Kierland Golf Club - Acacia Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.4

Golf - Resort Public Course · 9 Holes · Par 36
Scottsdale, AZ

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Kierland Golf Club - Acacia Course Review

Kierland Golf Club is a part of the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa and the course is managed by Troon Golf - one of the best golf management companies with a stable of top tier courses throughout the United States. Kierland has 27 outstanding holes of emerald green fairways carved out of the desert and landscaped with a variety of trees and colorful desert fauna. Scott Miller designed each of the three nine hole courses to take advantage of the terrain and to provide golfers with a memorable and fair yet challenging round of golf. When you play Kierland, you'll find near perfect conditions, manageable desert carries, elevation changes, wide forgiving fairways, dog legs, and over 300 bunkers, plus lakes, dry desert washes, strands of desert trees and natural desert areas.

When we played, all three courses were still in transition from with winter to summer but the fairways and roughs were lush and green and the greens were near perfect. Each of the nines hole layouts - Mesquite, Acacia, and Ironwood - are named for the trees that line the fairways and each nine plays with a diverse style and has it's own personality created by the differences in terrain and landscaping. Kierland features a few forced carries but none you won't be able to master. To create the tall mounds, rolling fairways, elevation changes of up to 75 feet, and the lakes, over 1.3 million cubic yards of dirt were bulldozed and rearranged and suddenly 27 holes of golf emerged. Our favorite of the three nines was Acacia - here is a link to the review of Mesquite and the review of Ironwood.

Kierland is home to the Labauve Golf Academy which offers a state-of-the-art teaching and practice facility as well as a first-class golf shop. And you won't believe this - each cart has an air conditioning system to keep you cool during the 110 degree heat spells! Almost as good, the outdoor driving range has an air-conditioned canopy system to keep you cool during practice sessions!



Acacia is one of the best nines we have played in Scottsdale - it's very scenic, challenging but fair, lots of fun to play, offers plenty of variety, and was in near perfect condition. This nine at Kierland Golf Club is unique with 3 par 3s, 3 par 4s, and 3 par 5s, elevation changes (elevated tee boxes and uphill greens are very unusual for a course in the flat desert), some outstanding holes none of which are similar, and a beautiful lake leading up to the Westin Resort. If you golf late in the afternoon you'll get to hear the bagpipes playing on the Westin's patio and you'll think you're playing in Scotland.


The par threes are some of the best around - challenging due to carries over the desert, length, or well protected greens. Part of what makes this course challenging is the heavy use of bunkers - both along the fairways and protecting all sides of the greens. #7, a short 374 yard par 4, has 9 fairway bunkers and a small green protected by 6 more bunkers - most of which are steep faced and deep. #9 is a good example of one of the fun, challenging, and scenic holes. From an elevated tee box you look down a 531 yard narrow fairway with a hillside lined with colorful desert fauna and trees on one side and a lake with a water feature along the other side. Along the way to the green the fairway is covered with 14 bunkers of various sizes including a huge bunker waiting for your ball to roll off the backside of the green. In back of the green is the Westin and one of the outdoor patios, with the bagpipes. This hole will make you want to come back and play Kierland again.


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
Blue 3,158 69.3 120
White 2,912 66.7 115
Gold 3,435 72.2 131
Red 2,433 72.1 116

Course Information

Course Architect:
Scott Miller
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Course Map
Beware of water on 2 holes and the 65 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$35.00 to $205.00

Service is excellent, the pro shop is very well stocked, practice facilities are very good, and the restaurant is great.



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.