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Mountain Shadows Golf Course Review – Best Short Course in Arizona?

Do you want to play golf without spending your entire day at the course? If so, Mountain Shadows is a great option.

This par 3 golf course in Paradise Valley, Arizona (between Scottsdale and Phoenix) is a great choice. Whether you’re an avid golfer like myself, a beginner, or someone visiting Arizona, it’s a great place to play.

In this Mountain Shadows Golf Course review, I’ll break down the course layout, answer your top questions, and strategies to play certain holes. 

Clubhouse at Mountain Shadows and resort

Mountain Shadows Golf Course Review (The Short Course) 

  • 2,310 yards
  • Paradise Valley, AZ 
  • Originally opened in 1961 
  • Par 3 – 18 hole golf course
  • Original architect was Arthur Jack Snyder and redesigned by Forrest Richardson

Mountain Shadows is an executive golf course that caters to people of all ages who want to play golf faster. The course is not like most short courses as it’s incredible shape, challenging greens, and water comes into play on several holes. 

If there’s one word to describe this golf course, it’s FUN. It’s a very casual atmosphere, cheaper rates than a normal championship golf course, but is a little expensive in winter months. Luckily, they also offer unlimited golf packages as well. 

Practice Facility

The short course at Mountain Shadows doesn’t have much of a practice facility. Since the course is a par 3 layout you won’t need to hit more than a few mid to long irons and you’ll leave woods in the bag.

They do have a large putting/chipping green by the first tee, but that’s about it. No nets or driving range before you head out.

1st hole at Mountain Shadows short course

Course Overview + Conditions 

Mountain Shadows golf course is not like most executive golf courses, which aren’t the best maintained. Most of the year, especially winter months, the course is in immaculate condition. 

The tee boxes, greens, and fairway/rough are typically very consistent in terms of conditions. The courses struggle a bit in the summer (like most courses in Phoenix) but the tee times are so cheap it makes up for it. They typically aerate in early June and  

Noteworthy Holes on Mountain Shadows Golf Course 

Mountain Shadows might be short, but their greens are wicked challenging. Not to mention, there are some holes that will require long irons or even hybrids for shorter players. There are three tee boxes to choose from as well. 

Here are some of the best holes at the Short Course. 

Hole 4: Par 3 – 193 yards 

After a relatively easy first few holes, it gets a lot more difficult on the 4th. This par 3 is the longest on the golf course and has one of the trickiest three tier greens you’ll ever see. 

The middle of the green is a good spot regardless of pin position. There is a huge swell that might leave a tough putt depending on the pin, but par is a great score here. 

Hole 6: Par 3 – 120 yards 

The 6th hole plays a little uphill and has a fun green that can lead to some close shots or even aces. You can’t miss left, but if your shot hits the hill on the left side of the green, it’ll likely spin back close to the hole. 

Hole 7: Par 3 – 75 yards 

The 7th is a short hole that requires precision with your wedge. It’s only 75 yards from the tips, but water is everywhere. Make sure to accelerate so you don’t chunk one in the drink.

Hole 12: Par 3 – 84 yards 

The 11th is a great hole that is made significantly harder thanks to the massive ridge in the green. Anything that hits in the middle will roll back to the front of the green and leave a tough putt. 

You’ll also need to miss the deep bunker left and water right. Overall, you’ll need to dial in your distances, especially if it’s a back pin. 

Hole 15: Par 3 – 180 yards 

This long par is one of the tougher holes on the course and requires the perfect distance to land on the smaller green. There’s also a big ridge, so try to get on the right tier for an easy birdie putt. Par is a good score on this hole too. 

Forrest Wager Hole  

Before the final hole of the day, the course has the Forrest Wager hole. This is something I’ve yet to see on any golf course and isn’t an additional hole but a large putting green. 

Here’s how they described this bonus hole on their website. “Hole 17.5. The Forrest Wager is a long, flowing green where the object is to play against your opponents in similar fashion to the popular golf game Bingo Bango Bongo.

 Here, one point is awarded for the closest to the hole on the first shot played. Another for the first player to hole out (the farthest plays first, as always). And a third point for the lowest score. Affectionately described as a par-2, The Forrest Wager can serve to settle bets, solidify a press or determine a tie-breaker.”

FAQs About Mountain Shadows Golf Course

Do you have more questions about playing Mountain Shadows executive course? If so, keep reading through the most frequently asked question and answers now. 

How long does it take to play Mountain Shadows? 

If you play 18 holes it should take three hours or less and about 1.5 hours for nine holes. I get out in the summer by myself and play 18 holes in about 90 minutes. 

When did Mountain Shadows open? 

The original golf course was built in 1961 and is a favorite among Hollywood celebrities. 

Is every hole at Mountain Shadows a par 3?

Yes, all 18 holes are par 3’s – they range from 75 to 193 yards from the tips. 

Do you have to walk at Mountain Shadows?

No, they have carts as well. It’s a pretty easy walk if you do want to get some extra exercise, as there are only a couple of holes with distance between them. Golf carts are available at only $5 per person and they even have four-seater golf carts as well. 

Is Mountain Shadows good for kids?

Yes, it’s a great course for junior golfers to get acquainted with the game. They offer discounts to younger golfers as well. 

Kids age nine and under can play for $25 while ages 10-15 get 50% off regular rates. 

Does Mountain Shadows have rental golf clubs?

Yes, if you’re just visiting the Phoenix area and/or staying at the resort, they do offer rental clubs. 

Par 3 at Mountain Shadows short course

Overall Recommendation – 9.0/10

When it comes to executive courses, it’s hard to beat Mountain Shadows. It’s a cool vibe, you can play fast, and the course is incredibly well maintained.

If you live close by or want to work on your short game a lot more, check out their summer and fall unlimited golf passes. The summer pass is about $500 and the winter pass is about $800 but includes unlimited golf (fall pass excludes Saturdays) including a golf cart.

Have you played golf at Mountain Shadows yet?

Let me know in the comments below. If you want a full length championship near Mountain Shadows Short Course, I highly recommend Camelback Golf Club.

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