, Goodyear, AZ

Golf Club of Estrella

As Jack Nicklaus II's inaugural Arizona course, Golf Club of Estrella offers a classic golf experience. Following in his father's legendary footsteps, Jack II's championship course is golf in the traditional sense – challenging yet forgiving, and always spectacular. Fairways roll across the natural contours of the land, while elevated tees unveil views of the Sierra Golf Club of Estrella. Jack Nicklaus II learned golf design from the best – his father, yet over time he has carved out his own niche and reputation. In keeping with the philosophy of Nicklaus Design, the course blends in with its environs and incorporates natural desert vegetation. The diverse terrain of this 7,139-yard course complies with Jack II's goal of offering variety. "I want people to step away from my course having used every club in their bag," he says.

Young Jack apparently has learned more from the Golden Bear than how to handle a sand wedge. The design shows imagination in its twisting and turning fairways and desert washes. The desert and rough on most holes merge in an almost seamless wave, making it difficult to tell which is intruding on the other. Combine that with the multitude of sand traps laid out on the course, brings an element of luck to the average drive. However, Nicklaus II also added wide landing areas and large, rolling greens to his creation to make the course playable for golfers of all levels. The low-cut rough makes the course even friendlier. Golf Club of Estrella has it all; and, it is a course as remarkable as its heritage.

This is a mountain-rimmed desert course with a wonderful naturalistic harmony. Blue skies, brown-bouldered mountains, and families of green Saguaro cacti drape their charm around the desert serenity. Golf Club of Estrella was opened in 1999. The course is characterized by very generous landing areas, ample bunkers (about 85) and two lakes on the 5th and 6th holes. Wind is always a factor. This course, sculpted out of 220 acres of arroyo, gulch and mountain terrain, offers solid golf.

One of the stand-out holes is the lovely, 386 yard, par 4, 5th, given the sobriquet "Oasis". From the tee, observe Saguaro cacti marching up the left side of the fairway and mesquite trees on the right. The landing area has two deep bunkers on the right. Your second shot must fly over a rock-bulkhead lake (with a soothing waterfall to its left) fronting a green 36 yards across with a front slope. To the rear is a foothill with three deep bunkers carved out. The green is flat.

Another fabulous hole is the 9th hole called "The Island". Normally, a hole called "The Island" brings to mind a floating green and swiftly sinking golf balls. But this hole is in the middle of the desert and the only water in sight is the cup-holder in your golf cart. The "island" is really a circle of short grass about 10 feet in diameter cut into the desert, complete with boulder and cacti and flanked by a bunker. Together, they bisect the fairway of this 435 yard par 4. The risk to reward layout of this 9th hole gives golfers a choice on the tee box. Assuming you can clear the 100 yards of desert off the tee and avoid rattlesnake country to the right, you may either aim for the wider flatter right side of the fairway and leave yourself an imposing approach shot up a slight grade, over a desert wash, and a green-side bunker and onto a shallow putting surface; or, you can carve your way through the narrow left side of the fairway, which should open up more of the green and cut down on the distance and steepness of your approach. Either way, reaching this green with just two shots is an accomplishment worthy of a snack at the turn.

The real fun is the ride home, the finishing 3 holes. The 16th, named Arroyo, is a monster 605 yard par 5 (#1 handicapped hole) requiring an uphill tee shot over the desert to a wide landing area flanked by those ubiquitous Saguaros. Mountains edge the rim of the green (putts break away), and a tabletop surface is perched above an intersecting gully and fronted by 30 yards of deep sand. Intriguing! As if you haven't seen enough, get ready for the dramatic sensory effect of the 194 yard, 17th signature hole. (See signature hole below).

The 437 yard, 18th aptly named "Evening Star" lets you wind up in style. From a gloriously elevated, gumdrop tee box, you play into the distant mountain range with the desert sprawling off to your right. It is an excellent finish to a great round of desert golf.

Signature Hole: The Golden Bear won 18 major tournaments and Nicklaus II tried to create 18 signature holes at The Golf Club of Estrella. The signature hole regarded by many is the picturesque 17th hole, a 189 yard par 3 named "Grand Consequence". It is set majestically into the rocky terrain and can be one of the few solid birdie opportunities of the course. Launch your mid or long iron over the variegated desert terrain to a hilltop green carved out of a right side mountain sloping downhill, with two hillside bunkers on the left, your astute vision reminds you not to be short or you'll roll downhill quickly into another bunker or even worse land in the fronting wash. A mountain range staggers across the back horizon. The green angles 51 yards across and is 18 yards deep at its midpoint.

welcome to the golf club of estrella

Golf Club of Estrella at Goodyear in the West Valley is a Jack Nicklaus Jr. layout with panoramic views and "the most challenging golf experience for miles around." Rolling fairways follow the natural contours of the land, while elevated tees provide unparalleled views of the Sierra Estrella Mountains. Located in the master planned community of Estrella Mountain Ranch, the club is an upscale, daily-fee operation with a traditional clubhouse and a unique experience for golfers of all abilities.

This isn't a well-kept secret, and my praise shouldn't shock you. Golfweek Magazine recognized The Golf Club of Estrella as the No. 7 "Best Golf Courses You Can Play in Arizona" in 2008. Estrella also received accolades for the No. 7 "Best Arizona Public Golf Courses" by RANKING ARIZONA. Most residents are surprised when they learn the Club is public. It's true — this desert gem is a prestigious and affordable golf destination located just 30 minutes southwest of downtown Phoenix

The Verdict: As Jack Nicklaus II's inaugural Arizona course, Golf Club of Estrella offers a classic golf experience.

