Best Genuine Desert Golf Course (2000)

The Snake Hole Golf and Country Club
Near U.S. 60 and Idaho Road in Apache Junction

A lot of uppity Valley golf resorts call themselves desert courses, but the reality of it is this: At those places, the whole point is to stay out of the desert.

Well, good luck with that at Snake Hole, which isn't so much a golf course as it is an undeveloped quarter section of gravel and scrub by U.S. 60. Indeed, it's just a chunk of desert that the Countryside RV Resort across the street decided to call a golf course. Where there isn't scrub is fairway, and the desert in the general vicinity of each cup is the green.

Like St. Andrews, this is a "bump-and-run" course. You bump the ball, which scratches the club, and the ball runs through the desert, scratching the ball. Balls rolling in the fairway tend to divert into the scrub, balls hit toward the scrub tend to divert toward the fairway. It's Midwestern Pasture Golf brought to the desert -- absolutely unpretentious, silly, hot, ugly fun. Viva la Apache Junction!

There's one caveat: You'll need to play with somebody who has his or her fifth wheel parked over at Countryside. (There are about 200 members of the course. Yearly dues are $5.) Snake Hole is a nine-hole, par-29 course, but it's safe to say nobody here cares about his score.

Readers' Choice for Best Golf Course: Troon North

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