Our first day to play the new Sterling Grove Golf and Country Club paired us with “first man Adam” who reached out for our first golf handshake since the pandemic began last year. It was fantastic to feel that instant human connection again. Golfers are connected by the love of the game and the Jack Nicklaus course at Sterling Grove will connect the whole luxury lifestyle community.
Sterling Grove in Surprise, Arizona was surprisingly not as far a drive from the east valley as google map indicated and the community is very welcoming from the staff at the entrance gate to the staff in the pro shop led by Golf Director Brenton Carruthers, formerly at Troon North Golf Club. Tranquil ponds and streams with unique architectural features lead to the clubhouse.
The driving range has numerous greens with strategically positioned bunkers and flag distances which are gauged and clearly noted each day. Purple Jacaranda trees line the sides of the range, complementing the lavender hues in the White Tank mountains ahead. Advice at the first tee is that putts break to Buckeye. The new greens are quite firm but softening with time. The back nine greens were laid in first, working back to number one so there is a slight difference along the way. They are truly Nicklaus’s greens where it appears as if he buried some bears or elephants. Adam had played a few times already and shared course knowledge, especially helpful with approach shots to these sometimes seemingly insurmountable greens. The opening holes set the stage with bunkers on number one funneling to the hole and on number two, bunkers left and a tall field of grass cutting in from the right to create a bottle neck to the green. That tall rye grass is currently scattered throughout the course, however, GM Ryan Stemsrud shared that it is controversial and likely to be replaced with landscaping more to the liking of the members. The concern for the grass relates to delay of play while searching for balls and the possible habitat for snakes which might, in defense, harm those searching. While it looks pretty waving in the wind, the grass will not likely be missed.
The course design has clean lines and will mature well with an eventual 1700 trees. Short par 4s like 14 and 16 are feel good, reachable holes from all tees. We see eagles landing on the score cards. Egrets fly in to the very unique, artistic waterways which are home to lucky duck families and black swans, (the swans are the decoy variety).
Speaking of ducks, the first community event held at Sterling Grove was a rubber duck race on these waters that raised over $27.6k for Phoenix Children’s Hospital Hope Fund. The Sterling Grove Toll Brothers enhanced lifestyle community will eventually have 2,200 homes with trails, parks, fishing, community gardens, and pet friendly parks on the 780 acres. Future amenities will include a magnificent clubhouse, restaurants, cafes, pools, a full-service spa, state of the art fitness center, movement studio, tennis, bocce, pickleball courts, 18 hole putting green and more innovative features.
If the current spacious and well-appointed locker rooms are any indication of the finery to come, members will be elated. The golf club will convert to private, members only sometime between 2023 and 2025, with over 100 members already signed up. Privé Troon members will enjoy playing privileges and reciprocity will likely be extended to some nearby private clubs. So, now is the time to enjoy public play while visiting Arizona and consider relocating investing in a second home with membership to the incredible Sterling Grove Golf & Country Club, managed by Troon as the social center. Visit www.sterlinggroveclub.com or call 623-213-7000.