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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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.