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Course Spotlight: Thunderbird International Junior

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Course Spotlight: Grayhawk Golf Club – Raptor Course

By Tim Wing, Communications Staff

The Raptor Course is one of Grayhawk Golf Club’s two riveting courses, and it hosts the Thunderbird International Junior for the 16th year.

“Grayhawk was built to host championships,” Director of Golf Joe Shershenovich said.

The Tom Fazio-designed course sits at the corner of the Sonoran Desert, playing at par-72 and measuring 7,135 yards from the back tees. The Raptor Course offers players panoramic views of Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains and surrounds them with towering Saguaros, Palo Verde, Ironwood and Mesquite trees that were preserved in creating the golf course.

Raptor finishes with its iconic par-5 No. 18, which comes back toward the clubhouse.

“No. 18 is probably my favorite, it is a great finishing hole,” Shershenovich said, then adding in some of his favorite moments from the past. “Brad Dalke (2011) as a seventh grader got it up-and-down to win. Philip Francis (2007) is in the fairway and all he has to do is make par, but he goes for it. Hunter Mahan (2000) had one roll down the cart path onto the lawn, he got it up-and-down for par.

“Then here come the girls on their third shot and they are sticking it from 100 yards out. It’s laser like.”

Shershenovich said that before the players come down the stretch they still need to get past the tricky front nine.

“The front nine has teeth,” he said. “You have to get through the first five holes, they will get your attention. You have to get some momentum out of there, but it could be tough sometimes.”

Raptor is named among the Best Public Golf Courses in Arizona by Golf Magazine, and has hosted the Frys.com Open, the inaugural Williams World Challenge, the semi-finals and finals of the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf, Tommy Bahama’s Desert Marlin, and the Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro-Ams.