Westin Kierland Re­sort & Spa

Golf Vacations - - News - by David R. Hol­land

Frus­trated reload­ers will smile more at Kierland Golf Club. It’s tra­di­tional, mi­nus forced car­ries, player friendly, has immaculate con­di­tions and chal­leng­ing holes with sweep­ing views of Mummy Moun­tain, Camel­back Moun­tain, Pin­na­cle Peak and the McDow­ells give the lay­out an at­trac­tive panorama.

SCOTTS­DALE, AZ -- It’s a scene re­peated daily on the tar­get-style desert cour­ses in Ari­zona.

A high-hand­i­cap­per ad­dresses his ball, knees are wob­bly as he peers at the 185-yard forced carry over a nat­u­ral desert dry wash filled with rocks, cac­tus, hid­ing places for rat­tlesnakes and the spiny-branched ocotillo. He swings and im­me­di­ately reaches in his back pocket. Reload.

Frus­trated reload­ers will smile more at Kierland Golf Club. It’s tra­di­tional, mi­nus forced car­ries, player friendly, has immaculate con­di­tions and chal­leng­ing holes with sweep­ing views of Mummy Moun­tain, Camel­back Moun­tain, Pin­na­cle Peak and the McDow­ells give the lay­out an at­trac­tive panorama.

To­day, the land­scape is even more 21st cen­tury. A huge 300-foot HDTV named Skyview greets pa­tio vis­i­tors and golfers play­ing holes that are in front of the 750-room ho­tel.

But “fun” con­cepts are ev­ery­where, in­clud­ing an in­cred­i­ble Lazy River com­plex for the kids and the golf club’s in­tro­duc­tion of sev­eral ways to ex­pe­ri­ence the 27 holes.

Kierland Golf Club In­tro­duces Tur­fRiders and The Shark Ex­pe­ri­ence

Kierland’s Tur­fRiders join a fleet of unique golf ve­hi­cles. Seg­way Golf came in 2002 and now you can try golf bikes, GolfBoards, and four-seater golf carts. Tur­fRiders have golf bags si­t­u­ated at the back of two-wheel scoot­ers, and golfers can cruise the course both on and off the cart path, thanks to their light weight and large, turf-friendly tires that cre­ate no dam­age to the fair­ways. In ad­di­tion to adding fun to the game, the bat­tery-pow­ered scoot­ers also add speed with an 18 mph set­ting rec­om­mended for get­ting around the course and climb­ing most hills.

Nancy Dick­ens, Di­rec­tor of Golf at The Westin Kierland Golf Club, said the ad­di­tion of the scoot­ers to the fleet rounds out its “quar­tet” of fun: “The scoot­ers pro­vide a fun, ex­hil­a­rat­ing golf ex­pe­ri­ence. They are easy to ride but some­thing most golfers have never ex­pe­ri­enced,” she said. “They con­tinue our tra­di­tion of cre­at­ing a unique and dif­fer­ent golf ex­pe­ri­ence at Kierland.”

And how about The Shark Ex­pe­ri­ence? “For the past four years I’ve been work­ing on some­thing called the Shark Ex­pe­ri­ence,” Greg Nor­man ex­plained. “Club Car is build­ing 50,000 carts with Blue­tooth-en­abled screens that can stream mu­sic, sports, news – what­ever ap­pli­ca­tions the world can imag­ine – through speak­ers de­signed, by the shape of the cone and its an­gle of mount­ing, to keep the sound within the cart. To grow golf in these times you need to give peo­ple the choice of stay­ing con­nected.”

The Golf Ex­pe­ri­ence

Scott Miller, formerly a se­nior de­signer for Jack Nick­laus, de­signed the three nine-hole lay­outs -- Mesquite, Aca­cia and Iron­wood. They are named for the trees that dec­o­rate Kierland. There a few forced car­ries and none you can’t master. Miller de­signed many of the Amer­ica’s finest cour­ses in­clud­ing Coeur d’Alene Re­sort Golf Course in Idaho and WeKo-Pa Golf Club in Ari­zona. Most agree that the Aca­cia-Iron­wood nines are the best 18-hole com­bi­na­tion at Kierland. Aca­cia’s strength is its el­e­va­tion dif­fer­ences,

while Iron­wood is dot­ted with lots of tall grasses and wa­ter fea­tures. The Mesquite nine is pretty much straight­for­ward, but all three have in­ter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing fin­ish­ing holes.

“Kierland is my fa­vorite lay­out in the Val­ley,” said John Harkins of Phoenix. “Con­di­tions are great all the time. The ser­vice is su­perb, you can hit all the warm-up balls you want and it is not tar­get golf. You can play with­out los­ing a dozen golf balls. I like that the most.”

