Lucky Seven


If you’re lucky enough to play at Seven Desert Mountain, you’re lucky enough! This new par 54 course at Desert Mountain in North Phoenix was designed by Wendell Pickett and Bill Brownlee to be fun and boy did they hit the mark. If you have ever played their Big Wick or Lil Wick courses at Wickenburg Ranch and Social Club, then you have an idea of their design style.


The biggest challenge with Seven was to make it a ratable short course, one of only two in the country. Bill and Wendell were already stretching every inch to achieve the layout when CEO Damon was informed by the USGA that one hole on each nine must be at least 250 yards. They creatively scurried to accommodate. Wendell is a routing pro by trade and is rarely touted when another designer finishes the course such as the Phoenician Golf Course where they took 27 holes to a resort 18. The credit is never a concern to him when working with other designers but for Seven, it’s important. Bill and Wendell along with Bill’s son Alex, the Development Manager take great pride in the fruition of Seven as they should.


Bill shared that they design courses for their wives – playable so that they actually will want to play together. He believes 50% of the play at Seven is by women, the largest growing segment of golf. 18 holes in a couple of hours is efficient for them and the design is pretty. Every hole is unique with waterfalls on a stream flowing through the back nine. The mountains, flora and fauna are strategically viewed from tees to greens. Four tee boxes on the short course provide plenty of shot options. It’s a whole different course from the tips or the front tees. In order to post a score for handicap, you must play from the longest tees but it’s just fun to play from any and hone your short game skills. Playing with Golf Director John Lyberger, he pointed out that 14 of the front tees could actually be played with a putter over the bent grass fairway to greens. Bent grass is an unusual choice for Arizona resulting in a carpet so soft it begs for barefoot play. A bonus if you want to call it that, is the Sandy tee, a small bunker for the ultimate or perhaps masochistic practice.


Seven is not just about the course though. The clubhouse is also built for fun with an open view of bocce, golf and desert mountains, especially gorgeous at sunset. Inside climate comfort is adjusted with evaporative cooling in the ceiling for desert heat and radiant heat from the floor to counter winter chills. Seven has become the most popular spot for Desert Mountain members which says a lot considering there are six other Jack Nicklaus signature courses on property.


Passion Graham, Clubhouse Manager was well named at birth as she greets everyone with passion. The Club Managers Association of America recently recognized her as one of the top young managers in the country. “There is certainly no surprise on my part or anyone that has had the privilege to meet and work with Passion that she would be part of this outstanding group,” said Damon DiOrio, CEO, Desert Mountain Club. “We are so fortunate to have her at Desert Mountain Club and leading the way at Seven.”


The chef makes her job a little easier as everyone is very pleased with his menu creations from apps to steaks and seafood, desserts and “grownup shakes.”


Indeed, members and their guests are all lucky at the new Seven Desert Mountain.