Boulders Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.0

Golf - Resort Public Course · 36 Holes · Par 72
Carefree, AZ
· Stay & Play

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Boulders Club Review

The Boulders is world renowned as one of the finest golf, tennis and spa resorts in the United States and it is a 2008 Golf Magazine Platinum Medal Award winning resort. The resort is one of only 5 Star Resorts awarded the Gold Medal every year since its inception in 1988. Travel and Leisure Golf recently ranked The Boulders as the #7 Golf Resort in the USA for 2006 and #2 Golf Resort in the USA for 2005. Regionally the magazine ranked The Boulders the #1 Golf Resort in the Southwest for 2005 and 2006.

The Boulders is nestled in the tranquil beauty of the high Sonoran desert and the 12-million year old granite boulder formations that dot the landscape. The two fabulous courses, North and South, meander through the boulders and magnificent desert scenery, offering golfers a fun, memorable, and challenging round of golf.

During the off season, May to September when it's too hot for most normal people to play golf (not us Texans), only 27 holes in are play. When we played, we started on the South front and finished on the North front. From our playing and according to a few people we talked to, the North 18 is more traditional and straightforward - what you see is what you get. The South 18 is more scenic, more rugged desert, and tighter requiring more accuracy. The South side had just been aerated so the greens were a little sandy and bumpy and the fairways were slower in making the transition to all Bermuda giving some of the rough a brownish tint. Whereas, the North side greens and fairways were in near perfect condition - lush and green.

Both North and South are very scenic as they play up and down the desert and in and among the huge boulders - you'll see some amazing desert fauna, unusual rock formations, and all sorts of wildlife. The course is very well manicured and maintained and the desert fauna added a variety of colors - absolutely beautiful.


On each of the nines you'll find lots of variety with no two holes the same and plenty of fairway and green side bunkers (with hard and gritty sand) most of which are very steep faced and deep - do whatever you can to avoid these monsters. Most of the fairways are wide and forgiving and you can pull out the driver and let-er-rip. Some of the approach shots can get a little tight and narrow and some of the dog legs require a precise tee shot to make the turn.


There are some really fun, scenic, and memorable holes on each nine. #5 on South for example is a beautiful 545 yard par 5 with a fairway split with a dessert arroyo. The right side looks like the safest but it requires a precise landing to avoid the desert. The left has more room but requires a longer carry over the desert from the tee box. Then it's uphill to a smaller green tucked into the trees and well protected with bunkers. #8 on the North front is also great - a 356 yard dog left with 7 green and fairway bunkers, a couple boulder formations (one of which is smack dab in the middle of the landing zone) that you need to avoid, and a very thick cut rough in a semi wet arroyo - you'll want to play this one again!


Generally speaking, the greens were big, in excellent condition, running about a 9 (versus a typical 11 to 11.5 on the Stint meter), and had both slope and undulation. We found them pretty easy to read and very true - putting wasn't our problem on The Boulders. However, the desert ate a few balls and the bunkers added a few strokes.


The resort looks fantastic with a variety of rooms nestled along the course and in and among the boulders. Plus there is a spa, tennis courts, restaurants, and more. We're already thinking about staying here sometime in the future. The Boulders was one of the courses we played when we spent 6 days in Scottdale and played 150 holes, went hot air ballooning, kayaking, off-road jeeping, and lots more fun things - here is a link to Golfing In Scottsdale article.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 6,616 71.4 137
Blue 5,684 68.0 121
White 5,299 71.5 129
Gold 6,195 69.7 131
Red 4,697 68.3 120

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jay Moorish
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Course Map
Beware of water on 2 holes and the 72 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.0 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$75.00 to $250.00

Service is excellent. The grill is very good, the proshop is well stocked, the practice range is good, and the locker rooms are excellent.



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.