The Golf Club of Estrella, located 17 miles west of Phoenix in the town of Goodyear, is a favorite tee time in the vast Phoenix/Scottsdsale golf mecca. Over the years the club has built a reputation as one of the best and best value places to play in the entire region. The club has often graced Golf Advisor s and GolfWeek s lists of the Top Courses in Arizona. Jack Nicklaus II laid out the course while spearheading the project for Nicklaus Design in 1999. Though the user-friendly playing field works its way through a master-planned residential neighborhood (houses border the fairways), the routing also enters the foothills of the Sierra Estrella Mountains. Many players rave about the layout, as Jack Nicklaus II did wonders with a predominantly flat site. The game here features plenty of variety, offering a mixture of traditional holes as well as tests with forced carries and target-style challenges. Players of varying abilities should be able to manage their way around the routing. The different size, shape, and directional orientation of the par 4s is especially intriguing. As you would expect of a Nicklaus Design playing field, the Golf Club of Estrella is a fun driving course. The landing areas, which utilize the site s natural contours, are generous and the rough is light. The challenge level increases significantly on approach shots. In addition to desert washes that cross in front of the greens, deep bunkers lurk beside the putting surfaces. The Golf Club of Estrella s greens are large, smooth, fast, and firm. Even better, they hold well and are easy to read. Jack Nicklaus II saved the best stretch of holes for the fantastic three-hole finish. The par-5 16th tops out at 605 yards and requires carries over three desert washes. Seventeen is a postcard-worthy signature par 3 that is immersed in the Sonoran desert and beautifully framed by the mountains. The home hole, called Evening Star, tucks into a mountainside and provides a spectacular panoramic view. Players of all abilities enjoy the Golf Club of Estrella because it doesn t beat them up. Plenty of hazards keep things interesting, yet the playing field is wide enough so the threats are not intimidating. Likewise, the turf is a delight to hit from. Troon Golf manages the course to a high standard and provides excellent customer service. Practice facilities include a well-marked driving range, chipping area, and two putting greens. One of the putting greens is beside the first tee. The clubhouse isn t elaborate but it includes a golf shop and the Player s Grill. The patio is a nice play to hang out and take in the view. A tee time at the Golf Club of Estrella promises a fun day that gives your excellent bang for your buck.