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Southern Dunes Golf Course Review

Southern Dunes golf course is one of the top places to play in Arizona. It’s been awarded all kinds of awards like:

  • Best Courses in Arizona (#6 in 2021).
  • Golfweek’s Best Top 50 Casino Courses. 
  • Top 100 Courses You Can Play by Golf Magazine 

And a lot more. Not to mention the course has hosted prestigious events such as Korn Ferry Q-school, Southwest Section PGA Section Championship, and high-level amateur events.

If you want to play a great golf course that can test all parts of your game, you’ll love this Southern Dunes golf course review. 

Southern Dunes Golf Course Review

Southern Dunes golf course is a par 72 and plays 7,546 yards from the tips (slightly longer than Papago Golf Course). It’s one of the longest golf courses in the Phoenix area but plays shorter thanks to wind and usually firm fairways. There are six tee boxes including the tips, black, gold, blue, white, and red. 

Overview 

  • Opened in 2004 
  • Maricopa, Arizona 
  • Designed by Fred Couples 
  • Architect: Schmidt Curley Design 
  • Troon Golf Managed Facility 

Practice Facility

One of my favorite parts about Southern Dunes is the practice facilities. I wish I lived closer to the course as I’d practice there a lot more (or wish there was anything similar in Scottsdale). It’s that good!

The driving range is huge and all grass hitting areas – no mats anytime of year. The targets aren’t just random flag sticks in the ground either – they’re full on greens. In fact, they close the driving range midday and turn it into a par 3 golf course known as the Little Dunes.

Not to mention to the right side of the driving range (a lot of people don’t notice it) is a fairway bunker. This is great because 99% of golf courses don’t have a way to practice one of the hardest shots in golf. You’re likely going to hit a lot of fairway bunker shots too as Southern Dunes has tons of sand on every hole. 

Next to the driving range is a great chipping green with bunkers and nearly 60 yards of room to work on all short game shots. The putting green is also massive and positioned perfectly behind the clubhouse next to hole 1 and 10. 

I couldn’t design a better practice facility myself and have to give it a 10/10. 

Large putting green at Southern Dunes golf course in Maricopa, Arizona

Course Overview + Conditions

The golf course is a solid test of your abilities – both the front and back nine are great and I wouldn’t say one or another is my favorite or a harder nine. 

The front 9 starts off pretty easy with two short par 4s and a par 5. While the back nine starts off ease with a short par 4 on 10 but trouble looms on the tee shot. Both nines have two par 3s, five par 4s, and two par 5s. 

Conditions of the course are usually pretty good and one of the best maintained facility’s year round. Sometimes the greens get a little slower but for the most part the course is ready to go any month of the year – which isn’t easy in the summer. 

Noteworthy Holes on Southern Dunes Golf Course 

Here are some of my favorite holes at Southern Dunes: 

Hole 3: Par 5 – 575 yards

This is a solid par 5 that requires a perfect drive to go for it in two shots. In the US Open Qualifier they move the tee boxes back to a forward tee on #9 to make it more than 600 yards and the hardest par 5 on the golf course. Be careful going for the green in two as there are bunkers and trouble everywhere.

Hole 4: Par 3 – 164 yards

This par 3 is tough with such a shallow green complex and slightly elevated off the tee. Not to mention you can’t see anything except bunkers short and long so getting the right distance is a premium. A back right pin is the hardest spot on the hole, take your three and get out of there. 

Hole 6: Par 3 – 248 yards

When they tip this par 3 out it’s nearly 250 yards! But even from 250 yards it’s one of the most challenging holes at Southern Dunes. The best place to miss is short of the green and left – missing right and short (or the right bunker) is a nearly impossible up and down. 

 

4th hole at Southern Dunes golf course

Hole 10: Par 4 – 412 yards 

The 10th hole is short but anything right is dunes and/or fairway bunker and if you hit it too good you’ll end up in the fairway bunker. The second shot is pretty straight forward but you cannot miss long and left as the ball will roll well off the green. Don’t fall for a back left sucker pin. 

Hole 13: Par 5 – 606 yards 

This is such a good par 5 and one of my favorite holes in Arizona. The tee shot requires precision with fairway bunkers right and left. With a good drive you can go for the green in two as it’s usually firm and rolls up. But it’s not the easiest shot with bunkers everywhere and a narrow green. 

Hole 18: Par 4 – 463 yards 

The last two holes require a strong mental game before you can sign your scorecard. The tee shot isn’t that challenging on the last hole but the approach requires a great shot. 

Anything short and right of the green will run into the water with bunkers guarding left and long. Pick a number and stick with it! 

FAQs About Southern Dunes

Is it a Troon golf course?

Yes, Southern Dunes is a Troon managed property. 

Can you stay at the golf course?

No – there are no hotels or resorts at the golf course but there are some close. Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino and Resort isn’t far and they usually offer some sort of stay and play packages. 

What is the #minidunes?

The driving range closes early each day to open the #minidunes. As mentioned on their website, “The club named the course #miniDunes and in keeping with the theme to appeal to a younger audience, while increasing social media awareness, might just be the first course in the country to incorporate a hashtag in its name.”

This mini six hole course is considered the “bunny slope” to help younger players and new golfers. It’s also a great way to work on your short game, regardless of skill level. 

Are there caddies?

Southern Dunes offers caddies through May as they’ve partnered with CaddieMaster. You’ll need to book a caddy or forecaddie more than 24 hours in advance. 

Is Southern Dunes golf course public or private?

Southern Dunes is 100% public but they used to be a private men’s club in the early 2000s according to Golf Arizona.

16th tee box at Southern Dunes

Overall Recommendation

I couldn’t recommend Southern Dunes golf course anymore. Is it hard at times and a good test of golf? Absolutely, but it’s fair and in good shape year round. 

The only downside is the location in Maricopa isn’t convenient for a lot of golfers in the valley. Not to mention the highway to the course is a narrow 2-lane road with tons of accidents and traffic so plan accordingly.  

Check out the summer sick pack as it’s one of the best deals in golf. They also offer a Copa Card which gives you discounts throughout the year on golf, practice rates, Arroyo Grille, and the golf shop. 

While it’s not the cheapest or closest course to a lot of people in Arizona, there’s no doubt it’s one of the best. 

Have you made the drive to Southern Dunes yet? What did you think? 

If you’re focusing more on Scottsdale, check out the best public courses now. 

Let me know in the comments below! 

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