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Talking Stick Golf Club Review – Best Casino Courses in Arizona?

Talking Stick Golf Club is a solid place to play golf year round if you’re in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. The two golf courses (36 holes total) are constantly ranked as one of the best places to play in Scottsdale, as they’re always in great shape. 

In this Talking Stick Golf Club review, I’ll take you through the best holes, learn more about their PDP practice program, course conditions, and more. 

Talking Stick Golf Club Review  

  • 36 holes
  • Scottsdale, AZ 
  • Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw 
  • Owned by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community  

Both courses are immaculately maintained even during the summer months and have no water issues like other courses. The practice facility is well maintained, pace of play is okay (little slow during busy winter months) but usually is a solid experience. Not to mention you can stay at Talking Stick Resort and Casino which is right next door. 

Sunset at Talking Stick Golf Club

Practice Facility

Talking Stick has one of the biggest driving ranges in Arizona. They offer a grass driving range year round without ever having to hit from mats, which is a huge perk. 

Talking Stick has a large putting green to work on your short game, where you can chip as well. Unfortunately, they have no chipping green or bunker area.

The practice facility gets a lot of use thanks to busy tee sheets and the Player Development Program (PDP). This is a monthly recurring fee that gives you one bag of balls per person per day (no exceptions), $25 tee times when playing during PDP approved times, but only one day advanced reservations.

I’ve been a member of the PDP in the past as I love to practice but got frustrated when they went to one bag of balls per day. If you want to play Talking Stick at a discounted price, it’s a pretty good deal… assuming you can actually get a tee time.

The monthly rate schedule varies based on time of year. Here were the PDP rates for 2022-2023. 

  • November 1, 2022 – May 31, 2023 | $99.99 per month
  • June 1, 2023 – September 30, 2023 | $49.99 per month
  • October 2023 | $29.99 per month

It’s a good plan for summer months if you want to play and practice more. 

Course Overview + Conditions 

Talking Stick has 36 holes of pretty forgiving desert golf. The O’odham Course is a par 70 and unfortunately only has two par fives. 

Here’s how they described this course on the website. 

Talking Stick Golf Club’s O’odham Course (formerly North Course) with its broad, angular holes, rewards thoughtful play through the rise of its many options according to one’s level of skill. Its low profile, slightly crowned greens and close-cropped approaches encourage running as well as aerial assaults.”

The other course is the Piipaash which I think is the better of the two courses. It’s a bit shorter at 6,833 yards and a par 71. This course is more tree lined with raised greens and overall a better layout in my opinion. 

Noteworthy Holes on Talking Stick Golf Course 

Here are some of the best holes on each course. 

Best Holes on Piipaash Golf Course

Hole 3: Par 3 – 228 yards 

The first par 3 is one you’ll spot as you pull into the golf course. It’s the longest par 3 on the course and requires a great shot to find the green. Avoid the bunkers left and desert right to this large and tricky green.

 

My strategy is to club up slightly and play for the center of the green regardless of pin position. Par is a fantastic score on this hole. 

Hole 4: Par 4 – 327 yards 

The next hole is a good risk reward par 4. It’s reachable for long hitters as long as you can avoid the desert/out of bounds right and the desert left. The green has a lot of slope and requires precision if you lay back to a full wedge off the tee. 

10th tee at Talking Stick O'odham golf course

Hole 7: Par 5 – 516 yards 

The only par 5 on the front nine is very much a birdie hole if you can find the short grass. The hole doglegs right and is somewhat narrow off the tee.

The second shot is pretty straightforward to a smaller green, assuming you can avoid the trap. Look to score on this hole but be careful as anything left of the green falls off hard. 

Hole 11: Par 4 – 392 yards 

The 11th hole is a great short par 4 that requires a decision off the tee. You can take driver, but you’ll need to take the right line as the hole doglegs left with water running the entire left side.

The green has some good undulation, but it’s one of the better opportunities to sneak in a birdie on the back nine. 

