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Play Away: Phoenix, Risen

Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Adobe, Phoenix, AZ (public). Reopened: October 2004.
Clark Gable was distraught. Swinging away on the Arizona Biltmore Hotel's golf course in the early 1940s, he'd lost his wedding band. Was it gone with the wind?Fortunately, an alert Biltmore employee found and returned it. Lost in history is the size of the tip the grateful Gable shelled out; unquestioned, however, is the sense of history exuded by this seventy-six-year-old course.

In the fall of 2004, Phoenix-based architect Forrest Richardson completed the final touches on course alterations imposed by new real estate construction, taking time in the process to restore as many 1928 Billy Bell design features as possible. Richardson flopped holes one and eighteen, so that eighteen now offers a visually dramatic closer as it heads straight at Piestewa Peak. He also created several new holes, including a par-three sixteenth and an enticing short par-four seventeenth that mirror the Bell style. Notably, some of the bunkers regained their classic fingers of turf extending into the sand, reminiscent of the work Bell did with George Thomas at L.A.'s Riviera.

The Biltmore's Adobe course remains poker-table flat, but with mature landscaping and a fistful of brand-new "old-world" holes, it's a refreshing alternative to the newfangled target-style courses littering the desert.
Yardage: 6,428. Par: 71. Greens Fees: $48–$175. Tee Times: 602-955-9655 or visit arizonabiltmore.com

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