Review: Azalea City Golf Course

Course Name: Azalea City Golf Course

Designer: Robert Bruce Harris (1957)

Location: Mobile, Alabama

History: Originally named Mobile Municipal Golf Course, Azalea City was designed in 1957 and soon after hosted a PGA Tour Event in 1959, the Mobile Sertoma Open Invitational. With winners like Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper, it was clear this city course rewarded good play. Reportedly the busiest golf course in Alabama, Azalea City has hosted the Mobile Metro Championship every year since its opening.

Conditions: 6/10, I played in March, so the Bermuda grass wasn’t fully in bloom after the winter. The course was overall in pretty good shape, but there were definitely some barren spots on the teeboxes and fairways. The greens rolled smooth and fast.

Value: 8/10, The rates here were very competitive. I was able to get a bucket of balls, 9 holes for two, and rental clubs for only $27. Even in peak hours with a cart, you’re still paying less than $45 for a full round.

Scorecard:

Tee                  Par       Yardage          Rating            Slope

Blue                 72        6850                71.2                 115

White              72        6548                69.9                 112

Gold                72        5821                66.6                 104

Red                  72        5347                69.7                 113

Best Score: N/A

Front 9 Best: 46 (Blue Tees), 3/25/2016 with Natasha T.

Back 9 Best: N/A

Hole Descriptions: Although I was only able to play the front 9 (which I’ve heard is far inferior to the back side), I could discern that Azalea City was a challenging golf course. Between the elevation changes, doglegs, and length, this course gave me all I could handle. From the tips, the opening hole is a slight dogleg left playing 381 yards. This hole is intimidating from the tee, as tall trees and a large cross bunker loom on the left side. This small green runs hard back-to-front and is guarded by short bunkers on both sides. The 2nd hole is a 520 yard dogleg right par 5 that is tight and tree-lined. Once you reach the dogleg about 290 yards from the tee, the entire rest of the hole is uphill. A short bunker probably catches a lot of balls from golfers who fail to account for this gradient. Another dogleg left, the 402 yard 3rd hole plays very similarly to the 1st hole, with trees lining the fairways and a large bunker framing the left side.

IMG_1310
The view from the 3rd Tee.

The first par 3 on the course, the 4th hole plays downhill at 173 yards. This green is extremely narrow and slopes severely back-to-front. The 5th hole is the number 1 handicap hole as a 423 yard par 4. This dogleg right is tightly lined by trees and features a hidden bunker on the right to surprise those who try and cut the corner.

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 3.18.17 AM
The approach on the par 5 5th

The par 5 6th is a sharp dogleg left whose dogleg occurs right in the middle of the hole about 250 yards from both the tee and green. Just like the 2nd, this is difficult distance to place a dogleg because it requires you either hit a long drive or shape your lay-up around the dogleg. At 367 yards, the par 4 7th is the shortest par 4 on the front side and an absolutely beautiful driving hole from an elevated teebox. The challenge here comes on the green, which again slopes extremely hard back-to-front. At 187 yards, the par 3 8th is a strong hole guarded by two short bunkers. The finishing hole on the front is a monstrous 459 yard blind dogleg right par 4 that is essentially the longer, more open version of the number 1 handicap 5th. While there are no bunkers by this green, a false front makes club selection imperative.

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Playing the par 3 8th

 

General Comments: The pace of play was brutal, as it took over two and a half hours to finish 9 holes, but then again this is the busiest course in Alabama. The range allowed you to hit off of grass and was long enough to hit drivers, which is always a bonus. There was also a large chipping and putting green that rolled similarly to the greens on the course. I will note that the Proshop worker was extremely accommodating and very kind.

Verdict: Azalea City provides a fun and challenging play for a great price, but lackluster pace of play and general conditioning detract from the overall rating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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