The Resort At Squaw Creek review

February 17, 2008 1:48:24 PM PST
Squaw Creek is all about your tee shots. If you are long and accurate, you might pull your driver three times during a round--- twice at the par fives, and once at the 17th of 18th, depending upon the wind. Otherwise, leave the big club in your bag. Play long irons or a lofted wood.

Greed and this Squaw Creek do co-exist well. The fairways are mounded in places, and narrow almost everywhere. In the summer, they run hard and fast. Invariably, if you miss any fairway here, you're in serious danger of losing a stroke, if not your ball.

There is no out-of-bounds at Squaw Creek. Play lost balls as lateral hazards, and players lost many of them on this course. When my playing partner hit yet another wayward shot, the marshal approached and gave each of us four 'experienced' balls. "We know where people hit 'em, and we know where to find them," he told us.

From the tips, Squaw Creek's par 71 measures 6931 yards, and rates 72.9, with a slope of 143.

Kyle Phillips, one of my favorite architects, ghost designed this course for Robert Trent Jones, Jr. He's always had a sinister streak, but never without offering redemption. That's what makes the par five's at Squaw Creek so interesting. The air is thin here, so balls fly about ten percent farther, making the par fives tantalizingly reachable. Given your inevitable bad fortune on other holes, the fives offer ripe opportunities to get even, or to get ahead.

The 554/525/495 yard, par five 5th plays as a mild dogleg right down a hill. You can't see much fairway from the blue tees, but having just doubled the previous hole, I wanted a stroke back. Enter the risk/reward element. It's a narrow fairway, but generous for this place. I pulled the driver, and hit a good shot, leaving 212 yards left to the hole.

The 513/496/480 yard par five 13th, tees into a valley, and then runs up to an elevated green. Again, for those with a little pop to the clubface, it's extremely reachable.

I like Squaw Creek because in places, it's a mountain version of links golf. The fairways do have a certain capricious quality to them. You might hit a questionable shot and find yourself safe. Or, you may hit a fairly good one, and lose your ball to a bad or never-ending bounce. It requires patience. Squaw Creek is the kind of place that forces a player to trust his swing, and try to forget the outcome.