Category: Golf Instruction

Tristan Karr Talks About Wildfire Golf Club

Meandering through the desert on the Faldo Course at Wildfire Golf Club.

The Wildfire Golf Cub provides splendid opportunities for desert golf at its finest on either of its two 18-hole championship courses, one designed by Arnold Palmer and the other by Nick Faldo.

Set in the rugged Sonoran desert northeast of Phoenix, The Palmer Signature Course offers scenic and expansive fairways allowing the ball to remain in play even on an errant shot. The Faldo Championship Course features generous fairways, large bent grass greens and tee boxes.

Surrounding both courses are the majestic McDowell Mountains and century-old saguaro cacti, providing a spectacular setting for golfers. The two courses of Wildfire Golf Club are an integral part of the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, voted one of the Top 75 Resorts in North America by Condé Nast readers.

Tristan Karr, PGA, joined the Wildfire team in January 2012 as Tournament Director and provided an insider’s view of the Wildfire courses in his recent interview with David Bates.

About the Palmer & Faldo Courses: The two golf courses we have here make my job promoting them very easy! They are always in top notch shape which keeps us busy. We charge the same price for both courses so I always describe the Faldo as a links course with 108 bunkers and the Palmer as a true desert golf experience. I wouldn’t say I have a favorite course but my favorite hole is #17 on the Palmer course. 460 yards from the back tee usually into the wind with the only water hazard on the property guarding the greens right side.
On Having PGA & LPGA Tour Pros Competing at Wildfire: During the Wednesday Pro-Am and during their time on the driving range I would say they are all very polite and approachable. That week is a lot of work but is very fun at the same time!
About Tristan’s Regular Day at the Office: As the Golf Tournament Coordinator at Wildfire a typical day in the season can be running a 288 player shotgun tournament or working in my office setting up future events. I would say one of the best parts of my job is the fact that each day is a little different. In season we can have anywhere from 1 to 4 large events in a week so I definitely stay busy! When I am not running tournaments I am usually in my office setting up events in the future.
Tristan’s Other Favorite Courses: I just played Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia last week and loved the golf course. I can also say I had one of my better 9 holes on the front with a bogey free 34 which always helps to add to the enjoyment of the day!
Tristan’s Holes-in-One: I have had two hole in ones on the same hole. Hole #2 at Garrett Country Club in Garrett, Indiana where I grew up. The first one was not witnessed as I was playing a quick nine before dark as I did often when I was younger but I did it again in front of my high school golf team 4 years later when I was 17.
Tristan’s Home Town: Garrett, Indiana which is about 20 miles straight north of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Tristan’s Index: Since I am considered a “pro” as a PGA member I don’t keep a handicap but if I did I would probably play to a 3 handicap or so.
Tristan’s Long-Range Career Goals: My goal in this business is to become a Director of Golf. Marriott is a great company to work for so my fingers are crossed that the right opportunities come my way and I can continue to advance my career with Marriott Golf!
What’s in Tristan’s bag? In my bag I have a Titleist 909 D2 driver, Cobra Amp Cell 3 wood, a Cobra 3 hybrid, Titleist 690 cavity back irons, Titleist Vokey Wedges (52,56 and 60°), Titleist Scotty Cameron putter and of course lots of Titleist Pro V1 golf balls.

Golf Instruction: Want More Distance Off the Tee?

Who wants more distance off the tee? Everybody, of course. LPGA teaching pro Sandy LeBauve, who’s based at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona demonstrates an effective downswing and release that’s going to get you more yards off the tee.

There’s some terrific instruction available as well as some great on-course golf at the Kierland Golf Club, recently named as one of the nation’s premier golf resorts by GOLF Magazine!

Camelback Golf Club: Ambiente Course

Camelback Golf Club: Ambiente Golf Course

A few weeks ago, my buddy asked me if I had played the new course at Camelback Golf Club. To be honest, I didn’t know there was a new course in Scottsdale, and immediately wanted to play it! I found a few photos on Google, and their website provided a lot of great insight on the layout. But I had never heard of it nor had I talked with anyone that had played it. I booked a tee time to experience the golf course myself.

There are 36 holes at Camelback Golf Club. Ambiente is the new course, and joins the Padre Course to offer central Scottsdale a luxurious golfing experience. A lot of golfers will actually stay at Camelback Golf Club. Both courses are a part of the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa and they offer a wide range of stay and play packages allowing golfers to experience both courses and unforgettable accommodations.

I didn’t stay at the JW Marriott, but I did get the chance to speak with Filippa McDougall before I teed off. Filippa is Class A member of The PGA of America and has been at Camelback since 2007. She actually has memories of Camelback, and had played the course in high school. “I started playing and practicing at Camelback at age 12. A few years later I went to high school at Xavier College Preparatory, and Camelback happened to be their home course. I played and practiced here quite a bit until I went to college in 1995, so Camelback has had a special place in my heart since I was young. Ironically, once I stopped playing professionally, Camelback happened to have an opening for an Assistant Professional and I had the good fortune of getting that job.”

After chatting with Filippa, I hit some balls and worked on my short game for a little bit. I didn’t hit any bunker shots… I should have. There are a LOT of well placed bunkers out there, and let’s just say I found a few of them. Both off the tee and around the greens, I managed to find my fair share of bunkers. Range balls are included in greens fees, and they use TaylorMade practice balls. The Camelback Golf Club logo is on each practice ball. That goes a lot way for branding.

My tee time wasn’t until 1:10, but I asked, since I was a single, if I could go early. They put me with a nice twosome from Wisconsin that was in Scottsdale celebrating their anniversary. It was fun playing with them, getting to know them, and talk about all the great restaurants in Scottsdale. They are foodies just like me!

