Diabolical – if you look it up in the dictionary its definition is appropriate to a devil, especially in the degree of wickedness. Dyeabolical – there is no definition in the dictionary, but ask any avid golfer and he will tell you that Dyeabolical is a term used to explain golf course architect Pete Dye. When playing a Pete Dye designed course you sometimes feel that there was a degree of wickedness in the design process.
Pete Dye has designed some of the world’s most famous golf courses, including TPC Sawgrass in Florida and Whistling Straights in Wisconsin. There are only two golf courses in Arizona designed by Pete Dye himself. The first course that he designed in Arizona was Red Mountain Ranch Country Club.
When Mr. Dye lays out a course, he likes to make a player think his way around that golf course. Length is typically not at a premium. This is the case as Red Mountain Ranch. From the tips the course only measures 6,774 yards with a par of 72. However, with a slope and rating of 73.3 and 144, it is one of the most difficult golf courses in Arizona. Two characteristics of a Pete Dye course include signature railroad ties and natural mounding in the fairways, the rough and around the greens. Red Mountain Ranch has both in abundance. I believe that the main reason that Mr. Dye incorporates these aspects in his designs is that visually it diverts the golfer’s attention off of the task at hand, which is trying to hit the ball in the fairway or on the green.
The first hole at Red Mountain Ranch is one of the longer par 4’s on the golf course, measuring 455 yards. The play off of the tee is to hit it down the left side of the fairway. The second shot is played to an elevated green. If you miss the green on either side it is very hard to get up and down for par. Number two is a medium length par 4 at 393 yards. The hole doglegs slightly to the right. The green has three different levels, so it is important to be on the same level as the pin. This is one of my favorite holes as I made an eagle two from 115 yards out. The third hole is the number 1 handicap hole and to me, the most difficult driving hole on the course. There are two large fairway bunkers left and desert to the right with a very narrow fairway to drive into. Hole number 6 is a short and scenic par 3 that is surrounded on three sides by water. If you are going to miss the shot, be sure to miss to the right. The view of the valley from the back tee box on number 9 is fantastic. The hole is a short par 5 at 480 yards and offers a chance to reach the green in two. The hole moves slightly uphill with the clubhouse directly behind the green. Bunkers short and right protect the green. With two good shots, you have a very good chance of ending your front nine with a birdie.
The back nine starts out with a scenic uphill par 5 measuring 540 yards. It takes two very strong shots to get home in two. The tee shot should be aimed just right of the fairway bunker down the left side. The green is again two tiered and is protected by bunkers short and to the left. The 201-yard par 3 eleventh hole is the signature hole at Red Mountain Ranch. Red Mountain looms large in the backdrop as you have to hit your tee shot to a green protected by water short, right and long. The hole is also surrounded by bunkers on all sides. Number 15 is a classic Pete Dye hole. The par 3 measures 201 yards and is surrounded by railroad ties. If your tee shot does not carry to the green, your ball can bounce off of the railroad ties and could end up anywhere. The green is severely sloped. When you see that the seventeenth hole is a par 5 measuring 490 yards, your first thought is it should be easy to reach in two. The tee shot is to a very wide fairway, but this hole really starts with the second shot. The green is elevated and narrow, and trust me, hit two extra clubs for the approach. If is says 185, it really plays 205. If the pin is on the very front, the smart shot is to lay up and try to wedge it onto the green. The finishing hole at Red Mountain Ranch is a short and beautiful par 4 measuring 354 yards. The fairway has plenty of mounding, so feel lucky if you have a flat lie. The second shot is hit over a small lake that also protects the right side. The clubhouse sits just left off the green.
Once your round is complete, be sure to enjoy some cold beverages in the players grill or nice dinner in the restaurant. The view of the valley from the deck of the restaurant is magnificent.
If you were to ask me to describe Red Mountain Ranch in one word, I would say value. The club offers every amenity you could possibly want and has one of the only two Pete Dye designed courses in Arizona. If this golf course sat in North Scottsdale, the membership price would be double what it is. Speaking of memberships, the club offers quite a few different options, from full golf to social memberships and everything in between. The good news for the public is that the club now offers a limited number of public tee times as well. For more information or a tee time, you can contact the club at 480-981-6501. You can also visit the club’s website at www.rmrcc.com.