The Numbers Add Up: GCU Golf Course Scores


The GCU Golf Course has become known in the valley for its pristine greens.

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Desk

“Force carry” is golf terminology for a shot that must clear a hazard or obstacle. In Arizona, that usually means a wide swath of crisp desert filled with bushes, rocks and, yes, snakes.

Not exactly where you want to go.

A typical fairway on the course has lots of trees – but no forced gate.

Corn Grand Canyon University Golf Course has become a must-visit destination as it provides a welcome break from the forced transport.

How welcome? just listen Alexander Murphy list the reasons why he drives 40 minutes from North Scottsdale to play there about once a week:

“It’s accessible and affordable, and it’s a great quality course. I also play a ton of desert golf so it’s nice to have a park style course rather than playing target golf all the time.

“But I think what I probably like best is that they have some of the best greens in the Phoenix area. They’re still in good shape.

This helps explain why the CEO Jesse Muller is projecting 58,500 towers this year, a staggering number considering that in 2014, before TOS Completely remodeled the site into a championship setup, the old Maryvale Golf Course hosted just 35,000 rounds and lost $250,000.

It was in danger of closing when GCU intervened.

The course has become a popular tournament destination due to its playability.

The course has historically hosted 40 to 60 tournaments a year, Mueller said, and there was another big event on Thursday. The Arizona Sports Partners Golf Tournament, part of its one-day Holiday Heroes benefit for Operation Santa, has returned for a fourth year.

There are several reasons for this, said Ilene Thompson, Director of Partner and Community Services for KTAR News 92.3 FM, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station and ESPN 620 AM.

First, GCU’s community mission aligns with that of its organization. “It’s kind of a natural relationship to have,” she said.

Second, Mueller has been so accommodating. “It’s great to work with Jesse there,” she said.

Third, there is the golf course itself. Participants in his tournament sound like Alexander.

“They really like it. They enjoy the tournament,” Thompson said. “It’s relaxing for the golfers. They’re pleasantly surprised when they come out. Honestly, I’ve only had positive feedback.”

Finally, there’s the spacious clubhouse, which seats up to 150 people in its dual indoor-outdoor space (“Few courses in the area have that,” Mueller said) but also has an enclosed space. separated for 98.7 to make its broadcast on tournament day.

The course’s clubhouse is large enough to comfortably accommodate post-tournament meetings.

“It’s a great setup for us,” Thompson said. “We organize the post-event reception afterwards – there’s a lot of room in there.”

His feelings help explain why some tournaments have been moved to GCU from well-known courses in the East Valley.

It is the fundraising site for the City of Phoenix, the Phoenix Sports Hall of Fame, the Alhambra School District, St. Vincent de Paul and Bourgade Catholic High School, and the recent golf Students Inspiring Students has raised over $300,000 for GCU’s historic program. which offers full scholarships to qualified students in the neighborhood.

The course also contributes to the community and campus in other ways.

It has 26 full-time employees and 40 student workers.

It is the home of the GCU men’s and women’s golf teams and hosts their tournaments.

Members of these teams help lead free junior golf clinics twice a month.

It is a great place for junior golfers to learn the game and offers clinics twice a month for them.

And it hosts high school golf teams from Maryvale, Alhambra and Trevor Browne.

What makes the course even more interesting is that it has a split personality.

From the white tees, set for the average player, it’s an inviting 6,127 yards, with just enough trees, hazards and bunkers to provide a solid challenge.

But from the purple tees, designed to test college-level heavy hitters, it’s 7,239 yards with a par-5 of 642 yards (No. 3), five par-4s of at least 460 yards and a length average of 205 yards. on the four par-3s. Most courses do not have a single hole reaching one of these lengths.

No wonder the number of towers has steadily increased from 44,567 in 2019 to 54,579 in 2020 to reach this year’s high number. The word got around.

Midwesterners often say it reminds them of the backyards they grew up in — people like Minnesota native Alexander. When his golfing friends visit, he makes sure one of their rounds is at the GCU.

Water hazards on both sides of the course challenge players of all skill levels.

Golf in the desert has its moments, but…

“It’s cool for a while, but after a while you get tired of hitting small targets that you can’t see sometimes,” he said.

The course has also improved his game. When he started playing it five years ago, he had a handicap of 10. Now it is between 1 and 1.5, which means he generally expects until his score is close to the par of 71.

“I’ve improved a lot, but the challenge is still there,” he said.

Which goes to show that golf in Arizona doesn’t have to be filled with scrambles – or snakes. By comparison, the GCU Golf Course is a walk in the park.


Related content:

TOS today: The GCU golf course has become a shining attraction

TOS today: The sun is shining on a bright future for the GCU Golf Course

UGC Magazine: 18 Ways The GCU Golf Course Provides Key Links

TOS today: GCU ready for Maryvale Golf Course redevelopment


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