Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club (Lost Gold)Golf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield
The Takeaway: Lost Gold plays more than the single stroke difference in difficulty that the slope and rating suggest compared to Prospector. With more challenging par 3s, lengthier par 4s, and a 622 yard par 5, Lost Gold provides a stout but fair test. The scenery in and around the course embodies the southwestern look that Arizona has made famous with iconic cactus' of many varieties being featured. In the highly competitive golf world of Arizona, Lost Gold's design and terrain isn't as compelling as Scottdale's elite tracks but counters that with some of the best greens, conditioning, and service you'll find anywhere. Grade B-
Designer: Jack Nicklaus and Jack Jr. in 1999
Course Website: Superstition Mountain's official website Phone Number: (480) 983-1411
Directions: Get here! - 8000 E. Club Village Dr., Superstition Mountain, AZ 85118
Signature Hole: 18th - 467 Yard Par 4 - Like the finishing hole at Prospector, the 18th is Lost Gold's finest offering and its most scenic. The widest part of the fairway is 335 yards from the back tee and then the fairway shrinks to half the width as it works its way along a pond. There is no room to miss left of the green without diving into the hazard and bunkers protect the right side, so sticking the green is your only option for a routine par. Like much of the Lost Gold course, the second shot is where you test your merit.
Accolades: Newer and more challenging of the two Nicklaus courses found at Superstition Mountain.
What to Expect: Superstition Mountain is a 36 hole club featuring a pair of Jack Nicklaus designs with sons Gary helping on Prospector and Jack Jr. assisting on the newer Lost Gold track. The courses sit on a nearly 900 acre property that includes residential development and is anchored by a 50,000 square foot clubhouse inspired by Tuscany. The courses run through rocky desert terrain highlighted by mature saguaro cactuses and impressive mountain backdrops. The courses look and feel a lot the same though Lost Gold has a bit more of a links feels to it and also features a back nine that boasts three par 3s, three par 4s, and three par 5s. Lost Gold is also more demanding on the second shot where getting the proper angle to the green or missing to the right spots is imperative to score well. The conditioning of both courses is top notch with the greens running as fast and pure as any that you'll encounter in the Grand Canyon State. The tees, fairways, rough, and collars are overseeded with rye grass during the winter months which tends to grab more than bermuda which will require an adjustment when hitting chip shots around the greens. The courses are mostly flat with just gentle elevation changes throughout the routings which leads some players to elect to walk when the weather isn't too hot. From the forward tees there are very few forced carries to deal with and the entrances to the greens are generally unencumbered which provides excellent playability for all skill levels. In addition, the putting surfaces feature little undulation which is fortunate considering the green speeds Superstition Mountain is known for. The courses boast wide fairways which is a welcome sight when playing desert golf since wayward shots in Arizona often lead to lost balls and broken spikes. Just two water hazards are found on the property and they both come into play next to the green on the closing holes of each course. There aren't any quirky holes or odd design features, but one solid hole after another throughout the property.
By the Numbers:
Individual Hole Analysis
Best Par 3: 4th - 208 Yards - The mountain views throughout the Superstition Mountain courses is impressive and they are on full display for the par three 4th. The desert wash area, foliage, and bunkers add to the mountain backdrop to create one of the finest settings on the property, but don't let that distract you as you take aim for the middle of the green.
Best Par 4: 9th - 409 Yards - The closing hole on the front nine is a dogleg left with a bunker protecting the dogleg 250 yards from the tee and a cluster of bunkers on the right side of the fairway 275 yards away. Even a tee shot in the fairway is no guarantee of things finishing well as players are faced with an approach shot over a desert wash to a green that is surrounded by more sand than grass. One of the distinguishing shapes of the Superstition Mountain range provide an impressive backdrop for this hole.
Best Par 5: 5th - 541 Yards - Nearly a dozen bunkers and a pair of desert washes greet you at this par five, but a successful tee shot should open the door for taking a shot at the green in two. The green sits in an amphitheater setting which will help keep balls working towards the putting surface if they are a bit off target. Playing up the left side of the hole will take most of the bunkers out of play and provide the shortest distance to the flag.
Birdie Time: 13th - 399 Yard Par 4 - Jack left a strip of desert across the fairway to contend with on this dogleg right. 250 yards off the tee will keep you short of the desert but 270 will be required to carry it. No need to take driver here, a fairway wood will still leave a short iron or wedge in your hand and an opportunity to stick your approach close to the flag. At 399 yards it is the shortest par four at Lost Gold so be smart and play to your strengths so that you can take a stroke back from Jack!
Bogey Beware: 16th - 622 Yard Par 5 - Any time a hole measures out over 600 yards, there are some things that can go wrong along the way. Desert frames each side of the fairway and two forced carries are required on the way to the green on this hole that also features eight bunkers. Depending on your position in the fairway, some of the green is blind on your approach due to the raised bunkering which can cause some doubt to creep in your mind which is all that Jack needs to get you thinking about bogey. Three well struck shots are a must here to take par.