Coldwater Adds Polish & Excitement

By: Mark Leslie

Coldwater Golf Club in Avondale, Ariz., known since its opening in 2000 for providing excellent golf at an affordable price, has undergone a transfusion of bunkers, landscaping and general "polishing-up" that club officials feel is equivalent to buffing a jewel.

"It's a fun golf course to play. It just needed a facelift," said general manager and director of golf Joe Edwards. "The Arizona Republic named us the Best Place to Play on a Budget. Troon North was Best Place to Play. So, we're in good company. And people will be pleasantly surprised with the changes."

"The theme at Coldwater remains the same," said golf course architect Forrest Richardson of Phoenix. "It's a course that allows the golfer to choose the path to the hole, not be told where to hit or how to attack the greens. Those are things we preserved."

Richardson said that when he designed Coldwater, "In a world where 75 or more bunkers is common, we took a different approach by creating interesting bumps and hollows, and only 20 bunkers."

However, "not many people ever realized that we had created a 'linksy' course," he added. Perhaps because the course is framed by mountain views, native grasses, meandering washes, and two lakes.

In his renovation, he added bunkers on hole numbers 2, 3, 6 and 11. One of his favorite changes is what he has done at the 3rd hole, a risk-reward par-4 where two cross bunkers were added to the approach to the green.

"The daring tee shot is now tested by sand, the nearby arroyo and the tight opening to the punchbowl green," Richardson said. "While it has always been a great and risky hole, what we have now are visual cues off the tee. Like any good hazard, the new bunkers get the adrenalin pumping. That always makes the tee shot more exciting."

Elsewhere, on the winding par-5 2nd hole, a bunker has been placed greenside. The golfer must now take an extra breath before deciding to go for the green in two. At No. 6 a large fairway bunker joins sandy waste area that flanks the dogleg at the right. On the 11th a new fairway bunker signals danger at the left of what has become one of the most demanding par-5s at Coldwater.

In addition to the bunkers, Coldwater has added some moguls at the 7th and 13th holes, creating more interest at the approaches to the greens. Meanwhile, crews from golf course builder Landscapes Unlimited, which also owns and operates Coldwater, have completed some major landscaping.

Merkel also pointed out that decomposed granite, a hard-surface treatment put down as dust and weed control as well as aesthetics, was poured one to two inches thick around all the teeing areas and a few others select spots. "Periodically, maintenance staff may have to drag through it," Merkel said, "but it generates a hard surface and minimizes future weed treatments."

Traffic Patterns Help Out

The renovations are a double dose of good news for Coldwater, along with traffic-flow changes that have been a tremendous boon to play at the course. About three years ago, Avondale began creating a "new center of activity two miles closer to our golf course, and that has led to traffic being funneled right past us," said Edwards.

A new city hall, along with Phoenix International Raceway, two new hotels and a number of businesses and shopping malls have been built on Avondale Boulevard, formerly 115th Avenue. Coldwater is on 119th Avenue, so it now sits just four blocks away from the main highway as well as Interstate 10's exit onto Avondale Boulevard. "This is a huge boost for us," Edwards said.

For additional information about Coldwater Golf Club, call 623/932-9000 or visit