With more than 200 golf courses in the Valley of the Sun, it’s tough to stand out, but the Raven at Verrado in Buckeye, about 30 miles west of Phoenix, elevates itself in a number of ways. Situated at the foot of the White Tank Mountains, the course, designed by John Fought and Tom Lehman, has open fairways and often tight approaches that lead to large greens with enough undulation to grab the attention of the best short-game players. At a muscular 7,258 yards from the back tees, the Raven at Verrado can be a massive test, but three other sets of tees make it manageable for all skill levels. Fought and Lehman did a good job incorporating the region’s natural beauty and desert environment into the layout, with desert flora, rugged landscape features and wildlife in sight from all angles. Many holes also play up into the mountains, where the elevation changes allow for some exceptional background views. Visit ravenatverrado.com.
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