Grayhawk Golf Club (Talon) – Played May 2018
- Rankings: Golf Magazine Public #99
- Location: 8620 East Thompson Peak Parkway, Scottsdale, Arizona
- Year: 1994
- Architect: David Graham & Gary Panks
- Course Access: Public
- Walking Rules: Carts Available
Score Card Information:
- Talon: 6,973 yards, Par 72, 73.3 Rating/146 Slope
- Palo Verde: 6,430 yards, Par 72, 70.8 Rating/134 Slope
- Terra Cotta: 5,867 yards, Par 72, 68.3 Rating/122 Slope (Men’s), 73.3 Rating/136 Slope (Women’s)
- Heather: 5,143 yards, Par 72, 69.3 Rating/118 Slope
The Talon course at Grayhawk Golf Club was my first foray into desert golf. It was also my first course played in Arizona after arriving from our quick jaunt to San Francisco.
I had a 7:40 am tee time and was ready to go to beat the heat. Once I checked in, the pro shop attendant told me I was the first player off. This is always great news if I am playing by myself. I told him I’d see him in a couple hours about which he didn’t seem confident.
Let’s do some quick hits on the background of the course. It is located in North Scottsdale and has a rich tournament history. It has hosted the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf; pro ams for the Waste Management Phoenix Open; the Heather Farr Trophy Matches and the Tostito’s Fiesta Bowl Golf Classic.
The course is also home to the Kostis/McCord Learning Center. You may not always see those two, but the dedicated staff are there everyday to help out with your game. Also, Stan Utley the noted short game specialist works out of Grayhawk.
You’ll see in the photos, but the course has awesome views of the McDowell Mountains and Phoenix skyline. The back nine is visually stunning for sure. I played the Palo Verde tees for reference on the yardages.
Hole 1 – 385 yards – Par 4 – Farrview
A hallmark of desert golf and definitely the Talon is to have fairways that appear smaller than they are. The first tee shot exemplifies that perfectly. It looks narrow, but there is ample grass out there. As an aside, this hole is dedicated to the late Heather Farr, LPGA standout and Grayhawk ambassador.
The left side of the fairway is best here. A large bunker and desert skirt the right side.
At this distance, you should be thinking birdie. The hole doglegs left. The bold line is up the left to cut the corner. You need to carry it all the way though or end up among trees.
I wanted to show you first the hole markers that give you the view of the layout. I like the coloring with its desert vibe.
This small hole packs a punch. The first challenge is the massive bunker in front of the green. It basically runs the length of the hole. You must carry this.
This hole calls for driver off the tee. The namesake of the hole is a ridge on the left side that extends down about 15 feet. A slight draw up the right side is good here.
This one is on the shorter side and driver may not be the play. Up the right side, trees and desert come in to narrow the fairway.
The desert comes into play here in the form of a wash you can see from the tee in the photos below. The target seems small, but the desert can play tricks on the eyes.
A long bomb down the middle is the play here. There is a bunker left and as always the desert to be aware of.
The large bunker on the right is the main defense of the green. There is also the couple trees on the left. If you’ve laid up well though you should have a short club in hand and be aiming at the pin.
I actually teed off down the 18th fairway here! My bad :). Make sure you check the yardage book or play with a local! Here is the view of the second shot.
These photos of the green don’t show the bunkers and canyon to the left of the green. Obviously, the miss is to the right. This green is on the flatter side though to give you an opportunity to roll one in.
One of the best and most recognizable views is to be had on the tee here. Another fun note, a suspension bridge is used to get to the back tee. It gets you over the box canyon. The tee shot here is all carry to the multi-level green.
There is much more fairway here that it appears. Avoid flaring shots to the right though.
You have options here. The name of the hole refers to the outcome of taking driver off the tee. Offline shots will go down in flames. If you block your tee ball to the right go ahead and get another one.
Let the big dog eat right here. The hole is straight with a bunker left and mounds on the right.
The fairway here is a bit like a punchbowl stretched out. With a middle that sits below either side shots should funnel to the middle.
The goal here is a straight tee shot up the middle for a good look at the green. The mountain is a good aiming point.
This is a great name for this hole. Be sure to get the yardage right because the island green takes no prisoners! The green is pretty big, but I chose the wrong club and ended up wet.
This one is three shots home for all but the longer hitters. The hole doglegs to the right, but the corner is protected by a large bunker.
The Talon course was a great introduction to desert golf. I didn’t know where I was going at times, but that is part of the experience playing out here. My early tee time allowed me to fly around the course and beat the heat. That freedom let me take in the holes and scenery. That was an added bonus since everything was so new. With great turf conditions and smooth greens, Grayhawk is a worthy addition to any trip to Scottsdale.