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The Other Course

Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery. Not at Scottsdale National Golf Club. When Bob Parsons decided a second golf course was needed on the property, he wanted distinctness, not duplication. He wasn’t thinking of just 18 new holes that were completely different from the existing Mine Shaft Course. He envisioned a layout that would stand out among all private golf courses in Scottsdale thanks to a dynamic routing with its own style, shot variety and challenges. And brother, did he get just that. The Other Course, which debuted in 2016, is a collection of jaw-dropping views, unforgettable par 3s, massive fairways and flawless playing conditions.

The course architects – Jackson Kahn Design of Scottsdale – devised a routing with six par 3s, six par 4s, and six par 5s, but without any consecutive holes of the same par. They used the sweeping vistas of local geographic landmarks to frame tee shots, fairway approaches and green complexes. That’s why you’ll find your eyes settling upon Four Peaks, the Mazatal Mountains, Tom’s Thumb and Pinnacle Peak, among others, on any number of holes. All of it required moving 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt to transform a flat, utterly uninspiring piece of land into a thoroughly enjoyable, walkable and eminently playable course that reveals its secrets gradually. Those massive fairways welcome virtually every tee shot, but simply keeping your ball in play is only half the battle. While that width is welcoming, it can obscure the need to put tee shots in the proper place on the firm and fast turf to take advantage of the most optimal angles into the greens. The design also skillfully balances two competing demands: creating a true test for the very best players yet keeping things fun and less than overwhelming for others.

Every hole on The Other Course has a story. Bob Parsons has a soft spot for the short but stunning par 3 11th, so much so that he had a United States Marine Corps emblem affixed to a greenside boulder on the hole he named “Devil Dog,” a nod to his own military service. Others buzz about the infinity-edge green on the par 3 16th, or the drivable par 4 17th. Arguments can be made about which hole can be declared the most memorable, and that’s part of the fun generated by playing such a distinctive layout. But what’s not to be quibbled over is this: The Other Course more than meets the goal set out by its owner. This is a singular golf experience unmatched by any of its desert counterparts.

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