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Getting To Know: Desert Forest Golf Club


Getting To Know: Desert Forest Golf Club

An Insightful Interview With Brandon Rogers, Head Golf Professional

By Brian Weis

Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with Brandon Rogers who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.

Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
Desert Forest, opened in 1962, was the first desert design in this region of the country. It is intimately nestled into the Sonoran Desert in Carefree, Arizona. It is not a real estate development, just a pure golf club. The architect, Red Lawrence and his shaper Vernon Ward routed a very walkable, unique, and beautifully rough-around-the-edges type of golf course that will challenge every stroke made. Unique characteristics that you won't find hardly anywhere include no fairway bunkers, no water hazards and no out of bounds markers. Seems easy when you say it however the desert is always looming on each and every shot. After 17 years of playing here, I have plenty of scar tissue from all the bad spots I've found around this property, but I have also been rewarded with a great score when I play well&and then you know you've earned it!

What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
Find a club that will fly straight off the tee even if it doesn't go very far. Keep your second shot on the correct side of the green. If you can't control that, short and in front of the green is a good option. If you are putting back toward Black Mountain, hit it a bit softer!

Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
We are currently ranked #37 in Golfweek's Top 100 Modern Courses. In addition, I am proud that we completed an extensive renovation in 2013 that created new interest in shot values and visual appeal while maintaining the classic Red Lawrence layout.

What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
#16 is probably the most photographed and most talked about hole on the course. It is a 535 yard par 5, risk-reward off the tee and very reachable in two shots for the long and straight hitter. At about 150 yards from the green is a large mesquite tree right in the middle of the fairway that has been there for decades. If you don't play that hole properly, you'll be punching under or trying to get around this beautiful tree. Black Mountain sits in the background toward the setting sun. When the shadows get long, there isn't a better setting for a picture and it is equally fun to challenge it with your clubs. Even the best players step up with 3 iron or driver in hand not knowing which one to hit until the last minute. A bit of peer-pressure typically helps at this point in the match J

What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
#7 is my favorite hole. A par 5, another risk-reward where you can play safely down the left side or take on a big carry over a large piece of desert. If you can achieve the carry and find fairway, getting home in two is definitely an option. I've made a 2 on this hole and everything in between up to 9! I've never played another hole as unique and strategic as this one.

Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
Chef Tom's famous chili topped off with an ice cold glass of Mirror Pond on tap is a great way to finish off the round.

Who Holds Course Record and What Was Their Score?
Bubba Watson has it pre-renovation. He shot 62 with a three-putt bogey on the 18th. Post-renovation is Trevor Murphy who plays on the Tour. He rattled off 8 birdies, an eagle and 4 bogeys to fire 66. This round perfectly highlights how you can get it going out here when swinging with confidence but if you are just a bit off or start to question yourself, bogeys and doubles creep in quickly!

Back Tee Stats
Par: 72
Yardage: 7201
Slope: 146
Rating: 75.7

More Information
Desert Forest Golf Club
Carefree, Arizona 85377


Revised: 03/03/2015 - Article Viewed 21,327 Times - View Golf Course Profile

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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