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Publication: The Arizona Republic; Date: 03/25/2004

More legroom at Longbow

By John Davis

Golfers familiar with the original design of Longbow Golf Club in Mesa will recognize some holes in the redesigned layout. They just won't be in the same order.

When the public course announced that it was being redesigned as the centerpiece of a new business park, plenty of golfers offered their views on what should be retained, and developers took it to heart.

Longbow Golf Club

LOCATION: 5601 E. Longbow Parkway, Mesa (east of Higley Road, south of Loop 202).

VITAL STATISTICS: Par 71; Four sets of tees ranging from 5,202 to 7,003 yards; Rated at 72.2, with slope of 129, from the back tees.

COURSE TYPE: Public, daily fee. Desert layout, with mild desert terrain in transition areas, and well-bunkered, medium-size, undulating, Bermuda-grass greens.

AMENITIES: Driving range; putting green; clubhouse with restaurant, bar and spacious patio area.

GREEN FEES: Currently $75 weekdays and $90 Friday-Sunday.

TEE TIMES/INFORMATION: longbowgolf.com or (480) 807-5400.

As a result, six of the original holes remain intact, along with parts of several others, on the course that held its grand reopening in December but has been reopened for about 10 months.

"We wanted a course that integrates the winning combination of quality and value, and that's what we got," said Robert McNichols, owner and managing member of Longbow Business Park and Golf Club.

"Our goal was to soar beyond the overpriced desert golf daily fee experience and create a loyal fan base. It was interesting to hear what they had to say about keeping their favorite golf holes."

Course architect Ken Kavanaugh of Tucson, who designed the original course, also handled the redesign. Kavanaugh's other works include the Dinosaur Course at Gold Canyon Golf Club, the Oregon Golf Club near Portland and Dell Urich Golf Course in Tucson, which hosts an LPGA Tour event.

With an additional 30 acres of land available, Kavanaugh was able to get more creative and design a more playable course with wider fairways and medium-size undulating greens on a walkable course. Thick vegetation was removed from the transition areas, which has improved the pace of play as golfers spend less time searching for errant shots.

"It is unique and exciting to be given an opportunity to enhance a golf course that you are already very proud of," Kavanaugh said. "We have been able to take advantage of the mountains, providing spectacular scenery from all points of the course."

The McDowell, Usery and Superstition mountains surround the course, which also offers an up-close look at Red Mountain from nearly every vantage point on the par-71 layout, which measures 7,003 yards from the back tees.

The signature hole is the par-4 15th (formerly No. 16), with a large beach bunker fronting a water hazard and wrapping around the left side of the green. It starts a good finishing stretch.

The par-3 16th, at 168 yards, presents a tough up-and-down on shots that miss the green. The 17th is a driveable par 4 at 309 yards, and the 18th, formerly No. 5, is the longest par 4 at 474 yards and plays uphill.

It doesn't offer all the elegance and dramatic elevation changes of high-end north Scottsdale courses but goes much easier on the wallet with green fees at $75 weekdays and $90 Friday through Sunday during peak season.

A new clubhouse also was built, embracing a contemporary Arizona style, with a spacious outdoor patio fronting the course. Shade sculptures were placed around the course to help provide relief from the sun.

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