8440 S. 35th Ave.
Laveen, AZ 85339
This public facility falls under the supervision of Diane Escobeda of the City of Phoenix even though it is technically in Laveen, AZ just south of the intersection of Baseline Rd. and 35th Avenue. This sprawling course with its accompanying practice facility, and 9 hole par 3 course covers 210 acres adjacent to park where fishing for Crappies is the local pastime. The Aguila Championship Course was designed by local golf architect, Gary Panks who is known for his golfer friendly layouts around the state of Arizona. This one can be played from 5500 yards to 7000 yards and depending upon wind and weather conditions can be all the golf most players could ever handle. If you play from the tips in the winter months with over-seeding this will challenge your mid to long iron game like no other area public facility. Its milder in the summer when you can count on lots of roll and smooth Bermuda greens.
The course starts out with a medium length par 4, that lets you know if you miss the fairway right, you will find desert and bush trouble that runs throughout the course. The second hole is a reachable par 5, that is one of the six potential eagle holes on this course that the long hitting gambler can try to eagle. After a tough par three you have a tough par to make at the 460 yard par 4, fourth hole. Avoid the driving bunkers left or you will have to lay up. They are deep here and throughout the course and are very well placed for players trying to cut corners. The 5th hole is another reachable par 5, with trouble left all the way. If you go for this one in two you need to miss short or right to have a reasonable chance at birdie. The 6th hole has a devil driving bunker you need to avoid on the right and an elevated green that will punish short shots by rejecting them down the hill and into desert bushes if you miss right. The green itself is two tiered so if you lay up off the tee, your iron shot needs to hit the right level. Seven is a 175 yard par 3, with a huge green and deep bunker short. The 8th hole is a drive-able par 4 if you can carry the water short of the green to about 275 yards from the tee. A lay up here is no cinch either with a mounded fairway guarded by bunkers. You finish the front nine with a 450 yard par four that has deep driving bunkers on either side of the fairway and a lake guarding the right side of the green. The miss here is short and left.
The back nine starts with a great risk/reward par five. Long hitters can catch the down-slope off the tee and get in a position to go at it in two. They need to avoid the water left of this narrow two tiered green or their reward will be bogey. They have added a sneaky driving bunker to the left of the 11th fairway to prevent you from avoiding all the trouble right off the tee on this hole. The green is elevated with two tiers and angles away from the fairway. Bomb it straight away on #12 to have a short iron into this green and then pick the right club on the 140 yard par 3 13th hole and avoid the deep traps. A drive up the right side gives you the best approach to the elevated green at #14. You will need to keep your drive right on the 580 yard par 5 number fifteen that only the longest of hitters will be able to reach. A 210 yard par 3 awaits you at the 16th hole, then you have the best of the risk/reward par fours at Aguila. Water all the way left on this drive-able par 4, but you have to hit it 330 yards and avoid the bunker on the right as well if you go for it. A lay up to a mounded fairway with water left and desert right is no great bargain here, so white knuckles will appear no matter which route you choose. You need to bomb it and keep it out of the bunkers left and right on the 460 yard 18th hole to finish your round here. If you kill it off the tee it’s a medium length iron to a green with water left. Better to miss this one short and right if you are trying to protect your score. This is one of my favorite courses in the Valley. Say hi to former United States Women’s Open Champion, Kathy Johnson, the head pro there, and ask her who has the course record.