This is not a word too often used in the Kingman Arizona area. Kingman is not exactly know as a golf mecca like its nearby neighbors Las Vegas and Scottsdale. Don’t let that fool you though.
Hidden against the gorgeous granite bluffs at the very southern end of the Cerbat Mountains is our local public course know as Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course. If you are local and have grown up in the Kingman area you probably know the history of the course and its location. Ill spare you the boring details but it used to be a nine hole dirt course with oiled sand greens and was a country club. Yes, I said oiled greens.
I can’t say that I have ever played on oiled greens but would probably enjoy seeing the course in its former state and relish the chance to play golf a few times on a vintage course. My Grandpa Frank X. Gordon Jr. has many stories about the area and course and is a wealth of knowledge about the area.
Cerbat Cliffs eventually succumbed to grass and had to get with modern times. The course for many years remained a nine hole golf course. For years the course had two pins on each green. You would play the first nine holes on one set/color of tees to the yellow pin and then play the second nine on another set of tees to the other color flag on the green. This may sound strange to a avid golfer but we thought of it as normal for many years since that was the only option we had. The former country club location is now a beautiful residential home and sits high above the par 3 eighth hole with panoramic views of the City of Kingman and the Hualapai Mountains. They now have a full clubhouse near the first tee with a bar/grill and pro shop and cart barn.
Eventually, around the mid 1990’s City of Kingman purchased some land near the existing nine holes (located mostly to the south side of I-40) and hired a architect to design a second nine and to tie in the old with the new. The course configuration was intermingled with the old holes and currently winds in and around the actual Cerbat Cliffs (hence the name of the course). The golf course is approximately 6700 yards from the back gold tees and has a rating of 71 and a slope of 129. In golf terms this means that the course is moderately challenging. When the wind blows I can attest that it is more than challenging because of abundant out of bounds stakes on nearly every hole and the penalizing high desert terrain. The course has recently added some new and very challenging tee boxes and have added some significant distance to the holes if you play from the tips.
For those of you that know me know that I grew up playing the Cerbat Cliffs Golf Course. I spent countless hours on the driving range when it was a dirt driving range and had spray painted golf balls. Supposedly the spray paint helped preserve the balls when it hit the dirt and also kept the locals from stealing any range balls that appeared to be worth more than a nickel. I used to work at the golf course and help pick the range in the evenings. We used a golf cart the local pro Paul Mowry nicknamed 007. It was orange and didn’t have a top. The cart also had a second gear which we called a turbo button. It actually was fast and we loved racing and skidding on the dirt. Good memories either way.
I was fortunate enough to have a public course to practice on. Not only was it inexpensive to play and practice, it also had one of the best practice putting and chipping greens I have ever seen. The course has made some significant changes over the years and the practice facilities rival some top courses I have played in the country. The practice chipping green used to be the old 9th green and was kept to better the practice facility. It has a multi-level green with three bunkers and offers almost any shot you would want to practice for your short game. I spent many of my practice sessions on this chipping green and this helped mold my short game over the years.
To conclude, even though we are in the relatively small town of Kingman, Arizona. I am trying to point out some positive aspects of our community. Golf at Cerbat Cliffs is a in-expensive way to spend quality time with family or friends and get out and see some local amazing scenery. It allows a golfer to improve their game with wonderful practice amenities and offers challenges to even top caliber golfers. I thought with the arrival of the warm weather it was a good time to write about this local gem. We may only have one golf course in the city limits but it is a good one!!!