It's been tough for Lakota Canyon Ranch and Country Club. Now, though, the club has been seeing a lot more ups than downs.
"Last year was our worst year," third-year golf pro Ryan Parr said. "But this year we've grown each month. In the last few months, we've seen as much as an 8 to 9 percent increase over months past."
Not that there aren't plenty of golfers who had already found the 8-year-old course. It's been named one of the state's best courses - public or private - by Golf Digest, Golf Week and Avid Golfer. It's year-round membership has grown to 80 members, and that membership, along with nonmembers, keeps coming back, thanks to the unique course layout.
"The real beautiful mountain scenery and rugged terrain isn't something you see at every course," Parr said. "From a golf standpoint, it's just a lot of fun to be on this golf course."
There wasn't a whole lot of fun to go around last year, however. Lakota was still feeling some effects left over from the recession and an overall lack of disposable income among area golfers.
But with some of the economic recovery in the area has come an increase in overall players. And with those extra players have come a Monday Junior Summer League, three separate charity golf tournaments scheduled over the course of the summer, and a Pro Am tournament scheduled for Friday.
The overall layout of the course, however, is one of the biggest things that brought Parr from Anthem Country Club in Phoenix. From the black tees, the course stretches 7,111 yards - typically longer than many championship courses. The longest hole on the course, the par 5 fifth hole, stretches 620 yards.
That's not even the hardest hole on the course, apparently. Parr considers that to be the par 5 18th hole, which stretches 557 yards with three fairways and a slightly uphill slope. Plenty of first-time course players, Parr said, have shot five or six strokes over par on the hole.
And it's that kind of challenge, along with all of that rugged terrain and rustic scenery, which Parr feels keeps people coming back and keeps membership on the rise.
"We're definitely on the right track with where we're going right now," he said. "We'd love for that to continue."