One of the original desert courses still stands the test of time thanks to recent work from David Zinkand in 2013. A few greens were moved, and bunkering updated as well as green complexes slightly modified, but the classic routing stayed the same.
Desert Forest is one of the desert favorites in Scottsdale. My caddy at Estancia actually thought Desert Forest was the best course in the state, and while I’m not that high on it (my vote is still Estancia) it’s quite good, and Estancia is the only course I have ahead. It’s a player golf course, but it’s fair, and still quite difficult. The greens are quite fast, the architecture is also quite good, specifically the green complexes, and used the land given quite well. Let’s get into the holes!
Desert golf is associated with boring, similar style golf courses and over penalizing for missing the fairway, and while Desert Forest is perhaps a bit of the last one at times, it is anything but your typical desert golf course. There’s nothing boring here, nothing similar or stale–just a classic golf course. It’s one of the best walks in the desert I’ve seen to this point, and one of the few courses in Phoenix I would jump at the opportunity to return to (so far, only Estancia, Apache Stronghold, and We-Ko-Pa Saguaro are the other three). If you’re an architecture guy like myself, Desert Forest is not to be missed on a trip to the desert.
I will say that Desert Forest may be too penal at times, and could use a little bit more width off the tee just for playability and options, but for the member playing from the correct tees it’s still generous enough to get around. Just be prepared to have to stripe it from the back tee boxes!