Q: The Indian Bend golf course was heavily tree lined, restricting the mountain views. How will the Ambiente be different?
A: We removed over 1,000 non-native trees to open up the playing corridors and because they required extensive water which was not part of our environmental plan. However, we are adding over 1,400 native Acacia trees, in mostly out of play areas, as part of our native mix that will include growing a significant number of desert trees and shrubs from seed. The removal of trees allowed us to widen the “in play” areas by increasing landing areas by 20-30 yards. We also moved center lines away from homeowners, thus making it safer to live on the course as well. As far as the views go, they will be spectacular with Mummy Mountain, Camelback, the McDowells and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve now clearly visible while playing the course. This was not possible with the tree layout on the Indian Bend course.
Q: Will maintaining Ambiente be easier by restoring native desert and grass areas?
A: Yes. By having less turfgrass it is certainly easier to maintain the native desert and grass areas, which will allow us to maintain the overall course at much higher level. This will result in Ambiente becoming one of the best landscaped and manicured courses in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area.
Q: Why was it important to restore the native desert and grass areas in the design of Ambiente?
A: This effort is a centerpiece of the Ambiente project. Among the advantages of bringing native desert and grass areas into the design of Ambiente is water conservation; wildlife habitat creation; pesticide/fertilizer and fossil fuel use will be cut in half; and the overall aesthetics of course will be second to none in the Southwest. This approach will give the course an incredible texture, while allowing us to transition from the high maintenance requirements of turf to native areas that bring so many benefits to golfers, the environment, precious wildlife and the community overall.
Q: Built on the 100-year flood plain, and traditionally a low-lying course, how will the new design of Ambiente work within the flood plain? Is it designed to drain better?
A: Ambiente’s design, while challenging due to the 100 year flood limits, will in fact drain better, allowing water to move through the course easier, without gaining velocity or capacity. Equally important, all main features of the course, including greens, tees, fairways and bunkers, will be out of the water flow, thus allowing us to be open for play more often during flood events and giving golfers the ability to enjoy the course on a consistent basis.
Q: Can you speak to the increase in acreage and square miles for Ambiente, as compared to the Indian Bend layout?
A: While the footprint is basically the same, we added 16 acres of dry, barren land where the new hole number 4 and number 5 tee are located. This area was previously owned and maintained by a local HOA, but we leased the land for the next 66 years. As a result, we not only have 13 brand new holes that are in completely different locations than before, we essentially took a dead piece of barren land and turned into 16 acres of beautiful golf landscape.
Q: Can you discuss Ambiente’s green sizes and dimensions, as compared to the original Indian Bend layout?
A: We’ve increased green acreage by about 122,000 sq. ft. As a result, the new greens have great movement, character and feel. Visually they seem intimidating, but once on the putting surface they are very fair. The previous greens were basically flat and round, with no drainage and all sloped back to front. They had very little character mainly due to how they were constructed, so one of our main focuses with Ambiente were to create distinct designs of our greens that were fair but challenged golfers to bring their putting stroke every time out.
Q: How will elevation changes in the Ambiente design impact the golf experience overall?
A: As compared to Indian Bend, there are significant elevation changes course-wide that were not there before. In fact, there is more elevation on one golf hole now than an entire section of the course had previously. Ambiente will have rolling fairways with significant drops down into the native wash area. Many holes even have heroic carries over some of those low areas. Aesthetically this will be very pleasing to the eye, while presenting fun, challenging shotmaking opportunities for golfers.