The Padre Course at Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale is more than a walk in the park

By Travel ArticlesJanuary 18, 2013, 5:00 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There aren't many golf courses in the Valley of the Sun that aren't desert courses. The Padre Course at Camelback Golf Club is one of them.

Laid out in the shadow of Camelback Mountain, the Padre Course, which was redesigned by Arthur Hills in 1999, is unique among Scottsdale-area courses. Wide fairways, water hazards and plenty of grass rule the day on this extremely playable yet challenging layout.

Play it from the tips (at nearly 6,900 yards) and you've got plenty of challenge. Move up a tee or two, and it is certainly the antithesis of the notion of a good walk spoiled.

In fact, contrary to many modern courses, the Padre Course is imminently walkable. And the views never stop coming, from the opening tee shot to the end.

'I came here seven years ago,' said Rob Bartley, director of golf operations at the Marriott-affiliated facility. 'And I sat in the dining room and looked out across the golf course at the McDowell Mountains and said, 'This place is heaven.' '

The Padre is beautiful, but full of trouble

On the surface, Camelback's Padre Course comes across as a gentle challenge. After all, the rolling fairways are covered in lush turf and the overall length of the course isn't difficult to manage.

But upon closer examination, you'll find that most holes have some pretty challenging bunkering, a few have large water hazards, and the greens are laden with false fronts and sides, especially in the winter.

For the first time, the greens weren't overseeded; they were painted. And that's a recipe for fast greens because the Bermudagrass is dormant.

There are several holes where golfers will have to use caution, including the finishing stretch of 16, 17 and 18. In each case, if hit your approach shot on the green too close to the water, there's a good chance it will spin off and roll into the water, depending on the shot shape.

The upside is that come spring, the greens won't undergo transition problems, making for healthier greens much earlier in the year.

Overall, the course provides a nice mix of easier and more difficult holes. The 10th, for example, is a par 4 that plays 482 yards from the tips. Nothing tricky, but the sheer length and large bunker in front of the green make it one of the most difficult holes on the course. The same could be said for the eighth, a par 3 that exceeds 215 yards and is all carry over water.

The fifth is a medium-length par 5 at 553 yards, but a lake that comes into play on a potential layup second shot and approach shot make it the No. 1 handicap hole on the course.

Camelback Golf Club's Padre Course: The verdict

The Padre Course is in stark contrast to its sister course, Indian Bend, which is currently being redesigned by Hurdzan-Fry. While the new Indian Bend will be a hybrid of desert and parkland golf, the Padre is purely parkland, which makes it stand out among Scottsdale golf courses.

The course was also renovated at the same time the 36,000-square-foot clubhouse was -- to the tune of $16 million. It's a large investment for the entire golf experience, which means you'll enjoy dining and hanging out in the clubhouse just like you will playing the course.

Camelback Golf Club also has terrific practice facilities that include a large grass range, short-game area and putting green. The golf shop is among the best in the country, and lessons are available from Camelback's staff of professionals.

In short, the Padre Course is a solid play in an area full of great golf courses.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

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Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.

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Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:26 am

PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.

With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.

After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.

“I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”

It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.

Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.

“It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”

Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.

“Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”

Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).

Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.

“It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”

Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.

“This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”

Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.