Located about a half-hour southwest of Sky Harbor, on the other side of South Mountain, this sweet public course provides both a "true test" of golf and one of the best bangs for the buck this side of Augusta. The fairways generally are wide and forgiving, a must for our many wayward drives, though the second shots on the par-4s invariably are dicey, with strategically placed deep bunkers that protect the greens like sentries. And those greens, while expansive, undulate like belly dancers, which make dreaded three-putts loom ever possible. Though it's a bit of a schlep for many, the price at this Troon facility is much lower than at fellow courses in Scottsdale, an hour or so north. When the much-higher winter rates kick in, usually around November 1, it still costs "only" about $100 for a round. We do appreciate that we didn't lose even one ball over the 18, on our way to a comfortable 94. That, non-golfers, is eminently mediocre.