Moun­tain Shad­ows Re­sort - Nostal­gia Lives Here

Nostal­gia Lives Here

Golf Vacations - - Contents - by David R. Hol­land

I’m look­ing down the first fair­way of the newly ren­o­vated Moun­tain Shad­ows’ “The Short Course” and the view is his­toric. Camel­back Moun­tain is mag­ni­fied – along with Mummy Moun­tain. In early morn­ing and late af­ter­noon the shad­ows are a pho­tog­ra­pher’s dream.

I’m look­ing down the first fair­way of the newly ren­o­vated Moun­tain Shad­ows’ “The Short Course” and the view is his­toric. Camel­back Moun­tain is mag­ni­fied – along with Mummy Moun­tain. In early morn­ing and late af­ter­noon the shad­ows are a pho­tog­ra­pher’s dream. It was here on Jan­uary 16, 1959, Moun­tain Shad­ows opened its doors and the ex­ec­u­tive golf course and ho­tel, com­plete with “high div­ing board” at the old-time la­goon swim­ming pool, was a hit. Hol­ly­wood celebri­ties loved it along with in­ter­na­tional globe trot­ters and lo­cals. There was even a mid­dle sec­tion sur­rounded by golf holes where 1960s era Cal­i­for­nia ranch-style houses were built with ac­cess to ho­tel room ser­vice, the pool and golf. Those homes are still here. The orig­i­nal golf course built by de­signer Arthur Jack Sny­der had a tee sheet that once in­cluded Bob Hope, Burt Reynolds, John Wayne, Sammy Davis, Jr., and James Coburn. Lu­cille Ball once landed in a “he­li­copter cab” from Sky Har­bor Air­port to at­tend a func­tion and re­ceive an award. Even Liz Tay­lor dropped by to have her hair “done” and The Mon­kees even filmed a TV episode here. To­day’s celebri­ties are most likely lo­cal sports pros like Larry Fitzger­ald, Car­son Palmer and Zack Greinke. Moun­tain Shad­ows Re­born Fa­mous de­vel­oper Del Webb sold the prop­erty to Mar­riott in 1981, but by 2004 it was ev­i­dent the end of the line was near. Moun­tain Shad­ows just couldn’t com­pete with new re­sorts like Westin Kier­land. Af­ter al­most 10 years in moth balls the de­ci­sion was made to bull­doze the ho­tel and golf course and start over. Scotts­dale’s We­stroc Hos­pi­tal­ity an­nounced in June of 2015 that it had formed a part­ner­ship with Dal­las’s Wood­bine De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion to jointly re­de­velop the iconic ho­tel and its old golf course. For­rest Richard­son, a pro­tégé of Sny­der, and a suc­cess­ful lo­cal ar­chi­tect was awarded the job to make Moun­tain Shad­ows a par-3, 18-hole golf course. “His work is a hit,” said Tom McCa­han, Di­rec­tor of Golf and Club Op­er­a­tions. “Ev­ery­one tells me how much fun the golf is, but it’s not easy. There are plenty tough green com­plexes with swales, slopes and bumps but the con­di­tion­ing is great. Ev­ery Tues­day we have a Skins Game and it is a big hit.” If you miss a green and find the heavy rough, good luck, it’s eas­ier to hit off the hard­pan or de­com­posed crushed gran­ite that is used ex­ten­sively in desert golf. “The ob­jec­tive was to build a chal­leng­ing yet en­joy­able golf course on a piece of prop­erty half the size of a tra­di­tional golf course,” Richard­son said. “Sny­der re­sponded by creating one of Golf Di­gest’s top 10 ex­ec­u­tive golf cour­ses in the world. The to­tal acreage was less than 40, mak­ing the course a truly unique de­vel­op­ment that was well ahead of its time. “To­day we take for granted the goals of re­duc­ing water and pro­vid­ing a venue where golfers can spend less time de­pend­ing on their sched­ules. At Moun­tain Shad­ows th­ese el­e­ments were in place some 50 years be­fore they be­came pop­u­lar, mak­ing the re­sort truly ahead of its time,” Richard­son said. The Short Course re­ally gets steamy at No. 4, the long­est hole at 193 yards, named Biar­ritz for the huge swale in the mid­dle of the green. Just try get­ting it close when the pin is at the very back. Richard­son said

he didn’t want the bunkers to be the sole de­fense of the course. Then the 14th is a “Dell” hole with mounds, trees and a pond to pro­tect par. The lay­out ex­tends to 2,310 yards with the short­est hole at 90 yards. Talk about a great place to bring the kids and begin­ners and play­ing time is greatly re­duced from a 7,000-yard golf course. Other de­sign fea­tures in­clude the Dou­ble Plateau, Redan, Bot­tle, Punch­bowl and Alps. The de­sign strived for 18 dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences, yet all linked by a com­mon thread.

“A bonus hole, called the “Pray­ing Monk”, serves as “Hole 17.5” be­tween the 17th and 18th holes says Richard­son. “This fea­ture is a par2 ex­tra hole that play­ers use to set­tle bets and put in mo­tion the fi­nal 18th hole for­mat. The Pray­ing Monk is ac­tu­ally a 200-foot long green with un­du­la­tions that set up ex­cit­ing putts or bumps-and-run shots from ei­ther of two tee ar­eas. The con­cept for the Pray­ing Monk is to link the rout­ing be­tween the 17th and 18th and also cre­ate a unique ex­tra ex­pe­ri­ence for play­ers.” Moun­tain Shad­ows Re­sort The new ho­tel and con­dos dis­play the Camel­back Moun­tain scenery with plenty of ground to ceil­ing glass. Mid-cen­tury mod­ernism and con­tem­po­rary de­sign com­bined to cre­ate spa­ces that feel open and lux­u­ri­ous. Comfy plush bed­ding, cus­tom fur­nish­ings, awe­some show­ers with abun­dant nat­u­ral light make your stay just right. Up­grade to a pre­mium gue­stroom for bal­conies, per­fect for en­joy­ing the stun­ning desert scenery. Din­ing On May 24, 1961, Par­adise Val­ley of­fi­cially be­came an in­cor­po­rated town. Res­i­dents prided them­selves on the qual­ity of life and desert scenery. So Hearth ’61 was cho­sen as the name of the out­stand­ing restau­rant to honor the town’s ori­gins by en­cour­ag­ing the com­mu­nity to gather around spe­cial food and good times. Here the cui­sine was driven to pair cook­ing styles rich in tra­di­tion. En­joy craft cock­tails, lo­cal brews and an ex­ten­sive wine se­lec­tion in the open restau­rant with a ex­hi­bi­tion kitchen. Take in the views of the twi­light desert scenery through glass walls in­side or on the pa­tio over­look­ing the pool. The pool com­plex is amaz­ing. Palms are abun­dant next to two 75-foot pools con­nected by a mod­ern wa­ter­fall fea­ture. Chaise lounges, eight ca­banas for rent, cock­tails and light bites set the tone for a leisurely af­ter­noon. The pools are heated dur­ing the cooler months, or en­joy a soak in the hot tub. Just out­side the golf club­house is Rusty’s where you can have break­fast be­fore your round or dine af­ter for lunch with the back­drop of Camel­back Moun­tain. Moun­tain Shad­ows hits the mark on all counts. “Short Cour­ses” have emerged re­cently – there’s one at Wick­en­burg Ranch (Ari­zona) named Li’l Wick and an­other on the Ran­cho Pa­los Verde Penin­sula of Los An­ge­les called Ter­ranea Re­sort with a view of Santa Catalina Is­land. If this ap­peals to you don’t miss all three.

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