The Short Course at Mountain Shadows
In Paradise Valley, Arizona, Mountain Shadows Golf Club had a long history of creating special events and memories for movie stars and stargazers. Golf Course Architect Forrest Richardson has recently resurrected the golf course there with an emphasis on fun.
Aptly named “The Short Course,” it is 18 par 3 holes (with a surprise bonus). For anyone who played the longer version before, it feels very familiar yet still fresh, different and very fun.
The perimeter tall hedges of oleanders have been preserved and revived with deep watering and special care by Superintendent Tom Bucannan and crew. This is where golf balls disappear and bunnies play hide and seek.
Navigating the Course
The first two holes are named Plunge and Climb, a great way to begin under the shadow of the iconic Camelback Mountain. You would think that with all par 3s, birdies would abound and they do, at least the feathered variety, especially among the “donut holes” around a large pond.
Starting with number 7, lovebirds flit around the feeder at the home across the cart path when the owner fills it up. Otherwise they roam the course looking for natural tidbits. This hole invokes great memories of rounds long ago for the original short shot over water, but the new eco design has been greatly enhanced with falls and stream serving as the habitat for an assortment of ducks floating in the pond, including a Trump haired merganser.
The greens are very challenging on most of the holes of this par 54 course. Forrest enjoyed creating them as such so much that he built a long bonus green or hole that he donned as The Forrest Wager. It’s slipped in before number 18, considered a par 2 and meant to be played competitively, perhaps to settle a tie score or make a new wager.
Forrest shared a related wager with Robert Trent Jones II. He and Bobby at Pinehurst bet on who would build the first par 2 hole. Winner, winner, not chicken dinner, but steak dinner goes to Forrest. Although it is a mere par 2 putting green, the chance of getting a hole-in-one here may be more difficult than the other 18 for it is a humdinger.
Entertainment After 18 Holes
Begin or end the round at Rusty’s, a patio and lounge featuring grille fare and a surprising Ahi tuna salad. The name pays homage to Rusty Lyon, father of Westroc Hospitality CEO Scott Lyon. Cheers to him and the serene mountain views. This will surely be an after work gathering place, as was the Mountain Shadows lounge of long ago. Rusty’s larger than life photo looms on the wall inside the pro shop where a billiards table is set up for further entertainment or hustling.
Director of Golf, Tom McCahan, tended to the Boulders’ North and South courses for 25 years. He is now happily promoting golf at The Short Course on “a different mountain.” Camelback is THE central mountain of Phoenix, known to all. And Tom knows how to staff for the best golf service in town.
Mountain Shadows, the new boutique resort has also reemerged as a “desert modern design” featuring 183 guest rooms, a luxury wing with 42 resort condominiums and suites, a restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, two pools, and a high-tech fitness facility.
The 37,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space will welcome back corporate outings to the artistic halls with mountain views.
The Short Course is long on history and fun and ready for play.