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Mesa, Arizona is filled with affordable East Valley courses loved by locals - like Longbow Golf Club

Brandon TuckerBy Brandon Tucker,
Managing Editor
Longbow Golf Club - No. 15
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Longbow Golf Club doesn't sit in the same desert surroundings as Scottsdale's best courses, so it must let the architecture do the talking. (Courtesy of Longbow G.C. )

MESA, Ariz. - It's tough to find green fees during the spring - peak season around the Valley of the Sun - for less than $100.

This spring at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, a $99 special includes a dozen Titleist Pro V1 golf balls while supplies last.

The latest giveaway attracts locals on the prowl for peak-season bargains to Mesa, which borders Scottsdale and Tempe in the East Valley.

Aside from its regular green fee that's usually much less expensive than those at Scottsdale's upscale resort and semi-private clubs, Longbow is known locally for its last-minute specials. They're available even during the coveted spring months, when many locals - priced out of the market - curb their weekly games until the cheaper summer months.

After playing a handful of upscale golf courses in Scottsdale, a round here can provide a visual letdown, considering Longbow's location near an industrial park. But it's one-half to one-third the cost of Scottsdale's finest and offers good playing conditions in addition to hole variety that offsets the wow factor of the other golf courses. Golfweek rates Longbow among its top 25 public golf courses in Arizona.

Opened in 1997, the golf course underwent a redesign and renovation in 2003. It included an expansion of acreage and the addition of a contemporary-designed clubhouse facility, which features a casual bar and grill, pro shop and a pleasant outdoor patio for post-round beverages.

Architect Ken Kavanaugh did not receive the kind of natural splendor afforded Tom Weiskopf at Troon North or Jay Morrish at the Boulders Resort. Kavanaugh relied on the artistry of his design, which features bold bunker shaping, dramatic hazards and mounding. Holes like No. 15, a par 4 that plays to a bunker surrounding the green's left side and flows into water, are pretty and penal.

At more than 7,000 yards from the championship tees with green complexes that provide a challenge to reach, the golf course attracts many aspiring pros and college players. It might explain the sinister placement of so many pins, tucked just paces off the fringe during our round. This golf course is set up to welcome players.

Longbow Golf Club: The verdict

If visiting the Valley of the Sun, you've likely come to experience some of the top golf courses in the area - perhaps We-Ko-Pa, Troon North or Grayhawk.

But if you don't have the cash to play these five-star attractions daily, Longbow makes for a very good alternative. It's got all the shots and top conditions at a fraction of the cost.

Longbow also features a comprehensive golf academy, a large driving range and multiple chipping and putting greens.

More golf around Mesa in the East Valley

More than 40 golf courses sit within a 30-minute drive of Mesa, and there exist a handful of worthy plays within city limits. Las Sendas Golf Club, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design in a residential community, ranks among the valley's most difficult with a slope of 145.

Superstition Springs Golf Club serves as a PGA Tour qualifying site, playing at more than 7,000 yards from the championship tees. It's a Greg Nash design that opened to rave reviews in 1992 and features water hazards on 11 holes.

A recent addition to the daily-fee options around the East Valley, Superstition Mountain Golf Club hosts to the LPGA's Safeway Classic. Formerly a private, 36-hole club, the two Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses alternate public access daily.

Mesa also features one of the Valley's best municipal courses. Golf Digest rated Dobson Ranch Golf Course as best muni in Arizona. It includes a lighted driving range and practice facility.

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Longbow golf course in Mesa - No. 7Longbow Golf Club - No. 3

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

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