Thu, June 27

It’s summer, hit the links

Whether it’s the location, the ducks on the pond nearby or the visible pace of the course, something at the Beaver Creek Golf Resort whispers to golfers to take it easy here.

Golfers don’t exhibit that mad frenzy to get on the links here. There’s a bit of bantering in the clubhouse, greetings outside the door to other golfers still arriving. While tee times might begin at 7 a.m., that’s only a sign of respect to the Arizona sun and the early risers of the little community.

The little town doesn’t define the course, so much as the course defines it. Even the street signs declare it: Fairway Drive, Third Fairway. But few communities could ask for more open space, even if comes in the form of fairways, greens and scenic water hazards.

The original course at Beaver Creek, the front nine, reaches back into the history of the Verde Valley. Even the back nine, added in 1935, precedes many.

Beaver Creek is open to the public, but also sports a growing membership. Many of its golfers formerly played the equally historic Verde Valley course in Cottonwood, before it closed six years ago. The course has a membership of 165. A men’s club and two women’s groups - niners and 18 holers - make the course a weekly habit.

One of the assets of the course is that it’s playable. No drops, no major climbs here. It’s a relatively flat course with lots of meanders around the little ponds. Go ahead, enjoy the ducks for a few moments near the 11th. No one’s going to get steamed. No red rock views, but the mesas provide another restful change for the eyes.

Not only is Beaver Creek playable from the technique angle, but it’s also within most players’ budgets. Green fees $30 before 3 p.m. and $20 after 3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Nine hole rates are $20 all day long.

Weekend rates are $35 before 3 p.m. and $20 after. The walk-in rate is $25.

The course is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.

A driving range and a putting green are available..

Beaver Creek also works with younger players. The course just hosted a juniors program. Each fall and spring, Mingus and Camp Verde high school’s players build up their skills over its 18 holes.

The trademarks of the Beaver Creek course are its par threes, a grand six of them in all, Gray noted.

The secret of the course is to keep it in play.

The course is staffed by three: Terry Richardson, the pro; assistant pro Pete Tamminga, also Johnny Milner, a part-time staffer, and Bob Roberts. Golfers can call for tee times, beginning at 7:00 a.m., up to seven days in advance, at the pro shop, 567-4487.