Talking Stick - Piipaash (South Course)

Reviewed By: Andy
There are lots of ways to say mediocre and I know I will piss off lots of locals by saying, Talking Stick defines mediocre. Right from the Talking Stick homepage, "Stunning Scenery"... Going to have to say no on that. If I replaced the cacti across the fence line with rows of corn, you wouldn't know you weren't in Iowa. But don't write this course off, I like to start with the bad and then work my way into the good.

Scenery: To add a bit of perspective, Talking Stick has two full 18 courses. The O'odham (formerly referred to as the North Course) and the Piipaash (South Course). These are both wide open and relatively flat courses. The O'odham course is more desert style, flanked with desert waste areas and wide open views of the surrounding mountains, while the Piipaash is flanked with trees obscuring some of the longer views and gives the feel of a typical midwest course. Being surrounded by the Salt River reservation does provide the potential for some wildlife out on the course although I did not see any on my particular outing.

Service: This is where Talking Stick shines the best. From the bag drop through check-in everyone was on top of their game, friendly and professional. They also have excellent practice and instruction areas as well as top notch coaching available. The staff working around the clubhouse gave the vibe of a high end country club which was great.

Variation: I have played the North course multiple times now and found the Piipaash course to be fairly underwhelming in comparison. There are plenty of traps in annoying locations and a good amount of water hazards to make the course challenging, but little elevation change. The reason this may be such a popular choice for the older men's groups would be that it is ideal for short hitters that can send it dead straight every shot.

Maintenance: As with any struggle to water the desert, you can only do so much. The photos on the Talking Stick website would make you think you are going to be playing a tour ready course. Reality cannot photoshop grass. The South Course is very parkland, with wide grassy fairways and minimal waste areas. Trying to keep all of that grass alive is a bit of a challenge, so I will give kudos even though it doesn't look like their pretty photos, the grass if full and very playable. Greens were in excellent condition and the traps were clean and smooth.

Value: I have seen deals now and then for reduced rate tee times as well as pre-purchased deals. During the peak of Winter the rates are a bit high and the course will still be packed. There are some great discounts to be found in the Summer but it still seems a bit over priced year-round in my opinion. If you have a Tribal ID you can receive discounts at the course as well.

Not sure how to back pedal all of my negativity, but if the question is, "Should I get a tee-time at Talking Stick?" I would say absolutely. There is not too much excitement or intrigue about the course, but if you want a quality course that will probably play to your handicap, then get on over to Talking Stick.