Royal County Down (Championship Links)

Newcastle, Co. Down

Desert Mountain (Renegade) (Scottsdale, Arizona)

Desert Mountain (Renegade) logo Golf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield

The Takeaway:  The first of seven Jack Nicklaus courses at Desert Mountain, Renegade is dizzying in its versatility and sadistic in how punishing it plays to the yellow flags. Unique experience, but not Jack's best work.  Grade C+

Quick Facts

Designer:  Jack Nicklaus 1987

Cost:  Private

Phone Number:  480-595-4110

Course Website:  Official Website - Visit Desert Mountain (Renegade)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.

Directions:  Get here! - 37700 Desert Mountain Parkway, Scottsdale, Arizona  85262 – UNITED STATES

Photos:  See additional photos of Desert Mountain (Renegade)

What to Expect:  The first of seven courses at the expansive Desert Mountain Golf Club, Renegade stands as one of the most versatile layouts in the country. There are seven tees to pick from and two greens at every hole. The greens with the white flags are much easier to access and deliver a more player friendly experience while the yellow flags are nothing short of diabolical and reflect the overly penal design philosophy that was prevalent in the 80s. When playing from the tips to the yellow flags, the Renegade course quickly becomes one of the most difficult courses in the country. How tough are the yellow flags? After winning the 1986 Masters, designer Jack Nicklaus came out to Desert Mountain to play the yellow flags at the Renegade course during the grow-in phase and promptly shot an 84. The setting for the course is typical of Scottsdale with the fairways working their way through a residential development while desert sand, native bushes, and cacti dominate the landscape with forced carries off most tees and washes occasionally crossing in front of greens. The terrain features gentle movements throughout and it is common to see members walking the course, though the majority will play in a cart. For all intents and purposes, Renegade should be considered as two separate courses because playing to the different greens creates a totally different experience. The white greens are more typical of what you'd expect to find and then the yellow greens have tons of movement and additional challenge to navigate. Ultimately though, the course is overly penal by modern day design standards but certainly offers variety for its members.

By the Numbers

Tees Par Yardage Rating Slope
Bear 72 7933 77.8 150
1 72 7394 74.8 145
2 72 6977 72.4 137
3 72 6586 70.5 133
4 72 6063 68.4 127
5 72 5641 66.1 119
6 (Ladies) 72 5141 68.9 130

Individual Hole Analysis

Signature Hole:  2nd Hole – 468 Yard Par 4 – The renovation to Desert Mountain's Renegade course introduced a raised waste area in front of the tee box to give the appearance of double fairways to pick from, but the reality is that decision you need to make is which side of the bunker in the middle of the fairway you want to end up on. With a green that is much wider than it is deep, you'll want to optimize your angle for the approach by hitting to the opposite side of the fairway from where the flag is in the green so you have more green to work with. The options off the tee and options into the green with its multiple flags and challenges is what the Renegade course is all about.

2nd Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (468 Yard Par 4)
2nd Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (468 Yard Par 4)

2nd Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (468 Yard Par 4)
2nd Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (468 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 3:  4th Hole – 227 Yards – Both greens on the 4th are fronted by water and are separated by a bunker. The green on the right requires the further carry and balls that don't reach the green's front edge on the fly will be repelled by the slope in front back into the water. With sloping putting surfaces on each green to be aware of, hitting to the correct portion of the green is critical for success.

4th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (227 Yard Par 3)
4th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (227 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 4:  11th Hole – 414 Yards – A dogleg right that plays towards the mountains that are iconic for the area, the 11th features a generous fairway before testing you with a challenging approach shot. A bunker crosses in front of the green that shares characteristics of a Biarrtiz with a deep swell in the middle that separates the two clear areas of the green where flags will be located. The front pin is a green light to attack while going at the back third will be much more difficult to land in due to the swell sucking approach shots back towards the front of the green. Perhaps the most engaging green on the course, walking off the 11th with a par is an admirable accomplishment.

11th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (414 Yard Par 4)
11th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (414 Yard Par 4)

11th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (414 Yard Par 4)
11th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (414 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 5:  9th Hole – 615 Yards – The longest bunker on the course knives through the center of the fairway effectively splitting it into a left half and a right half with a bit more room on the right. At 615 yards there will be very few players getting home in two, but if you find the fairway bunker with your tee shot, you may not even get home in three. The approach shot into the green will require a carry over a waste bunker that horizontally crosses the fairway before continuing vertically between the two greens. The green on the left is approachable with a fade while the green on the right is fronted by a bunker that will need to be navigated.

9th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (615 Yard Par 5)
9th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (615 Yard Par 5)

9th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (615 Yard Par 5)
9th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (615 Yard Par 5)

Birdie Time:  16th Hole – 184 Yard Par 3 – The easiest of the one-shotters, the 16th features a large green with the white flag being especially accessible on the left half of the putting surface while the yellow flag when it is tucked behind on the bunker on the right is much more challenging. When it isn't behind the sand, you can take dead aim at it and look to throw a deuce on the scorecard.

16th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (184 Yard Par 3)
16th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (184 Yard Par 3)

Bogey Beware:  13th Hole – 521 Yard Par 4 – At a blistering 521 yards with just four strokes to get in with par, the 13th is a bogey waiting to happen. You'd think Jack would give you some reprieve given the length of the hole, but he instead throws three bunkers down the center of the fairway with the most generous amount of turf being afforded to the left of them. From the left side though you'll have a longer approach to the yellow flagged green and be taking a healthy club into a raised putting surface. The white flagged green is nearly 50 yards closer but sits much closer to the fairway cross bunker.

13th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (521 Yard Par 4)
13th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (521 Yard Par 4)

13th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (521 Yard Par 4)
13th Hole at Desert Mountain (Renegade) (521 Yard Par 4)

Follow the Golf Course Gurus to some of the country's top golf destinations

Golf Course Gurus