Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Arizona is a private community built around golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus. Three existed when I started work in 1991, and now, in 2017, there are six courses. These golf courses are unique. They are not a broad expanse of grass and trees like courses throughout the country. Rather, they are desert golf courses.
An Arizona state law went into effect in the late 1980’s limiting the amount of grass golf courses can water to 90 acres. Well, a championship 18 hole golf course takes more than 90 acres, so the desert golf layout emerged. To stretch the golf course transition areas of 1/4 in. decomposed granite were created in between the tees and the fairway, and between the fairway and the green complex. (fyi, when the Cochise course was built it had 30 acres of transitions) Another way of stretching the turf areas was to create four or five round tee areas for each hole, like lily pads. These courses are beautiful, surrounded by open desert they stand out like a chain of opals.
Beautiful as they may be, desert golf course designs require extensive maintenance. Unlike traditional courses, every part of the 90 acre desert course must be edged. The transitions are areas in play, and must be racked and drug with mats. For the major Tradition tournament it takes 4 hours for two men with carts and drag mats to prepare all the transitions on the Cochise course.
I hope you enjoy the “behind the scenes” view of life maintaining golf courses to top 100 standards.