Hole 13: Par 3 – 152 yards 

The 13th hole is short on the card but far from an easy shot. The wind seems to play a factor on this hole a lot and you’ll need to avoid the myriad of bunkers as well. The green also slopes pretty hard from back to front. 

Hole 18: Par 4 – 318 yards 

The final hole on the Piipaash course is another risk-reward par 4. Water runs the entire right side and the shape of the green also makes it tough for a driver to hit and stay on the putting surface.

The miss is short and left to hopefully give yourself a good look at birdie. Make sure to read the green carefully as there are a lot of hidden slopes as well. 

Best Holes on O’odham Course 

Hole 2: Par 5 – 552 yards 

The second hole is one of two par fives on the course and pretty easy off the tee with a massive fairway. But trouble looms the entire left side, as desert/out of bounds is right next to the fairway.

Going for the green in two shots is risky as a slight pull or if you overdraw a shot will end up OB. Two bunkers guard the right side of the green as well. I’ve made some big numbers here and recommend a slightly more conservative game plan around the green despite being a par 5. 

Hole 6: Par 3 – 223 yards 

The first par 3 at Talking Stick is a beast and requires a solid long iron, hybrid, or fairway wood off the tee. The green is pretty big and slopes back to front. The middle of the green is never a bad place to aim or end up, either.

Talking Stick Hole 16

Hole 11: Par 3 – 261 yards 

Yes, you read that right… 261 yards from the tips! It’s a big hole from any tee box and might require a 3-wood for a lot of players. 

Anything short and left is okay and the green is massive. Like the 6th hole, par is a good score here as well. 

Hole 12: Par 4 – 392 yards 

The 12th is challenging thanks to the split fairway and dry creek bed that runs between it. Most golfers should opt for the right side of the fairway to play it safe and avoid OB on the left side.

If your ball does end up in between the fairways, it’s playable but not a great lie a lot of times. The green is also small and somewhat tricky so don’t let the short distance of this hole fool you. 

Hole 15: Par 4 – 461 yards 

The 15th hole is the longest par 4 on the golf course but does have a very wide fairway. You’ll need two great shots to hit the green, which does have a lot of slopes as well. 

Hole 17: Par 5 – 582 yards 

The final par 5 is pretty long and requires two great shots to find the green for an eagle putt. It moves slightly right to left and you’ll need a solid tee shot to avoid the bunkers and all kinds of trouble left.

While there is trouble on the right side of the green and a lot of back to front slopes as well. The best place to end up is just short and left of the green for a pretty straightforward chip shot. 

Talking Stick Golf course in Scottsdale, AZ

FAQs

Do you have more questions about Talking Stick Golf Club? If so, keep reading through the most commonly asked questions and answers now. 

Can you practice at Talking Stick? 

Yes, you can practice at Talking Stick even if you aren’t playing golf. You can buy a bag of balls (not buckets) individually or join their PDP (Player Development Program). This gives you daily range balls and discounted tee times as well. 

How many courses are at Talking Stick Golf Club? 

There are two 18 hole golf courses at Talking Stick Golf Club. TopGolf is also less than a mile away, not to mention Popstroke (Tiger’s putting course) close by as well. 

Which Talking Stick golf course is better? Is North or South better at Talking Stick? 

I think Piipaash (South course) is the better of the two courses as there’s an extra par 5 and overall better layout. 

What is Vision54? 

Vision54 is a mental golf coaching experience with Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson. They operate at Talking Stick as the back side of the range is their practice facilities. 

Overall Recommendation – 7.5/10 

Conditions wise these golf courses are always in great condition even in the summers. I just think the courses get a little repetitive and don’t keep me mentally captivated. 

The O’odham course is frustrating as there are only two par 5’s that aren’t reachable in two for most golfers and has a ton of OB right next to the fairway. I’d rather play the South course, as I like the layout more and think it’s a more enjoyable experience. 

Which course do you think is better at Talking Stick Golf Club? 

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