The all-new golf experience at Verde River Golf & Social Club is re-opened for daily fee play, Saturday, November 5th.
Behind the groundbreaking change is PGA Tour star and former Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman and his Lehman Design Group who have been hard at work transforming the golf course at Verde River Golf & Social Club, Shea Homes’ newest Trilogy master-planned resort community near Scottsdale.
The golf course, originally created as Vista Verde and briefly known as Tegavah, closed this past April to allow crews to complete the dramatic renovation of the golf course and to begin construction of its new 30,000 square-foot clubhouse campus, designed by award-winning architect Bing Hu of H&S International.
Now, after several months of significant changes to refine and modernize the original design, the new vision for the remodeled golf course is coming into view. Originally designed by Ken Kavanaugh, the course had gone through many hands and many iterations during the past 10 years.
With Shea Homes’ infusion of capital and commitment to making Verde River one of Arizona’s premier master-planned communities, Lehman’s team was engaged to take an already excellent golf course and reimagine it as a quintessential example of contemporary desert golf design.
“The golf course had great bones and truly was one of the best-kept secrets in Arizona,” said Lehman. “Its lasting popularity is a testament to the excellent work Ken Kavanaugh did on the original design. With Shea’s commitment to the property, we have taken a fresh look at the golf course, and are helping to enhance the playing experience even further. I’m thrilled with the work we’ve done, and I’m really looking forward to unveiling the new Verde River Golf & Social Club in November.”
Among the most dramatic changes made was the “turning of the clock,” according to Lehman. This process altered the routing of the golf course so that the previous hole No. 9 became the opening hole. The previous hole 1 became hole 2, and so forth throughout the first nine. Likewise, on the back nine, the previous hole 11 became hole 10. The previous 12th hole became No. 11 and so on.
The former hole 10 was completely redesigned and will serve as the golf course’s finishing hole. “Turning the clock” in this way, according to Lehman, will better accommodate the new clubhouse location, enhance access to the club for both residents and guests, and the result will be a compelling new start and finish to the Verde River golf experience.
Other strategic changes will help the Verde River golf course better adapt to the preferences of modern players with varying skill levels. Lehman and his team have reconfigured the championship tees to further challenge strong amateur and professional players.
However, the standard and forward tees have been repositioned in many cases to reduce forced carries and create better angles to fairways and greens for intermediate and novice players. The goal of these changes is to provide the correct blend of challenge and accessibility for different types of players.
“Players who loved the previous design will be pleased we’ve retained and enhanced the original intent, enriching the golf course’s exceptional shot values and playability even further,” said Lehman. “Even in places where we’ve added new challenges or significantly altered a hole, we were careful to do so in a way that remains in character for the course. I think players will love these new challenges and the improved sightlines. Plus, the renovated layout will be ideal once the golf course begins transitioning to a fully private golf club in the coming years.”
Throughout the course, other substantial renovations have been made to bunkers and green complexes. Sightlines have been cleaned out and enhanced to maximize the beauty of Verde River’s exceptional natural surroundings, and the drainage corridors have been repaired to assist in dealing with the summer monsoons and to ensure exceptional playing conditions throughout the year.
Finally, while Lehman and his team have been at work, Bing Hu and his team at H&S International have begun crafting the breathtaking clubhouse which will form the core of the Verde River community experience.
The clubhouse campus – which features striking 270-degree views from Weaver’s Needle to the Mazatzals – will include tennis and pickle ball courts, a resort-style swimming pool, poolside dining, outfitter facilities, a community market, and more.
The clubhouse is expected to open late 2017. The course will eventually transition to a private club, until then, public play is welcome. To learn more about Verde River Golf & Social Club, visit www.verderivergolf.com, or call 480.471.3232.