Troon North - Pinnacle Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.7

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Scottsdale, AZ

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Troon North - Pinnacle Course Review

According to the Arizona Golfer's Guide, Troon North is the forefather of desert golf and set the standard for desert golf - "building a reputation as the road-map others would follow, the blueprint by which they would build, and the guiding light should they get lost." Wow, what an impressive 36 holes of golf you'll find at the Pinnacle and Monument course. In fact, the Monument has been ranked as Arizona's #1 daily fee course by Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Travel & Leisure Golf, and The Arizona Republic! The Monument is now ranked #4 Best Resort Course in Arizona and 45th best in the US, while the Pinnacle is #1 rated resort course and 21st best resort course in the nation.

Not only is Troon North home to two of the best courses in Arizona, but also it houses one of only 8 authorized Callaway Performance Centers to help find the perfect clubs for you. In addition, you'll find a 37,000 square foot clubhouse with luxurious locker rooms, a spacious 2500 square foot golf shop, and the excellent Dynamite Grill which overlooks the 18th hole. It just doesn't get much better than all of that!

After building the Monument in 1990, Weiskopf returned to Troon North in 2006 to reconfigure the layout by blending the two courses together and changing the sequence of play. Weiskoph stated "Both courses can now be played exactly as the land dictates, the way Mother Nature intended." Both courses are set amid the grandeur of the Sonoran Desert and gracefully wrap around the northern slopes of the landmark Pinnacle Peak.


Both courses are carved out of the rolling desert terrain and make use of a lot of natural areas, elevation changes, and majestic scenery. Pinnacle has the reputation as being a little tougher by a stroke or two (rating is 73 versus 72.9) and after the redesign par was changed to 71. The Pinnacle will throw something of everything at you to to challenge you and it forces you to use course management and near perfect club selection to score well. You'll find dog legs, elevated tee boxes and greens, blind shots, plenty of forced carry over the desert landscape, sloping and contoured fairways, lots of huge bunkers, and well protected greens. The first hole gives you a good feel for what the next 17 will be like - off the box you need to carry the desert to a wide contoured and rolling fairway and on the way to the dog leg left green you have to carry the dessert again to an elevated severely slopping green. Par this and you're off to a fun and enjoyable round.


The layout is fantastic and leverages the natural desert environment with cactus of all shapes, sizes - do not get near them looking for your ball or you'll be picking stickers for some time and like did for three days! Watch out for all the cut little bunnies (rabbits not Playboy), lizards, bobcats, birds, and other wildlife and don't stick your hand down any holes looking for your ball - this is the wild west desert. Set well back off the fairways (thank God) and dotting the rolling hills are some huge beautiful homes with water falls and infinity pools - it's very tempting to stop playing and jump in the cool pools when it's 105. The bent grass fairways were in perfect condition when we played and I was amazed at the lack of divots. The greens were recently aerated so they were a little sandy and bumpy, but without that they would have been in perfect condition. Most of the bent greens are large and have some slope and undulation - we didn't find them that hard to read.


In addition to the near perfect conditions, beautiful scenery, and good service, what makes Pinnacle a joy to play is some fun, challenging, and memorable holes. For example, #8 is a beautiful uphill 190 yard par 3 with a narrow fairway split by a rock monolith that is next to a huge sand trap.


Troon North's Pinnacle Course is one of those "we gotta play" courses. And while you're in the area, you also need to play Monument - here is a link to the review of the Troon North Monument Course. Without question, it is desert golf at it's best. And if you play during the summer, look for a discounted tee time which makes playing Troon a heck of deal. We played Troon as a part of an fantastic golfing vacation to Scottsdale and you can learn more about this vacation and the other 114 holes we played by reading this Golfing Vacation in Scottsdale article.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,025 73.0 147
Blue 6,268 69.4 130
White 5,779 68.0 125
Gold 6,645 71.7 137
Red 4,883 64.4 116

Course Information

Course Architect:
Tom Weiskopf & Jay Moorish
Greens Type:
Bent Grass
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Course Map
Beware of water on 2 holes and the sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$45.00 to $225.00

Service is excellent - you're met at the bag drop and your clubs will magically appear in your cart and the cart lady shows up at the right time. The pro shop is very well stocked and the grill offers a variety of good food. Practice facilites are very go



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.