It is man­aged by Troon Golf, the best man­age­ment com­pany in the busi­ness. Iron­wood’s sig­na­ture No. 9 is a pos­si­ble ea­gle par 5. It’s only 495 yards from the back, but wa­ter trav­els the en­tire right side You will have to ne­go­ti­ate a huge trap that crosses the fair­way 100 yards out, but most solid driv­ers of the ball can reach the green in two.

Aca­cia’s fin­ish­ing hole has a back­drop of the new ho­tel, a down­hill tee shot with a lake left and hilly slope bor­der­ing the right fair­way bound­ary. It’s 531 yards from the back and has a two-tiered green.

Mesquite’s No. 9 is 427 yards from the back, a par 4, and is fronted by a large lake carry on the ap­proach with six sand traps guard­ing the front en­trance to a di­ag­o­nally-placed putting sur­face.

Dick­ens, who be­gan her ca­reer as a su­per­in­ten­dent, says the most chal­leng­ing part of scor­ing here are the swales that some­times en­gulf the putting sur­faces. “I en­cour­age golfers to putt from the swales, but the bunkers can be tough, too.”

And she like to say that 17 acres of turf were re­moved from be­hind greens in 2013 and 12 more acres since then mak­ing Kierland a stew­ard of the en­vi­ron­ment.

Aca­cia’s fin­ish­ing hole has a back­drop of the ho­tel, a down­hill tee shot with a lake left and hilly slope bor­der­ing the right fair­way bound­ary. It’s 531 yards from the back and has a two-tiered green. Mesquite’s No. 9 is 427 yards from the back, a par 4, and is fronted by a large lake carry on the ap­proach with six sand traps guard­ing the front en­trance to a di­ag­o­nally-placed putting sur­face.

The Westin Kierland Re­sort & Spa in a Word: Awe­some

You want pack­ages? Well, Westin Kierland has many to pick from -- Golf Es­cape Pack­age, Hit the Links Golf Pack­age, Agave Spa Soothe Pack­age, Stay 3 Nights, Get 4th Night Free, 5th Night Free and $100 Re­sort Credit, “Bun­dle of Joy” Baby­moon and “In­dulge” Ro­mance Pack­age.

You’ve al­ways en­vi­sioned your va­ca­tion to be per­fect on ev­ery level, but never imag­ined a staff so ac­com­mo­dat­ing and fa­cil­i­ties so re­vi­tal­iz­ing and dis­tinc­tively dif­fer­ent. That is The Westin Kierland Re­sort & Spa ex­pe­ri­ence. So come, wan­der the grounds of this desert oa­sis. Leave be­hind your hec­tic life­style to re­lax and re­new.

The AAA Four Di­a­mond Re­sort fea­tures ac­com­mo­da­tions that will sooth and stim­u­late from a full-ser­vice spa and world-class golf to award-win­ning din­ing and up­scale shop­ping. In­tu­itively de­signed to cel­e­brate Ari­zona’s rich his­tory and di­verse cul­ture, The Westin Kierland of­fers a sanc­tu­ary of op­por­tu­nity and am­biance.

The Re­sort pays trib­ute to the state’s Scot­tish im­mi­grants each evening with its “Scot­tish Pipes at Sun­set” se­ries. Guests are en­cour­aged to gather around the fire pit at the Dreamweavers Canyon to en­joy the Scot­tish bag­pipes played by Master Bag­piper Michael McClanathan.

As you ex­plore the Re­sort, you will find de­tails of Ari­zona’s rich his­tory and those who had an im­por­tant role in shap­ing it. Dis­cov­ery Hall, Ex­pe­di­tion Hall and Vi­sion­ar­ies Hall are named as such to honor those who cre­ated the Essence of Ari­zona, from river ex­plor­ers such as John Wes­ley Pow­ell to Na­tive Amer­i­can tribal chiefs and heads of state. With these ef­forts, we hope to carry on the spirit of those who came be­fore us – vi­sion­ar­ies who made Ari­zona what it is to­day.

Your kids are gonna love this

One of the Re­sort’s big­gest at­trac­tions is its Ad­ven­ture Wa­ter Park, which of­fers a 900-foot lazy river ride, a 110-foot wa­ter­slide and our very own Kierland FlowRider. Rent a fam­ily-friendly pool­side ca­bana to re­lax in shaded lux­ury or soak in one of our two hot tubs. Also check out the adult pool, Aguamiel, Kierland FlowRider, The OK Cor­ral, and Dreamweaver’s Canyon.

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