Arcis Golf the management company that oversees numerous courses throughout the US has a varied portfolio of municipal, semi private and private courses in its portfolio.I would imagine a few might reach the height of playability, affordability and enjoyment that is prevalent at Raven Golf Club in south Phoenix, AZ.
With over 6500 pine trees lining the fairways and an extensive over seeding program the course is an oasis of green color throughout. The fairways are beautifully mowed, the rough flourishes but is not overly penal and greens and aprons are uniform and in great condition.
The tee boxes are individually segregated from each other with native grasses and small shrubs framing them. The bunkers are edged and defined perfectly and some of the green side ones, like on hole 13, are massive, some of the biggest I have ever seen.
Upon arrival bag attendants are positioned conveniently right next to the clubhouse. All of the necessary aspects of pre-tee off are situated directly in front of the clubhouse, a huge lovely practice green off to the left, the driving range in the middle and a bunkered chipping green to the right. The first tee is some 40 yards away.
The starter Joe spends ample time in giving you the details of the course, pin placements, restroom locations as well as introductions to playing companions. On this day we were joined by a very warm-hearted gentlemen Tom from Missouri. Joe even escorts you down to the first tee and sends you off in the right frame of mind.
The few minutes I spent meeting GM Kevin Weber was rewarding and pleasurable. Kevin possessing that critical character trait so vital to the golf industry, friendliness. The pro shop is well stocked but not cluttered and the team he has built around him is there poised at the counter as soon as you step through the door way.
Kevin points out an app you can download on your phone by going to their website that provides hole by hole information as well as a flyover on how to play them.
He also informs me they offer a club repair service provided by Brandon Gordon of The Club Fix and also at the far end of the range is the location of the golf school and teaching academy under the banner of Tour Stricker Golf Academy.
If you want to make sure you are well fed Grill 36 Restaurant overlooking the 18th green has a varied menu as well as a happy hour from 3 pm – 6 pm that even non-golfers take advantage of. There is a cart service on the course and every 3 or 4 holes Brittany gives you a wave and lets you know she’s available for a cool drink or a quick snack item.
Raven Golf Club is that fantastic marriage of excellent service of the highest standard and a golf course that matches that too or vice versa. There is continuity in every aspect of this operation which includes the bathrooms well-kept and tidy and even the parking looking spotless.
The maintenance team headed up by Eddi Wahlborg are on their machines all over the course but not once did they obstruct us or interfere with a noisy mower blaring away too close. One of the fellows even jumped off a machine and signaled to me that he had picked up my Canadian Maple Leaf head cover from the fairway I imagine. He drove next to my cart and laid it on the seat with a smile, that’s going the extra mile I’d say.
Eddi in his 5thyear has Raven Golf Club in very fine condition to be sure and my time talking with him after the round was more than fluffy chatter. He explained eradicating bunker issues, irrigation challenges and a sense of ever improving the course. A very talented man in the right place.
Raven Golf Club has a design feature that is overlooked but very rewarding, the perimeter of the fairways typically all the way down both sides are sloped to assist a ball hit off the fairway to bounce or roll back into play. This does not take away from the challenge of the lay out as these side areas are undulating and often result in an uneven or sidehill lie.
The Par 3’s are really gorgeous, they could be easily nominated in any category or awards competition recognizing world class golf holes. They are stunning and parring 3 of the 4 of them was one of the highlights of my round, my typical “9 pars 9 others” game.
The true highlight of my 60thbirthday was the gift of watching Myra par the 1sthole and then later in the round tapping in for a bogey on the Par 5 12thfrom 2 inches. From 75 yards her approach shot was near flawless, landing on the front of the green and rolling 30 feet and hitting the flagstick.
Myra and have reviewed courses from Michigan to Georgia, Texas to Washington State and we have our own way of encapsulating what we personally feel about a course. There are the “nice to play once” courses, the “beautiful but only for single handicappers” and then our favorite which is the category Raven Golf Club falls under “we could play it every day” course.
It is no wonder when we spoke to local and travelling golfers we have met while here that their reaction to our impending round at the “Raven” was filled with ooo’s and awes.
Undoubtedly one of the most highly sought-after courses to play or practice at, this is one Raven that is soaring high and mighty.