Southern Dunes Golf Club

More like Scotland than the desert, it's hard to find a cactus here. Southern Dunes Golf Club spans 320 acres with not a single home on the course.

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Southern Dunes Golf Club

If You Go

  • Course Info – Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club is a high-end public golf club with one golf course sprawled across 320 acres of the Ak-Chin Indian Reservation.
  • Location – One hour south of the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport and twenty miles from Interstate Highway 10.
  • Lodging – Harrah’s AK-Chin in Maricopa six miles south.

A proven high-quality course, Southern Dunes Golf Club endures the downside of being out-of-the-way.  As a Troon-managed facility, Southern Dunes is very attentive to the needs of serious golfers. Great practice facilities, a well-designed clubhouse, superb attention to food and friendly employees make this a worthwhile trip.

Brian Curley from Scottsdale-based Schmidt-Curley Design teamed with Fred Couples as a consultant for the sixth time to develop a course more like Scotland than the desert. It’s hard to find a cactus here.  The course spans 320 acres with not a single home on the course.  Although developed by Curley as a men’s only private course, it was purchased by the AK-Chin Indian tribe in 2010. The course has six teeing grounds and tips out at 7546 yards.  Southern Dunes has hosted championship events including a PGA Tour qualifier and a US Open qualifier. Public Course Rankings 2016:   Golf Magazine:  #5 in Arizona, #84 in the USA.

Twelve Acres of Sand

A typical course has a few acres of sand; Southern Dunes has close to twelve acres of sand.  If you get frustrated playing from bunkers, then this course might not be for you.  However, if you relish the chance to think your way around a course and position each shot, then you should tackle this course.  The designers were true to links golf as the fairways and greens are hard and can play fast. Green-side areas are shaved allowing for chipping and putting far from the green.

There is a lot of room in the fairway, over 60 yards wide.  The greens are small with numerous and large bunkers also strategically positioned – thanks to architect Fred Couples.  If the wind comes up, this course can be treacherous but fair.  Water is available every three holes.  The marshal may offer an icy towel.  In the early morning in summer, use the insect repellent provided by the starter.

Fairway bunkering is extensive, especially on the Par5s. Careful placement can avoid these hazards. Expect severe bunkering around many of the greens.  Although the sand is well prepared and the slopes are moderate, their size makes them more hazardous. An excellent short Par4 is Hole #14.  There is more sand than grass on this hole.  It’s not all sand though.  For many holes, there is ample fairway.   The eighteenth fairway is generous with a closing hole. But watch for the only water hazard on the course as the fairway narrows as you approach the green.

Southern Dunes is not in the most advantageous location. Visually appealing to those that like the links look, it’s a break from the classic Arizona desert golf. Rewarding golfers who play position golf, it’s long, and the plethora of bunkers are challenging. It’s difficult for the average golfer. They serve excellent golf club food, try the meatball soup.

See our other Southwest course profiles here. 

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