Makai Golf Club

Princeville, Hawaii

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (Maricopa, Arizona)

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club logo Golf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield

The Takeaway:  Feeling more like a parkland course than a target desert course, Ak-Chin is one of Arizona's more enjoyable courses with a forgiving layout highlighted by sweeping greens that will test your flatstick.  Grade B+

Quick Facts

Designer:  Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley 2002

Cost:  Dynamic pricing Click for current rates

Phone Number:  480-367-8949

Course Website:  Official Website - Visit Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.

Directions:  Get here! - 48456 AZ-238, Maricopa, Arizona  85139 – UNITED STATES

Photos:  See additional photos of Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club

What to Expect:  Ak-Chin Southern Dunes is located 35 miles south of Phoenix outside the famed hub of Scottsdale courses; but you'd be amiss to skip it on a visit to the desert. The Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley design certainly stands as one of the more enjoyable courses to play in Arizona since it doesn't play like target desert golf that so many courses in the area do. While it is known for its difficulty due to the overall length paired with the plethora of bunkers featuring varying depths, the fairway widths are plenty forgiving and the greensites are fair so that you don't feel like you are getting punished all round. Speaking of greensites, rather than big undulations, Southern Dunes features sweeping greens where the slope is consistent and requires a deft touch with your putter to navigate the speed and line just right. In fact, when I think of Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, I think about the greens. Players will find the setting appealing from the perspective of it having a bit more of a parkland feel with a wide variety of trees and native desert plants rather than just cacti, rocks, and sand like so many courses in the Grand Canyon State. The terrain is also pretty tame so walking the course would be relatively easy though most players elect to take a cart. One thing that stands out is the great variety of hole lengths and shapes that will consistently test your game while begging you to utilize every club in the bag; and what more can you ask for than that? In the end, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes is a really good course in the Phoenix area. It tests your game, has great variety, and will make you a better putter. If it were located in Scottsdale, it would get a lot more hype than it does now.

By the Numbers

Tees Par Yardage Rating Slope
Tips 72 7546 76.5 142
Black 72 7330 75.2 138
Gold 72 6902 72.7 132
Blue 72 6493 71.2 129
White 72 5981 68.7 124
Red (Ladies) 72 5055 69.9 121

Individual Hole Analysis

Signature Hole:  10th Hole – 412 Yard Par 4 – The 10th is a dogleg right that runs alongside a pond before it gives way to a bunker and the fairway bends around it to the greensite. That bunker encroaches out from the right into the fairway and fronts part of the green, a green that has more sand left and right of it than it has grass to putt on. Deciding how much of the corner to cut with the tee shot is the most critical element to success here and the multiple hazards add a layer of strategy to it.

10th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (412 Yard Par 4)
10th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (412 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 3:  4th Hole – 165 Yards – A very wide but shallow green, the 4th at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes will require your best distance control to come out successful. The putting surface measures 36 yards wide but only 1/3 as deep along most of the green and has bunkers in front and back to fall in if you don't execute properly. The high lip on the bunker fronting the left third of the green can impede the view for that portion of the green which sits nearest to the golfer while back right pins will be the furthest away and most challenging to hit close.

4th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (165 Yard Par 3)
4th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (165 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 4:  2nd Hole – 370 Yards – A hole that essentially doglegs 90 degrees right, the short par four 2nd offers a generous landing area on the left but tries to tempt players on the right to take an aggressive line at the green. A large bunker 90 yards short of the green comes into play on the right side and continues nearly all the way to the edge of the green and would require 315 yards of carry from the back tee to cover. Laying up to the left will leave an approach to the green where the angle will give you nearly three times more depth to work with than width, effectively requiring you to hit one of your most precise shots of the day.

2nd Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (370 Yard Par 4)
2nd Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (370 Yard Par 4)

2nd Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (370 Yard Par 4)
2nd Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (370 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 5:  13th Hole – 606 Yards – Stretching out over 600 yards, the 13th is a sizable journey located along the western boundary of the property. The fairway bends slowly and steadily to the right the entire way to the green with desert lining both sides of the fairway. The steady uphill ascension of the design makes the hole play longer than the yardage indicates and the green sits at the base of a berm that sets the background. Players trying to reach as close to the green in two as possible will find the largest bunker on the course looming on the left side 75 yards short of the green's front edge.

13th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (606 Yard Par 5)
13th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (606 Yard Par 5)

13th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (606 Yard Par 5)
13th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (606 Yard Par 5)

Birdie Time:  14th Hole – 323 Yard Par 4 – While it may appear that there is more sand than grass to hit with the tee shot, trust your swing and make your main goal to carry the trio of bunkers coming in from the left. There is a 50 yard deep landing zone between those bunkers and the green that is the perfect spot to hit a flip wedge from and an opportunity to get it close to the hole. The sides and back of the green are surrounded by bunkers, but the opening in the front is all grass so that you can come in high or low with your approach shot.

14th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (323 Yard Par 4)
14th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (323 Yard Par 4)

Bogey Beware:  8th Hole – 484 Yard Par 4 – Named "Hardest," the 8th is certainly that at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes. Playing a bit shy of 500 yards and giving you just four strokes to get in the hole, the 8th will require your best effort to avoid a bogey. The tee shot is pinched by four bunkers in the driving zone; two on each side of the fairway. From there, the angle of the fairway and bunker placement asks players to hit a draw into the green where they will then face a steadily sloping putting surface that makes gauging the speed and line perfectly an extreme challenge.

8th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (484 Yard Par 4)
8th Hole at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club (484 Yard Par 4)

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