Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 6
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Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 6
After seven years of grow-in, there's lots of buzz about Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club northwest of Phoenix. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Images
Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 1
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Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 1
Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club doesn't start out easy. The par-4, 441-yard first hole is the no. 5 handicap hole. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch G.C. - no. 2
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Wickenburg Ranch G.C. - no. 2
The par 3s at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club are exceptional, as evidenced by the 209-yard second hole. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 3
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Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 3
There are several elevated tees at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club, like this one on the dogleg-left, par-4 third. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch G.C. - no. 6
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Wickenburg Ranch G.C. - no. 6
The short par-4 sixth at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club is a risk-reward hole off the tee. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 7
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Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 7
Bunkers guard the green on the par-5 seventh at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club northwest of Phoenix. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch G.C. - no. 9
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Wickenburg Ranch G.C. - no. 9
The uphill ninth is the third par 5 on the front nine at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club, which has five par 5s and five par 3s. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 10
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Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 10
The 10th at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club plays 365 yards from the tips. It's a good birdie opportunity. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch G.C. - no. 12
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Wickenburg Ranch G.C. - no. 12
The approach on the 433-yard, par-4 12 at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club plays uphill. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 13
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Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 13
The par-3 13th at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club can play as long as 240 yards. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club
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Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club
A challenging tee shot is one of the reasons the par-5 14th is the no. 2 handicap hole at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch G.C.  - no. 16
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Wickenburg Ranch G.C. - no. 16
Find the right landing spot on the dogleg left par-4 16th at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club and you'll have a short iron to the green. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 17
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Wickenburg Ranch golf course - no. 17
The fifth and final par 3 at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club has a potentially difficult green. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch G.C. - no. 18
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Wickenburg Ranch G.C. - no. 18
A clubhouse will eventually be built above the green on the par-5 18th at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club northwest of Phoenix. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor
Wickenburg Ranch golf course - range
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Wickenburg Ranch golf course - range
One of the two ranges at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club will be eventually be converted into a short course. Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor

Arizona's new Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club drawing a crowd

WICKENBURG, Ariz. -- Shortly after Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club opened in early February 2015, its tee sheet was already full 30 days out.

Perhaps the $95 green fees ($85 for Arizona residents) had something to do with it. Maybe it was the 12-minute tee-time intervals or possibly the free logoed golf shirt and pullover played a role in drawing customers willing to drive an hour or more to check out the course. All are effective ways to draw in golfers.

But the biggest reason people are making the trip to Wickenburg is the quality of the golf course.

Originally completed in 2008, it didn't open then because of the economic downturn. In essence, the 7,059-yard layout has spent seven years growing in, which means conditions are perfect.

More than that, however, Bill Brownlee and Wendell Pickett have crafted a thoughtful unique design that features five par 3s and five par 5s. With plenty of elevated tees, imaginative greens, terrific desert/mountain scenery, a great variety of holes, incredible practice facilities and absolutely perfect bentgrass greens, those who make the trip are doing the advertising for the facility when they return home.

As one company official said, the phone lines aren't equipped for the demand. "It's like trying to get tickets to a Justin Bieber concert," he said of people trying to get tee times.

The 12-minute tee times combined with starting times that begin at 9 a.m. limit the number of players to 72 each day, at least early on, which also helps keep the golf course in top-notch condition.

The golf course, which is flanked by the Prescott National Forest and Vulture Peak to the south, features plenty of elevation change, bunkers and a few water hazards. The large greens are well bunkered and usually feature more than one tier, making putting difficult if you land on the wrong part of the green.

Wickenburg Ranch also has exceptional practice facilities, including multiple ranges, short-game areas, practice bunkers and putting greens. One of the ranges will eventually converted to a short course.

The plan is for the course to turn private in 2018, but in the meantime, it's open to the public as a master-planned community develops around it. Phoenix-based Shea Homes has partnered with M3 Companies, the master developer of Wickenburg Ranch, to launch Trilogy at Wickenburg Ranch. The homes will be set above and far enough away from the course not to be in play.

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
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