Welcome to our “Where I Played” series, where a GOLF staffer runs through a recent day at a course you might play in your future. On this occasion, we’re teeing it up at Westin Kierland Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
It was an unseasonably cold day in Arizona when I played Westin Kierland Golf Club last week. Low 50s, clouds, wind — not a day most locals would choose to tee it up.
But as a mom of two young kids, my golf days are limited. So when both are in school and I have a tee time booked, you can bet I’m keeping it!
And my course of choice was Kierland — a fabulous 27-hole facility (Acacia, Ironwood and Mesquite nines) that is a part of the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale.
For out-of-towners looking for a Scottsdale base, the resort is an awesome choice. The location is fantastic: walking distance to local shopping and dining meccas Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter. And not only is there great golf onsite, you’re also close to TPC Scottsdale, McDowell Mountain and Grayhawk — enough golf to fill a week.
Last fall, I wrote about playing my first solo round ever, and as it happens, it only took a couple more months to play my second, because I went out as a walking single at Kierland, playing the Acacia and Ironwood nines. Despite the “cold” — a relative term for us Arizonans, I know! — it was positive experience. Below are the five things I loved most about my round.
5 things I loved most about my round at Westin Kierland GC
I love the idea of all-inclusive greens fees. A tee time at the Westin Kierland is not cheap (in high-season prime time, weekday morning tee times run about $230) but the fact that range balls are included in the cost eases the sting a bit. It’s really nice to simply walk out to the range where balls are already waiting, instead of having to purchase and collect a warm-up bag yourself, which you then feel obligated to finish. I just want a few swings! (It’s the little things.)
Now that I’ve discovered the joy of walking with a push cart, I really appreciate a course that lends itself to an easy stroll. Kierland fits the bill. There are a couple of significant climbs from green to tee to get your heart pumping, but overall, it’s a gentle, enjoyable walk.
Kierland is resort golf with a capital “R.” Case in point: the punchbowl-style surrounds off the fairway on the first hole. When I hooked my opening drive, the ball flew straight into what looked like no-man’s-land desert scrub on the left, only to roll out and emerge on the edge of the fairway. Heck yeah! This is friendly golf. The fairways are generous and greens are nicely sized. The course’s main defenses are deep greenside bunkers and tough-to-read putting surfaces. Otherwise, you won’t find much trouble … unless you truly deserve it.
Pace of play
As a single, I never expected to have a fast day on the course, but I was pleasantly surprised. I followed a foursome for most of the Acacia nine and tried to give them a wide berth, but I ultimately played through them on the par-3 8th. Then I played through another foursome on my 10th tee (Ironwood’s 1st tee), and that was that. I followed a twosome who was following a foursome for the rest of the round, and felt relaxed. I finished in 3:25 and felt good about it.
Because I played through the second group at the turn, I rushed a bit and never had the chance to visit the halfway house. So needless to say, by the time I finished my round, I was ravenous. I popped into Brittlebush Bar & Grill, the course’s warm and inviting onsite restaurant. There was a roaring fire in the fireplace — bliss after the cold round. What should I order? Everything on the menu sounded good. My friendly server suggested the Green Chile Pork Grilled Cheese: mezcal green chile pork, menonita cheese, sourdough bread, green chile dipping sauce. And let me tell you, it’s one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. Paired with onion rings and a side of chipotle aioli, it was heaven on a plate.
Needless to say, I already can’t wait to go back.