New faces greet guests at Ocotillo

High-end Chandler course completes major renovation

sports bar complete with Phil Mickelson memorabilia, a new name (it formerly was Ocotillo Golf Resort) and a whole lot of new people in prominent places. One of those new faces


at the water-inspired golf course designed by Ted Robinson back in 1985 is Kendall Critchfield, the former Arizona State standout who played the pro tours for eight years following his graduation in 2005. Yes, the same Kendall Critchfield who was a fixture around the ASU women’s program as a kid thanks to his mom, ASU super-booster Nancy Critchfield. These days you’ll find Kendall at

lot is happening at Ocotillo Golf Club these days, including fresh new fairways and greens, a new high-end

By AZ GOLF Insider Staff

put in a new irrigation system, redid some of the bunkers, got rid of a few bunkers, firmed up the greens and put in a new practice facility with six target greens that has made a huge difference. Oh, yes, and our brand new Ocotillo Grille is really something else. So we’re very proud of what’s going on out here. Everything’s going to be ‘Wow!’ when it fully matures.” Critchfield takes a lot of pride in

his ASU roots, and he can still tell you everything you’ll ever want to know about “Coach V’s” (Linda Vollestedt’s) six national championships because he was there for every one of them. He also posted seven career victories as a pro, including the 2010 Arizona Open title. “My college and playing days seem so very, very far away,” said Critchfield, who also works as a yoga instructor (when he can). “My wife (Meredith Rae) and I just had a new baby girl (Ryan Rae), and maybe that’s why. I’m suffering from something called sleep deprivation.” But Kendall’s hanging

Kendall Critchfield Former ASU standout joins Ocotillo staff.

tough thanks to his new boss at Ocotillo. “I’m learning the ropes

from Mark Bakeman, who’s our director of golf,” Critchfield said. “I don’t think I could have a better mentor.”

Critchfield is center-cut with

Ocotillo, where he is the tournament group sales director and budding “assistant general manager.” “I had been at McDowell Mountain

for the past couple of years working for Coach,” said Critchfield in reference to Steve Loy, who along with Mickelson are co-owners of both McDowell Mountain Golf Club and now Ocotillo, in a partnership that also includes Chandler developer Spike Lawrence. “The big difference is we’re much

busier over here at Ocotillo, what with 27 holes and all, so it’s a lot faster paced than McDowell Mountain. And it’s been exciting being part of all of this renovation work, where we’ve

40 | AZ GOLF Insider | SPRING-SUMMER 2018

that observation. Bakeman has been a stalwart everywhere he’s been, including directorships at the Raven at Sabino Springs, the Raven at South Mountain, the Trilogy at Vistancia and now Ocotillo.

MOVERS Speaking of GMs, Tyler Koser is the new general manager at Terravita Golf Club in Scottsdale. Koser is a Troon Golf veteran, with experience at Troon North and Quintero. . . . Along those lines, Steve Leon is

the new general manager at Poston Butte in Florence. He had been director of golf at Troon North. . . . Hanging it up after 38 years at

McCormick Ranch is Mike Lindsey, who was the club’s long-time director of golf. Lindsey is being replaced by Randy Beaupre, the club’s head professional for the past 18 years.

SHAKEUPS The final word has yet to be said regarding the defunct Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Club, and the battle lives on after a state Superior Court judge in Phoenix rejected the current owner’s (True Life Companies) plan for the old golf course, which included houses and other amenities called The Farms. Instead the judge ruled for the residents of the neighborhood that surrounds the decimated golf course that once was the annual host for the Arizona Short Course Championship. Judge John R. Hannah ordered

that True Life pay the attorney fees for residents Linda Swain and Eileen Breslin, the two Ahwatukee women who brought the lawsuit, claiming True Life had destroyed the golf course and undercut property values on land that was zoned strictly for a golf course and no other use. What will be the next move in this game of chess over Ahwatukee Lakes that has lasted over four years? Who knows, but chances are great that True Life is not walking away from its $9 million investment. . . . And finally, the Ak-Chin Indian

Community, owners of Southern Dunes Golf Club and the presenting sponsor of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, are at it again when it comes to the game of golf. The tribe will partner with the World Long Drive Association to host “Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun” on May 14-15. As part of the hoopla that will surround this inaugural event, the Golf Channel will televise the final round on May 15. The biggest surprise of all, Smash in the Sun will not be held at Southern Dunes, and instead will be contested at nearby Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino on a natural grass golf range complete with stadium seating that is being constructed specifically for this event. And, yes, the Ak-Chin Community owns Harrah’s, too! n

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