October 29, 2013 – Taking On The Raptor
We didn’t know when the day started that we were about to play the last round of golf on our trip. Granted it was the last one “officially” scheduled, with plans for a couple more in the Tucson area, but a dust storm changed everything.
Today brought one of our more anticipated rounds – a trip to Grayhawk. This famed Scottsdale area golf club has been a frequent host of world class golf events and we were eager to see why.
As Canadians we also felt a special bond with the place. Our own Mike Weir won the PGA TOUR’s FRY.COM Open at Grayhawk in 2007.
Since opening to the public in 1994 Grayhawk has found a place in the upper echelon of american desert golf courses. We were eager to see why.
It didn’t take long.
For the first time on our trip we had a fourth join us – none other than Jeff Locke of Communication Links, a local company that does media work for many of the various golf properties in the region. Jeff also happens to be a former Assistant Pro at Grayhawk – making him a valuable guide when you are tackling a 7,135-yard golf course blind. His tips on how to play the course were welcomed by all of us.
Beyond amazing service and a facility that was the most complete we have played on this trip the greatest asset of Grayhawk was what was impossible to find yesterday – wide fairways.
Grayhawk is a BIG golf course. As in big corridors, large greens, and more bunker depth and acreage than I have seen since visiting Scotland a few years back. It’s roomy enough for the average golfer but those who step up to a yardage beyond their capability are in for a stern test. Just what you would expect from a PGA TOUR quality venue.
Despite its challenges there were few complaints from our crew over all eighteen holes of the Raptor course. Great views of the McDowell mountains to the east enhanced many of the views and the superb playability of the Tom Fazio design tested our skills while still giving you a chance of a recovery on an errant shot.
Retiring to Phil’s Grill, the pub named for ambassador Phil Mickelson (and adorned with a ton of his memorabilia), we found the fare to be as fulfilling as the course. Local brews and meals whipped up from fresh ingredients simply capped the day.
It was when our eyes turned to the restaurant televisions that our day, and trip, took a turn.
“Dust storm” is not something we hear of much in Canada but it’s a way of life here in the desert. Unfortunately the one the broadcasters were talking about was right on the proposed path from Phoenix to Tucson we were set to take off on immediately. Worse still, reports indicated a 19 vehicle accident with a loss of three lives due to the lack of visibility on the road.
Respectfully we cancelled our proposed tee time in Tucson (we’ll see you one day Starr Pass) and scrambled for the Expedia app. It is what brought us to where I write this now..the WildHorse Pass Casino and Hotel in the south end of Phoenix.
So how will we occupy ourselves until our flight in a couple days?
I hear there is a Remax World Long Drive Championship playing out five hours up the road in Las Vegas.
Can you say “road trip?”
I’m beginning to think this desert golfing adventure might be one for the ages…