In keeping with the philosophy of Nicklaus Design, the course blends in with its environs and incorporates natural desert vegetation. The diverse terrain of this 7,139-yard course complies with Jack II's goal of offering variety. "I want people to step away from my course having used every club in their bag," he says.

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Last update: February 2012

course notes

18 holes, par 72
Designed by:
Jack Nicklaus II

Yardage – Rating/Slope:
Black: 7,139 – 73.0/137
Copper: 6,733 – 71.0/128
Jade: 6,249 – 68.3/123 (men)
Jade: 5,249 – 75.1/138 (women)
Mixed: 5,695 – 72./124 (women)
Silver: 5,124 – 68.5/116

Course Opened:
Course Type/Style:
Number of Tee Boxes:
5 sets
Total Number of Sand Bunkers:
Number of Water Hazards:
2 of 18 holes
Most Challenging Hole:
The par-5 16th is a 605-yarder that bends left and is uphill.
Most Memorable Hole:
No. 5
Sinature Hole:
The 194-yard, par-3 17th hole
is a postcard beauty.
Acreage of Course:
220 acres
Average Size of Greens:
6,400 sq. ft.

Primary Grasses
Bermuda – Rye
Bermuda – Rye

Months Open:
January – December
High Season:

January – April

October 11 - 27
Rounds per year:

Green Fees:
Low: $59 High: $129
Walking Options:
Mandatory Cart

General Manager:
Tom Cortabitarte, PGA 
Head Pro:
Trevor Finton, PGA 
Paul Schieffer, GCSAA

Golf Digest 4 stars rating

5 Things You Need to Know: TPC-Myrtle Beach

By Chris King on May 4, 2010

What do you need to know about TPC-Myrtle Beach, beyond the need to bring your 'A' game? Here are five tidbits that might enhance your enjoyment of the South Strand layout.

Hit it high – Generally speaking, the greens at TPC are elevated and well bunkered, so you aren't going to have much success trying to run the ball up. Make sure you iron game is sharp and be prepared to fly numerous bunkers on your way to the green.

Tournament Tested – TPC is one of Myrtle Beach golf's biggest challenges and it has the resume to prove it. The course has hosted the PGA Senior Tour Championship, the finals of the World Amateur Handicap Championship, and every spring it hosts the General Hackler Invitational, one of the nation's best collegiate tournaments. Take the time to check out the clubhouse memorabilia.

One of a Kind – In recent years Myrtle Beach golf courses have collected honors like a kid receiving candy on Halloween, but TPC is the only course in the area to earn 5-stars in Golf Digest's prestigious "Best Places to Play" guide and one of fewer than 25 layouts in the nation to earn the distinction.

Yes, that is Dustin Johnson – Rising PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson calls TPC-Myrtle Beach home. In addition to practicing and playing at TPC, the three-time winner on tour has been known to hang around the clubhouse. Don't be shocked if you see him, but he's just one of the guys in Murrells Inlet.

That's a wild turkey, not a drink – TPC-Myrtle Beach is built on 369 acres, much of it wetlands, which means the course has plenty of breathing room and there is ample wildlife. Wild turkey roost in the swamp to the left of ninth tee and there are an abundance of deer, alligators and fox, among many other animals. Enjoy the scenery.

The 3 Best Holes at:
TPC-Myrtle Beach

By Chris King on May 4, 2010

The TPC-Myrtle Beach is one of the Grand Strand's bluebloods.

It enjoys the benefit of a premium brand, superior design (the team of Lanny Wadkins and Tom Fazio is tough to beat), and it's the home course of Dustin Johnson, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour. Throw in a bevy of national honors, and it's not hard to see why the facility is so highly regarded.

Identifying the three best holes on a course that has hosted what was then the Senior PGA Tour Championship and gets a regular workout from Johnson is a challenging task, because the candidates are plentiful. We asked course owner Chip Smith to identify the best of the best at TPC-Myrtle Beach and he complied, with an assist from Johnson.

The three best holes at TPC are:
No. 5, 158-yard, Par 3: Despite being TPC's shortest hole, the fifth is one of its most challenging, particularly from the tips where the tee shot requires a long forced carry over water. The green is wider than it is deep, so your margin for error is limited. A bunker in the right front looms for players not playing from the tips, as does a bunker in back of the green. "There is almost a false front on the front of the green," Smith said. "It's a tough little shot because the green is narrow. The right side of the green is always better than short because of the lake."

No. 17, 193-yard, par 3: The words island green and TPC have almost become synonymous because of the famed 17th at Sawgrass, and No. 17 at TPC-Myrtle Beach is a reasonable approximation. The primary differences? The 17th in Myrtle Beach is a peninsula green surrounded by water on "only" three sides and it's approximately 50 yards longer. The 17th is TPC-Myrtle Beach's signature hole and with an almost constant wind, it represents a significant challenge. "Because of the distance, I think it's a little tougher than 17 at Sawgrass," Smith says. "Now I've never stood on 17 at Sawgrass on Sunday with $1.4 million on the line either (laugh)."

No. 18, 538-yard, par 5: The 18th, with a creek running along the right side of the fairway and a large lake on the left, is Johnson's choice as the course's best. It's a classic risk-reward hole. Players that can snuggle up to the creek before it runs out to the lake can get home in two, but there is considerable risk. Half of the green is exposed to water and with the rough surrounding it shaved, it's not an easy green to hold. One person who doesn't have to worry about length is Johnson. What does one of the PGA Tour's longest hitters use to reach the green on his second shot? "Depending on which way the wind is blowing, anywhere from a 5 or 6 iron to a 3-wood," he said. For the mere mortals among us, an iron on the second shot when attempting to reach the 18th green is out of the question!

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