Renegade course at Desert Mountain reopens after Nicklaus renovation

  • Renegade at Desert Mountain

    The Renegade course at Desert Mountain Club has reopened this month

  • Renegade at Desert Mountain

    Nicklaus Design completed a year-long renovation of the course in Arizona

  • Renegade at Desert Mountain

    The layout features new greens, bunkers, tees, irrigation and more

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

The Renegade course at Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, has reopened this month following a year-long renovation by Nicklaus Design.

The project was led by Jack Nicklaus and senior design associate Chris Cochran, working alongside construction company Heritage Links. The comprehensive overhaul includes new greens, tees and bunkers, some reshaping and lake construction, new cart paths, new drainage and irrigation, and the conversion of turf from bermuda to bentgrass.

The Renegade course features two pin positions on every hole – white and gold, with the latter typically placed in more challenging locations. As reported by GCA during construction in 2018, Cochran said: “The main goals were to get more equal play to the white and gold greens.”

The project has seen the total area of greens reduced by more than 25 per cent. The layout now features six holes with one large green and 12 holes with two greens. Previously, there were 13 holes with one green and five with two greens.

“Everything – including the game of golf – evolves and when the game changes, you’ve got to adapt with it,” said Nicklaus. “We opened up the renovated golf course a little bit by flattening the mounds and broadening the fairways, but it’s still the same golf course with two pins on every hole – just with a modernised playing strategy.”

According to the club: “Either pin placement can be played on any given day, providing endless options and distance variety.” Overall course distances now range from 4,500 to 8,000 yards. The tenth can now play as a par four or five and the twelfth can be played as either a par three or four.

The club also highlights that the new design saves maintenance costs associated with labour and water: the new design requires less hand mowing, about 12 acres of irrigated turf was removed, and the turf switch makes Renegade the only course in Scottsdale to feature a wall-to-wall cool season turf base year-round. Using bentgrass also eliminates the need to overseed, further reducing water usage.

A new Rain Bird irrigation system has been installed. Bunkers – some of which are new or have been repositioned – have been fitted with new Capillary Concrete liner and a total of over 100,000 tonnes of new sand.