Mountain Shadows - The Short Course

Reviewed By: Andy & Leslie
Let's get things straight right off the bat...Mountain Shadows is a miniature golf course. I don't mean that they have windmills and giant clown trying to eat your golf ball, but it feels like a regular 18 hole course that got zapped with a shrink ray. I will admit my experience with 9-hole courses is limited. The ones I played in Colorado before moving were Windsor Garden's Emerald Greens--nine holes of flat yard with some greens--or Foothills Par 3 in Denver which has some design to it, but only just 9 holes. Starfire Golf Club in Scottsdale has The Mulligan, which is also a 9-hole par three which feels like there was some extra lawn, so they added some tee boxes.

Scenery: Without a doubt, some excellent views of the nearby mountains from this course. Since the fairways are small you don't get a massive vista from all angles, but looking down the links of tees you get a pretty great view of Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak. You are enclosed by a resort and neighborhood so don't expect much wildlife, save for a few birds that fly onto the course.

Service: I was surprised to see a beverage cart on this course, but I guess I was also surprised they had carts at all. They have a bag drop and pro-shop entrance, while well marked, seem like they were the former back entrance to the furnace room for the building. The staff working the pro-shop, carts and beverages were all great. Upon exiting the pro-shop, you pop out onto a nice patio right next to the bar for a full resort experience.

Variation: What a great course! Obviously no big doglegs or huge elevated tee boxes when your longest hole is probably just under 200 yards, but there was plenty of modeling of the earth that took place in designing this little course. It is actually hard to believe they packed 18 holes into the small space that they did, and they all have traps and slopes to test top tier golfers. If you never miss a green, good luck sinking those putts as some of the greens have shelves which will dump your ball clear off of the fairway. Even with all of the ups and downs and squirrely greens, there is only so much you can do when the length of each hole is very short.

Maintenance: Excellent. To expand on that, Mountain Shadows is a resort and therefore keep their grounds in tip-top shape. The course meanders through the property and is probably used (primarily) by guests staying at the resort. This may also lend to the high prices fetched for 18 little holes, but more on that later.

Value: While I did love the course and enjoyed the play and pace, $80 for a par 54 course seemed crazy steep. I guess if I were staying at the hotel and wanted something to do, I'd drop some coin and test the little course. But with 200 other courses in the valley, this was not priced to draw in local players.

In summary, I would play again, but only if the price was right. It was a ton more fun than The Mulligan at Starfire, but also a lot more expensive. The coolest hole on the course was between #17 and #18 where they have a par 2, putting only, bonus hole for you to lay down some wagers with your group. They really need one of those on every course. All-in-all a very fun time on a super cool course.