Ask any Northwest golfer what they yearn for each winter and the answer is likely to be the opening day of golf season.
But for the many Northwestern transplants who have joined Terravita Golf Club in north Scottsdale, Ariz., year-round golf is not only a possibility, it’s a reality.
This private residential community, with its award-winning 18-hole golf course and endless list of amenities, has attracted a high number of members from the Pacific Northwest.
“Our members from the greater Seattle and Portland area are trading the rainy, dark, cold winter days for hundreds of days of sunshine, blue skies and golf,” says Mark Deardorff, a member of Terravita’s golf board of directors, who relocated from Portland with his wife, Janice, five years ago. “The camaraderie enjoyed by Terravita residents andgolf club members makes the playing experience even more enjoyable.”
Developed just over 20 years ago, Terravita’s 823 acres of classic desert landscape is centered around a golf club that has been member-owned since 1998.
The club’s 7,075-yard layout, designed by Billy Casper and Greg Nash, offers a good balance according to Joey Pickavance, Terravita’s director of golf. “It’s a course that is generous enough off the tee, but it’s not boring off the tee,” he says. “There are specific holes where you have to drive it well. There are also specific holes where the approach shot has to be below the hole. And the greens have subtle breaks that you really have to pay attention to.”
Enhanced by an abundance of Palo Verde trees and towering Saguaro cacti, all 18 greens were redone a year ago. “The course plays very well for our members. We have five sets of tees so the course can play as long and difficult as you like. With most of the greens you can have the ball release and roll up, but there are others that do require a forced carry. It’s a good combination.”
The club’s practice facility – a double-ended driving range with plenty of turf – was recently enhanced with a new short game practice area added. “Those are really first rate practice facilities,” says Pickavance.
The practice facilities also helps members get their games ready for a course that has hosted both a U.S. Open qualifier and a U.S. Women’s Open qualifier. “The beauty of Terravita is that from the first hole through the 18th hole there is no cruise mode or sleeper moments,” Pickavance says. “You have to be thinking all the time as you navigate your way around the course.”
At this very socially active golf club, where 18 percent of the members hail from the Northwest, there is plenty to do off the course. An expansive 34,000-square-foot clubhouse, which includes a beautiful terrace overlooking the course, offers both a fine dining area and a more casual member’s grill. Six tennis courts and an Olympic-size outdoor pool and spa complement a recently renovated fitness center. There are seven miles of walking, biking, and hiking trails. The 9,000-square-foot Desert Pavilion community center offers art classes, a self-service library, and an array of seminars and workshops.
Another added bonus is Terravita’s location: in close proximity to major attractions, dining and shopping, but at 1,000 feet higher in elevation than Phoenix, it also experiences slightly cooler temperatures.