We get to the first tee, and the starter took 5 minutes to explain the golf course, what we would expect to see, and more. He was so nice, I could have talked to him all afternoon. I would see him again on the course, as he would eventually come out to see how we were doing and check up on us. He shows the first tee, and pull out a 4 iron. It would be like that most of the day. The course is simply filled with strategy, and you can’t hit a driver off every tee.

The golf course opened in November, and hasn’t had much time to mature. However, the course was in incredible shape and unless you told me the course just opened, I would have had no idea. This did become obvious on and around the greens. The greens were smooth, but they were hard and fast. I couldn’t spin anything, whether it was a wedge from the middle of the fairway or a greenside bunker. Nothing held. It was like playing a links style course in Scotland.

On the back 9, the ranger came over and I asked him about the greens. He said it will take about 2 years for the greens to mature, but to take less club and play it like a links style course. I did that, most of the day, and ended up only hitting 2 greens. I did putt well. I hit a lot of fairways, too. But let me tell you about the fairways at Ambiente.

On the golf cart, there is a GPS system powered by DSG TAG Systems that really helps give you an overview of the golf course. If I play here again, it will be easier for me to know where to miss, but it was a challenge the first time playing it. There is also a TON of gnarly grass lining the fairways. If you hit your ball in there, you are to play it as a lateral water hazard. I did… 3 times. If you hit your ball in there, don’t plan on finding it.

By the time I was finished, I was tired. The course is a lot of work. You have to really think about each shot, and the next time I play, I will have to think about where to miss because the greens are large and can really hurt you if you miss on the wrong side of the green.

When this course matures, it will be a great test of golf. If nothing else, stop by for a drink or an appetizer in the bar. They have some incredible views in there, and everything, including the menu, is new to match the new golf course. Their pro shop is also full of great merchandise. Basically, my experience at Camelback Golf Club was incredible. It is a pleasure working with them here at Discount Tee Times, and we can’t wait to play it again.

I spoke with Filippa once more before I left. “Marriott prides itself on providing exceptional customer service, and we hope that every guest that comes onto our property feels like they are a VIP. We encourage our associates to take care of guests, and empower our associates to elevate each experience. We appreciate that guests choose to spend their leisure time at Camelback Golf Club, and want them to always know they are valued. We encourage our associates to avoid using the word “no”, and instead encourage them to find a way to say ‘yes’.”

Josh Doxtator: What’s in the bag?

Josh Doxtator Golf Clubs
Josh Doxtator is a New Yorker who worked his way to Arizona via St. Louis, where he played junior and then collegiate golf at Maryville University. He  wisely chose Arizona and its low humidity as the place to develop a career in golf. He’s been at the Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia since it opened in February 2004, and started instructing in 2006.

Josh was elected to the PGA in 2010 and has developed award winning player development programs recognized both locally and nationally. His students include juniors to seniors, the novice to experienced golfer and he’s worked with some of the best golfers in the state. Josh bases his instruction on core fundamentals and ball flight laws knowing that addressing one area will ultimately affect other weakness’ in the game.

What does Josh tell his students about the golf course? “You better have a good short game because missed greens will yield bogies or worse… I know it’s cliché, but the design of Trilogy was to reward the shot maker and cause havoc to those who press their luck. “

Let’s see what is in his golf bag?

Driver: Anser 9.5° with a Diamana ‘ahina X Flex, 45″
Woods: I20 15° with a Project X 6.0 shaft
Hybrid: I20 20° with a Project X 6.0 shaft
Irons (4-PW): 1° flat with KBS Tour 90 S shafts
Wedges: Gorge 50°, 54° and 58° that are 2° flat with KBS Tour stiff shafts
Putter: Answer 2 Scottsdale TR, 35″, Standard Lie
Ball: ProV1x, DOX in red, high numbers only

Josh knows the importance of fitting the club to the golfer. He chose the Anser driver because he needs a low spinning head and shaft combo…the PING Tour department fitted me into my current combination but there might be an i25 with my name on it in the very near future!

What about the Anser putter? He had another good reason. “I have always used the classic Anser style head and have always had great success.  The new TR line from PING is unbelievable and the income this putter has brought in has been good to me over the years!”

Filippa McDougall: What’s in the bag?

Filippa McDougall: What's in the bag?

Filippa McDougall has been a teaching pro at Camelback Golf Club since 2007. Because she played and practiced at Camelback as a touring pro and liked the course, it was the ideal place for her to transition from touring to teaching. “I love everything about Camelback – great environment, great courses, great people, overall a great ambiance on both the driving range and on the courses. Camelback and Marriott . . . puts a focus on customer service which is a wonderful thing to be part of.”

She is a Class A member of the PGA, a member of the Swedish National Team, and has played on the Futures and Ladies European Tour (LET). Locally, she played at Xavier College Preparatory, Cheyenne Woods’ alma mater, and she played collegiate golf at Duke University.

In addition to a strong technical game and the experience that refined it, Filippa brings a BA in psychology to her golf instruction technique. She realizes that a good balance of technique and positive thinking are essential for having fun on the golf course.

The right equipment helps too!

Driver: TaylorMade R1
Fairway Woods: Taylor Made VSteel 4 and 7 Woods
Hybrid: TaylorMade 5 Rescue
Irons: Titleist AP2 5-PW
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Wedges, 52°, 54° and 60°
Putter: Odyssey 2 Ball

Why the TaylorMade R1? Filippa says that’s an easy decision. “It goes straight! Rolls out quite a bit, and I love the fact that it’s white.”

And the Odyssey 2-Ball? “It is easy to align so it’s tough to miss!”

If you want to give your game a spring tune-up, Filippa’s ready to help.