Forrest Richardson leads major project at Arizona’s Mountain Shadows

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    The course is being entirely reconstructed as part of the project

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    Forrest Richardson worked with original designer Arthur Jack Snyder in the early part of his career

Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Significant progress is being made on a project to reconstruct the golf course at Mountain Shadows Resort near Phoenix, Arizona.

Architect Forrest Richardson is leading the work, which will reinvigorate the design, which was originally created by the late Arthur Jack Snyder. Richardson worked with Snyder earlier in his own career. 

Considered a daring design when it was built back in the early 1960s, Mountain Shadows previously contained only two par four holes, and was built on a site only 40 acres in area.

“The early ads for Mountain Shadows are stunning to read,” said Richardson. “They are nearly a play-by-play to what we are finally getting people to realise today, that golf needs to be fun, take less time and involve less resources. Indeed, Snyder’s Mountain Shadows was billed as a ‘course you can enjoy with the whole family, and in less time’. The ads appeared in local newspapers and magazines throughout the 1960s.”

The current project sees the rebuilding of the entire course, but still based on Snyder’s original routing. Once complete, every hole will be a par three, playing from between 75 and 200 yards.

“Jack absolutely believed his work there to be among his best,” said Richardson. “While he brought big courses to Wailea and throughout Hawaii, and across the western US, it was always Mountain Shadows that he brought up as being one of the most enjoyable projects of his career.”

The Mountain Shadows resort was recently purchased by Woodbine Development having been closed since 2008, although remarkably, the course itself remained open for play during this period. The Texas-based company is working alongside Arizona resort company Westroc Resorts to revitalise the property.

“We hear all the time from people who recalled playing there with their parents and grandparents,” said Richardson. “Compared to the other golf in Phoenix at the time, one can see why Mountain Shadows was so popular. It was not only different, but the round could be enjoyed by those of every skill level. It was the ultimate equaliser.”

The reworked course will measure just under 2,500 yards and plays to par-54. Richardson has also achieved a personal ambition of creating a bonus par two hole, something he wrote about in his 2001 book Routing the Golf Course

“The idea for a par-two had always been to creatively use small spaces,” he said. “Until now it has never presented itself, at least not on a site where it fit the routing.”

The construction element of the project is being handled by Landscapes Unlimited, and the course is scheduled to reopen in February 2017.