(PHOENIX) The Lookout Mountain Golf Club at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort has undergone an environmental transformation this summer. Taking the place of three ponds on the course are new hazard complexes comprised of bunkers and native desert waste areas. The annual water savings is estimated to be more than ten million gallons.Forrest Richardson, original designer with PGA Senior Player Bill Johnston, was brought back to integrate the new hazards into the natural desert layout. The ponds had been additions shortly before opening in 1987.
“The original intent was minimal water and a natural, desert setting,” says Richardson. “But just as the course was being finished, a directive came down to add more water.”
The Lookout Mountain course hosted the Senior PGA Tour in its debut year. In subsequent years the course hosted the NBC Skills Challenge. Richardson points out that the addition of the lakes was bitter sweet, “On one hand they added good drama for television, but they also resulted in a very penal finish for those of us who don’t play the Tour.”
The holes restored, 15, 16 and 18, each had decorative ponds that have been losing thousands of gallons of water each day to evaporation. The course has been actively working with the City of Phoenix on water conservation measures for the past several years.
“This conversion project is a major step in this process,” adds Richardson. “Plus, it is great to see the spirit of the original design returned to the course.”
The Lookout Mountain Golf Club is one of only a few Phoenix-Scottsdale resort properties to have golf holes winding through desert preserve land without adjacent houses. Twelve holes of the 6,600 yard, par-72 course play through or along reserve land, giving golfers uninterrupted views amidst canyons and rugged mountain hillsides.
Ponds at holes 15, 16 and 18 give way to hazards of sandy washes, stepped bunkers and a new terrain of drought-tolerant, desert plants. “We’re putting the desert back, but we’re making sure the golf remains fun and challenging,” adds Richardson. “The new holes encourage risk-reward shots, but players will now have a chance to recover. The opportunity for recovery is essential in golf, especially on the home stretch.”
The restoration work, which was carried out by Signature Golf Builders, is part of a major program to conserve water and at the same time celebrate the native Sonoran Desert that surrounds the 584-room Spanish-Mediterranean themed Tapatio Cliffs Resort.