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Updated Nov 21, 2013 - 8:17 am

New golf course opens near Camelback Inn

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Some residents near the Marriott Camelback Inn Resort may be happy that an old golf course has been renovated in their area.

The 30-year-old Indian Bend Golf Course was flat and had become a danger to their homes.

"The Indian Bend wash runs right through the golf course," said Rob Bartley, the golf director for the Camelback Golf Club, which is owned by the J.W. Marriott Corporation and is a few miles north of Camelback Inn. He said the course was a hazard to more than just golfers.

"Over the years, the wash had silted over, and when the monsoon rains came, it would sheet-flow," Bartley said. "We had neighbors on either side of the golf course and we were in danger of flooding their homes."

The company decided to put the course through a $10 million renovation and rename it Ambiente, which is Spanish for "environment."

"We went into the Indian Bend wash and lowered the channel and flipped the dirt over to the perimeters and created a rolling, contured course," Bartley said. "It's just an extraordinary golf course."

Bartley said the new 7,000-yard course will have less flooding risk, and will help the game of many golfers.

"If you slice the ball, it actually stays on the golf course," Bartley said. "We have some homes on the perimeter of the golf course, but those are on the left hand side. So, unless you're a 'hooker,' the homes will be safe. You'll enjoy the round of golf and the homes will be safe as well."

Ambiente is now open to both members of a private club and the public, with prices starting at just over $150 per round. It is adjacent to the Padre Golf course at the Camelback Golf Club.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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