Mesa del Sol’s front nine was designed by Arnold Palmer and the course opened for play in 1979. With four sets of tee boxes and yardage ranging from 5392 to 6767 yards, fairly generous fairways, and no tricked up holes, Mesa del Sol Golf Club is very golfer friendly for all skill levels.
We thought the front nine was fun to play and the most challenging – it’s a little longer from all the tee boxes, has water that can come into play on five holes, and has 28 of the 38 bunkers waiting for your golf ball. Plus you’ll have some tough approaches, forced carries, dog legs, plus mounds and swales to keep you focused on your game. The fairways on this nine are lined with homes, some of which are beautiful, and a few of the holes have the mountains as a backdrop. Score well on this nine and you’ll have a good round. Some examples of a couple fun and challenging holes include:
#3 is a dog leg right 521 yard par 5 that has water from the tee to the 150 yard marker on the right (high risk reward opportunity to try and carry it to shorten the hole) and then water on the left from 150 yards out to the green – plus the fairway is a little tight
#5 is a challenging 167 par 3 with carry over the pond to a green guarded by bunkers in the front, left, and back
#9 is a good finishing hole that’s 545 yards to the pin with a narrow fairway, thanks to a lake on the left side from 175 yards out to the green
The back has some interesting holes including an elevated tee box to a dog leg right fairway with mounding all along the left side, a couple good risk reward opportunities for a birdie if you think you can carry the trees and avoid the houses, some uphill shots over a hidden pond encroaching into the fairway, and a couple challenging greens with severe slope.
When we played Mesa del Sol the conditions were not the best – the fairways were spotty, the greens were patchy and bumpy, and the rough was a mixture of grassy spots and dirt. We heard that a water pipe had broken and they were unable to keep the course watered. A couple people who we talked to said that last year the conditions were much better – around an 8 versus a 5 when we played. Most of the fairways are lined with homes on one or both sides and it’s not that hard to put a ball in a back yard.
The greens are about average size and range from fairly flat to some with severe slope and a few greens will challenging your putting with slope, tiers, and undulation. The greens ran fairly true, held the ball ok, and reading the breaks was straightforward. The bunkers were ok with thick and heavy sand and about average lips and depth.
Pace of play during the winter season can be very slow thanks to fivesomes, retirees, snowbirds, and lots of golfers who want to play Mesa del Sol. Also, the dogs barking on several holes is a little annoying – at one house three basset hounds were going crazing with howling and then their neighboring dog friends joined in – needless to say, when I sprayed the ball, I blamed the dogs!