Golfing Magazine Online -
Moon Valley Country Club
Golfing Magazine Staff
By Golfing Magazine Staff
Published on 07/9/2007

Moon Valley Still Shines Bright

When you look back and think of your best days, those days when you’ve really lived life to its fullest, you’re surely going to want to remember days like those lived every day by the members of Moon Valley Country Club, a private country club which lies quietly and conveniently in the heart of north Phoenix, just east of 7th street and north of Thunderbird.

Unlike some private clubs which call themselves country clubs, the Moon Valley experience is truly more than you could ever fit into a single day. Members choose from a full slate of activities and events every day, many of which are also open to their special invited guests, but there are simply too many to do to fit them all into the limitations of one day. For instance, you could get up early to play 18 holes of challenging golf on Moon Valley’s historic championship golf course, followed by a wonderful light snack in the newly renovated Grill, then relax for a few minutes before grabbing your racquet and heading to the tennis courts to fit in a couple sets on one of the 8 tournament quality courts. After soundly defeating your opponent, you’ll want to head to the fitness club for a hearty workout followed by a luxurious full body massage, after which you’ll want to head outdoors to jump into the Junior Olympic-sized heated swimming pool to swim some laps with Moon Valley’s competitive swim team.

After getting soundly defeated by every one of the excellent swimmers on Moon Valley’s team, get out of the pool and bask in the last rays of the day on the newly renovated pool deck while enjoying a refreshing beverage or two. The sun will be setting over the beautiful mountain just west of the club if you time it just right! This respite might be followed by a short, yet soothing session in the steam room before heading over to the Sunset Room to enjoy one of the many delectable choices prepared by Moon Valley’s award winning regional executive chef, Gregory Jolliff, while enjoying a selection of fine wine and a fabulous view of the Phoenix skyline as night falls gently over the desert. That’s definitely a great day, but you haven’t even been to Moon Valley’s unique par-3 executive course, Moon Walk (think Augusta National), nor have you attended any of the member activities, or had a chance to sit down and talk golf with any of the club’s PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, or Nationwide Tour members. You haven’t even practiced your golf game on the awesome practice facilities, taken a lesson by one of Moon Valley’s resident pros, or - you probably get the point by now. Moon Valley Country Club offers a lifestyle you’d love to live, which makes it a club you’ll love to join!

The vast array of activities and events offered by Moon Valley Country Club surprise most people who come to explore a membership opportunity for the first time, but even more surprising is how affordable it is to belong to such a prestigious and active club. As you probably know, there are many private clubs in the greater Phoenix area, some of which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to join and charge a small fortune for monthly dues. Based on its national reputation, convenient location, wonderful array of amenities and rich history, I assumed Moon Valley Country Club was one of those elitist clubs, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! Believe it or not, Moon Valley Country Club is actually one of the most affordable private country clubs in Arizona, making it without a doubt the best overall value, and which explains why there are currently just a handful of new memberships available.

All great country clubs start with a great golf experience, and it’s no different at Moon Valley Country Club. The golf course was originally designed by Dick Wilson, but it underwent a complete renovation by Bob Cupp in 1999-2000, and the result is nothing short of fantastic.

Many people became familiar with Moon Valley Country Club during the many years it hosted the LPGA’s Standard Register Ping event, now known as the Safeway International.

Karsten Manufacturing/PING’s founder, Karsten Solheim, was without a doubt one of the greatest supporters and proponents of women’s golf ever to have lived, and he was also the person responsible for the existence of Moon Valley Country Club. Moon Valley CC was actually owned by his company, Karsten Manufacturing/PING, until just a few years ago. Karsten brought the LPGA to Phoenix for many years, and in many ways helped it to grow and thrive during some otherwise tough times. The original course was a beloved favorite of the LPGA’s touring pros, but when they returned to the club after the one-year hiatus it took for Cupp to rebuild the course, the praise was lavish and loud! I remember interviewing many of the players during the 2001 Standard Register PING held at Moon Valley CC, and every single one of them raved about the course, none more so than Annika Sorenstam, who shot the LPGA’s all-time best score of 59 during her second round on her way to winning the event with a record score of 27 under par. This might lead you to believe the course is easy, but you would be wrong. What it is, is perfect!

In order to score well on any golf course you’ve got to be able to drop a lot of putts, and in order to do that you need to be able to trust the greens. Moon Valley’s greens are amongst the most trustworthy anywhere, being Tif-Eagle Bermuda and manicured to perfection by Moon Valley’s Troon Golf maintenance crew. Anyone who knows golf knows that Troon Golf prides itself on excellent facilities kept in perfect shape, and as one of the premier private clubs in Troon Golf’s portfolio, Moon Valley exceeds even Troon Golf’s high standards. During my most recent round of golf played at Moon Valley I had an incredible (for me) total of 26 putts, with well over 200 feet of made putts on the day, including a double-breaking 44-footer on the 13th green. I’m certain that’s the most putting yardage I’ve ever made in a single round, and I’m just as certain that I couldn’t have done it on greens which were any less perfect. The other thing I loved about them is the speed was around a 9-1/2 or 10 on the Stimpmeter, not an obnoxious 11 or 12! For the vast majority of golfers, a 10 is more than fast enough, and the USGA actually endorses green speeds of 9 to 9-1/2 for the most enjoyable golf experience. Members want to be able to enjoy their rounds of golf on their home course, and I know the members at Moon Valley CC love theirs every day!

The other thing that’s crucial for a private golf course is to be able to change the course enough so that it plays a little different every day. Moon Valley stretches to over 7,200 yards from the tips, but there are four large tee boxes on every hole, and the greens are all large and offer a wide variety of pin placements with some awesome crests and swales and tiers and subtle breaks. Once you get the feel for these greens you’ll be able to read every one, and when you hit your putt on the right line with the right speed, it’s going to drop in the hole every time. On the other hand, if you hit the wrong part of some greens, you have no chance to make a putt. This rewards great strategy and execution on the approach shots, and certainly makes for some heartbreaking putts when you go astray. Two of the most outstanding greens on the course (and in all of Arizona, for that matter) are the gigantic, multi-tiered double green which serves holes 2 and number 8, and the incredibly entertaining and challenging green on # 18 featuring one of the largest and most severe swales of any green I’ve ever played. This is certainly a green which can make or break a great round of golf - and many a Nassau! You’ll have to see it for yourself to believe how great a green with this many breaks can be.

Three years ago, the management of Karsten Manufacturing/PING offered the members of Moon Valley Country Club the opportunity to purchase the club at an extremely fair market value, and they jumped at the chance. This explains why the membership is so reasonably priced, and why the members have been able to make so many improvements to the club during the past few years. Nearly everything has been redone or added to or renovated in some way, including the swimming pool, new golf carts, a new roof over the huge 100,000 square foot clubhouse, new fitness facilities, renovated banquet and grill facilities, and much more. When you add in the newly renovated golf course,
Moon Valley Country Club is basically a brand new club which offers a rich history and tradition you simply can’t find in a new club. You might call it a new beginning built on a proud past.

If you’ve been looking for the perfect club for yourself and your family, you owe it to yourself and your family to explore a membership at Moon Valley Country Club. It’s one excellent way to assure yourself of being supremely satisfied at the end of every day!

For more information about the club, rates, membership packages and the benefits of each package visit, or give Sales & Marketing Director Allen Miller a call at 602-375-4411. You may also email him with any questions you might have about Moon Valley Country Club at