Whisper Rock Golf Club - Upper Course

USA, Arizona, Scottsdale
5.7 (6)
Designer: Tom Fazio
Course Opened: 2005

Favoured club for a number of tour stars, the whole Whisper Rock facility is private, exclusive and perfectly set-up to accommodate their needs with great practice facilities and superb clubhouse amenities. The putting green, practice fairway, short-game areas and general course grooming is first-rate, but unfortunately the design is moderate at best. The club was established with the opening of the Lower Course, co-designed by Phil Mickelson. Unfortunately, aside from being mighty long, lush and full of contrived putting targets that mimic the shapes of some tour venues, the layout is unremarkable. Conditions are perfect and will test professionals with length, hazard location, forced carries and severe green areas. The design, though, lacks originality and strategic interest, the bunker placement and shaping at times quite poor.

The Upper Course by Tom Fazio opened in 2005 and gets its name from holes 12-16 that head briefly into an elevated rocky area. Prior the layout is again in mint condition, but flat and quite dull from the tee until you reach some very creative green areas. Some of these don’t necessarily fit the holes and ultimately the layouts great weakness is that these target areas don’t save the more mundane holes down on the flat. After a fairly soft start, things improve from the 11th, a Pine Valley-style short par three over a waste area to a small green. Earlier the 2nd is a nice hole with some decent movement on the approach, but the pick of the golf is the 11th to 17th. The 12th is a nice par five that heads up through a saddle between large boulders, the 13th is then a signature short four into a rocky outcrop. The green is cool and the hole length and green site both work well, except for the chase-in area which slopes toward left traps and makes the heroic gamble silly for all except the PGA stars. The 14th is then a decent downhill short hole. The rest of this layout is solid, though 18 introduces a lake and is a long, unstrategic slog totally out of character, favoring drives away from the water and really only an appropriate finish in a close match between tour members.

Whisper Rock is a nice club with good courses, it’s the perfect home for PGA Tour professionals and those who appreciate privacy but offers little to those looking for great golf.


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