Grayhawk Golf Club - Talon Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.0

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Scottsdale, AZ
Website
Date Last Played: July 20, 2009

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Grayhawk Golf Club - Talon Course Review

Grayhawk Golf Club is home to two outstanding daily fee 18 hole golf courses - Talon and Raptor. Since opening in 1994 and 1995, Grayhawk has won a number of awards including being listed in Golf Magazine's “Top 100 You Can Play in the U.S.” and “Top 10 New Courses You Can Play” as well as inclusion in Golf Digest's “Top 10 in the State You Can Play.” Each course has it's own unique personality and challenges as they wind through some stunning Sonoran desert scenery. Both courses are challenging with a slope of 143! Talon is a little shorter by 200 yards, a little tighter, a littler easier (rating of 73.6 versus 74.1), and more scenic with lots of desert carries. Raptor is wider off the fairways but tougher due to length, more steep and deep fairway and green-side bunkers, and tougher greens with lots of slope and undulation. Common to both is excellent service, fantastic club house and pro shop, and very good conditions. When we played in late May, the courses were making the transition from winter to summer grass and the greens had just been sanded and were a little faster than normal. Regardless, we thought the conditions were still very good. To learn more about Raptor read our review of Raptor.

Talon is the more scenic of the two 18s and it plays through some beautiful Sonoran desert scenery with breathtaking views of the nearby McDowell Mountains and the distant skyline of Phoenix and Scottsdale. It leverages the natural terrain and plays past Mesquite, Palo Verde, and Ironwood trees, flowering and colorful desert fauna of all types, ancient Saguaros of all sorts of weird shapes and sizes, and around and across some deep box canyons. #13 gets you up close and personal with a big box canyon, appropriately named Heaven or Hell #13 is a short 303 yard dog leg right par 4 where you need to carry a deep box canyon, land on a wide but relatively short fairway and miss one of the 8 large, steep, and deep fairway bunkers. #13 offers an excellent risk reward opportunity - the long hitters can go for the green but have to carry more of the box canyon and avoid the front green-side bunkers.

The course designers must have moved a lot of desert around to sink the fairways into the desert, create all of the mounding and hills, and give the fairways lots of undulation and contour. Talon has some really fun and challenging holes, for example:
  • #2 a 346 dog leg right that will test your "go for it" attitude where you need to carry the desert and fly the huge bunker all along the right side of the dog leg to shorten the hole
  • #3 is a 505 yard par 5 with an uphill green with deep bunkers on the right side and lots of contour and slopes and valleys on the way to the green
  • #17 is a very pretty island green - in the middle of the desert!
  • the finishing hole is fantastic - beautiful, lots of sand, water, and a well protected green

Great course and the food at the Quill Creek Cafe features a traditional American menu with a Southwestern flare, and both the dining room and the patio offer stunning views of the golf course and nearby McDowell Mountains. Grayhawk was on of several courses that we played during a 7 day golfing vacation where we played 150 holes and did lots of other fun things - read our to learn more about this fun trip.
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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 6,973 70.6 133
Blue 6,391 68.0 120
White 5,867 73.6 133
Red 5,143 70.1 126

Course Information

Course Architect:
David Graham & Gary Panks
Greens Condition
8.0
Greens Difficulty
9.0
GPS:
No
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 3 holes and the 49 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.0 out of 10
Beauty:
9.0
Difficulty:
9.0
Variety:
9.5
Fun to Play:
9.5
Value:
8.0
Condition:
9.0
Front Nine Rating:
9.0
Back Nine Rating:
9.0
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$50.00 to $300.00

Service is excellent and the food, practice facilities, club house and pro shop are some of the best.

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Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking. 

 

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